Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Holiday » Keepin’ it Cheap…for the 4th of July {Turn a Tshirt into Dress w/ Braided Collar}

Keepin’ it Cheap…for the 4th of July {Turn a Tshirt into Dress w/ Braided Collar}

Are you kidding me?!?!  4th of July is THIS week? 

Anyone else wondering who’s been messing with the calendars lately?!!  I swear it’s still May. 


But if it has to be July, I might as well enjoy it.  Because you guys know I love an excuse to make a new outfit for the kiddos.  So hooray for the 4th!!  But I didn’t feel like paying too much for fabric this year.  (Especially because we have more wall paint and baseboards to buy. :) )  So, I went my favorite route……..thrift store fabric shopping!  You know, to turn someone’s OLD, into our NEW.  Sometimes I just shop in my own closet for un-loved pieces of clothing that I can chop up.  But I didn’t have enough patriotic colors that I was willing to cut up.  So, off to find a few treasures. 


And instead of spending more than necessary on fun new patriotic outfits for the kiddos (you know what I’m talking about……they’re all over the stores.  And yeah, are cute and really tempting…), I made a new little outfit for Chloe for almost nothing.



And yeah, I know the 4th is only 3 days away.  But some of you may be like me…..and thought we were still in May.  So join me, and whip up a few patriotic items for the kiddos.  (You won’t find many ready-to-wear items in the store anyway.  It’s only 3 days away, remember??)


Or, save this for another rainy day.  Because it would look cute in any ol’ color. :)

. . . . .




Ahhhhh, old into new.  I love it.  E v e r y.  T i m e.





Do you recognize that collar?  Yep, I made an almost identical Braided Collar Dress, when she was only a few months old.





The only difference this time…….are the rounded pockets.  Which, she LOVES.






And, you betcha.  I added in my little mark.  (More on my clothing labels.)





Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yep, she likes when whatever I’m sewing, goes to HER…….and NOT her big brother or sister.  She looked at this dress when it was all finished and said, “dat’s MY dress!” Yes, Coco……it is! 


(Anything else she sees is always HERS too.  “Dat’s MY brush!” and “Dat’s MY doggy!” and “Dat’s MY shoe!”  Even if they’re not hers.  Ha.  She’s definitely a territorial youngest child…)





Sweet girl.  Please keep that little fire you’ve got.  Well, I guess you can turn it down when you’re 15…  But until then, I’m gonna enjoy the random, sometimes shocking things that come out of that little mouth, all I can.






I guess we can finally admit the 4th of July is on its way. Chloe is ready to partaaaay.  Check.



Now, onto a little something for Elli and Connor.  I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow (because I haven’t made theirs yet.)



Do you want to see how I made this dress with the pockets??



This dress technique is exactly the same as the Tshirt into Dress with Braided Collar I made over a year ago.  The only difference, are these sweet pockets.


They add such a fun look, so don’t even think about skipping out on them. :)


So, cut out your dress pieces first…..using an existing dress or Tshirt as a guide.  And also, be sure to use the bottom Tshirt hem, as the hem for your new dress.



And then set them aside.


For the pockets, just cut out a pocket shape out of paper.  Then hold it up to your front dress piece, imagining two of them.  Adjust the size if necessary.


Then, use the paper as a pattern to cut out a pocket from the sleeve of a Tshirt.  The hem of the sleeve will be the top hem of the pocket.  I’m all about saving time around here! :)

Just be sure to cut an extra 1/4 inch around the curve of the pocket.  (Or make your pattern piece bigger to begin with, to allow for that seam allowance.)



Then, use a basting stitch and sew all the way around the curved edges of the pocket.  Leave tails at both ends.  (Need help with the basting stitch and gathering?)



Now pull the top string and gather in the fabric just a bit.



Create an even and ever-so-slight gather around the edges.  The purpose in this, is to help fold under the curved edge, nice and even.  I promise, you’ll love how well it works! :)



Then, iron it flat……raw edges folded towards the back side.



Repeat with the other pocket and place them both on the dress FRONT piece. 



Sew them in place, stitching around the curved edges only.  Sew about an 1/8 of an inch from the outer edge.  Add a second line of stitches inside of that, to really help secure the pocket in place.



In the original tutorial, I sewed the front dress and back pieces together first before adding the strips of folded fabric to the arm holes.  It’s actually a little easier to sandwich the strips of fabric around the arm hole openings individually.  Both ways work, but sometimes it’s a little easier to break it down a bit more.  Just thought I’d share. 



The rest is just like the Braided Collar Dress from over a year ago.


Ahhhhhh!  Miss Chloe is all ready to celebrate our country’s freedom in her patriotic RED, WHITE, and BLUE!!!!


We’ll talk again soon.

Probably tomorrow.





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Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Keepin’ it cheap…for the 4th of july {turn a tshirt into dress w/ braided collar}
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  1. Lariza says:

    I so love it! I’m 8 months pregnant right now. I am thinking of making this one too.

  2. Teresa says:

    You’re awesome! I love your blog. Can’t stop browsing it. You’ve inspired me to re-purpose clothes for my children. Thanks so much!

  3. Emily says:

    I LOVE the braided collar… it really makes this dress different!!! Emily

  4. cucicucicoo says:

    I had no idea that pockets could be made by gathering the curve! So easy, yah! :) Lisa
    (p.s. You’re not the only one convinced we’re still in May!)

  5. me says:

    do you think this would make a nice shirt? and how about with a sweatshirt-like pocket!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yes, it would be a darling shirt! And a sweatshirt pocket would also be really cute! Have fun with it!!! :)

  6. me says:

    I love the added pockets, sew cute!

  7. emerencia says:

    Beautiful dress and beautiful girl!

  8. Leann says:

    Hello! Thank you for sharing this, it turned out great! What kind of sewing machine do you have? I am ready to get a new one as mine has an attitude problem no one seems to be able to fix! I need a new one and my sewing projects are piling up. Any suggestions for a simple to intermediate level machine that won’t break the bank? Thanks for your inspiration.

    1. Ashley says:

      Here’s more about my sewing machine (and even what others are using) over on my FAQ page:

      Hope that helps!

  9. Lisa @ Wine & Glue says:

    I absolutely love this! Gorgeous! Pinning :)

  10. Julie B says:

    I looove this. I wish I wasn’t so intimidated by my sewing machine. I would love to make this for my 7 month old!

  11. Jenya says:

    A very clever project :) Recycling is so much fun :) Needless to say your little girl looks so cute in her new dress :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks Jenya!

  12. yolanda d says:

    That is completely adorable and made even cuter by your little girl. I’d love to make one of these for my granddaughter!

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks! And your granddaughter will look just as cute in one! :)

  13. Dawn says:

    This is SOOOO cute! And Chloe is so friggin cute….ALL your kids are adorable! Thanks for keeping new and amazing ideas coming out, pinned this, and hoping to make something like this for my nieces!

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m gonna have to agree with you on the friggin cute thing….haha! That Chloe always make us laugh! :)

      Good luck making them for your nieces! :)

  14. Ashley Addison says:

    This is so super cute, and she is adorable in it. I am definitely going to try this very soon. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    1. Ashley says:

      You’re so welcome! And good luck! :)

  15. Anshu says:

    Beautiful dress and totally doable at the last minute. Pinned it!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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