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Re-Purposing: Girl’s Dress


Ready for a new re-purposing project? I grabbed a too short knit shirt of mine that I used to wear with a linen skirt of mine.

And combined the two….to create a new little creation for this little Miss.

Wowza…...such a big girl!

With a cute pleated detail at the top…

And a matching pleat along the bottom.

Warning: May cause dancing outbursts.

Can you believe that was my old knit shirt? Thanks to the GAP for creating a shirt that will now last through the two of us.

I constructed the top half of the dress, just like the sweater dress here. I used this blue shirt on top as a guide for how wide to make it and the size of the neck hole.

But I made it longer than that little blue shirt. About mid-thigh. (The length of the finished shirt is totally up to you and the size of your little girl…)

Then I created some sleeves from the sleeves of the original shirt and put it all together. (I didn’t have to hem the sleeves or the neck-line because I used the original hems of the shirt.)

Then I cut off 6-8 inches or so of the skirt, to create the pleats around the bottom.

(If you’re using other random fabric, make your strip about twice as long as the entire way around the bottom of the dress. Then it will give you enough room to pleat.)

**Next I folded down the top of the material a 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch and hemmed it in place.

Then I folded the material every few inches or so to create pleats, and pinned it into place. I had to adjust a few times to make the width of this material the same width as the bottom of the black material.

Then I pressed the pleats nice and flat. Next, I attached this section to the bottom of the black material by laying it right on top. Then I sewed a seam about 1/4 of an inch down (maybe a 1/3 of an inch) from the top of the pleated section. And then another seam a 1/4 inch below that, to make it nice and secured to the dress.

Then, I cut a strip of fabric that was about 5 x 12 inches and hemmed under all of the raw edges.

And then I created pleats all the way down.

Next, I attached this little pleated strip to the front of the shirt with a couple of seams, making it nice and secure.

And then I added buttons on top of that.

Whew, all done.

And happy as a clam.

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!
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  1. Simteisha says:

    You are my SHERO!!!!!!!!!!! I find it difficult to find decent clothing for my girls. You have given me so much inspiration!! Thank you!!!!

    1. ataşehir perde says:

      thanks. very nice

  2. lucyl says:

    great job …nice and pretty . ” nindot kaau” I will also try to make this for my princess thanks for the tutorial God Bless… and more sewing Go Go Go Make It and Love It…

  3. Jenny says:

    Super cute :D

  4. Kristina says:

    Hi Ashley,

    I love this tutorial! I made this dress for my little girl and she loves it. For next time, how can I make the bottom stretch more where the skirt is attached to the shirt? Should I have used elastic thread? Does it have to do with thread tension? I am pretty new to sewing. Any advice would be so helpful. Thanks!

  5. usha says:

    very nice. All of your projects are very useful……

  6. Lydia says:

    Am all inspired now. Have just found your blog and am in love. you do such great things.

  7. Cheryl says:

    This looks so cute on a beautiful girl.You are so talented.
    Thanks for all your ideas.

    1. kartal perde says:

      Thanks o much for this, I’ll be linking

  8. Jennilyn says:

    I've used this same technique to turn boy's cut shirts into teenager girls' shirts. Using a perfectly fitting shirt as pattern for where shoulders should end, width across bust and length of sleeve, and preserving the hems of original sleeves and bottom of shirt so you don't have to hem finished re-fashioned shirt. Good tutorial!

  9. Holly jo says:

    I was just telling my husband the other night when finally getting my sewing area set up that I had an awesome idea for a cute little dress for my 22 month old…one of my old care bear t shirts that is too short and some cute plaid fabric for a skirt and your blog just showed me exactly what I had pictured in my head! I LOVE your blog!!!

  10. dana says:

    What a cute little dress. I love what you did with the top!
    – dana

  11. Federica says:

    This is soooooo cute! Adorable!!

    Hugs from Italy!

    P.s. Just a quick note to let you know about my beautiful Christmas Giveaway! Check out on Sweet as a Candy.

  12. Jill says:

    you are seriously amazing

  13. says:

    That is so cute! The pleats are darling. Thanks o much for this, I'll be linking.

  14. The Harris Family says:


  15. yawkar618 says:

    this is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen! I have a couple shirts that could be great for this! thanks!

  16. Tif says:

    So cute!! Makes me wish my sewing machine didn't scare me so much. :)

  17. Cassia.wu says:


  18. Mama Lusco says:

    Adorable! Love the big pleats. They are a nice change from ruffles. Thanks for the great ideas!

  19. Katie says:

    This turned out so adorable!

  20. MARİFETLİ PERİ says:

    These are very good recycling. I saw you, I did dress my daughter. I will add a link to my blog and I will soon. Until next time …

  21. marisa says:

    Ok I love your repurposing! I have piles of old clothes from myself and the older kids. I never know what to do with all the shirts! Thanks so much for the ideas and a way to save alot of moola!

  22. Candice says:

    You are a repurposing genius! Sooo cute! I need sewing lessons so I can do projects like that! Wow!

  23. Crystal says:

    I love it! I agree with "Goings on at the Glenn's"; I'd make my top a wee bit shorter and lengthen the skirt. I am in love with your ideas! I've shared this blog with several friends already. May I put your blog on my Facebook?

  24. BiEha Besh says:

    awesome,,,wat a creative ideas!~so brilliant~…weldone sis~

  25. Love to Craft by Chrissy says:

    Oh my goodness! I love, love, love it! I am so going to try this! :) It looks so cute!

  26. Mom's Place says:

    HOW PERFECT!!!! I have a bunch of stuff like this I could do!!!! It's just sitting in a pile in the back of my closet too!!! I'll have to give it a go after Christmas!

  27. Misty says:


  28. Very Verdant says:

    Cute idea!

  29. Marie says:

    So cute! And it looks easy enough even for me to make one! :)

  30. steffany says:

    I love your re-purposing for girls clothes.

  31. Angie Neil says:

    I LOVE it! How cute!! I think you did an awesome job and your little girl is adorable in her pretty new dress!

  32. Goings on at the Glenn's says:

    cute! I love the skirt bottom. I think I could make one with a shorter shirt top and a longer skirt bottom. Very cute though!

  33. Laurel @ Ducks in a Row says:

    You are amazing – I love the pleats!!

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

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