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Re-purposing: Shirt to Dress



I know the majority of my re-purposing projects are for girls…….so if you have a boy, I’m sorry. I will keep racking my brain for some more boy projects. Hmmmm…

Until then, I have another really simple, yet kinda fun re-purposing project. Turn one of your longer shirts into a sweet little dress for a little girl.

Nice and simple.

And notice those braided shoulder straps…..
Nice and easy way to spruce up your project a bit.

Start out by finding a longer shirt…..and maybe one that has a bit of a gather in the center. Works well for adding fullness to the dress. Also, try and find an old shirt that has some sort of detail in the center…….that will make this dress extremely simple to make, and quick.

First, line up the front and back bottom edge of the shirt. Now you’re going to cut a straight line along the top, and cut a diagonal long the sides where the arms will go and then angle out along the sides, down to the bottom. (Cutting through both layers of fabric……and cutting them identically.)

Now you’ll hem along the top edge and the arm hole openings. Do this to the front and back pieces.

Now you’ll sew along the edges of the dress with right sides together.

Now, using the material from the sleeves, cut 6 strips of fabric that are about 1 inch wide.

Group them into sets of 3 and then sew each set of 3 together at one end.

Decide how long you’ll need the shoulder straps to be (varies with each child) and then start braiding the pieces together…..

…..and then sew at the other end once you’ve reached your desired length.

Then attach your braided shoulder straps.

And that’s it. Nice and easy. But don’t start cutting up your good shirts that you still wear…..just to add another dress to your little girl’s/niece’s/friend’s wardrobe. Even though it’s tempting……

**Edited to add: I have had a few inquiries about the flower in my daughter’s hair. I make them for so many re-purposed things lately….I just forgot to add it to this post for any new readers. Oops. You can find the same flower included with a tutorial here. I just added a button to the middle and put it on a clip. Easy.


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. Barbara Sandidge says:

    I absolutely love this repurposing idea Just great

  2. burkfamily1 says:

    Love it!

  3. Twiddle Thumbs says:

    Oh, I WILL be doing this one.
    Thank you!

  4. yankin2002 says:

    so adorable and cute!

  5. Caldwell Family says:

    Totally cute! I can't wait till my little girl is a slight bit older to get her into some of these cute ideas!

  6. Ariel says:

    too nice!!!

  7. Brittany says:

    I have a shirt just like this. Maybe I'll use it to do this someday! Thanks for this!! I'm linking this post to my blog for future reference.

  8. says:

    Oh that's pretty! I love the style of shirt you used to repurpose, I have lots of those laying around. I'll be linking.

  9. Fosters says:

    I love this site, and do almost all of your fun crafts! However, I do have a challenge for you!! Have you tried to make a large wall clock, yet? I would love to, but am not as creative as you!! My mom has a square one that is to die for, but I can't put too much money into it! I know hers is made out of particle board, or something like that, but everything else is a ton of money! Please help!!

  10. P says:

    I love it! I wish you lived near me, I'd love it if you hosted live classes and showed off various projects that you've done.


  11. Ashley says:

    Kristin, the flower is the same that is shown on the dress here:

    I just added a button to the middle and put it on a clip.

  12. Kristin Dyer says:

    Love this idea. Do you have another post that tells how to make the flower in your daughters hair. I am wanting to make some to put on a skirt I repurposed for my little girl.

  13. Laura says:

    OK…you are beyond talented! Fantastic ideas

  14. TheFancyFritter says:

    How cute! I had a maternity shirt that looked just like that but brown! I'll have to try this one day with it! :) Thanks for the great ideas!

  15. Carol B says:


  16. Mollie says:

    NO WAY! I just put two of those same exactly looking shirts in a bag to go to the DI! Gotta go dig them out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Lauren says:

    Very cute, and I have a shirt that looks very similar to yours that I never wear. Perfect! How much do you cut off of the sides, below the arm holes?

  18. Limara Lis - Editora says:

    Muito útil, pois você soube aproveitar a roupa que por uma mancha nas mangas poderia ter sido encostada.

    Mais fofa ainda é a menininha!


  19. Ann Hatch says:

    So cute! One thing I wanted to add- I live in AZ and at Savers thrift store weekly on Monday they have .99 day for certain colored tags. Repurposing can be so fun when you find a cute item at Savers and you love the fabric print,design, etc, but it doesn't quite work. No matter- Just repurpose! Keep up the great ideas!

  20. Casey says:

    wow! even I could do that!

  21. Marilyn says:

    So cute. I love the braided straps.

  22. Nobody says:

    very cute! love your idea!

  23. Lynette says:

    I love it!!! I'm going to have to try the braided strap idea…awesome!

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

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