Shirt Dress neckline help!

I thought I might try and get this post up before we start the new project! This is my first post on Presserfoot-- I was one of Kelli's roommates in college and I love the idea of this sewing group. Thanks for inviting me, Kelli. I missed the first project--the tote--but I have been sewing along ever since.

I have actually made similar dresses as the shirt dress for my girls a lot--the pattern is very easy and the dress comes together very quickly. I have never made it out of a man's shirt, though. I thought that was very creative--thanks for sharing that great tutorial, Dana. And since my husband decided he didn't want to wear any more long sleeved button-down shirts, it was the perfect opportunity to make some dresses.

I noticed a few people said that they have had problems with the neck. Here is something that has helped me:
When I am sewing the neck, I stop at each corner. (Can you tell in the picture--sorry if you can't, but I have stopped and not sewn across the seam and then I have started again on the next side.)

Then I thread the elastic through before I sew the corner seams. As you can see in the picture, there are some gaps in the fabric where it is not sewed down.

Then I straighten the corner (where the sleeve meets the dress) and I sew it down then. It is so much easier than trying to sew it all down and leave one opening and then trying to thread that elastic through the whole thing!

Here's the finished dress on my 4 1/2 year old:

She loves it now, but when I first gave her the choice of four shirts, she said, "I don't usually like to pick fabric like this" (meaning she likes purple and pink). But when I added the belt and ruffle, she decided that it was pretty now.

By the way, thanks to Leslie that added posted about the ruffle on her daughters dress--I think it adds a lot to the dress, so I did it to mine.


  1. great tip. thanks. and your dress looks awesome.

    i also noticed that your neckline was made up of a bunch of straight lines. i think that would help a lot. they will curve once you put in the elastic anyways. that way it won't be so hard to turn over.

  2. You're right, Kelli! I didn't even think about the straight lines in my dress. It did totally help to line them up. But I have also done this technique with the same pattern with other non-striped fabric and it made it quite a bit easier.

  3. Sarah, great tip! thank you for sharing. I never would have thought to do that. I'm going to link your tip to my tutorial!

  4. honestly, I think having a serger makes all the difference. I serged the edge first and then only had to do one fold for the casing, and it was a breeze. This was the first project I've used my new serger on, and I'm never, ever going back ;-)

    Here's a link to mine:

  5. Thanks for the tip. I right at this point on my second dress and I'm definitely going to give it a try.

  6. This was so incredibly helpful. I'm pretty sure I avoidled a lot of frustration here. Thanks!

  7. Good tip! And I love how cute the pink looks with the shirt color and print. and the ruffle is definitely extra cute!

  8. My husband just threw out some old flannel shirts that are in great shape. Do you know an easy way to do this as a long-sleeved dress for the winter? I am a beginner but excited to try!