5.04.2009

The Shirt Dress: the Pattern

I'm glad to see that many of you have jumped on board, to sew-along. Great fun!

In the last post's comments, it was mentioned that this could be made in a woman's size. Absolutely! Though, it would be more of a shirt rather than a dress. For some great tips and ideas on how to do that, check out clevergirl.org. She offers some very creative takes on men's-shirt to women's-shirt transformations.
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Okay, now that you've found a men's dress shirt to work with, let's get down to business. I won't go over all the steps here, as they are detailed in the tutorial HERE. But I will highlight a few things.

The Pattern
I don't sew with store-bought patterns. I can and have, but I often find that you can recreate many ideas by using an item of clothing you already have. This is how I came up with the pattern here. I took one of my daughter's dresses and mimicked the idea by pulling each dress piece straight (since there was elastic inside) and tracing it onto fabric, to create my own new pattern. This is how I sew most things: pants for my little guy, shirts, etc. You can do this too. It's not hard, just takes some practice and fiddling with. If you have a pattern or dress you love, go with that! Or you can follow this pattern here.
(click on the picture to see in better detail)

PLEASE NOTE: These measurements are for a skinny 2-3 year old. If your child is average size or a little larger, you must extend the areas mentioned below. If you're stuck or not sure how large to make it, measure your child and use those measurements as a guideline. If you're really unsure....make it larger, rather than smaller. You can then try it on and take in the side seams and shoulders if needed.
Or you can always cut out a mock version on junk fabric, sew a few steps, and try it on to see if you're on the right track.

Here are the two pattern pieces you'll need. You will cut out two of each, following the instructions on the tutorial. I hope these images make sense. None of the measurements are set in stone and should be adjusted to fit your child. But these should serve as a guideline.
If you have questions, please leave them here in the comments. Good luck!
- dana

19 comments:

  1. go dana! you completely deserve the limelight!

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  2. I just found a shirt at the thrift shop this weekend, so I'd love to jump in too.

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  3. I sat down and read over every word of the tutorial tonight. You did a great job showing every step. I hoping to start my first one tomorrow.

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  4. I'm going to start this weekend. I don't have any kids, so I don't have any little dresses to use as a guide and I have never just made a pattern on my own before, so I'm nervous for that. But otherwise, I'm so excited for the actually sewing part. It's looks pretty simple, and it's just so cute!

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  5. i agree with you kat. i don't have a little girl or a pattern so i am just going to use dana's measurements and hope they work on whatever little girl this dress ends up on.

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  6. I am so excited about this. I'm going to start drafting my pattern today!

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  7. I just finished mine last night and it was such a fun project! Thanks so much for the step by step tutorial.

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  8. I'm new here, but I decided to try one too. I hope that's ok. It was really fun, I may do another one!

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  9. I remembered seeing a tutorial on crafster.org for making a dress out of a button down shirt, and when I inherited some BIG men's dress shirts I decided to look it up again. After I read it, I decided to see if there were any other tutes out there; that's when I discovered this blog -- I didn't even know it was the project of the month!
    I have made 3 of these dresses this week. I don't know how to post a picture of them though!!! If someone can tell me how to do that, I would love to share images of my creations!

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  10. Anonymous5.3.10

    Can i make this dress without a men's shirt? Just with fabric?

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  11. Thanks so much for posting this! I have been looking for a way to use all my husbands shirts that he doesn't where and I have two daughters so I am making plenty of these! I can't find how to turn the cuff into a sleeve though. Can you tell me where the link is?

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  12. Anonymous26.5.10

    i simply cannot make the sleeve pattern. every angle and curve combo i try just does not give me the same measurements you have. is there anyway you can give more detail on how to make the sleeve pattern? or at least say whether it's important that the bottom curve be 14 inches.

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  14. Hello, I am trying to make this for a friends daughter, what are the measurements of your daughter chest/waist?? I am making it for a girl whose is 21"/20" will this pattern work without making adjustments??

    Email me please :)

    Byrumboutique@hotmail.com

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  15. I'm having a very difficult making the sleeve pattern with your dimensions as well :( I keep getting 10" at the top and close to 20" for the bottom. Please help. What am I doing wrong? thank you in advance!

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  16. I agree, my sleeve pattern is crazy?? I can't get the bottom to be 14" and I can't get it to fit on the Mens shirt sleeve fabric? Is there a PDF of it or could you give the length from top to bottom in the center.
    Thanks!

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  17. I am also having difficulty with the sleeve pattern. I tried blowing it up and tracing it, and also tried just measuring it out and I couldn't get 14 in on the bottom and maintain the top measurements. I don't see any answers to the previous comments so I thought I would ask again. Any suggestions???

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  18. Do we have a response on the sleeve measurements yet? I see several have asked. I would like to begin making this dress but would like to see if the question has been resolved first. Thanks!!

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