SUPER Simple Circle Dress (from Tshirt & Knit Bed Sheet)

 Wow.  Sorry for all the craziness. 

 

I thought I’d be up and running yesterday (after our move over the weekend) but our internet was really wonky.  We had to get that all figured out……but whew, it’s now fixed.  And all of our stuff is moved in.  And the old house is cleared out.  Thank you, thank you……for all the well wishes and virtual high-fives you sent my way for our move over the weekend.  We are so happy to be all moved in.  Can’t wait to get crackin’ on some home projects.

 

Now, back to normal.  (Wait, what’s normal again?!!)

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Anyway, I have a little project that I was pretty much finished with before we moved.  I just needed a moment to finish the instructions. And a little photo editing here and there.  

 

But the idea for today’s project came from a little Tshirt sizing frustration with my girls.  Do any of you have the same problem I do??  You buy a kid sized shirt and the correct size (or even the size above) is waaaaay too short and waaaaaay too wide.  Weird.  (Maybe my kids are just too tall!!)  It’s only certain brands but…..grrrrrrr.  (Circo from Target and Garanimals from Walmart are two brands that make me crazy.  Anyone else have the same problem?)

 

Well, I bought this cute little teal polka dot shirt from Target the other day for Chloe and well, it was Circo brand……but I was hoping for the best, because it was just too cute. However, once I washed it, forget it………her sweet little bubble belly poked out the bottom.  Grrrrrr.

 

So, I decided to turn it into a dress.  And not just any ol’ dress……..a CIRCLE DRESS.  (Oh, and I made one for Elli too. :) )

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And believe me, this may be the quickest and simplest dress you’ll ever make.  Especially if you’re using a knit Tshirt and find some knit fabric (which doesn’t fray) to cut up. 

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I actually bought a knit twin bed sheet set from Target for $20 to use for these dresses.  I made both girls dresses from the top sheet and still had plenty left over for other projects.  I also have the full fitted sheet to use for something else.  Perfect.  (However, you could also buy knit by the yard for this project.  I just happened to like this color knit bed sheet….so it worked.)

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But once these little Circle Dresses go on, it’s like an automatic thing……Elli starts spinning.  And then Chloe watches, learns, and then enjoys right along with her. :)

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If you look closely, you can see that there’s no gathering involved.  It’s a circle piece of fabric that creates all of that twirly fun.  (And really, this would be adorable in adult sizes too.  Just imagine a thin little belt cinched right in at the waist.  Cute.)

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These girls are killing me lately.  Chloe’s starting to love the same sorts of things that Elli does.  And Elli eats it right up.  I’m sure glad she’s teaching Chloe the ropes of being a girly girl. ;)

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And since these dresses are all knit fabric…….they are comfy, cozy, and ready to be played in.  I caught Elli eating some cereal the other morning and just noticed how comfy she looked in her dress.  I kinda wanted one for myself.

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Another fun variation?  Turn the Double Layer Square Circle Skirt into a dress.  Same circle concept……different look to the dress bottom.

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Yay!!  New dresses for the girls……..made in  minutes.  My kind of project. :)

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Would you like to whip one up?

 

First of all, grab a knit Tshirt.  Any type will work but if you have one that’s stained, too short, or has holes……..rescue it from the recycle pile.  Now, decide where you want the waist line of the dress to sit.  Then measure across the shirt, right at the point where you’re going to be cutting it off.  Then double that number and that’s the size of the circle circumference that you’ll need to use to cut the opening for the skirt portion of the dress.  Now, cut a circle that size out of paper, to use for your pattern.  For example: Elli’s shirt was 11 inches across, right where I wanted to cut it off.  I doubled that number to 22 and that’s the circumference of the circle that I cut out.  (And if you can see, my paper circle isn’t perfect.  That’s okay.  Knit is pretty forgiving and you’ll never be able tell that the circle wasn’t exact.)

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Now, cut off the shirt, a 1/2 inch below the line where you want it to sit on your subject.

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Now, decide how long you want the skirt portion of the dress to be.  The easiest way to do this is to put the shirt on and then measure a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the shirt you just cut off and then down to where you want it to hit on the leg.  Add a 1/2 inch to this measurement (for the seam allowance) and that will be the skirt length.  For Elli, I decided to make the skirt portion 20 inches long……so I knew that I needed 20.5 inches of length.  So, I placed my measuring tape 20.5 inches out from the paper circle, all the way around, to be sure there was enough fabric all the way around.

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After I could see that the paper circle was placed correctly on the fabric, I traced around it with a marker.

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Next, I measured out from the circle 20.5 inches, all the way around the circle…….and made little dots to mark my measurements.  See them circled in red??

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Then, I began connecting the dot in a curved line, creating a large circle all the way around the smaller circle.

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Once you’ve drawn your two circles, cut them both out.

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Now, place the bottom edge of your Tshirt together with the small circle opening and pin them together with right sides together.  (It’s sometimes easier to divide your shirt edge into 4 even sections and place a pin to mark it and then do the same with the circle opening.  Then, match up the pins first and then add more pins to secure the two layers together.)

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Now, use a zig-zag stitch (so that the fabric will still stretch when the dress is put on) to sew the two layers together.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  It’s okay to have a little bit of pulling of the fabric while sewing…..but if there’s too much and it’s really ruffling the fabric, try increasing the stitch length just a bit, so that it will skip over more of the fabric and not pull so much.  (But you don’t want to increase it too much or the stitching will be spaced too much and there will be gaping holes when you turn it right side out.)  But if there’s a little bit of pulling, that can be eliminated by using a steam iron and pressing straight down to shrink it back in a bit.  Don’t pull the iron across the fabric, or it will stretch it as you go.  If you need to, you can sew another row of zig-zag stitching over the first, to add more stitching and make it more secure.

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Now, turn it right side out and press the seam flat with steam.  Again, don’t pull……just press straight down.

 

And then make several more.  Because these little dresses are comfy, twirly, and fun!

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Enjoy!

-Ashley

 

 

 

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Comments

56 Responses to “SUPER Simple Circle Dress (from Tshirt & Knit Bed Sheet)”
  1. 1
    Courtney says:

    I was so trying to this the other day, but didn’t quite know how to. I feel like you come to my rescue all the time and I have never even met you!

  2. 2
    Melanie says:

    These are my daughter’s favorite dresses ever! She rotates between the two we have, but it is time to make more for that growing girl!

  3. 3
    Elva says:

    I have the same problem with Target clothes! I bought my daughter the cutest top with a shoe print and put it in my scrap stash to use on something else, but I think she’ll prefer having a dress for the summer instead. :)

  4. 4
    Jill says:

    Add Jumping Beans to the list of problem brands, especially after they are washed! I am totally going to do this with some of my DD’s shirts that still fit except for the length.

    • 4.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh yeah, isn’t that Kohl’s?? It seems that the cheapest brand at each store needs help with their sizing. Grrrr! Oh well……we can make them into something even cuter! :)

    • 4.2
      Gina S says:

      How funny – Jumping Beans is a go-to brand for me because I find them to be longer than others!

  5. 5
    Lynette says:

    Yup. I am not a fan of garanimals. I’ve only gotten onesies in Circo brand, and some of them are ok…but you’re right, some of them are fat and short. Good thing I hit clearance! Those are darling dresses. I love them. I think my niece would totally love one (since all I have is 1 boy.) :)

  6. 6
    Laura J. says:

    I have the same problem with my daughter’s shirts. Pretty much only Carter’s stuff fits right. I often add about a 3 inch ruffle/pepulm to the bottom of store bought shirts to make them cover her tummy. But toddler tummies… so cute!

  7. 7
    Angie says:

    Another fun variation on this: Cut your outer circle, then cut your waist band a few inches twards the center front to make a short-in-the-front, long-in-the-back skirt! :-)

  8. 8
    Gina S says:

    I did this last year using some beautiful corduroy that Wal-Mart had on clearance for the skirt and a plain ole t-shirt. LOVE circle skirts and dresses – they are so quick, easy and twirly! I have the same problem with Garanimals clothing – my long, lean girl gets lost in the tops and they stop before they meet her pants! Most clothes don’t seem to be made for slender children. I like Carters brand or Jumping Beans (from Kohls) – they seem to be a bit longer and slimmer fitting than other brands.

  9. 9
    Jill says:

    Looks like I might be in the minority about Jumping Beans. I have started buying two sizes larger in order to get them long enough. I do agree they are slimmer than other brands. That allows me to get the larger size for the length, but not have them be too big in width. My DD usually wears a 4. I bought her a 6 this weekend, and it fit very well.

  10. 10
    Kathy says:

    They must make those clothes for my kids. I haven’t had any trouble, but with children being people, and people being all different shapes and sizes, it’s inevitable that some brands will fit well and others won’t I guess. I do buy larger sizes most of the time though because I want them to grow into stuff and not just outgrow it in three days (especially my littlest one; it’s like she’s moving up a size every day she’s just growing so fast!). So maybe that’s why I haven’t had too much trouble. ?

    Well, whatever the reason is for you creating more cute things to show us, I’m all for it. :-)

  11. 11
    Tara says:

    I literally did the same thing for my refashion post today! Except I used the bottom part of an old baby dress that was too short (and stained at the collar) and sewed it onto a baby onesie. Pinning this to my daughter’s pinboard!

  12. 12
    Monique says:

    Hi Ashley,

    Love this tutorial. I was wondering if you had any ideas for old skirts and shorts that my daughter has outgrown? They have just become to small for her in the waist. Thanks :)

  13. 13
    AP says:

    I thought I was the only one who got irritated with Circo clothes! But you’re right, sometimes they are too cute not to get. And we’ve been rocking the circle skirts lately…. What a great idea this is! I’m getting a new sewing machine for my birthday in a week and this will be my first project!

  14. 14
    Jenn says:

    Great minds, right? I posted a very similar dress today – http://www.ajennuinelife.com/2013/04/easiest-dress-ever.html. I think I like your cropped waist better, though!

  15. 15
    Christy says:

    Jersey knit sheets!!!! How have I not thought of this!!!! You are brilliant !

  16. 16
    Caitie says:

    Do you have to use knit for the bottom or could you use a woven cotton? (Not sure if it would stretch enough to go over the head…)

  17. 17
    Shelly says:

    I just made the square skirt today for my daughter and it is so cute. Can’t wait to make this one, too.

  18. 18
    Connie says:

    I have a lot of knit material. I will go to the thrift store and buy some t-shirts. This looks so cute. I have to try it!

  19. 19
    cindi says:

    How big is the center circle. I think I missed that somewhere.

  20. 20
    Jenn says:

    I have been DYING to figure out what to do about my daughter’s too-short shirts… she’s 3 and skinny as a rail, so things either hang limply on her like she’s a coat-hanger, or they fit properly and are too short. It just kills me to give away some of these shirts she’s worn maybe ONCE, that are in perfect condition, just because they’re two inches too short.

    I thought… hmmm… I could add a…. ruffle? Cut apart a different tee and create a layered look? This dress is PERFECT. And using jersey sheets is just brilliant. My kids don’t use the flat sheets anyway… they just kick them off… so this gives me an excuse to buy new sheets and actually use ALL parts of them!

    LOVE the idea… and, as I still consider myself a “beginner” (advanced beginner?) when it comes to sewing, this is something I could obviously do quite easily. And my daughter LOVES twirly dresses. She’s always complaining that I won’t let her go to school dressed up in all her finery. I make her wait until Sunday to dress up in her nice dresses for church…

    Now she’ll have something she can wear to school to play in, and it will be comfy, twirly, and girly! I can’t wait to see her face when I make the first dress…

  21. 21
    Elise Arango says:

    Beautiful! My little lady is still a bit small for something like this but I know where to look when the time comes! Thank you so much!

  22. 22
    Katie Knight says:

    Oh so cute!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to try this. Pinning so I won’t forget and will be by often to check out more ideas!!!!!!!
    Katie

  23. 23

    Totally adorable!!! Thanks for posting this awesome idea! And the girls are too cute :-)

  24. 24
    Stacy says:

    I love this. and I made a knit circle tshirt dress for my daughter for her Halloween costume.
    If you want to avoid trying to draw the huge circle you can initially fold the fabric into a square about 4 inches bigger than the length of the skirt and use the radius of the circle to cut the center out (I used a little smaller cause knit stretches)
    Anyway. I just don’t have the space or patience for the big circle (and I am mildly perfectionistic)
    anyway, just an idea.
    the equation for the radius is the c=circumference of the waist r=radius pi= 3.14
    r = c / 6.29
    I really need to make a couple more dresses for my dress loving girls and they get a lot of use from my 3 little girls!

  25. 25
    Elizabeth says:

    Whenever I see your new creations, I just want my daughter to grow up…and to have some more time to make such things for her…

  26. 26

    Super cute! I’ve never seen this done with a circle skirt before, I love it!

  27. 27
    Leigh Ann says:

    This is great! Can’t wait to try it and I’m taking a knits course on Craftsy so knit sheets would come in handy.

  28. 28

    What a SUPER idea, thanks!!!

  29. 29
    chandra says:

    My daughter is wearing a Circo belly shirt right now! If she wasn’t napping, I’d whip it off her and turn it into a dress this instant. Awesome idea! I have no idea why their shirts are so short and boxy. My girl isn’t a waif for sure, and we have the same problem.

  30. 30
    Linda says:

    Clever and cute! Looks like the girls love their new dresses.

  31. 31
    Ashley says:

    Love!! I see other things you could make with this technique- and I’ve always heard of it, but never saw such great illustration!! Thanks!, [visual learner, duh]

  32. 32
    Rachael says:

    I tried to get the instructions for this cute dress, but I don’t have a twitter or facebook account. I know I’m backwards nowadays, but that’s how it is. Any suggestions? Help? I have a tall skinny 8 yr old that has outgrown a lot of shirts, but we could still utilize them.

  33. 33
    cindi says:

    how do you calculate the size of the center circle?

  34. 34
    I won't tell my name ;p says:

    ha ha! If you want something to do with that fitted sheet, go to choosetothriveblogspot, she has a really cute fitted sheet skirt tutorial.

  35. 35

    ha ha! If you want something to do with the fitted sheet, go to choosetothriveblogspot, she has a great fitted sheet skirt tutorial. :)

  36. 36
    Ms. Smith says:

    My daughter hasn’t stopped spinning in her new dress! Thanks for the great tutorial. This took less than an hour, and it was only my math that slowed us down. :)

  37. 37
    Megan says:

    Hi Ashley, I am a very beginner sewer and I found your blog a while ago. Today, FINALLY, I found some pretty knit fabric on sale so i patiently waited until my 5-month-old daughter was tucked into her crib for the night and then made a circle dress with the knit and one of her too-short-but-still-wide-enough onesies. I love it! This is the first dress I’ve made for her and I am so excited that it actually was as easy as you made it sound! There was chanting, dancing, and waving of the completed dress in my husband’s face. Now to make more!!! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorials; I love them!

  38. 38
    naty says:

    Hey girl! What a wonderful idea!!! thank you!!!

  39. 39
    Jessica says:

    Hello, I am a very beginner sewer and have not sewed very much for 8 years. However, I find the instructions of this circle skirt very easy. I feel that I can make it. I am wondering though, can I add straps somehow to make a ‘suspender’ type look? That is the type of skirt I am going for. Thank you so much ! :)

  40. 40
    Carrie says:

    how do I figure the waist? My little girl is 5 and want to make this skirt for her with some knit I have left from a previous project.

  41. 41
    Catherine says:

    Have you ever tried this idea with a cotton blend fabric instead of the knit? No knit on hand, so I’m wondering….thanks!

Notes and Comments