The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress…you’ll ever make!

Can I tell you about another blogging friend, whom I totally adore?  I’m sure you’ve heard of her or seen her sewing creations online, many times before…….but Katy Dill is one clever woman.  And she has 6 little subjects to sew for.  5 adorable girls….and a little book end toddler boy, Drummer!  (You know that little guy is probably his sisters’ little dress up doll.)

 

 Anyway, Katy created a fun series, where she creates items for her children (and sometimes herself) which correspond with each letter of the alphabet.  How fun!  She asked other bloggers to join in if they wanted to…..and I couldn’t’ resist!

 

  Sew All 26a

 

Here are a few of her sewing creations, which correspond with her letter inspiration. 

  sew26

 

(And yes, she also plays the harp!  Ahhhh…..heaven.   I took a semester of harp lessons in college, Katy…..can you dumb down your skills and let me play with you one day?  HA!

 

Make sure to check out all of the other “Sew All 26″ projects in her series.

 

 

When I signed up for a letter in Katy’s “Sew All 26″ series last November or so, for some reason I chose “Q”.  Really?!?!  What was I thinking.  I was stumped…..and maybe stretched it a bit.  But I couldn’t think of anything to make for a ‘Q’ueen.  Or that was ‘Q’uirky.  Or that involved the word ‘Q’uiet.

 

 

So, today, the letter ‘Q’ is for………

 

  The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

 Yep, it’s a stretch…..but just humor me, and my lack of coming up with other ‘Q’ projects.  Ha!

 

 

 

I’ve made similar things in the past……but truly, this is the QUICKEST method of making little dresses that you’ll ever see.  And the most cozy comfy too!

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

 

 

 

And yeah, you guessed it.  The reason why it’s the QUICKEST (and cheapest) dress ever, is yep………………because I’m the shortcut queen!  (Ack, another ‘Q’…..I’m on a roll!  Hey, this letter was hard…..let me claim that victory!

 

But yep, I made these dresses out of women’s shirts.  So, the neckline was from the original shirt.  And so were the sleeve hems.

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

The heart and star add a little more time….but the basic dress shape is what is super quick!!  (But, how can you resist a fun pop of color?!)

 

 

 

 

And well, Chloe thinks she’s some sort of diva in her new metallic STAR dress!  She likes to pet her little metallic star and say, “oooh, so sparkly!!“ 

Success.

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

 

 

 

But because many of the seams come from the original shirt, this dress really is a QUICK project!  And extremely comfy, since the shirt was already all worn in!

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

 

 

Okay, don’t walk, but RUN to your closet (or the thrift store like I did) and find a few stretchy knit shirts to cut up and turn into play dresses for your toddler.  Or……tunics, for your 5-7 year old girls!

 

 

Here’s how:

 

 

Before we get started…..keep in mind that you can make this from scratch.  You can purchase some jersey knit fabric and use an existing Tshirt of your little girl’s and cut around it the same way.  However, what makes this project QUICK, is that you’re using an existing shirt and don’t have to recreate the neckline or the sleeve hems.  Awesome!

 

So, find an old shirt that you’d like to cut up…..or find a shirt from the thrift store that has a fun print or color to it.

 

Then, cut the front section of the shirt, away from the back section.

IMG_4161

 

 

Fold the front section in half lengthwise, with right sides together.  Then place an existing shirt (that fits your little girl) and turn it inside out.  Then fold it in half lengthwise as well and lay it on top of the women’s shirt.  Line up the folds of both and then line up the neckline of the “front” of the child’s shirt with the neckline of the shirt behind it.

IMG_4163

 

 

Begin cutting around the shirt, following the shape and dimension of the child’s shirt.  You’re only cutting around the shirt front, without the sleeves.  Make sure that you are adding sufficient fabric for a seam allowance.  (If drawing a paper pattern of the child’s Tshirt is easier, go ahead and do that….and then use that to cut around on top of the women’s shirt.)

IMG_4168

 

 

Once you get the arm hole shape cut out…..stop.  Then cut a diagonal cut from the end of the arm cut-out, down to the bottom of the shirt…..creating an A-line dress shape.

IMG_4171

 

 

Once you open it up, your front dress shape should look like this.

IMG_4173

 

 

Fold it back in half and then place it on top of the back of the women’s shirt….which also needs to be folded in half lengthwise.  Match up the folds.  You will cut around the front dress piece, making the back pieces exactly the same shape…..except the neckline will be different. 

IMG_4176

 

 

When placing the front piece onto the back piece (and before cutting) make sure that the neckline of the back of the dress is a bit higher.

IMG_4178

 

 

Now, you have a front and back piece.

IMG_4182

 

 

For the arms, place the child’s shirt sleeve (that’s still inside out) on top of the women’s sleeve.  Line up with the folds of each and cut around the shape of the sleeve, leaving enough room for a seam allowance.  (And don’t forget, the hem of the women’s sleeve will serve as the hem for your new sleeve hem.  Another shortcut!!)  Repeat with the other sleeve, so you have 2 total.

IMG_4187

 

 

Now, you should have 4 dress pieces total.

IMG_4197

 

 

Place the dress front and dress back together, with right sides together, and match up the shoulders.  Sew them together at the shoulders, with whatever seam allowance you allowed yourself while cutting.

IMG_4199

 

 

Then, open up the dress with the right side facing up and place it sideways in front of you (so that the curve of one of the arm openings is at the top).  Place the sleeve piece face down and match up the very center of the curved edge of the sleeve with the shoulder seam of the arm hole opening on the dress.  Place a pin to keep the two centers together.

IMG_4203

 

 

Then, begin pinning the curve of the sleeve to the curve of the arm hole opening, bit by bit.  It may seem a little wonky because the curves of both are going different directions.  However, just ease it into place and pin small sections at a time.

 

IMG_4204

 

 

 

Continue with the rest of the sleeve.  They should match up pretty evenly at each end.

IMG_4210

 

 

Sew in place, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  If you allowed for more than 1/4 inch, trim it down a bit because it’s easier to sew these two curved pieces together if there is less of a seam allowance.  Repeat with the other sleeve and then you should have one piece, that looks like the one below.

IMG_4212

 

 

Add a zig-zag seam along the sleeves and shoulder seams, for extra reinforcement.

IMG_4213

 

 

Then, fold the dress back in half, with right sides together…….and sew up a sleeve and down the side of the dress.  Repeat on both sides.

IMG_4218

 

 

Trim off the bottom edge of the dress, making it even all the way around…….and fold up an inch (or more or less, depending on how long you want the dress) and use a double needle to get a nice polished hem that allows for a bit of stretching.

IMG_4503

 

 

Iron all your seams flat.  Using steam will help any fabric that has stretched a bit from sewing.

 

Now, the dress is done!!!

. . . . .

 

 

Now, you can leave the dress just like it is…..or fancy it up.

 

To create the star, I cut a star out of paper first, held it up to the dress to see if I liked the size/shape……then cut around it on some metallic fabric, adding another 1/4 inch all the way around for a seam allowance.

IMG_4223

 

 

Then, I cut a piece of lining fabric the exact same size.  I sewed the two together, with right sides together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

IMG_4225

 

 

Then, I trimmed off each point……

IMG_4227

 

 

……and then added a slit between each inverted angle of the star.  (Here’s more on clipping corners and curves.)

IMG_4229

 

 

Then, on the lining side of the star, cut a slit……

IMG_4231

 

 

…..and then turn the star right side out through the slit.

IMG_4233

 

 

Poke each tip of the star out with the point of your scissors, or something like a knitting needle.  Then iron flat.

IMG_4235

 

 

Pin the star to the dress.

IMG_4239

 

 

And then sew around the outer edge of the star, nice and close to the edge.

IMG_4243

 

 

The heart was created by ironing some fusible adhesive to the WRONG side of the green fabric, cutting a heart shape out, peeling back the paper of the adhesive, and then ironing the heart directly onto the dress.  Then, I stitched around the heart with a zig-zag stitch.  (The green fabric was knit, so I didn’t have to worry about fraying.  However, if you use a zig-zag stitch, that will help keep a woven fabric from fraying as well.)

IMG_4476

 

 

And that’s it. 

 

Some really fun and simple toddler dresses…..ready to be played in!!!

The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress...you'll ever make! --- Make It and Love It

 

 

Good luck!

-Ashley

 

 

Related posts:


Comments

37 Responses to “The QUICKEST Toddler Play Dress…you’ll ever make!”
  1. 1
    lisa jack says:

    I love this! I have 2 girls…one that never gets out of dresses! lol so this would be an easy way for me to add to her collection. thx!

  2. 2
    Kiran says:

    My youngest would only wear dresses if she could. This would be perfect!

  3. 3
    Christi says:

    This is awesome! I can’t wait to make some for all my nieces!

  4. 4
    Jennifer says:

    too cute! so very simple and sweet, will need to make my punkin a few soon :) thanks for sharing Ashley!

  5. 5
    Nicki says:

    I LOVE this. I’ve been wanting to get some more dresses into my little girly’s wardrobe, but have been struggling to find a pattern that I liked that would be appropriate for playtime. I think my stash of shirts-that-don’t-fit-but-have-nice-fabric will be cut into today. Hooray!

  6. 6
    Aunt Jeri says:

    I can’t believe how grown up Chloe is getting. She is just so cute. This makes me wish I still had a toddler to make a dress for. Cute idea!

  7. 7
    CJ says:

    What an adorable idea! You have given me some inspiration to do a matching Daddy + Little Guy shirt! I can’t find any pre-made matching shirts that I like, so I am going to make one. The Daddy shirt is no biggie, the little guy shirt is my challenge. But I see how you altered the shirt for Chloe, soooo, I think it will be the same concept for my Little Guy.

  8. 8

    Justo lo que me hacia falta!! Gracias!!
    Tengo un monton de remeras mias y de mi mama que guarde para hacerles vestidos a mis hijas.
    Besos!!

  9. 9
    Liz says:

    Super cute!

  10. 10
    gigi la chti says:

    très jolies petites robes j’aime beaucoup
    bravo et bisous de France

  11. 11
    Zoe says:

    I can’t wait to try this out :)

  12. 12
    Susi says:

    Ashley you are the best !!! I got nearly 50 of shirts I don`t wear – now I know what to do with this. Thanks a lot….
    Your Susi

  13. 13
    Danielle says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing. Im going to spend my day ripping through my thrift store pile to make some cute dresses for my daughter.

  14. 14
    Anne says:

    My favorite kind of toddler dress to make! I made quite a few of them like this for my daughter when she was little. I’ve posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/71374/2014/01/30/
    –Anne

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Flor says:

    I’m not lazy… but I would definitely do it sleeveless! haha

    http://dormitepia.blogspot.com.ar/

  17. 17
    Tori says:

    Thanks for your blog! I wondered though, why you didn’t use the original shirt hem as the dress hem?

    • 17.1
      Ashley says:

      Well, I could have…..but then, the neckline wouldn’t have matched up. Since the neck size is smaller, I had to cut the front and back pieces separately and make it to fit my little girl. If your shirt is laying down in front of you and you just cut the dress pieces front the shirt as is, the neckline would be too big or wouldn’t meet correctly at the shoulders. Generally, you have to either choose to use the shirt hem or the neckline….and since a hem is faster than re-creating a neckline, I chose to keep the neckline. Does that make more sense?

  18. 18
    Lorena says:

    I love the large bright photos, they make it so clear. I love these dresses.

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    Cute dress!!
    I’m wondering what ever became of the guest blogger thing….I’m excited to see what becomes of it!

  20. 20
    Becky Chastain says:

    To make quicker one just make a pleat in the front center and back of the neck to make it fit,or make a simple gather for a change-up. Then lay a shirt on fold, as described above,take a tuck in the shoulder seam so it matches child’s shoulder seam. Next lay the sleeve on the adult tshirt and pin. Make sure that the top fold of the sleeves match. Then cut the sleeve leaving a half inch for seam allowance ,using the child’s tshirt as a guide. Continue cutting down under the arm and at an angle to the hem. Sew the sleeve and side seams and your finished! Great for play or sleepwear .

  21. 21
    carmen hagood says:

    It’s adorable:)

  22. 22
    Anneliese says:

    These are super cute! I love the oversized appliques.

  23. 23
    kukafera says:

    I really love these dresses!!
    I’ll go and see which t-shirts I don’t use anymore to make a pair of them!!
    Thanks!!
    Ingrid

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Jenny says:

    I am going to do this with t-shirts that have logos on them that represent the college we went to and one of our favorite sports teams! I can never find cute, small enough for toddler clothes to represent either team! I am so excited for her to wear them! I am also making them a little larger so they will fit her down the road as dresses and then as t-shirts with leggings:)

  26. 26
    Christine says:

    Can you use fusible adhesive to put felt onto knit fabric? Or does the felt melt?

  27. 27

    What a fantastic project and tutorial! I have twin 6 yr-olds, and I know they would LOVE these! Thanks for sharing!

  28. 28
    cristina says:

    Very beautiful dresses, I love them!

  29. 29
    atefeh says:

    You’re the best. I’m one of your fan.

  30. 30
    Haine copii says:

    These are super cute!

  31. 31
    Sue says:

    I’ve made several newborn baby nightgowns as gifts using this method, from tee shirts that had a logo meaningful to the mom or dad. I sewed a drawstring hem. They were a big hit!

  32. 32
    Victoria Rymell says:

    Ooohhhh I so want a little girl – (mine is all grown up) just so I can make one of these!

Trackbacks

Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] Ashley from Make It and Love It shows how to make a toddler’s play dress, quick and easy.  In fact, she calls it The Quickest Play Dress You’ll Ever Make.  She starts with an adult t-shirt and cuts it so she can repurpose the hems and neck finish.  Her tutorial is part of the Sew All 26 series by Katy from No Big Dill.  (Her tutorial is for the letter Q, as in “Quickest”.)  Go to Make It and Love It for the tutorial. […]

  2. […] Make It Love It taught us how to turn a women’s shirt into a toddler play dress. […]

  3. […] 1. Quickest Play Dress from Make It – Love It. […]



Notes and Comments