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T Shirt Dress Pattern and Tutorial

Today I’m going to share with you my t shirt dress pattern and tutorial but first I’m gonna channel my inner Sofia Petrillo to tell you a story…

Picture it.  Akron.  2016.  It was a beautiful spring day.  I actually showered, did my hair, and put on a t-shirt dress.  Not fancy, but definitely a step up from sweats.  I felt cute.  Put together.

I went about my morning, doing this and that, and I descended the stairs to the basement to do laundry.  And somehow, I have no idea how, I accidentally got bleach on my dress.  My t-shirt dress.  Again, not fancy, but the perfect-fitting, comfy, wonderful t-shirt dress of my dreams.  Ruined.

Yes, I could go out and buy a new one.  But I looked and they didn’t have them any more.  So I decided that I needed to make a clone.  And that’s just what I did.

So today I’m sharing my tutorial for how I made it.  The pattern is based off of my original dress which is a size large.  If you’re a different size you could use the pattern as a guide and adjust using something that fits you.

You can get my t-shirt dress pattern here.  Please bear a couple things in mind:

  1. I’m not a professional pattern-maker.  This is my amateur attempt and as such it’s a little rough around the edges.  It worked for me (so far I’ve made 2 dresses) so I’m sharing it in the hopes that it might help you too.
  2. Each page has a little 1 inch square on it.  Print a the first page as a test to make sure that that square comes out correctly.  If it does not come out correctly then you will need to adjust your printer settings.

To Make the T Shirt Dress Pattern You Will Need:

Here’s how I made it:

Step 1- Print the t shirt dress pattern out.  Again, do a test page and make sure that the square is 1 inch by 1 inch. Lay out all the pages. Page 1 is on top, then page 2 goes below that, then page 3 goes below that.  Page 4A goes below Page 3, and page 4B goes next to it.  Page 5A goes below 4A and page 5B goes right next to it.

t shirt dress patternStep 2- Tape the pages together and trim off the excess paper.  Generally speaking the lines align… but not totally.  Again, please keep in mind I’m an amateur and it’s a free pattern.  I did my best but it’s not totally perfect.

t shirt dress pattern printed and cut out t shirt dress pattern taped togethert shirt dress pattern taped together and trimmedStep 3- Lay out your fabric.  Fold over from one selvedge edge toward the middle.  Fold it just far enough over to be as wide as the pattern. Lay down the pattern pieces on top so that the side that says fold is on the fold.  The line of my pattern is not totally straight (sorry!).  What I did was have my pattern touch at the top and bottom of the pattern, so there’s a little fabric showing to the left of the pattern.

The end result was totally fine so I did not change anything around.  Also, I did not make a pocket for my dress but I included a pattern piece for a square that I thought would be an appropriate size for a pocket if you wish to make one. Make sure you lay your pattern pieces out so that the stretch is going across your body horizontally.

t shirt dress fabric t shirt dress pattern on top of fabricStep 4- Use the t shirt dress pattern pieces to cut out the fabric.  Make sure that your main body of your dress (the big piece!) and the sleeve piece are both on the fold when you cut.  Once you have cut out the back of your dress and one sleeve move to the other side of your fabric.  Fold it toward the middle just enough to be a little wider than your pattern piece.

Trim the neckline of your main dress pattern piece so that this time you will be cutting out the front of the dress.  Again, make sure side marked fold is against the fold of your fabric.

Also, if you are making a dress out of a striped fabric like I did then be sure to line up your pattern piece on the fabric so your stripes will line up when they meet on the side of the dress.

t shirt dress pattern on on the other side Step 5- Last cutting.  Using the piece of paper that you cut off of the neck of the dress cut out two pieces of fabric to line the neckline of the dress on the inside.  Trace along the neckline and cut a piece that’s about 2 inches thick.  Do this for the front neckline and the black.t shirt dress cutting out the fabricst shirt dress cutting out the fabrics

Step 6- Sewing.  Finally.  Lay the front and back of the dress one on top of the other, with the right sides together.  Pin and sew across the shoulders, sewing about 1/2 inch from the edge.

To make things easier/better you should use a ballpoint needle and a zigzag stitch or a stretch stitch.  I did not use my walking foot on the dresses I made, but I should have.

This wasn’t an issue as much with the dress I sewed out of the interlock but the jersey stretched a little more.  Next time I will definitely use it.

pinning the dressStep 7- Turn the dress right side out.  Lay the sleeve piece down on top of the dress with the right side down.  Try to center the sleeve onto the seam at the shoulder.  Pin the sleeves on.  Start pinning in the middle and work your way around the sleeve.

Then sew the sleeve on sewing 1/2 inch from the edge.  You will notice that the sleeves are a little bit bigger than the dress.  You will have a little bit of fabric sticking over the sides in the armpit area.  Don’t worry, we will trim this off later.

pinning the dress t shirt dress tutorial 11Step 8- Turn the dress inside out so that the right sides are facing.  Pin the dress together all along the sides.  Sew along the sides, sewing about 1/2 inch from the edge.  Trim that little bit that was sticking out from the sleeve pieces.

lines showing where to sew lining up the fabricsStep 9- Turn the dress right side out.  Take the two neckline lining pieces that you cut out and sew them together.  Lay them on top of the dress with the right side down.  Try to line up the seams with the seams on the neckline.

Pin and sew the lining pieces to the neckline of the dress, sewing about 1/2 inch from the edge.  Once you finished sewing, take the pins out, tuck the lining in, and then top sew around the edge of the neckline.  I sewed it a little bit closer than 1/2 inch from the edge.

sewing the collar the collar piece sewnthe collar piece pinned on collar piece pinned in collar sewnStep 10- Turn the dress inside out.  Fold up the hemline on the bottom of the dress to the length that you want pin, and sew.  Do the same for the sleeves.  I used a straight stitch to topstitch these areas and you can see how it stretched.  It would not have done this if I had used my walking foot, so I definitely recommend using it.

I will be using mine next time, just as soon as I can figure out where I put it.  Using a double ballpoint needle would also look really nice on these areas that you topstitch.  After sewing these hems trim away any excess on the inside of the sleeve hems, bottom hemline, and neckline.

the bottom hemline pinned sleeve sewnAnd you’re done!

dress made with the t shirt dress tutorial the sideback I am excited that I finally did this because I have a few fun knit fabrics that I want to make into t-shirt dresses.  Please let me know if you make one!  I’d love to hear all about what you thought of my t shirt dress pattern!

Want to make another dress?  Check out my swing dress pattern.

swing dress pattern

t shirt dress tutorial pin


Monday 8th of August 2016

I Pinned this pattern for my/others use..


Tuesday 9th of August 2016

Thank you!


Monday 8th of August 2016

I have a question ... What size is the Pattern.. unless I am missing it I don't see any mention about the size...

Thanks Christine


Monday 8th of August 2016

Sorry, my intro was probably a little too wordy... It's a size large.

Cassy Gobin

Tuesday 19th of July 2016

Interesting approach with a facing rather than a binding. I'm sure that is very helpful for DIY-ers that may not have knit experience. I always use my walking foot for knit, I'm sure that would make a huge difference. If I don't us mine, my machine basically eats my fabric. :(


Tuesday 19th of July 2016

The walking foot totally makes a difference!

Vicky Myers

Tuesday 19th of July 2016

it looks great - the neckline has worked out great (my normal worry re sewing knit!)


Tuesday 19th of July 2016

Thanks Vicky!


Monday 18th of July 2016

Beautiful dress!


Monday 18th of July 2016

Thanks Daniela!

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Mary Martha Mama