Do you remember the T-shirt dress I’d made for the Holiday Sewing blog tour in December? I’ve been very quietly working behind the scenes and have finally made another T-Shirt Dress. This time, I documented my steps and put together a tutorial and printable pdf pattern to share. Hope you like this Twirly T-shirt Dress Pattern!
(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
The pattern comes in 5 sizes: girls, size 4 to 8. The top half is designed to be sewn with a stretchy knit fabric and the bottom with a fun contrasting woven fabric. (You could use a knit on the skirt, but the knit fabric might not give as much fullness, so I guess use whatever fabric based on the look you are going for…)
I used a knit fabric from Funkalicious Fabrics and the Chevron was a special deal from Pick your Plum.
It’s a perfect pattern for transitional weather. Add tights and a sweater for cold days or as is when the weather is mild.
Twirly T-Shirt Dress Tutorial w/ printable pattern
- 1/2 yard of 54+ inch wide knit fabric for the top/sleeves
- up to 1 1/4 yard fabric for the skirt
- 1/3 to 1/2 yard fabric for belt (options discussed below)
- ball point needle/regular sewing needle
- Twirly T-shirt Dress pattern (click the link to download)
- optional: spray starch, double stretch needle, walking foot
- basic sewing supplies
Additional sewing info/tips:
-When sewing with knits, use a ball point/stretch needle and increase your stitch length by at least one setting. (For my machine 2.5 is normal and I switch it to 3.)
-A walking foot helps to keep the fabric stretching to a minimum. (I have another great knit top tutorial w/ some great tips for sewing w/ knits here: Knit Tunic Top.)
-Pattern uses a 1/4 inch seam allowance unless otherwise noted. (You’ll use a 1/2 inch allowance when attaching the skirt to the bodice.)
Step 1: Assemble pattern and cut out main fabric pieces.
Download pattern here and save to your pc. Open with adobe acrobat reader and print from there, turning off all formatting options.
Print the bodice piece twice. (one for front and one for back.)
Assemble pattern by lining up edges of the grey lines and matching up blue dots/letters.
Line up pattern pieces on the fold of the fabric and cut a front bodice, back bodice, 2 sleeves and neck binding. Be sure to transfer pattern markings onto the sleeves.
**Important for Neck binding:**
The pattern is based on fabric with a 30% stretch. (Which isn’t that stretchy) If using ribbing, (which usually has a 50 to 75% stretch) subtract .75 inches from the pattern piece. I don’t recommend using fabric w/ less than 30% stretch.)
For the skirt, cut 2 pieces on the fold:
Size 4: length: 16.25, width (on the fold) 18.5 (so you will have 2 pieces 16.25 tall by 37 wide.)
Size 5: length: 17.25, width (on the fold) 18.75
Size 6: length: 18.25, width (on the fold) 19
Size 7: length: 19.25, width (on the fold) 19.25
Size 8: length: 20.25, width (on the fold) 19.5
For the belt:
2 options: Cut 2 pieces of fabric: 35.5 inches wide by 6 inches tall. This uses 1/3 yard of fabric but you will have a seam in the middle of the belt.
or Cut 3 pieces, 25.5 by 6 inches. You won’t have a seam at the center of the belt, but 1/2 yard of fabric is needed.
Step 2: Assembling bodice and attaching sleeves.
Line up the front and back bodice pieces, right sides together. Sew along the shoulder seams, 1/4 inch from edge.
Mark the center top of the sleeve. Sew a basting stitch from pattern mark to pattern mark, 1/4 inch from edge. Don’t back-stitch.
Loosely gather the top of the sleeve. Leave the threads loose so you can adjust gathers when pinning.
Spread the bodice out flat, right side up. Then, right sides together, line up the center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam and pin the top of the sleeve to the arm hole (armscye- I feel funny using the term armscye, I always use “armhole” when talking to my self…)
You may need to loosen or tighten your gathers to make the sleeve the same length as the armscye.
Sew the sleeve to the bodice.
Looks like this when you flip it over. Repeat for the other sleeve.
Line up the side seams of the bodice and sleeve and sew along the edge. (for both sides.) You can remove the gathering stitch from the shoulder seam if it is showing.
To hem the sleeve edge, (I recommend using a double needle and walking foot) fold the edge over 1/2 inch, press using spray starch and sew.
Step 3: Neck binding.
Fold the neck binding strip in half (as shown below) and press. (Use spray starch if you have it, it makes working with small pieces of knit fabric much easier.)
Divide the binding into four equal sections and mark with a pin.
Line up the raw edges of the binding and bodice neckline at the pins and pin in place.
Sew along the raw edge, using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, stretching the binding as you go, taking care not to stretch the neckline of the bodice. After the neckline is attached, I always steam the neckline to help it “un-stretch” and look better. If you want to top stitch around this neckline, I recommend using a double needle, because it might need to stretch a bit.
Step 4: Assembling and attaching the skirt.
Line up the skirt panels right sides together and sew along the sides. If working with cotton or fabric that frays, be sure to finish this seam with pinking shears, serger or zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.
Sew two gathering/basting stitches along the top of the skirt, 1/2 inch from the top. Pull the bobbin threads and gather up the top of the skirt until it is the same width as the bottom of the bodice. (You could get away with just one gathering stitch, but 2 makes it easier to attach to a flimsy knit.)
Sew along the gathered edge using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew, this will help keep the knit fabric from stretching and/or puckering. Finish this seam with your preferred method.
Hem the bottom of the skirt using a 1/4 inch hem. (Fold over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch, press again and sew along the edge.)
Step 5: Assembling the belt.
To attach the belt you could sew in place at the side seams or create a belt loop with embroidery thread.
That’s it, I hope I haven’t forgotten anything! Email or facebook message me if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help.
Now, go have your little one try on the dress and admire your creation! If you do make a version of this dress, please come back and share it on my face book page, flickr group or tag me on instagram.
Oops, had a little rock in our shoe!
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start off with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
- Ball Point needles
- Singer walking foot or universal walking foot
- Blind hem foot.
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!