Perfect T-Shirt Dress Pattern and Tutorial (free pdf sewing pattern sz 3 to 12)
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Hello All! I’ve got a new pattern to share with you today! The Perfect T-shirt Dress Pattern and Tutorial is a free pdf sewing pattern for girls in sizes 3 – 12.
This T-Shirt Dress is a perfect transitional clothing staple that you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion, season and fabric used!
Perfect T-shirt Dress for Back to School
We’ve been back to school for two weeks now and are settling into the bts routine.
Homework assignments and activities are starting to kick in, and we even had an unseasonably early cold front pass through. Not that it was really very cold, but it did give us a few cool mornings and delightfully pleasant (i.e., no humidity) afternoons.
While I know the cooler weather won’t stick around for long, I was still feeling enough inspiration to do a bit of sewing for school-appropriate clothing.
The pieces I’ve been working on are more transitional-type pieces. Perfect for adding a jacket, scarf or leggings for the cool mornings; but once the layers are shed, the items will be appropriate for very warm afternoons (and sweaty bus rides home, lol.)
The free T-shirt Dress pattern I’m sharing today is an absolutely perfect example of a transitional piece.
Add patterned leggings, and a cute cardigan, and your little missy will be good to go, no matter what temperature swings mother nature throws at us for the day.
T-shirt Dress Info
- The T-Shirt Dress pattern is available in sizes 3 to 12 with a short and long sleeve option. You will love how easy this dress is to sew.
- The dress is a loose, swingy fit, so it’s super easy to wear and will most likely grow with your little one over a year or so and can transition from a dress to a tunic. (love dresses like that, lol!)
The recommended fabric for this t-shirt dress is a mid to lightweight knit fabric with some stretch and good flowy-ness.
You need the stretch to get the dress over the head and for it to be comfortable around the chest and arm area. And of course, flowy-ness so it hangs nicely.
The fabric I used for this dress came from Hobby Lobby. I was just there last week and don’t remember if HL still has this green color, but the pattern comes in gray as well – which they still have. (couldn’t resist picking up a yard)
I was just able to squeak out a size 12 from one yard of 59-inch fabric. Although if I had made a mistake, I would have been in trouble, lol.
New to sewing with knits?
Don’t be afraid! This is a great pattern to start with, and I’ve got a few tips on sewing with knits here and an entire category of projects to browse through for your next project. ==>> Sewing with knits.
If you are making a small enough size, you can upcycle old extra-large t-shirts to practice on. Even better, you can most likely reuse the hem on the t-shirt!
Other simple patterns you might want to try:
- Bell Sleeve Dress
- Reversible Infinity Scarf
- Faux Shearling Vest Pattern
- Simple Ruffle Skirt Tutorial
- Flat Front Panel Skirt
Over the last year or so, my missy has not been into wearing dresses so much, (unless it’s a maxi) but she absolutely loved this dress and was already begging to wear it to school. She had a darling floral triangle scarf in her closet that was perfect with the dress. (I think it came from Charming Charlie’s last year?)
And those bracelets she’s wearing – yep, I totally made those! It’s on my list of things to do to photograph the steps and share a bracelet/mini tassel tutorial soon.
Did you Make this Pattern?
Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or a review in the comments section below. If you share an image on Instagram, be sure to tag me and use #scatteredmompatterns! You can also share an image to my private Facebook sewing group!
How to get the Perfect T-shirt Dress Pattern
Ready to sew this dress?
Let’s get started! First, download the pattern.
Be aware: Download link expires after 5 download attempts. (f you need another copy, you are welcome to return to this page and check out again for another copy.
By entering your email address, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions for the use of this pattern and are automatically signed up to receive my weekly newsletter. (You are welcome to unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time, but you will miss out on new free pattern releases and updates to previously released patterns.)
Girls Perfect T-Shirt Dress Pattern Sewing Instructions
Products used and Recommended:
- My favorite fabric shop for knits: Funkalicious Fabrics and Girl Charlee. My favorite shop for cottons and other fabrics: Fabric.com.
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist, my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
- 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
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
- Up to 1 5/8 yard stretch knit 58-inch wide knit fabric for a size 12 (if sewing a short sleeve, you should be able to squeeze a dress on to 1 yard.)
- Ribbed binding (usually has 50 to 70% stretch) or other stretchy knit for neckline (you don’t want to use anything with less than 30% stretch-see notes under pattern tips and tricks)
- Ball point/jersey needle
- spray starch/iron
- basic sewing supplies
- Size 3: Height- 38.5 inches, Weight- 32 lbs, Finished length: 22.8. Finished chest: 23.25 inches
- Size 4: Height- 41.5 inches, Weight- 36 lbs, Finished length: 24.25. Finished chest: 23.5
- Size 5: Height- 44.5 inches, Weight- 42 lbs, Finished length: 26.25. Finished chest: 24
- Size 6: Height- 46.5 inches, Weight- 48 lbs, Finished length: 28.375. Finished chest: 25
- Size 7: Height- 51 inches, Weight- 60 lbs, Finished length: 30. Finished chest: 26.9
- Size 8: Height- 53 inches, Weight- 66 lbs, Finished length: 30.875. Finished chest: 28.5
- Size 10: Height- 55 inches, Weight- 74 lbs, Finished length: 32.5. Finished chest: 29.5
- Size 12: Height- 57.5 inches, Weight- 85 lbs, Finished length: 34. Finished chest: 31.25
Pattern layout guide:
- Enter your name and email to download the pattern. Save it to your PC, open the pdf document in adobe acrobat. Don’t print from google’s online version of adobe. (It will sometimes cause the pattern to print too small.)
- Seam allowance is 3/8 inch with a 1/2 inch bottom and sleeve hem.
- Shorten or lengthen if needed by cutting at the specified mark and redraw side seam
- The pattern for the neck binding is designed for a ribbed knit with 50 to 75% stretch with good recovery (Fabric Fairy has a lot of good quality ribbed knit choices.) If using a binding fabric with less stretch, Measure the neckline and cut a fabric strip 15% less than the measurement (multiply the neck measurement by .85) and follow the instructions in step 4. (This is the “in the round” method– and it never hurts to do the finger stretch test before sewing…)
Tips for sewing with knits:
- Use a ballpoint/stretch needle
- Sew seams with either a serger, stretch stitch, narrow zig-zag, or a straight stitch with a longer stitch length and a slightly loosened tension. (Make a couple of practice stitches on your fabric to see what works best.) I also like to use this “lightning bolt” stretch stitch on seams that need strength but a little give. (For my project I used a combination of straight stitch and serger for seams and zig-zag, double-needle on the hems.)
- Use spray starch when pressing hems. Sew hems with a zig-zag, twin ballpoint needle, narrow zig-zag with a long stitch length or a straight stitch with a long stitch length and a slightly loosened tension or leave raw. (also helps to use a walking foot.)
- If you find your fabric keeps getting pulled inside the needle plate, place a small piece of tissue underneath the fabric, so the feed dogs have something to grip.
Step 1. Print pattern, tape together and cut out size needed.
Step 2. Cut pattern pieces from fabric
Cut dress front, back, two sleeves and the neck binding.
Step 3: Dress assembly.
Line up the front and back dress pieces. Sew together at the shoulder seams with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Hem the bottom of both sleeves. (Ignore that I have already attached the sleeve to the dress – I always forget to hem 1st, but it makes it much easier…)
Right sides together, line up the top of the sleeve with the arm seam. Keep in mind the sleeve edge is a slightly different shape than the arm seam. Start at the shoulder seam and pin the edges together. (As shown below.) Sew along the edge with a 3/8 inch inseam.
Repeat on the other sleeve.
Line up the dress sides and sew together (sleeve edge to hem) with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Step 4: Attaching the neck binding.
Fold binding in half and press. Open the binding and line up short ends. Sew together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Refold.
Divide the neck binding into 4 equal sections. Mark with pins or fabric marker. Divide dress neckline into 4 equal sections. Keep in mind; the front neckline is lower than the back, so the marking will be slightly in front of the shoulder seams.
Match up the markings, lining up the raw edges, and pin the binding to the dress neckline.
Sew the binding in place with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Stretch the binding to fit the dress neckline. Take care not to stretch the dress neckline. (That is what causes wonky, stretched-out necklines. If this happens to a minor degree, pressing with lots of steam will help the neckline return to normal.)
Press the binding edge down towards the dress and topstitch if desired. (I did not have any coordinating thread, so I skipped the topstitching.)
Step 5. Finishing.
Hem the bottom, cut your strings and give all the seams a quick press, and you are done!
Let me know what you think! If you end up making one of these, please share your finished project over on my facebook page or tag me on Instagram!
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.
I absolutely LOVE this pattern! I have made 5 t-shirts using this pattern since Halloween. It comes together so quickly and easily and my granddaughters love their shirts. The youngest is 19 months, but I just used the smallest pattern size and slimmed it up a little. It fit perfectly. I would post a picture, but the pictures that came to me were of them sitting and hugging each other, so you can only see the girls and not the shirts.
So glad it worked for you!
I just want to post a thank you! I used this pattern to sew 2 Wednesday Addams dresses for my friend’s twins. I had never sown stretch fabrics and it was easy to follow!!
Yay! Love hearing that.
Do you have to place the neck binding pattern on a fold to make bigger ?
Or use just as is ?
Do you make this pattern in women’s sizes? I’m a size 0 and would love a pattern for 0, 2, or XS sized women.
Love this pattern! Quick and simple.
If I want to make it sleeveless, what do I need to do?
This is basically the same pattern. Skirt half is a smidge different, but the bodice half should fit the same. https://www.scatteredthoughtsofacraftymom.com/night-gown-tutorial-free-pattern/
Your instructions seem so clear, can’t wait to make one.
Thank you so much for this pattern. I’m in Scotland and our lock down over the past months has meant plenty of time for sewing. My 8 years old granddaughter loves her T shirt dress in a stylised cat print. There are some great cotton jersey prints available and this simple style shows them off perfectly. I shall be making more of them.
How could I turn this into a long sleeve dress?
The pattern has long sleeves.
Hi! I’m from Peru and I Love your page. I was wondering when you say topstitching the neckline after pressing down, this topstitch is a straight or zigzag stitch?
I usually do a straight stitch.
Just wondering if someone could give me a rough idea of how the sizing runs on this before I launch into cutting my patterns out? I have a tall 7 year old and a not so tall 5 year old. Just wondering if the pattern is roomy enough or should I size up for the 7 year old?
There is a fit chart in with the sewing instructions:
Size 5: Height- 44.5 inches, Weight- 42 lbs, Finished length: 26.25. Finished chest: 24
Size 6: Height- 46.5 inches, Weight- 48 lbs, Finished length: 28.375. Finished chest: 25
Size 7: Height- 51 inches, Weight- 60 lbs, Finished length: 30. Finished chest: 26.9
For those who do not own a coverstitch machine or find changing their serger to coverstitch and back again too much trouble (me!) there is another option.
Use a twin needle, sewing on the outside of the garment or two rows of stitching 1/8″ apart.
To get the perfectly even hem with no wrinkles, use a strip of machine embroidery water-soluble stabilizer. You can purchase this from a shop that sells machine embroidery supplies or online. There are several brands. It washes out when the garment is washed the first time.
1. Press the hem in your garment.
2. Cut a 1″ strip of the stabilizer the length of your hem or you can even piece shorter pieces. Place the strip or strips inside the hem.
3. On the Right side of the garment, sew with the double needle (Jersey or Knit in the width you prefer) inserted. Two rows of stitching work well too, especially when you just move the needle to the right or left, without moving the fabric, sewing on the outside or inside of the garment. It doesn’t matter which.
4. You’re finished!
These are great tips, thank you so much! I will say, I sew with knits enough, that I did buy myself a separate cover stitch machine. I knew if I bought a combined cover stitch/ serger I would never use it, lol!
Hi! I Love the name of your blog, by the way! Thanks so much for all the amazing patterns. Your daughter looks so adorable in all of your creations. I am very much a beginner, but you are really inspiring me to try making more things. I just have a question, could I make this dress in a regular woven fabric if I just make it bigger, since it won’t have any stretch?
You could, but you will need to make changes to the neckline otherwise your child will not be able to pull the dress over her head.
Hi! Stumbled on your blog while looking for some quick, nice versatile patterns to challenge friends and sewing acquaintances to make things like tee shirt dresses, pillowcase type dresses, maybe small primative soft dolls for little girls, a large shopping/storage bag for the moms and simple shorts (when I find a very easy fit and sew pattern) for little boys…All of these are going to be shipped to help with relief in the Bahamas. So I’ll be looking through your patterns to suggest things for all to sew for this humanitarian effort. My home flooded in Hurricane Irma in 2017, so having lost nearly all I ever had, I can feel a tiny bit of the trama these good people are having to endure as they rebuild their lives.
I hope you find something that works!
Thanks for another great free pattern. Just completed for my willowy 10 year old. I cut a size 12 and it was perfect body wise. Lopped off 2 inches at the bottom so it wasn’t quite so long. She loves it. Only thing I might do differently next time is set the sleeves in in the round. While I absolutely love the ease of setting them in flat, I kinda like how the hem on the sleeve looks a touch more seamless. But that’s just me.
This is a going to be a really versatile pattern. I think it would probably make some super comfy nightgowns too. Or a with a Raglan sleeve type look. I’d totally sew this for myself if it was in adult sizes! Thanks again.
Your welcome! I like to do the set in sleeves as well, I don’ think they are any harder to do. I have a new raglan pattern coming out in the next day or so, I’ve extended the sizes form 2 to 14 on this one.
So cute! I love it.
I love that you share your passion with us and I have 4granddaughtersto make clothes for
Such an adorable dress! Great job! I have a son and a grandson, so I live vicariously through the ladies who sew for their girls!
I love following your site. I love your patterns, how well you explain how to sew them and put them together. It does take your site a while to load on my computer but I have found it is well worth the wait. Thank you so much for all you share, more than once you have brought a heart. May God be with you and yours Karen
Thank you, I wish I could get the tutorial pages to load faster too! There are so many images (almost 25 in this post, plus the pattern) It does slow the page down significantly. Thaks for being a reader, ~Jamie
Wauw! Love it! Perfect for my daughter. Thanks for sharing!! x
Your daugther is beautiful in her lovely dress !
Thank you for sharing pattern and tuto, I will try it for my two daugthers (3 next week and 8 years old), even if i’m a little afraid to sew knit …
Have a nice day !
Love this pattern. Can it be made with ribbing on neckline and sleeves?
Thanks for the cute pattern. I’m going to try this as my very first attempt at sewing knits. Fingers crossed! One question: Where do you use Fray Check?
I use it for all different things –
reinforcement when tying off threads or serger seams that sort of thing.
Perfect for my 3 yr old great-grand daughters who love dresses
I have so much fun browsing through your site! Patterns, tutorials, recipes and so much more. Thanks for all the hard work and time you spend sharing with others and a special thanks for you generosity.
Thank you! I do love cooking, sewing and eating almost equally!