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?
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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.
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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!
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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.