Too-small T's - New Dresses and Tunics!





Introduction: Too-small T's - New Dresses and Tunics!

About: Chicago based writer and blogger. I'm all about reducing waste through repurposing, refashioning, thrifting, salvaging and upcycling. Sometimes I hug trees.

I share my world with a nearly 6-year-old who is on her way up. Like a weed, as they say. Which means we're drowning in perfectly good long (and short) sleeved t-shirts that are way too short for her. Way. And then we got a big bag of hand-me-downs from her cousin and suddenly had even more of them. All. too. short.

So I spent a couple of hours chopping them up and making "tunics" and dresses. And I do mean a couple of hours. This was very quick, very satisfying work. And the kid is happy too :)

Step 1: Sew Like Crazy!

The process was as simple as it looks because nothing was too small. Just too short.

I used a dress that fits her as a length guide, cut strips and used a broad zig-zag stitch to join everything (see below for links to detailed tutorials). If you work with a serger (or overlocker), this will be a breeze. I like how shabby it looks with all the stitching showing. But the primary reason for doing this was comfort. All those seams against her skin would be irritating.

I was in a hurry so I used thread I already have. If I ever do this again, I'll make an effort to use really brightly colored thread! The higher the contrast, the better the outcome.

If you're a meticulous sewer, cobbling pieces together like this might feel odd. I am NOT a meticulous sewer. But I do have enough experience to feel odd about joining things on the "right" side. Nevertheless, I love the effect.

Step 2: Have Fun :)

I think sewing can be stressful. It's so easy to make mistakes (I've made hundreds). Fitting, re-fitting, unpicking etc can all be tiring. But this. This was fantastic! I had so much fun mixing and matching fabrics and sleeves. A 6-year-old girl is a straight up-and-down human. No curves to contend with. No concerns about "flattering fit". She loved everything I made and has lived in her "new" dresses.

If you'd like to see some detailed tutorials for what I did:

1. Great instructions for creating color-blocked t-shirt dresses: Click here and here

2. How to add a triangle of fabric into the side of a too-tight shirt to widen it

2. How to use old leggings to add sleeves to a short-sleeved t-shirt

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    4 Discussions

    OMG my mum and grandma did this with children and baby clothes :) it's such a good way to make the most out of clothing, I have always had a soft spot for patch style clothing like this and this has made it so clear and simple to understand. I'll certainly keep this in mind for future . Thank you

    1 reply

    What a lovely comment... thank you. I'm so glad this helped in some way!

    These are so adorable & unique! A great way to save money & use perfectly good clothes, too. Thanks for sharing & all the photos.

    1 reply

    So glad you like them! I'm all about reusing when I can and this worked out really well :)