Wrap Dress: a Pocket-sized Swim Suit Cover-up/towel




Introduction: Wrap Dress: a Pocket-sized Swim Suit Cover-up/towel

About: What started out as "Mom's Instructables account" has morphed into an account for the entire family to use for publishing ideas and guides to making educational and fun crafts and projects. This only makes...

Knit wrap dresses are very fashionable this summer.  I have seen them in various designs and with price tags ranging from $30 to $150.  I decided to write an instructable for a wrap dress that can be made from a very large men’s t-shirt for under $8. The versatility of this design is what makes it so great. This design is unique because when spread out, the dress can serve as a towel to layout on.  It can then be wrapped around your body to be used as a cover-up over a swimsuit.  It even folds so small that it can fit in the pocket of your beach bag!

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Step 1: Step 1: the Supplies

1 Very large t-shirt *

Thread to match color t-shirt



Sewing machine

* Here is the chart I suggest you use to determine which size of t-shirt you will need.  Be aware that the sizes of T-shirt vary from brand to brand.  I used a “Basic Editions” size 4XL in this instructable.

Dress size      Men’s T-shirt size
12-14                      4XL
8-10                        3XL
6                             2XL

Step 2: Step 2: Cutting Out the Body of the Dress

Lay out the t-shirt on a table.  For purposes of this step, the “left and right” sleeves are from the viewer’s perspective not the wearer’s perspective.

On the left sleeve, make a mark with a washable marker along the seam of the sleeve 8 ½” from the armpit.

Using a yard stick connect the mark on the left sleeve to the arm pit on the right sleeve and draw a line with the washable marker.

Through both layers of the t-shirt, cut along the left sleeve line  and across the t-shirt to the right armpit.  Set the remaining neck and sleeve section aside.

Cut along the seam under the left armpit.  When you spread it our, you should now have a large almost trapezoid-shaped piece of knit with curves on the top two corners.

Step 3: Step 3: Hemming the Body of the Dress

The bottom of the t-shirt is already hemmed.  However, we need to hem the top and sides of the t-shirt where the knit fabric will not roll or stretch out of shape.  Do not hem the two curved corners which will be made into arm holes in Step 4.  Make a hem on the top and sides of the body of the dress using either a serger or by folding under the edges of the fabric and sewing the hem using a straight stitch.

Step 4: Step 4: Cutting and Folding the Strips for the Arm Holes

Using the remaining sleeve sections of the T-shirt, cut two 1 ½” by 19”strips from the edges of the two sleeves.  Since the sleeves have a folded hem on them, we will measure in ¾” from the edge.  When you unfold the strip and trim it to the 19” length, you should end up with two strips that are 1 ½” by 19.”

We are going to fold and iron each strip so that it looks like bias tape.  First, fold each 1 ½” wide strip in half so that it is ¾” wide.  Iron under ¼” on each side along the length of each strip. Pin in place.

Make each strip into an “arm hole” by pinning the two ends of each strip together and sewing it.  Press the folds from Step 2 back in place.

Step 5: Step 5: Sewing the Arm Holes to the Body of the Dress

Pin and stitch the arm hole from Step 3 to the curved section on the top corners of the body of the dress.

Step 6: Step 6: How to Put on the Wrap Dress

Putting on this dress is tricky the first few times you wear it, but once you get the hang of it, you will think it is great!

First, hold the dress out in front of you with the arm holes positioned on top.
Put your left arm through the left arm hole.

Second, wrap the rest of the dress to your right, all the way around your back and back to your front and put your right arm through the right arm hole.

Step 7: Step 7: Alternative Ways to Wear or Use the Wrap Dress:

A Towel:  Unwrapped, this dress is a large piece of fabric that can be used to cover a beach chair as would a towel.

Pocket Sized:  Folded, this wrap dress conveniently fits in the pocket of a beach bag.

Ways to wear the wrap dress:  This wrap dress is backless.  This dress is great with a swimsuit under it
It can also be worn  as a sexy dress.  It can also be worn as a dress with a tank top under it.

To prevent unwrapping:  If you are not going to wear a swimsuit under it, I wouldn’t want your dress to “unwrap.”  I suggest that either you use two safety pin or two squares of Velcro to secure it together at the left and right hip.

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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    awesome! I was just scouring Pinterest to find this dress, only to see it doesn't give a tutorial :(
    you! you not only give a great tutorial, but you up-cycle a T-shirt to boot... LOVE it :)
    I'm off to make this now, as I have a full back tattoo session later this afternoon. this wrap will keep me descent in public & allow my artist the full access he needs.
    Thanks for the tutorial & enjoy your weekend!! -jor. CEO & Head Seamstress, The JuteBox


    ... a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Love it! Unfortunately, if a size 12-14 needs a 4XL shirt, a size 20-22 person like myself would need a bigger shirt than i can imagine finding. Oh well. =( It's still super-awesomesauce!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, you could make this from a rectangle of knit fabric. You would have to experiment to find the perfect measurements. I suspect the formula fir the width would be a few inches more than twice the larger of one's bust size or waist size.