From Child’s T-Shirt To A {stinkin’ cute} Toddler Dress

[UPDATE: This tutorial has been totally revised, expanded, improved, and simplified with LOTS of step-by-step photos, so please jump over here to see it!]

I think something crazy like 800+ kids usually attend our church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) coming up next week.  This year, I’m “guiding” a group of four-year-olds (gird your loins!). And you KNOW how I love a theme (this year’s VBS theme is “Sail On”).

But the smallest t-shirt is still too WAY big for Sissy (here’s one of her dresses for comparison)…

But never fear! CampClem is here!!

A little snip here… And a snip there…

A fold and stitch there… Another foldover and sew… (repeat steps from photo for other side, too). Then turn the dress inside out and add just a couple of stitches at the very top of the shoulders to finish the neckline “loop” (this does not show in the next picture when i thread the ribbon because–wups!–I forgot to do it until after the ribbon was in… but it’s easier to do it before the ribbon so you don’t have to worry about accidentally catching it in your stitch).

Then thread a little ribbon (if you don’t have a bodkin–a little device that grabs a piece of fabric or ribbon to thread it through a hole easily–I highly recommend picking up one!)…

And add a ruffle, of course… [Click photo or here to go to the ruffle pants tutorial and see how to attach the ruffle if you need a hand with that.]

And tie it all up… Then DEBATE waking up Sissy in order to try it on… But think better of it and decide to wait until morning…

How fantastic would this be for a vintage rocker tee? Or a fun character tee? Love that.

…And I’m debating making a headband with shabby fabric flower from a sleeve and scrap… Hmm…

So, are you willing to take the scissors to a t-shirt?! Do tell!


And you might like these other posts…

LINK The Totally Fast & Simple Tutorial To Turn A T-Shirt Into A Little Girl’s Dress

LINK How To Make A Simple Pouch {from t-shirt scraps}

LINK Fast, Easy, Stinkin' Cute Ruffle Pants {Free Photo Tutorial}

LINK I’m In Love Super Easy Fabric Covered Buttons



13 responses to “From Child’s T-Shirt To A {stinkin’ cute} Toddler Dress

  1. great post and super, stickin cute dress…BUT, how do you make a too large XS shirt “macho” for the little guy?


    • Use an existing onesie or jon-jon laid over it, lined up with the top/neck/shoulers, to cut out a “pattern” adding 1/4″ all the way around plus extra at the crotch, then hem the sleeves and sew (inside out) along your armpits & sides. Add snaps at the crotch. Voila! VBS romper!!


  2. wow! loved this one! I just scored some too big tees on clearance at walmart and am going to applique one then turn it into a dress! Thanks for the inspiration! You’re amazing!


  3. Pingback: Quick Switch: {blindingly bright} Big Shirt to Little Girl Dress | CampClem·

  4. Pingback: Toddler dress from child’s t-shirt |·

  5. Pingback: The Totally Fast & Simple Tutorial To Turn A T-Shirt Into A Little Girl’s Dress | CampClem·

  6. Pingback: VBS T-Shirt Refashion Time! {sew AND no-sew possibilities} | CampClem·

  7. Pingback: From Child’s T-Shirt to a {Stinkin’ Cute} Toddler Dress | Crafty Brewster·

  8. Pingback: 10 Brilliant Upcycled Clothing Ideas - The Realistic Mama·

  9. I know this is a really old post, but here’s trying! How would you do this with a shirt that has a logo printed on the left front? Would you worry about the design being distorted? Thank you in advance!


    • Well… unless you cut off or sew over it, it should be just fine! If you are worried about the fabric being too gathered to see the smaller image/wording well, you could always cut the shirt a little more narrow (closer to the center at the neckline) so it is less gathered… 🙂


  10. Very cute dresses. I hope to make. a few to go over her swimsuit. please add me to your web page. thank you Diane


I love to read your comments... Do tell!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s