This sweet little girl’s dress is so simple to stitch, as it’s adapted from a men’s shirt. Simply use the template provided or an existing dress to cut a front and a back, add sleeves and a few embellishments such as a pretty bow and pockets, and you have a whole new garment. Just remember to ask the previous owner’s permission before you take your scissors to his best shirt!
- Men's shirt
- Clear press stud
- Pattern to fit age 8 years. For other sizes, use existing dress as a template.
Sew a shirt dress
1 Download and print the pattern. Lay a men’s shirt out flat with the buttons fastened, then place the dress template on top, lining up the bottom hem and keeping it intact, and making sure that the buttons are central. Alternatively, use an existing dress as a pattern.
2 Pin in place and cut out so you have a front and back. Note the template provided already has a seam allowance, but if you’re using an existing dress, leave a 1cm border around the outside edge. Position the sleeve template to sit on the top fold of one of the shirt sleeves. Cut two, one reversed. Turn the curved edges over by 5mm twice, pin, tack and machine stitch.
3 Pin the shoulder seams of the dress pieces right sides together and sew. Join the side seams, right sides together, pinning from the bottom hem up to the armhole. Machine stitch and press the seams open.
4 Turn the neck and armhole edges over twice by 5mm. Pin, tack and stitch. Press. Position the point of the sleeves to line up with the shoulder seam. With the right sides of the sleeve facing the wrong sides of the armhole, pin and tack along the edge and sew using one line of straight stitch.
5 For the bow, cut a 7cm x 36cm rectangle from a shirt sleeve. Hem all the way round and tie into a bow. Sew into position on the dress, adding a press stud in the top corner if the weight of the bow pulls it down.
6 For the pockets, cut two 16.5cm x 18cm rectangles from a shirt sleeve. Turn under 5mm along the two long sides and bottom edge. Pin and tack. Turn the top edge over by 5mm, then again by 2cm. Pin, tack and sew all round. Remove the tacking and press.
7 Position the pockets on the dress, then pin and tack. Machine sew into place, doubling back on the stitching at the tops of the pockets to strengthen the joins. Remove the tacking.