Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Upcycle: Men's Camo T-Shirt to Girl's Dress

"Hurry!! Rescue that Mossy Oak camo t-shirt from the 'Donate Stack'! I need to make a camo dress for my granddaughter!" Since I had the other necessary materials, the price of this easy DIY project = $0.00!!!


Over-sized t-shirt (I used a men's XXL to make a girl's size 5.)
2 buttons
1 yard of bias tape (wide)
2 yards satin or grosgrain ribbon (3/8")
McCall's Easy Pattern M6388 (or similar pattern)


For the ruffle, cut a 6" strip across the bottom of the shirt, leaving the hem intact. 

Ms. Nancy's Tip: I measured and cut halfway, and then folded to cut the remaining side.

Fold and cut.
If there is a pocket, use a seam ripper to carefully it. Remove all loose threads.

Turn the t-shirt to the inside. Remove side seams, shoulder seams, and sleeves.

Follow pattern directions to pin and cut out each pattern piece, folding t-shirt fabric as necessary to place pattern pieces on the fold. 

Ms. Nancy's Tip: My husband's shirt contained his company's logo, so I cut around the logo so it would not be in the finished dress!

Front and back were cut on folds.
One facing piece was
 cut from a sleeve.
Ms. Nancy's Tip: Mark centers, etc., by clipping 1/8" with scissors. A straight pin also clearly marks the spot.

Use facing pattern pieces to cut iron-on interfacing. Cut corners and follow directions on interfacing to fuse it to the wrong side of the facing.

With right sides together, sew yoke front to yoke back at shoulders. Repeat with facings.

Match shoulder seams, and pin yoke to facing. Stitch front openings and neck opening edges. Trim seam and clip curves.

Turn yoke to right side and press. Top-stitch front and neck edges. Baste raw edges together.

For gathers on top front and back, machine sew two rows of basting (long) stitches where indicated on the pattern.

Sew side seams (5/8'). Finish seams with a serger machine, or trim and zigzag-stitch the seams.

Gather ruffle, and pin to dress bottom, matching notches, centers, and side seams. Sew (5/8") and finish seam by serging, or trim and zigzag-stitch the seam.

Press ruffle seam toward dress and yoke seam toward yoke.

The existing t-shirt hem makes this job easier!
Top-stitch yoke front and back 1/4" away from the yoke seam line.

Top-stitched and almost finished!!
Press the wide bias tape open and flat. With right sides together, sew bias tape to both armhole edges (5/8" seam). Trim seams and clip curves. 

Sew bias tape ends together, slanting the stitching out toward the end of the tape.
Slant stitching out.
Trim bias tape to 7/8" and turn to inside along seam line.                      
Turn bias tape edges under 3/8", and edge-stitch around armhole.

Ms. Nancy's Tip: Since the neckline of this dress in large enough to fit over a child's head, I did not apply buttonholes. Instead, I stitched the two bodice parts together along the top-stitching line at the middle of the top.

Hand-sew two buttons in place. Cut the ribbon in half and tied a bow with each piece. Machine or hand-sew to the shoulders. Trim ribbons to desired length.

Ms. Nancy's Tip: I applied Fray-check to the stitching on the buttons to make them more secure. I also applied Fray-check to the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying.

Ready for the "Camo" Party!

Mia loves her new camo/pink dress! It goes great with leggings, a pink t-shirt, and her pink camo bow!! The dress can also be worn without a t-shirt.

Bow made by Mia's Mom!


  1. It is gorgeous Nancy! What a great way to recyle an oversized t-shirt!!! By the way I am glad you made it home safely!

  2. Thanks so much! It's so gratifying to make something beautiful out of a plain t-shirt!