I love a project that uses things that might otherwise get thrown away! This project does just that! In this post, I will show you how to sew a girl’s dress using a men’s dress shirt.

You can find one at your local thrift store, their selection is quite extensive! Or you can steal one from the closet that doesn’t get worn. It would be really special to make one using the shirt Daddy wore on his wedding day to create a dress for a special occaision!

Supplies List:

  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pins
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • thread
  • measuring tape
  • a dress that fits the child you are making the dress for

For a list of all the essential tools you’ll need to get started with sewing, check out this post!

Let’s get sewing!

Step One. Lay the shirt on the floor and match the seams of the shirt so that the front and the back line up and there are no creases.

Step Two. Lay the dress you’re using as a pattern on top of the shirt lining up the bottom of the dress with the bottom of the shirt.

Step Three. Cut along the outline of the pattern dress leaving 1/2” on all sides to allow for seam allowance.

Step Four. Measure one side of the neck opening you just cut and multiply by two. This will give you the measurement you’ll need to cut the bias strip from the sleeve of the shirt to finish off the neck opening on the dress.

Step Five. Cut the sleeve open along the seam and lay it flat. Put your measuring tape on a diagonal and cut a 1.5″ wide strip that it the same length as your neck opening times two plus 1/2” extra.

Step Six. Take the strip you cut out and fold in the edges lengthwise until they almost meet in the middle ironing as you go.

Step Seven. Fold the strip over itself again with all of the raw edges inside ironing as you go. Set the strip aside until you’re ready to finish off the neck opening later on.

Step Eight. Taking one of the dress pieces at a time fold over the edge of the sleeve and sew 1/4” from the edge. Repeat the process on all four of the sleeve pieces. I find it’s easier to finish the ends of the sleeves this way rather than waiting until the dress is sewn together because they lie flat.

Step Nine. Match the front and back pieces of the dress together with the right sides of the fabric facing IN. Sew the shoulder’s closed leaving a 1/4” seam allowance. Repeat on the other shoulder.

Step Ten. Pin along the edges of the dress sides to prepare to sew the dress closed.

Step Eleven. Sew the sides and the under sides of the arm holes closed leaving a 1/4” seam allowance. If you want to make your project look really professional, and you have access to a serger, you can serge the edges at this point for a more finished look. But this step is not necessary!

Step Twelve. Take the bias strip you cut earlier and fold over the end 1/4”.

Step Thirteen. Then pin it to the neck opening making sure to insert the neck fabric into the bias strip like you would put a hot dog into a bun! Pin the strip in place so that it doesn’t shift and move.

Step Fourteen. Sew along the edge of the bias strip all along the edge of the neck opening as close to the edge of the strip as you can.

Step Fifteen. Once you get to the other side fold the end of the bias strip inward 1/4” just like you did at the beginning.


Now you have a beautiful one-of-a-kind dress!! Wasn’t it easy to sew a girl’s dress!? Now go and make one for every day of the week!

You could get really creative and add appliqued flowers or animals to the dress, or sew a sash just under the bust. There are SO many options!


I made this bonus project from the cuff of one of the sleeves of the shirt for my tea jar while making this dress. I needed one anyways since I often drink tea coffee from wide mouth mason jars.

All I did was sew a small piece of yarn or cording to the side opposite the button to use as a closure. If you find a shirt that the cuff matches your mug size than you can skip this step and just use the buttonhole!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Do you like to re-purpose items and make them into new and wonderful things? What have you made recently?

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