T-Shirt Dress Pattern – Summer Dressing Made Easy

t-shirt dress patternThe t-shirt dress pattern is a part of my attempt to make a summer wardrobe that is both easy to make and easy to wear.  The t-shirt dress is the perfect item to make when you only have a couple of hours to spare and are in need of something practical to hang around in the warm summer days.

Summer is a time to relax and enjoy the outdoors, especially if you live in a place where it snows during winter.  Sewing takes a step back to enjoy light lunches under an umbrella by the sea or the pool.

I am not a t-shirt kind of person, maybe because I find it makes my chest and shoulders larger.  The only t-shirts that I do wear are v-neck with soft fabrics (bamboo, rayon, and linen).  The V neck elongates my neckline and streamlines the whole torso.

I find the t-shirt dress far better than normal t-shirts while also being easy to make and style.  I like to wear mine with sneakers or sandals and a long cardigan, especially if I am going out at night and it is cool outside.  For a more sophisticated look, the use of a belt and large accessories and high strappy sandals will bring this t-shirt dress to the next level. But as always these are just suggestions and you are welcome to add your own spin to the outfit.

via GIPHY

Today, I had the pleasure of using a cover stitch/overlocker combo machine.  I do not own one and it has been in the back of my mind for some time to acquire one.  I am lucky enough to have a few friends with far better equipment than I possess.  One of them is kind enough to let me test one for a few weeks before I make my decision whether to buy or not.

Materials

  • Two to three yards of four-way stretch knit or a knit that has at least 40% stretch.
  • Thread to match

Tools

Recommended Fabrics from Fabric.com

Pattern Download

We're going to continue to use the new Payhip webstore to distribute our patterns. As most readers know, Craftsy is changing a lot and they have stopped designers like us from publishing new patterns on their site, so we've had to move to another service.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

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Download the FREE Pattern HERE

Finished Garment Measurements

Use the following measurements to determine what size would work for you best.  Allow at least 4″ of ease.  I am wearing a large size but I am actually Medium.  I prefer a loose-fitting dress since the fabric is a light color and I do not have to worry about my underwear showing.

This t-shirt dress pattern would work best on an hourglass figure, a pear and a rectangular shape woman.  Could work on an apple if you are XL or less.

Size Bust Hips Length
XS 36 5/8″ 38′ 45″
S 37 5/8″ 40″ 45 1/2″
M 38″ 5/8″ 42″ 46
L 39″ 5/8″ 44″ 46 1/2″
XL 40″ 5/8″ 46″ 47″
2XL 44″ 5/8″ 48″ 47 1/2″
3XL 45″ 5/8″ 50″ 48″

I am a reluctant model, hate taking pictures of myself, but this is one of those garments that do not have hanger appeal. Perhaps I should write a post about what that is but basically, the garment need to be shown in a body rather than in a hanger.  I have to admit I did not even comb my hair for the shot, but I think you get what I mean.t-shirt dress pattern Here is the same dress on a Janome adjustable mannequin Medium to Large size, which is a really wonderful piece of equipment belonging to my new best friend Andrea.  I will talk more about her in the future.

Pattern Layout for the T-shirt Dress Pattern

Printing Instructions

Print the pattern using Adobe Reader, actual size, and landscape mode.  Do not scale the pattern at all and you will not need any other program to print the pattern.

Cutting Instructions

I am using a super stretchy four-way 50% stretch fabric.

This fabric is not the easiest fabric to work with.  The cutting is what will determine whether your garment will look homemade or professional.  Keep a strict grainline and leave the fabric layout on the table overnight to relax the fibers.  Believe me, this is a small step that will get you closer to a lovely finish garment.

As you can see on the pattern the front and back of the t-shirt dress are the same.

I have provided you with only one piece of the pattern to save you paper and time.

Cut two backs and two fronts by folding the fabric in half leaving the selvages on the sides.  Cut the pattern on one side then flip the pattern creating a mirror image.

You will end up with four pieces of fabrics.

Sewing Instructions For Your T-shirt Dress

We are going to sew this t-shirt dress in a mass produced way, meaning the way a factory would be sewing it.  The following technique will save you a lot of time and will let you stitch the project in less than an hour.  The use of a serger is ideal for this project and I will assume you have one.

Note:  When I mention serge you can substitute for zigzag if you do not have a serger.

Step One

Sew the fronts to one of the backs at the shoulder seam using your serger.

Step Two

In this step, we are going to sew the neckline.

Serge the edge of the neckline front and back and then use a twin needle to sew the neckline by turning 3/8″.  Or simply use the covers stitch machine to achieve the same result in just one step.  In this step, you can see I am not getting the best results with the machine and this is due to my lack of experience using a cover stitch machine.  I think I should have practice with scraps first. However, I see on the right side look fine so I leave it at that.

Step Three

Sew the other side of the dress the same way you did as in steps one and two.

Step Four

Sew the sides using your serger stopping one inch from the notch in your pattern.  Then open the seam allowance and serge or use your cover stitch machine to sew from the hemline to the other side.

Repeat on the other side of the dress.

Step Four

Sew the front seam and then the back seam using your serger/overlocker.

Step Five

Simply turn the hem at the sleeves and the bottom at 3/8″ and sew.

In five easy steps, you have one of the most versatile dresses you can possibly make for yourself.  Add a long cardigan and scarf and this dress is good for spring and autumn.  Sandals and a straw hat and your swimsuit underneath you can be ready for the beach and dinner after with very little effort.

Need another beach dress that shows a little more skin, why not try the ultimate beach dress a very popular design.

Hope you find the t-shirt dress pattern useful and load your take on it as a comment below.  I must say that is my favorite part of the day, to see what you have come up with, I am actually going to go and add a long cardigan, a scarf and some booties, it is cold in my side of the world.

Happy sewing, until next time!

Perfect Beach Dress for Summer Fun

t-shirt dress pattern

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57 Responses to T-Shirt Dress Pattern – Summer Dressing Made Easy

  1. Stacy Dougan says:

    What is the seam allowance for the t-shirt dress?

  2. Cynthia Phillips says:

    I love this pattern. It was so easy to make. I needed something with sleeves to wear with a sleeveless dress so I left the front open and turned it into a short sleeve long caridgan/coat. I finished the edge with a coverstitch

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      What a fabulous idea, if you have instagram please use #soseweasy in your description and I will be able to see your outfit. I am very curious. Kind regards,

  3. Olha says:

    Very good article!!

  4. Laurie says:

    Cute dress! Can I ask why you made the fronts and backs 2 pieces instead if just putting them on the fold?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I am using a cover stitch machine. It is easier to have two pieces to be able to finish the entire project with one machine rather than going back and forth with a serger and a sewing machine. You can do the the back and the front on fold if you would like. Just finish the neckline using bias tape around the neck.

  5. Diane Page says:

    I love it…..great for hanging around…. cover up for beach!

  6. Judy Bloom says:

    Cute ❤️ dress. Could you cut front and back pattern pieces on the fold?

  7. Carrie Day says:

    Thank you so much for this practical, comfortable dress pattern!

  8. desidear says:

    I have two really nice T-shirts on my sewing table right now. I hate that high, ribbed neck but love the shirts. The first thing I am gong to do is attempt a neckline modification using your pattern. I have been at a loss as to how to “fix” them so I can wear them I am very excited about this and could find NOTHING online to help. If that goes well, will make the dress for my daughter.

    You might consider a pattern that can be used to change t-shirts, including the sleeves, as you seem to have the same “issues” with them that I have. I even have a couple of silk ones that need fixing!!

  9. Johanna says:

    I cut out the 3XL size and 2 yards was not enough fabric when I laid it out….any suggestions on lay out?

  10. Demetria says:

    Do you think it will still work if I just fold the fabric at the “center line” so instead of having 4 pieces to cut out I will only have 2? Also I’m only 4′ 11″ tall. How can I shorten the length?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, Demetria, the reason I have a seam in the middle is so you can take in if you wish to have the dress a little bit closer to the body and to make it absolutely easy to sew the neckline. If you decide to eliminate the seam check out the tutorial on how to attach a bias tape on a V-Collar on the site. As for how to shorten and lengthen the dress, thanks for the reminder I have not finish the post I will on it right now. Kind Regards…

  11. Wynn says:

    I’d love a slip that sucks everything in to wear under my new winter knit dress!

  12. Mrs. Williams says:

    What do you mean by allow 4 inches of ease? I would like it to be tighter fitting to my body, how many sizes should I go down? Also, what do you thInk of adding some elastic on the side seam to create ruching/gathering?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hello Mrs Williams, There is no way I can tell you how many sizes you need to down if I do not know your measurements. I am wearing Large in the picture. The dummy is bigger than I am and it is tighter on it.

  13. Mrs Williams says:

    What do you mean by allowing 4 inches of ease? I would like it tighter fitting to my body, how many sizes should I go down? What do you think of adding some elastic on the side seam for some ruching/gather?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      The dress is drafted as a loose fitting garment. You can have it tighter to your body, how much tighter only you can answer that question, bear in mind that if you use a light color fabric your underwear will show. Send me your measurements and I will be able to assist you in choosing the right size:)

  14. Marvel says:

    Love this dress. I saw a very similar one on QVC just last week. Theirs was made with rayon/spandex and carried an on sale $68 price tag. The only difference is your is fitted at the waist and maxi length. Theirs was not fitted; had a loose caftan style and was below knee.

  15. Deborah Lancaster says:

    Which long cardigan do you wear with it would love to see them paired! Love your hair!!!!!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Deborah, I have not shared the long cardigan with you yet, but I will because I love it I wear it all the time. It is long with splits on the side and pockets…soon I promise:)

  16. Sherry says:

    A link to the T shirt dress pattern at Craftsy would have been nice, I haven’t found it yet!. Not all of us are computer savvy to that extent…

  17. Susan Zipf says:

    I can’t get the link to work.

  18. Sharlene Ferrin says:

    Would this dress look good on a body with “mature” curves —tummy, waist etc ? I’m 65 years old and would love to make this.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Absolutely! Don’t forget to share a pic of your finished work back on the site. We’d really appreciate that.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I don’t think why not. If you want you can add a long knitted or crochet vest or a cardigan to complete the look and hide the bumps.

  19. Jan says:

    This looks so beautiful on you. Thank you for sharing, I really want to give this a go, especially as I have the same problems up top as you, if I look half as good as you, I’ll be very happy!

  20. Angel says:

    Is it possible to cut the front and back pieces on the fold to avoid a center front and center back seam?

  21. Billie Geist says:

    I would love to download this pattern but I encounter a malware warning when I click on the link.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I would be ban from Google and from hosting a site if I carry malware. It is in your browser, clean your history and cookies before you proceed.

  22. Pegg says:

    Thank you for this pattern! I wanted something easy and caftan-like. I think this will totally do it and have plenty of fabric in my stash!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Looking forward to your picture 🙂

    • Rae Shaw says:

      Hi, you look “stunning” in that dress! No need apologize for not combing your hair(at least I wasn’t looking at your hair). I have a big chest(48 1/2) & the largest size(3XL) still isn’t big enough. What can I do? I really want to make this dress…it’s very hot here! This dress would be perfect!
      Thanks,
      Rae from Missouri

  23. sona bran says:

    Is it possible to make pattern adjustments to this pattern like round back etc without throwing off the symmetry of the same pattern pieces?.

  24. Tami says:

    Thank you ! Awesome pattern ! Just what we needed ! A comfortable and flattering shirt dress to wear with endless possibilities ! Love your keeping it real and beautiful with your hair !!!! 99% of women are not coiffed and fully made up while they are at home ! They are too busy taking care of and loving their families who love them back just they way are and all the magic they bring to their lives ! #RealWomen

  25. Linda G says:

    I’m not a maxi girl – do you think this has enough give that if I cut it/hemmed it at the notch length I would be able to walk?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes, Linda do alter the pattern to your body, it is easily done, let me know if you need help with that.

  26. Mea Cadwell says:

    OHIAMSOMAKINGTHIS! I have been sewing cotton/linen for many years now but have never ventured into the world of sewing knits (I’ve been trepidatious). This will be my first one. I love how it looks and your instructions are easy (this coming from someone who never learned how to read a pattern).

    Now I just need to get through my pile of UFO’s to get to this project. 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Jump in with both feet Mea, fitting woven fabrics is far more difficult than working with knits. If you need any help just drop me a line:)

  27. Susie Lopez says:

    I love the fabric you chose. Thanks for the pattern.

  28. Lisa says:

    Looks comfortable. Looking forward to making this soon. I love the fact its loose fitting unlike some you can purchase in the store. Love this pattern. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I hear you, Lisa, I too was looking for something that does not seem like a sock around my body, although I do have a dress that sucks everything in. Perhaps I will share that for Autumn.

      • Rae Shaw says:

        Hi Maura, I was thinking that since I will be using
        the Twin needle that maybe I can do some “pin tucks”
        Have you heard of this? I got a pin tuck foot & you have to use a twin needle with it. Maybe use a different color thread? Or a metallic thread!
        By the way, did you know there’s a triple needle too?

        • Rae Shaw says:

          I’m SSSOOO sorry I misspelled your
          name! Maura! You know the Y & U or
          Next to each other! lol!
          Rae from Missouri

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