This twirly dress has generated a lot more interest than I ever expected and I have had some people ask questions, so I thought I’d make life easier on everyone and do a tutorial for you. Because I love you.
- T-shirt in desired size
- Fabric: I found mine at JoAnns, and it has great drape, or hangs really pretty. You can use either a knit or a woven for this project. For a size 5T, I used 1 1/2 yards of 58″ fabric. Here’s how I figured it:
- (Skirt length x 2) + (Radius x 2) + (Desired finished waistband width x 2) = Required Fabric (please, double-check to make sure your fabric is wide enough… you can’t cut a 48″ circle from 45″ fabric!)
- Sewing Supplies, including needle and thread
- Calculator or crazy math skillz
First, chop your t-shirt in half. Keep or toss the bottom half; I’m sure you can find something fun to do with it
Measure the width of your shirt, and multiply that by 2. The resulting number is your Circumference (C). Use good ol’ C=2╥r to get your Radius (r). I typically round down for my answer, because you can always adjust the skirt to be bigger, but not smaller! (ETA: after making this a few times, I found that a cheater way to do this is to fold your shirt in half, then in half again, and line that up against the fabric edge; it should be pretty close, if not just slightly smaller, to what you got with the math.)
My daughter’s radius was 4(ish). I left my fabric folded in half as it was when it came off the bolt, but then folded it again so that fold and the selvedges lined up (imagine it is a large paper napkin. It is folded the same way those are). I made sure that when I folded it, there was enough fabric left over for a sash at the end.
Then, measure from the corner fold out to your radius.
Using a tape measure, keep moving and measuring and marking so you get a curve. Cut along the line you marked. (If you need more examples, check out the Ultimate Twirly Skirt Tutorial.)
Now, from the curved waistline you just made, measure the the length you needed the skirt to be (To explain my photo, I folded the fabric over one more time to make less marks with my pencil). This one is 20” long. Keep moving and measuring and marking, just like you did with the waist. Cut along your marked lines.
With your remaining fabric, cut out your waistband/sash.
For the yellow dress, the sash was cut at 6”. This one was cut at 5”.
Time to attach your shirt to your skirt!
With right sides together, slip your t-shirt into your skirt, and pin them together.
Sew the layers together using a 1/2” seam allowance.
If you hemmed the bottom (I serge it, I’m lazy!) you could be done now!
It is cute without the sash too. But I think it is even better with it, so… here we go!
If you need to sew sash pieces together, do so first. Then, fold your sash piece in half right sides together, hot-dog style.
Sew together, but make sure you leave an opening for turning. I use pins to mark where to stop and re-start for the opening.
It makes it easier for me to remember, and I prefer the opening to not be on one of the ends, for some oddball reason.
When you are done sewing, trim your corners and ends to reduce bulk. Then, turn it right side out using a dull pencil or chop stick.
Iron, and then hand-stitch your opening closed.
I try to get my stitches as invisible as possible.
Next, find the center front of the shirt and center of the sash, and line them up. Pin them together at the front, and at the sides. I make the sash slightly smaller than the shirt front, so it doesn’t hang down on a little body.
Stitch the sash down at the side seams, and remove the center pin.
You’ve made a dress!
This might have sounded like a long project, but it takes much longer to explain than to actually do the project. Enjoy your ultimate twirly t-shirt dress!Back to Blog