Clothing + Fashion DSC06010

Published on July 14th, 2011 | by Karen Lee

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How-to: Make a Dress From Two Shirts

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dress upcycled from shirts
I wore this green t-shirt for ten years. No lie. I loved it. But it was time to let it go as the neckline was faded and discolored. I couldn’t donate a faded shirt so I’ve been saving it to upcycle it into something else.

Then, my son gave me his plaid shirt to sew a few buttons that were ripped. Ripped! Those college dorm washing machines!! While half listening to his explanation how it happened, I was designing a dress in my head, using both shirts. Yes, I’m sneaky.

This project is so simple. It only took me half an hour and that included taking the pictures. What’s great is this method can be used for girls too with their outgrown shirts!

Let’s make a dress!

You’ll need:

  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 Button Down Shirt
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors

measure the neckline to cut

First, measure the neckline of the button-down shirt so you can cut the t-shirt’s neckline in the same length. Cut a straight line down the middle of the t-shirt, in the length that you want.

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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.



  • realist

    that…… is uglyy

  • http://www.brochuresprintingonline.com/ Brochure Printing

    Nice post! This is a nice way to save money on clothes. Thank you for the idea. I usually dye my shirts to give it a new look but after reading this, it gave me some idea on how I can recycle other types of clothing to make a new one.

  • Meeka

    this is really cute, I can’t wait to try it. I am a little rusty when it comes to sewing so hopefully I will not mess it up to bad.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/karenl/ Karen Lee

      Oh, I’m sure you’ll be fine. The beauty of this upcycling method is that you are using up shirts you loved and wore well. So turning them into something else means you are giving them a second chance at life. I used these shirts to demonstrate the ‘concept’ so I’m sure your dress will turn out pretty because you will be using shirts that you treasure. :)

    • Karen

      It’s really easy. You won’t mess up. If you can sew a straight stitch, you’ll be great!

  • Foos7510

    I love this…..what a great idea!! Thank you!!

    • Karen

      Thanks for your kind words! A great way to reuse those unwanted shirts! :)

  • Racefamily

    I am always looking for patternless ways to redo clothes.  I have a family of men and this is perfect for those lightly spotted shirts in places where they won’t wear them anymore!!!

    • Karen

      Those ‘lightly stained” shirts are perfect for this project! Good Luck!

  • Sofine

    This would be better displayed on a real person.  I might wear this as pj’s but not outside the house.

    • Karen

      Sofine,
      You are right. Clothes show so much better on a person. I couldn’t take a self portrait of me wearing the dress when I was done so I had to resort to the mannequin. But, also, I’m sure you have better looking shirts to use than these and they would look totally different. I was just showing the concept. :)

  • C

    Hm…that particular dress isn’t my style, but with some non-collared shirts and a belt this could be super cute!!!!

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