how to turn a men's shirt into a toddler dress

i have tons of jer's old dress shirts kicking around our house that i repurpose for projects here and there, but never for a dress for mack. i was so inspired by last week's post by "made" that i had to try one for myself. now, i am not a good pattern follower so this dress was fun for me because i didn't have a pattern. i had the photo of "sunshine in a dress" and just winged it - it was fun!

i am sorry to say that i didn't trust my sewing skills, so i didn't take pictures along the way because i was seriously aware of the fact that this might not turn out. i will try to explain it a bit to you though. i took jer's shirt, took off the pocket - easy. cut off the collar and the sleeves - even easier. cut open the sides of the shirt - voila - a dress in the making. i know some people doing these dresses use the leftover sleeve to make a new sleeve, but i found that when i tried it on mackenzie, the shoulder seam placement on her was great and i could use that seam and the side to make a sleeve already.

here's my version before the sewing was complete

next up i cut out the a-line form of the dress in the shirt, pinned up the seams and hem and sewed that puppy up. for the sleeves and neck i used a tiny elastic, probably less than 1/4" so my casing was not big at all. i added a snap on the neck line to clean it up. the tricky part for me was the waist. i wasn't 100% sure i was going to do the elastic on the waist, so i made the dress first and thought i would deal with it if the dress actually turned out. after seeing that the dress wasn't a mess, at least in my opinion, i decided to add the elastic on the waist. i used another one of my favorite dollar store pillow case finds for the material. i sewed up the 3" band with a casing on the top and the bottom and then hand stitched the casing onto the dress (over top of it essentially).

i am not sure if sewing it on top is the right way to do it, but that's what happened :) i think it turned out and it allowed me to get the fit just perfect for mackenzie's body. the only thing i regret not doing was tidying up my seams. i was in such a rush to make it, that i just cut and sewed. i didn't do that nice, ol'flip over the hem and sew thingie that cleans it all up (pardon my sewing terminology, i am a new sewer).

here's the back - my favorite part is the pleat from the original shirt

mackenzie wore it to a birthday party yesterday over a cute pair of jeans because i had a feeling she was gonna get dirty and end up at the park, which is exactly what she did. dirt on her pants and ketchup on her new dress. ahhhhh, the life with kids - thank god for stain remover.

and again, our little model doing what is obviously, her favorite pose :)

have any of you tried to make one of these yet?