Baby dress from a men’s dress shirt

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Over the past few years, I have seen a ton of pins on Pinterest of little girl’s dresses made from men’s shirts. The idea is that the dresses are extra special because they are made from their dad’s shirts. In addition to being extra special, they tend to be extra adorable as well. See here, here, and here. Brandon has been saving his old dress shirts up for a while now, with this project in mind for his nieces. The only problem was that I couldn’t find ANY tutorials on how to make this dress that didn’t require tracing a dress that fits! Since Brandon’s nieces live approximately 700 miles away, that wasn’t really an option.

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Instead, I had to do some of the thinking on my own. First, I found a simple dress pattern. It’s the Peasant Dress by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. This free (thank you!) pattern comes in five different sizes, and for this g0-round, I made the smallest size: 12-18m.

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Next, I carefully placed the pattern pieces on the shirt so that the buttons down the front are the center piece. I used the original shirt hem for the dress, because 1) it was already done, and 2) it has a slight curve to it that I thought would look cute as a dress. The sleeve pieces both fit onto, and were cut out of one of the shirt’s sleeves.

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Even with the smallest size, and using the original hem, I found that the dress pieces overlapped with the original pocket on the shirt. I could have left it there as a little shout-out to the dress’s history, but I wanted to remove it. First, I carefully removed the pocket using my handy-dandy seam ripper. There were still holes from the original stitching, though. I remembered a blog post I read a while ago from Makery that details how to remove those pesky holes. Basically, you iron over the holes, and then wiggle the threads in the fabric around with a spoon or your finger nail, and then iron again. Portia has a much more detailed, technical description in her post, which I would recommend checking out if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.

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Once the pieces were cut out, and the pocket stitch marks had been erased, I sewed up the pattern according to its original directions. Easy peasy. I really appreciate that the pattern includes recommended measurements for the elastic around the neckline and arms, because the recipient of this dress lives so far away. My one tip for others considering making this dress out of an old dress shirt is to baste the button placket closed at the top before making the elastic casing.

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We mailed these dresses up to Boston for Lila’s first birthday over the weekend. I hope she likes them!

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Pattern: Peasant Dress by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in size 12-18m
Fabric: 2 old button-down shirts
Notions: thread, all buttons from original shirts
Cost: free shirts + thread from stash  = $0.00
Time: 2 hours per dress

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