DIY Girl’s Long Sleeve Knit Tshirt Dress Tutorial 2

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How To Make Your Own Free Knit Dress Pattern

How to make a long sleeve t-shirt dress

I decided to make a toddler knit dress for my daughter in the run up to Christmas - I know it's January now, but it was too manic to write it up then!! So here is exactly how I used one of her T-shirts to adapt the shape to make a free t-shirt dress pattern for her. Feel free to use non-Christmassy fabric!!

What You Will Need:

Knit fabric - I used jersey by Lillestoff because it is a fantastically soft organic cotton jersey with the cutest prints!


It is also much easier to sew knits with either a knit foot or walking foot on your sewing machine (To see my opinion on which works better, watch my youtube video comparing the knit foot vs walking foot for stretch fabrics). I also prefer to use a double needle but you could use a stretch or ballpoint needle if you prefer.

How To Make It:

First, I laid my toddler's t-shirt out on some wrapping paper with the sleeves tucked into itself so I can easily see the arm seams, and drew roughly around it, extending the side lines to the desired length of my dress. I personally can never get stretch fabric to line up perfectly straight so I tend to then fold it in half and take the average line between the 2 sides, making sure I don't short change myself on the width.

How to make your own tshirt dress pattern free tutorial by Linda at sewing bee fabrics

Now mark where you want the waist line to be, then snip upwards in strips of a similar width (around a couple of cm/an inch) towards this point. Then spread the paper to leave equal gaps between the strips. I taped a piece of paper along the width to hold the shape.

Cut 2 in this shape, but lower the curve of the neckline a little more for the front piece.

How to make a flared skirt pattern for a knit dress DIY free sewing tutorial

Next, lay the dress pattern on top of more paper then roughly follow the curve of the arm hole, smoothing it off a bit to round it at the top then copying it to cover the other side of the arm also. I tend to give myself a little extra to play with so that you aren't having to stretch the fabric to reach if you left yourself a little short. Measure from shoulder point (where the sleeve seam normally is) to the wrist to see what sleeve length you need, then make this the length from the centre point of the shoulder pattern piece downwards. Cut 2 of these.

How to draft your own sleeve pattern for a knit dress by Linda Forager sewing bee fabrics free sewing tutorial

If you are making a version for a bigger child or adult, then it would look better to hem the sleeves at the end, but toddler sleeves are more fiddly so I tend to sew the sleeve hem first by folding the fabric twice so the raw edge is caught in the middle. Knit fabric doesn't fray so technically doesn't have to be hemmed but it often tends to curl which doesn't look as pretty so I prefer to hem mine.

How to sew with knits to make a tshirt dress

Next lay the 2 dress pieces with the pattern sides on the inside and sew the top edges together across the tops of the shoulders. Once this is done, clip the sleeve pieces to the body pattern pieces. You may find this easier to do with the pattern opened right out flat as if you are putting your pattern pieces in a cross shape. I prefer to stitch all my seams with a straight stitch and a double needle using a knit foot, but feel free to use an overlocker (aka serger) or a stretch needle and a narrow zigzag stitch or a stretch stitch if your machine has one if you prefer.

Which order to sew a knit jersey tshirt dress in - free sewing tutorial by sewing bee fabrics

Next in 1 big line I stitched from the sleeve hem towards the armpit, then curved downwards towards the bottom of the dress (Like an upside down "L" shape).

How to sew knit sleeves for a child's dress - make your own pattern - free sewing tutorial

To make the neck line, I took a piece of jersey that was about 10% less width than my neckline, and twice the width I wanted the visible part to be plus 2 x your preferred seam allowance width. The wider it is, the more it has a habit of standing proud from the neck when wearing it, so keep it narrow. I trimmed the pictured piece a little bit more after folding it.

How to bind a neckline for a tshirt dress with knit jersey fabric - free sewing tutorial DIY step by step guide

Sew up the side of the loop then fold it along the width. Line it up with the edge of the neckline. Remember they are different lengths so line up front, back, and both sides into equal widths then you can give it a gentle stretch as you sew knowing you are keeping it evenly spread throughout. I also added a little scrap of fabric as a tag so I can quickly tell front from back!

How to attach a knit fabric neckline free sewing tutorial

The last thing you need to do is to hem the bottom then your done... Hopefully with enough growing space to just about fit next Christmas too!

Then it's ready for wearing.

How to make an easy tshirt toddler dress with knit jersey fabric - free sewing tutorial
Free dress pattern for toddler tshirt dress with knit fabric sew along
Sewing guide for a childrens knit dress in jersey fabric tshirt style - free sewing tutorial
free pattern knit tshirt dress - free sewing tutorial and step by step guide by sewing bee fabrics

I hope you enjoyed this dress tutorial. Have you had a go at making a t-shirt dress? How did it go? Feel free to pop a comment below.

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2 thoughts on “DIY Girl’s Long Sleeve Knit Tshirt Dress Tutorial

  • Johanna Knochel

    An easier way to make a Tshirt dress is to cut a tshirt off at bottom above the waist ( for a high waisted dress ) or below waist ( for dropped waist dress) . Find a pretty print to match and sew a gathered skirt to bottom of tshirt . Make the skirt as full as you like and as long as you like. Little girls love to twirl around in a full skirt!