Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tiered Top/Dress from T-Shirts!

Today I will show you how to make a cute tiered top, dress, or skirt -- from dollar store T-shirts!


My dollar store has recently re-stocked their T-shirts -- called "seconds," usually for a tiny hole or some other minuscule flaw -- and there are so many bright and fun colors. As you can see, I got a little carried away and purchased 15 shirts!


STEP ONE: Pick and arrange three colors how you like them. Keep in mind that your tiers will be narrower as you go up -- choose shirt sizes accordingly.


STEP TWO: Cut out all your pieces. For the bottom tier, utilize the hem of that T-shirt! I cut my bottom tier 6 1/2" wide.


Also cut two 1 3/4" strips from the same T-shirt as your bottom tier. These will be your binding strips/straps for the bodice of the top.

I cut my second tier (lighter blue) 5" wide (not pictured).


Since you are cutting pieces from T-shirts, your strips will be tubes. Cut one side of each tube so each becomes one long strip.


Cut the bodice from your final T-shirt. I created a pattern by tracing an existing tank top -- front and back are the same. I cut four pieces because my white T-shirt was rather sheer -- double layer for both front and back.
(Check out how I utilized the sleeves!)


STEP THREE: Gather the top edge of the bottom tier. This is easier than you think!! I increased my stitch length to 5, which is the longest it can be, then increased my upper tension to about 5 1/2. Sew, but do not backstitch -- just in case you want to rearrange your gathers. Magic! Automatic gathers!


STEP FOUR: Change your sewing machine's tension back to its original setting. Using a narrow and long zigzag stitch (this will allow your seams to still have some stretch), attach your bottom tier to your middle tier, right sides together, just beyond your gathering stitchline.

I placed my middle tier right side up and layered the bottom tier right side down on top. (In the photo they look the same color, but the lower layer is the lighter blue!) Having the gathered tier on top makes it a little easier to control your gathers and keep them even.


Looking good already!
(I do this the lazy way, and simply trim tier two to match the bottom tier AFTER they are sewn together. Works great!!)


STEP FIVE: Press your binding/strap strips wrong sides together, lengthwise down the strip. Then fold each edge to the center and press again.

STEP SIX: Bind the top edge of your bodice front and bodice back.
Lay your bodice right side up, and align one raw edge of your binding right side down on top. Sew with a 3/8" seam allowance. Fold binding around and topstitch in place. (See Steps Eight and nine if this makes no sense to you!)

STEP SEVEN: Layer your bodice front and back right sides together and sew ONE side seam. Gather your second tier and attach it to the bodice, using the same method as Steps Three and Four. Then sew the other side seam for the entire top.


STEP SEVEN: Mark the center of one strip and pin it to the side seam of the arm opening. Pin around arm opening, then sew in place using a 3/8" seam allowance.


STEP EIGHT: Fold binding/strap strips together using your pressed lines (from Step Five) as a guide. Pin.


Sew about 1/8" from folded edges starting at one end of strap and working your way to the other end. Repeat Steps Seven and Eight for opposite arm hole.


Tie the top on your little one! It's done!

Depending on the size of the T-shirts you are using, this will work to make tops or skirts for older girls too!


VARIATIONS:
Wear as a dress OR as a top
Easier: Make a skirt using the same method
No pattern: Instead of creating a bodice, use elastic thread and shirr the top -- then add straps
With sleeves: Use my peasant top tutorial to create a bodice



I will have pictures of variations to share sometime in the near future!!

28 comments:

elliesue said...

Wow, I love this and it costs almost nothing. As I have 3 granddaughters this pattern will come in very handy. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to post it, and it looks so cute on your model, she is very good.

Cheri said...

Smart design and easy enough! Thanks!

emma_G said...

Adorable! Love the colors :)

Kimberlee said...

It came out very cute! Love the blues you used.

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Very fun! Thanks for the great instructions!

Jess said...

adorable! i'm going to go check out our dollar store and cross my fingers!

p.s.phyllis sews said...

Really, really cute! Thanks for sharing.

Papgena Made It said...

thanks for the tips!!!

Mary Ann said...

adorable! what size does your measurements fit? i'm thinking of making one...

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [03 Aug 12:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Sara said...

This is genius! Now I just need a little girl to sew it for. Thanks for the great instructions!

Casey said...

This is perfect! My daughter has this little 3 tiered dress in pink colors that is her absolute favorite dress in the world right now. She races to her dresses to see if it's clean every morning. I know that eventually she's either going to outgrow it, or wear holes in it :) so this is a great tute to make a similar dress that I'm sure she'll love too. Thanks so much for posting it!

Anna said...

so cute Care, really, this is great. Too bad I suck at going to the dollar store...

Kell said...

super cute. Putting it on the list

katkeen said...

LOVE IT!! Our Dollar Trees just stocked up as well, guess Ill be making a trip there tomorrow lol. Thanks for the inspiration!

Clemencia said...

wow! your blog is awesome, thanks so much for your tutorials, you have inspire me to go buy a sawing machine and start :) thanks so much

Heather said...

I love this great job!!!

I am linking this on my blog. Lots of free tutorials there.

thegardnerthree said...

Care- so dang cute! When I am done putting home together, I think I may make a few. So darling!!!!

Ms Muffin said...

This looks SO good!!! Just what I need! I have quite a number of shirt around ... so I will have to try this!
Thanks for the tutorial!!!!

Aunt Spicy said...

Super cute idea!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Found you from Tara's site. What a cute idea. Now I really wish I could sew! Good job!

upsydaisycreations said...

Sounds like I need to find myself a dollar store! Great finds!!!

crafty1 said...

This is adorable. I'm thinking you could also do this with thrift store tees and include some of the graphics they might have. Also, how about an adult size dress or top? So cute. I may try that.

J A C Q U E L I N E said...

I like it! seems super super easy! I did not know dollar store sold t shirts I need to visit it more often.

KayTee said...

I have a three yesr old grandaughter that is going to LOVE watching her Maw Maw make her "Some new dresses for me?" I can't wait to get started! Oh, and ladies, Micheal's also sells t-shirts in kids' sizes and they usually have a nice inventory most of the time, especially around ANY holiday.

Karisa said...

Very cute! I wish my dollar store sold t-shirts. I included this in our Dollar Store Crafts Roundup on the FaveCrafts Blog: http://www.favecraftsblog.com/link-love-diy-dollar-store/

Let me know if you're ever interested in publishing tutorials with us! :)

b20caa96-336c-11e1-a5b2-000bcdcb2996 said...

Wow....I bought a similar one at Walmart....Wish i could have done it myself.....

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