An Easy Sundress Tutorial

I met Karen through a twitter conversation with Larri – and since then she has become a lovely online friend! She is so creative and has such a servants heart!  In addition, she is getting ready to graduate her son from homeschool – and is full of encouragement for a new homeschool mom like me.  

Karen has a fun Etsy shop filled with adorable goodies – and she’s offered a giveaway just for you! To enter, click here.

Today she has a fun and easy way to recycle a man’s button down shirt into a sundress!  What fun!
When one of my favorite twitter buddies {Aurie} asked me if would be a guest blogger on her fabulous blog, I was overfilled with joy! What an honor! Thanks Aurie!!

This is such a fun sewing project that I just know you are going to love!


First off, find a nice large shirt. Make sure daddy doesn’t want it first though!

3-4 yards of ribbon

1/2 to 1 yard of coordinating fabric, if you want a ruffle.

Elastic thread

1. Cut off sleeves.

2. Cut off neck in a straight line across the top.

3. This step is optional. I wanted to add a pretty yellow ruffle to the bottom of my dress. If you don’t want to add this step, then you are done with the hem of your dress! To make the ruffle double the full width of the bottom of the shirt. My shirt was 50″ wide so I cut a length of fabric 100″ long. I had to sew two panels together to get that length. The depth of the ruffle is a personal preference. I made mine 8 inches tall x 100 inches long.

4. Finish the top raw edge by zig zag or serge. Finish the bottom of the ruffle, fold under 1/4, press, then fold over 1/4 again and stitch a straight line.

5. Now to ruffle the fabric! Set your machine to the longest stitch you have. This is called a basting stitch. Do not back stitch or lock your thread. I personally break this up into two sections. The fabric piece is super long, so I basted half the length, stopped, then started a new basting line. This helps with not breaking your thread.

6. Pull the bottom thread and gently push your fabric to make it ruffle. Once ruffled on one section, move to your other basting line, and do the same procedure. Ruffle it to fit the bottom of your shirt.

7. If your shirt is not straight across at the bottom, then you will need to cut that into a straight edge. Zig zag the raw edge or serge. Fold under and stitch to make a hem.

Now on the wrong side of the shirt, lay your ruffled fabric printed side onto the bottom edge of your shirt. Stitch a nice straight line across. I used clear thread.

8. Now comes the fun part! You are going to “smock” or shirr your dress! This is super fun and easy. First off you need to get elastic thread. I found this in the elastic section of my craft store. Then HAND wind your bobbin with the elastic thread.Do not stretch or pull the elastic as you wind it, just keep it taught. Put it into the bobbin holder normally, making sure you keep the elastic taught, not sloppy. You will use regular thread for the top thread. Set your machine for the LONGEST stitch.

9. Starting about 1/4 inch from top of dress front, stitch and back stitch 2-3 times to lock, then with longest stitch on machine make row upon row of straight stitches. Making sure to lock in place at beginning and end of each. Repeat on back of dress. Make as many rows as you want!

10. This part is so cool! Set your iron on high with steam and steam blast your stitches and watch them SHRINK! I love this part. Keep steaming the stitches till they all shrink up, making nice shirring going across the bodice. Super cute!

11. Now pick some pretty ribbon and cut it to 4 equal long pieces. Stitch them onto the inside of the dress and you’re done!!!

This sweet little dress only took a couple of hours to make! Have fun sewing!

Since it’s almost sundress time here in Jersey, I think I might be raiding Ken’s closet and heading to the thrift store to see how many shirts I can find for this!

What about you?

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