sew: boys button up shirt to baby dress

I’ve seen a couple pins on pinterest showing how to make a toddler dress from a mens button up shirt.  I liked the idea, but wanted to make something a bit more detailed.  I was also frustrated with the lack of blue girls dresses, as well as dresses without cartoon characters, logos or words.  I found this boys size small button up for $2 at the thrift store and loved the blue gingham, and lucky for me, a boys size small neck fits my chubby baby girls neck perfectly!

This DIY is great if you are already pretty familiar with the sewing machine.

Here’s what I did:

Step 1:

Measure where you want the waistline to sit, and cut.  Try to be mindful of where the buttons will go.  I cut just above a button so that when I sewed the waist, there would be a button just at the waist (to avoid puckering)

Step 2:

If you want to avoid what I did in the first picture, get your screaming baby to stop crying first.

And then cut the shape pictured in the second image.  My pieces ended up being side panels (and I cut the pieces from one of the arms)

Sew the sides (obviously leaving the armholes open!)

Step 3:

Sew a baste stitch along the top of the skirt section and gather to fit the bodice.  I did this in panels (the back, and the two front panels) in order to keep the gathering even.  Pin to the bodice, and sew.

Step 4:

Finish off arm holes.  I also hemmed the dress (but left the fabric).  I left some room to take out the dress at the sides, as well as the bottom because I want the dress to grow with her.

I also used bias tape to finish off the seam at the waistline on the inside, as well as in the arm holes.  I like to have baby clothes as sturdy as possible, because they need to be able to get thrown in the washing machine without me worrying about the edges fraying.


The sash around the waist was an afterthought (so I didn’t photograph instructions).  I noticed the cuffs from the arms had a smaller gingham fabric and thought that it would be cute to use as a sash.  I cut them off, opened up the seam to remove the raw cut edge and re-sewed it shut.  I then sewed them together at the from, and used the button holes to attach an adjustable tieback.  I sewed on two of the buttons down the front of the sash where the seam was.

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