If you want a great selection of hardy knit fabrics, head to your local discount store instead of your fabric store. Shop the women and girls departments for a large selection of leggings! I always buy the largest size they have on hand, since it will provide the most fabric and the most design options. Shop the end of the season for the best prices!
I found these happy emoji and lacy leggings in the girls section of Walmart. The galaxy print was found in the women’s section and is perfect for Luciana, the 2018 Girl of the Year. The emoji and lace are capri style leggings, so they didn’t have a ton of fabric, but certainly enough to make 2-3 dresses (or 2 dresses and a tee). For a grand total of $2.29, that is certainly a bargain!
My dresses were made using the Simple, Sweet Tee pattern by Oh Sew Kat!, but any tee shirt pattern you have will work. If you have a tee already made, put it on your doll and decide where you want the dress to fall on her leg. Make a note of that measurement. I decided on three inches from the longer version of the Sweet Tee pattern.
It’s easiest to use the hemmed edges of the pant leg if they are big enough. If you can’t take advantage of the hemmed edge, add 3/8th inch to your measurement for your lower hem. You can simply lay your pieces down on the pant legs, and measure them to make sure they are the same and cut them out.
Usually, I like to create new pattern pieces when I do things like this. That way, I still have them for later to use again and don’t have to recreate anything when I want to make another one. Cut out the back and front pattern pieces, and tape them to a new piece of paper or graph paper. Using a ruler, simply extend the side edges down the amount you measured in the step above of both the front and back pieces. Create a new hemline and cut it out.
Extra tip: This pattern has a straight side seam (the hemline is a perfect 90 degree angle to the side seam). Sometimes, if you extend this line down too long, it won’t cover the doll’s bum in back because she is thicker there than at her waist, where the tee usually ends. After measuring and drawing my new lines, I moved my side seam out 1/2 to 3/4th inch and simply connected this back up to the armscye, giving the bottom edge just a little more room and flare. With knit fabrics, they will still stretch and work, but having a little extra room ensures a nice fit. If your tee shirt pattern has a tighter fit, or curves inward, I strongly suggest adding this extra width to the hem to ensure your dress fits.
Lay out your pattern pieces on your leggings or fabric. I used the existing pant hems here. Cut out your pieces, paying close attention to which direction the fabric goes and where the fold lines end up. It was kind of a tight squeeze to get the back piece on the child’s leggings, and I put one sleeve on each leg to maximize the fabric I have left over for the next one. Assemble the shirt according to pattern directions. For the lacy dress, I left off the sleeves and used fold over elastic using hemming method #1 from the pattern. For the emoji dress, I used the normal hemming method #3.
And there you have it! A super quick and super easy tee shirt dress from a tee shirt pattern.