the “easy tee dress” – women’s sewing tutorial


I made this dress a few weeks ago in just a few hours. I started with my colorblocked easy tee pattern and used that for the bodice portion of the dress, then just added a simple pleated skirt. The dress is made out of knit fabric, so it’s nice and stretchy, which means there was no zipper or buttons to install, and the cap sleeves are just part of the bodice piece, so I didn’t even have to set in sleeves. Easy, quick, and cute – just how I like my sewing projects.


I made the dress using 1 yard of polka dot ponte de roma knit, which is a nice, heavier-weight knit than something like jersey, which makes it perfect for dresses. I salvaged the black knit from an old dress that’s too small, so my dress cost about $7 (ponte de roma fabric from Girl Charlee).

I used every inch of length in that one yard of fabric and the dress wasn’t quite knee length (and remember I’m short!), which is where I like my skirts to hit, so I’ve been wearing it with a cute lace trimmed black slip I found at the thrift store. I tied some black bias tape around my waist like a belt for a finishing touch.

Here’s how the dress is constructed


I started with my easy tee pattern (found in this post) and cut a bodice using the colorblocked cutting lines (I actually cut it a few inches smaller than the pattern calls for because the pattern gives a loose, easy fit and I wanted it slightly slimmer). I cut the bodice so it would stop at my natural waist, so it wasn’t nearly as long as the original pattern. I sewed the colorblocked pieces together as directed in that tutorial, then sewed the front to the back at the shoulders and side seams. I took in the side seams a bit so the bodice was fitted, but not actually tight.


I used the remaining polka dot fabric to make the skirt. I used the entire width of the fabric, so the skirt was quite a bit wider than the top. Then I figured out how many pleats I needed to put in the skirt to make it the same width as the top (I tried a few different configurations, pinned the pleats in place, and then tried it on to see what I liked best – and I actually just gathered the skirt in the back instead of pleating).


Then I tucked the bodice inside the skirt, right sides together, and sewed the pieces together at the waist. This seam has to be able to stretch, or it will pop the first time you put it on. I used my serger, but you can also use a zig zag seam or a double needle. I’m careful when I put the dress on and take it off not to put too much pressure on this seam.

Lastly I hemmed the skirt, and the dress was finished! Here’s a shot of the pleats in front and gathers in back:

sew a cute dress using a t-shirt pattern

You could use any t-shirt pattern to make a simple dress like this one. The silhouette feels a little retro, but the colorblocking keeps it modern. I’m always a little nervous the first time I wear a handmade outfit out of the house, but I got I couple of compliments on this one at church, so I guess it’s ok! Thanks for reading 🙂


linked at: Make it and Love it, I Heart Naptime, Whipperberry, Tidy Mom


  1. 2

    Rachel Jackson says

    I love your blog! I only wish you could include the subject of each blog in the subject line of the email. It would be so much easier to organize and find what I’m looking for.

    • 3

      autumn says

      Rachel – that’s a great idea. I don’t know if I can’t do that or not but I’ll look into it – thanks!

  2. 4

    kathy says

    This dress is really cute. I like the idea of wearing the pretty slip under, it makes the dress a little “fancy”. PS Your hair is adorable, I love it a little longer.

  3. 6

    danielle says

    What a great dress!!! I came over from Pinterest.
    I love the modern nod to the past! I’m excited to try and make this one!

    • 9

      autumn says

      Thank you! I like that it’s super comfortable and feels kind of retro. I just can’t get enough polka dots these days.

  4. 10

    Brenda says

    I love this dress on you! Seems like it would be super comfy but looks so nice and dressy enough for Church or a wedding shower even. I love the retro vibe and the fact that you used hemming tape for the belt!Lov ethe lace peeking out as well. The polka dots are alwasy a favorite and you made them look elegant! Great job!

  5. 13

    Ashton says

    You are so dang cute! I’m sorry, but I had to say it! Also, I am going to.make this dress immediately.

  6. 16

    Rebecca says

    Hello! I’ve been checking out some of your lovely tutorials and wondered if you’d mind doing me the favor of giving some finished measurements on this dress. Thanks!

  7. 18

    K says

    I’m a little late to this party, but I just want to say how much I love your blog! Your tutorials are easy for a beginner like me to follow, and I love that the styles of your designs look good on a variety of figures-and ages! I don’t think I’ve seen a thing you’ve made that I didn’t like. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity and know-how with everyone! 🙂


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