skinny tee tank dress

26 Jun

it’s summer and i’m out doing summery things, so today i’m bringing home a guest post i wrote for the leadup to elsie marley’s spring kid’s clothes week challenge. it includes a supertinymini tutorial for how to turn rae’s flashback skinny tee pattern into a flutter sleeve dress, and a bonus photo that didn’t post on meg’s blog due to technical difficulties on my end.



When Meg contacted me with her idea to have a bunch of gals sew Rae’s flashback skinny tee pattern, I immediately knew what to do – remix it into a dress! My daughter is almost four and wants to wear a dress every day. She considers them essential for dancing, which is her most favorite thing to do. I like sewing dresses, especially when they’re washable, comfortable, and easy for her to play in (I’m a practical mama). Soft jersey knit is the perfect material for all of that!


I made this simple tank dress with an XXL Old Navy shirt from the clearance rack, plus scraps of a t-shirt from another project. I have trouble finding good knit fabric and I almost always end up using repurposed sale rack men’s shirts – as big as I can get ‘em! Extra bonus points if I can preserve the factory hem, though Rae offers great hemming tips within the pattern as well.


I extended the hemline of the 3T skinny tee pattern about 6″ (use a dress you already have as a guide), and made it A-line by using a straight edge, starting at the armpit and finishing about 3″ from the side of where the original pattern would be if it were dress length. I trimmed the top of the shoulder seams about 1/2″ (though I might recommend a little more), bound the armholes per Rae’s pattern instructions, and widened the neckline a bit. I also added a little pocket for extra detail.

pocket detail

For the flutter sleeves, I added 5″ to each armhole measurement and cut two strips to that length, each 1.5″ wide. I rounded the ends and gathered them along the longer edge. I attached each sleeve to the underside of the armhole, topstitching both on the outside and inside edges of the binding to catch it securely. I left the edges raw, since knit doesn’t fray.


The skinny tee pattern is a quick sew and so versatile, it’s great for adding your own customizations! I first sewed a “regular” version here as practice before remixing it into a dress.


Thanks for designing such an awesome pattern, Rae, and thanks for having me, Meg!

6 Responses to “skinny tee tank dress”

  1. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy June 26, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    I absolutely adore your version, this is just the cutest. The colors, the bias trim, and the extremely ruffled sleeves – simply fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Melissa June 26, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    What a great tutorial, and what an adorable red white and blue flutter sleeve dress you made! My daughter is 7 but still refused to wear anything that “itches” in any way. Very frustrating after I’ve spent time sewing a super cute dress, only to find out it is itchy to her Princess and the Pea skin! Grr. Anyway, no danger of that with this comfy looking little dress! Thank you!

  3. darci June 26, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    Ahh summer things. Our last day of school is tomorrow, then I will send my oldest to PDX to do summer things with grandparents

    • darci June 26, 2012 at 5:47 am #

      And the dress would be great for the 4th of July

  4. Tara June 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    what a cute dress! Your little one looks so comfy and ready for play!

  5. Justine sew country chick July 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I love the super wide stripes! I have that exact same wall I use for background sometimes too. Thanks for the Portland tips. Bolt was a fun little shop!

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