two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

15 Jan

this post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute – all last week they had fantastic and comprehensive tutorials to learn to sew with knits, and this week they’ve invited guest bloggers to share tutorials!  Today Leanne and I are sharing loungewear projects.  comfy comfy loungewear!  


when Mim emailed me inviting me to participate in the series, the first project that popped into my head was a simple nightgown for Em.  she wants to wear a nightgown to bed every night, the cozier the better, and cycles through them so often hers are starting to show some wear.  i wanted to put a little twist on a basic design, use what i had, keep it simple yet fun and modern.  presenting the two t-shirt nightgown!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

this nightgown is modeled after her favorite store-bought one, and also inspired by Heather.  it’s made from two of my husband’s gray t-shirts that didn’t fit him quite right, which i stamped with sparkly pink hearts and stars (a la Celina).  the style of it is quite versatile though; it could just as easily be a daytime dress!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if you already know how to draft a simple shirt pattern in your child’s size or learned how from either Mim or Miranda’s tutorials, do that first.  i just used one of my favorite patterns, Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee (FBST) as a base.  this tutorial will make a nightgown likely fit up to a size 5.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

let’s get started!


two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

  • two adult size t-shirts (one will turn into the bodice and sleeves, one will be the skirt – mine were men’s large)
  • rib knit or stretchy binding material (mine didn’t have quite enough stretch)
  • if stamping, also gather sticky back foam sheets, scrap cardboard, and fabric paint


cut out the proper size of FBST or draft your own shirt pattern.  create the nightgown’s bodice pattern by measuring 1″ down from the armpit and drawing a horizontal line onto tracing paper.  trace the rest of the pattern, marking the fold and neckline of the original.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if all you have is boring man shirts like i did, stamping is a great way to add personality.  it may seem tedious, but i always think it’s really relaxing!

first, draw an image onto the sticky foam.  simple is good with this technique.  cut one out, then use it as a template to cut another.  stick those together for a double layer of foam.  stick those to the cardboard, and you can fold up part of the cardboard backing as a handle if you want.

i mixed neon pink and glitter together on a plastic lid, then used a foam brush to apply the paint to the stamp – this helps keep it even.  then start stamping the bodies of your t-shirts!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

let the stamps dry, then heat set the paint by tossing it in the dryer or hitting it with an iron.

my nightgown’s sleeves have a slight puff at the shoulder – i used a technique similar to Rae’s tutorial, but I only wanted the shoulder puffed rather than the whole sleeve.  to do that, i just angled the top of the pattern away from the fold by 1″, but had the bottom of the sleeve match the fold for its normal width at the hem.  as i cut, i extended the shoulder line from the pattern, then used that cut sleeve as a pattern for the second one to make sure they matched.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

cut the sleeves out, then add notches just down from the top curve of the shoulder to guide where to place your basting stitches.  you can also add a little notch right at the top shoulder fold to help place it at the shoulder seam later.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

cut out your front and back bodice pieces, then sew or serge shoulder seams right sides together.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

sew two rows of basting stitches at 1/4″ and 1/2″ between the notches on your sleeve.  pull bobbin thread to gather, lay the bodice flat and pin to the armhole opening, right sides together.  sew/serge the sleeve on, then remove basting stitches.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

pin the sleeves right sides together and sew, continuing down each short little side seam.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

your bodice is ready for a skirt!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

grab your second t-shirt.  use a straight edge and rotary cutter (or mark and cut with scissors) to cut it off evenly under the armpits – this will become your skirt, already hemmed and everything!  if you’re making this nightgown for a smaller girl, estimate your skirt length based on a dress she already owns.

gather the top of the skirt with two rows of basting stitches, pin to the bodice at the side seams, then distribute the gathers evenly and pin the bodice to the skirt, right sides together.  sew/serge.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

remove the basting stitches below your seam, and press.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

bind neckline and sleeves using your favorite method, Rae’s pattern instructions, or Mim’s finishing techniques.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

and you’re done!  easy, right?  might need to whip a couple more up!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

she didn’t want to take it off.  in fact, she wore it all day.

dance party time.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

i love it when she has such a fun reaction to what i make.  did i mention the pink was her idea?

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if you make a nightgown using this tutorial, please add it to the skirt as top flickr group!  happy sewing!

50 Responses to “two t-shirt nightgown tutorial”

  1. Jane January 15, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Love it! Adding it to my list of things to make for V! :) She loves all things comfy…and nightgowns…so, this is right up her ally! I’ve actually been thinking about making a FBST nightgown and now…you’ve gone and done a tutorial for me ;) thanks!

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      ha! excellent! you’re very welcome. :)

  2. melissa q. January 15, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    Lovely! What a great idea. ONe of my 2013 goals is to sew (more and successfully) with knits!! As always, you are great inspiration. Better jump on that horse.

  3. Celina January 15, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    I love it! And what a great job you did with the stamping. It’s so much fun creating your own patterns! I will definetly be making one of these for Miss E- love the color combos too… This could totally be a dress too. Thanks so much for the mention :)))))

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      thanks so much, Celina!! Yes! It could definitely be a dress too – there’s a fine line between dress and nightgown and I know Em isn’t quite sure where that line is. ;)

  4. Andrea January 15, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I am officially placing my order for one, adult-sized nighty please! :) You have three weeks to make it because I’d like to bring it to the hospital, or perhaps I’ll labor in it if the nurses will let me. Better get going on it. ;)

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      hehehe – i’ll just make it tie up the back. ;)

  5. Jess at Me Sew Crazy January 15, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Your stamp tip…GENIUS.

  6. lucinda January 15, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Such a a great tutorial, Kristin! Thanks so much for the clear pictures showing how you cut the sleeve pattern to be “puffy”. I’m discovering that I”m more of a visual learner, so seeing how you laid your pattern piece on the fold was helpful to me:) What a great nightgown – I can imagine that it’s difficult to get them changed in the morning when they just want to keep their cozy jammies on:)

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      oh you’re very welcome, lucinda!! yes, it’s always hard to change her out of her nighties in the morning :)

  7. Shannon January 15, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Love that idea! Totally want to try it asap. Do you have a serger? I always feel like I need one for knits but don’t have one…

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      I do have a serger, and I used it almost exclusively for this project. It does help, but definitely isn’t necessary. The short answer is a ballpoint needle and a zigzag stitch are all you really need – but practice helps and there are other techniques that help too. Rae had a series of KNITerviews last year that show how much variety there is in how people sew with them, if you want more info:

  8. anna January 15, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    totally precious and comfy! great tutorial! :)

  9. sewchibi January 15, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Umm Kristin- I love this. I am ALWAYS up for making new nightgowns! I love the look of this one!!!! And the glittery hot pink and chartreuse? Totally after my own heart. Seriously.

  10. Stef January 15, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    This is adorable! I especially like the little neon pops of color – I don’t know if it’s the dreary winter or what, but all I want to see on my sewing table is cheery color!

  11. Heather January 15, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Really cute, Kristin. I love the idea (no hem!) of using the T-shirt bottom for the skirt.

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      hehe me too. i kinda want to make another one without the stamping and time myself. bet it’s pretty darn quick.

  12. Sanae January 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Fantastic tutorial! Love the idea of using up old t-shirts and giving them new life. I’d want to wear it all day and night too!

  13. Cass Can Sew (@cass_can) January 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Fantastic upcycle! I’ll be pinning this one to make for my lil miss once the weather starts cooling down here in Australia…. it’s been stinking hot here lately and I can’t wait for winter!!! Thanks for sharing x

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks Cass! Could always go short sleeved, too. I always make her wear leggings or sweats with nightgowns these days; they’re so much better in the summer!

  14. mimtribe January 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Kristin this is adorable, i love it! (and so does my little girly–she already up in my grill requesting one of her own!) Until recently I was of the opinion that nightwear didn’t deserve being homemade, but then I realized that they are usually the most worn thing we wear! Why not make it special? I actually recently made myself some sweat pants, and yeah–I wear those bad boys more than anything else!

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      So true!! Also it’s kind of hard to find nightgowns in stores, and sometimes the good non-scratchy PJs are way too expensive! Orrrr they’re all covered in awful designs. That’s where the sewing comes in, right? Can’t find the exact thing you want for the price you want? ;)

      Thanks so much for hosting such a fantastic series!

  15. Maureen Cracknell January 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I LOVE this! Everything about it and your stamping is such a bonus!! Thanks for such a great tutorial, I’m really hoping to make more garments for my little girl this year! :)

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! Oh I’d love to see you sew more kid’s clothes! You’d be phenomenal at it.

  16. Miranda January 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    So great! I didn’t notice the puffed sleeves or sparkles before, and now they’re my favorite parts! Em kills me, and I want to dance around in a comfy homemade nightgown, too. xoxo

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Aw thanks so much and thanks for hosting such an awesome series!

  17. laurabehindthehedgerow January 16, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    I’ve just inherited the most massive bag of xl t-shirts from my brother who has fallen in love and lost lots of weight. Was just trying to think of projects, branching out from flashback tees. Thanks for sharing.

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Yay! That’s perfect!! Love the XL shirts, lots to work with.

  18. Ginny January 16, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    I never think to stamp my fabric. I am now on the stamping bandwagon because of this cute post, and the Mrs. Fox dress. Thanks for posting this!

  19. Leanne January 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Hey there tutorial sister! I kind of want to make this into a top for me. And I’ll probably sleep in it too :)

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Hehehe thanks Leanne! You should, it’d be great.

  20. Tara January 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    this is so cute! her posing and dancing cracks me up every time….haha. so adorable.
    I’m thinking that if I introduced Clover to the concept of the nightgown there would be no going back. She already requires a skirt with her daily outfit. Next it would be a nightgown for bed every night. And an excuse to make nightgowns……

    • kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      she’s a dance machine! and i think you’re right about clover – i’m the one that brought Em’s first nightgown home and she’s never gone back. :)

  21. gail January 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    this is so great! man, i wish i had better knit skillz so i could make this – lila would love it. and the sparkle paint is fabulous!

  22. justine January 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    I love all of those colors together and the stamping is so cute!

  23. Delia January 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    You do tutorials very well! Really clear, well written, great pictures and your sewing is impeccable! Em is so darn cute too!

  24. Olga Becker January 19, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Looks so comfy! Great job!

  25. Trinity January 26, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Very cute! Nicely done and such a great tutorial!

  26. jennifer January 29, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    oh this is sooo much cuter than the nasty disney princess nightgowns someone gave my girls. I told them “I can’t find them” so to make up for my lie I should make some of these! Super cute.

  27. Inder January 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I love this simple hack! I can’t wait for Maggie to get big enough for this pattern (well, okay, I *can* wait – don’t grow up too fast, kiddo!).

  28. Erin at February 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Really Cute! It could work for a day dress too, which is what I thought it was when I first saw the post on Pinterest. And the stamps are such a great way to have the little ones involved in the creation of it!

  29. trula February 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    absolutely fantastic.

  30. missamyjane March 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Oh man, this is cute! I need to get that Flashback tee pattern and try this! Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

  31. natasha klein July 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    hi I was looking at her flash back pattern but was worried it would be to fitted!? I love this T its just what I have been looking for!
    are the sizes ok? or did u up size? thanks

    • kristin July 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Yes, I did go up a size from what her measurements would have me sew – I find that doing that takes it from a “skinny tee” to a “regular tee” and it’s my main method when I sew short sleeved tees for my son using the pattern (he measures a 2T but I sew a 3T when I make it short sleeved). Seems to add just the right amount of ease.

  32. sewcialwarrior March 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    I love this as a dress- a waste for it to be an nightgown! I want to make one for my daughter but I have no t-shirts in my refashion pile presently. I may have to sneak into Hubby’s drawers to steal some.

  33. ksyoung06 February 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    This was a great tutorial! I made play dresses for my girls following your instructions and they turned out great (especially for my first time using knit!). I wrote about it on my blog at and tagged your site for credit!!!! :)

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