two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

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 thoughts on “two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

  1. Jane says:

    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!

  2. Celina says:

    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 says:

      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. 😉

  3. Andrea says:

    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. 😉

  4. lucinda says:

    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 says:

      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:

  5. sewchibi says:

    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.

  6. Stef says:

    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!

    • kristin says:

      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!

  7. mimtribe says:

    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 says:

      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!

  8. Miranda says:

    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

  9. Ginny says:

    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!

  10. Tara says:

    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 says:

      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. 🙂

  11. jennifer says:

    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.

  12. natasha klein says:

    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 says:

      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.

  13. sewcialwarrior says:

    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.

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