Gracie’s Must Have Summer Maxi Dress Tutorial

Today I am sharing a quick and EASY girls maxi dress tutorial!

I made this dress for Gracie the other night and she wore it all day yesterday…it’s a new favorite.
When I had the idea I wasn’t sure how it would turn out so we used some crazy supplies but now that I’ve made one I want to make like 10 more and this time use nicer T-shirts and some of the “good” polyester from my secret hoard.
If you want to make one of these girls maxi dresses it is seriously the easiest project ever and I promise your little girls will love it (Gracie loves the long, cool, silky fabric.)  Here’s what to do:
(Complete with the pictures taken as I was just trying this idea out)
Step #1.
(Like I said I wasn’t sure how this would turn out so I used Gracie’s Old Bacon Shirt on this prototype…it was getting on the short side and the bacon had seen better days so we picked off the letters and chopped it up.)
Step #2.
For the width:  I cut my fabric 3 times the width of the shirt (so if it was 10 inches wide I’d cut it 30 inches wide).
For the length:  I had Grace put on the chopped shirt and measured from the bottom of the shirt to the floor and added about an inch and a half for seam allowances and hemming.
Step #3.
Step #4.
To do this run a loose stitch around the top of your skirt and pull it (rearranging the gathers as you go) until the skirt is roughly the same width as your shirt.
Step #5
You may have to rearrange the gathers as you go—pulling the skirt tighter or making it looser so that it will fit onto your shirt.  (Also this is how I pinned mine together.  In this photo the shirt is upside down and inside the skirt.)
Step #6.
I tried the dress on Gracie and then pinned it to the length that I wanted before I sewed a stitch.
And your done!
So very easy…and so very awesome…

(At least it is to Gracie—all day she walked around like an old school Hollywood movie star on vacation.)

Since the T-shirt was something about to hit the yard sale bin it cost me nothing and the fabric for the bottom was part of a 3 yard piece that I bought at a thrift store for $1.  So this dress was a super deal and…
Yes, I really am going to make some more.
And I’m thinking a shorter version paired with leggings and a skinny belt would be stinking cute (I’ll put that on the list for my weekend sewing and let you know how it goes.)
And then because it looks so comfortable I kind of want to try one for myself…I like the idea but am wondering how it would translate into a mom dress…hum…I’ve got to think about this….
What do you think?  Would it be worth the polyester sacrifice?
Until next time…Happy Thrifted Thursday!
Gracie's Must Have Summer Maxi Dress Collage
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  1. says

    Oh this is just adorable! And maxi dresses are the best use for crazy fabric! Definitely a summer must have. 🙂

    I’ve been on a maxi dress kick too, making one for my older daughter by lengthening a tank top pattern and one for me using a new McCalls pattern. And I also used similar methods to your maxi dress for Gracie by taking a tank top and some ruffle fabric to make a dress for my two year old. We’ve been a bit dress crazy over here, but I think Gracie’s version may be my favorite.

  2. says

    I think a maxi for mama would be great! I’d suggest cutting the shirt below the breast line to ensure maximum comfort. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to make some dresses for myself, but i’m the type of girl that really admires dresses, but never actually wears them. I’m more of a yoga pant mom LOL!

  3. says

    that is sooooo cute and just what I needed. Lucy grew out of a maxi dress that I made last summer and she’s so sad.
    I’m gonna chop off the top and sew it onto a t-shirt!
    yea. I might do it right now so I don’t forget!

  4. says

    Very Cute!
    Sewing in no mans land has a great “mommy Maxi” dress. I made one and the steps are almost identical to this. Its very easy and cute. Maxi’s are so on trend for summer!

  5. says

    This is a wonderful and inexpensive idea! I love how easy the instructions are… I think any mom could make this… even if she hasn’t sewn in a few years (make that 8!) Time to get back into it with this great project I think – YES!

  6. says

    So cute!! I made a couple of these for my 4yo daughter for nightgowns using an old shirt and pillow case. I got some really cute pillow cases at the thrift store with lace around the edge. Super easy and I didn’t have to hem! 🙂

  7. says

    Adorable, your little Gracie is too :), but my granddaughters get stains all over the tummies of their little shirts and this is a perfect way to salvage (re-purpose) them. thak you so much for the ideas!

  8. says

    thank you thank you thank you
    I love this tutorial and have just made the first of what i hope will be many. I could even see the same thing for me….
    lots of lovely pictures and easy to follow. thanks again, one happy miss 3 in this house this christmas

  9. says

    This is adorable ….. and since kids mostly grow UP, she will be able to wear it for a long time.

    Thinking “no” on the mom dress. gathered high waist always screams “maternity dress” in my siZe, lol.

  10. says

    This is so cute and super easy even for someone just learning to sew like me. Thank you so much for sharing this, my girls are going to love having these to wear around this summer :D. I know what I am going to be making a ton of now.

  11. says

    Just made two maxi’s in about one hour! Thank you so much! My girls look so cute. T-shirts from a bag of hand-me-downs and some left-over fabric form my stock! Super easy and cheap!!! You rock!

  12. says

    It is TOO cute!!!! I’m featuring this tomorrow on my weekly round up!!! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    Cami @
    Sunday Bewitch Me & Titi {Link Party}

  13. Lisa says

    Wonderful! I made a dress for my daughter this afternoon with some scrap fabric and an inexpensive tshirt. Lovely dress! She loves it and I love that it was easy to make and she can wear it to church or to play in the yard. Thanks for such a great tutorial!


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