desert beauty

A couple weeks before leaving California I wrapped up projects for friends and family. And now (with little sewing time on my hands) I can share them with you!
My cousin Rachael gave me her husband’s old shirt to make into a dress for her daughter. With the brown colors and embroidered flowers on front it was destined to be a summer dress for her own desert Beauty, Savanna:
Introducing: the shirred Shirt Dress:
and the flower-chain crown:
I started with a normal men’s shirt (a size XL is probably best):
I cut the pattern piece similar to my normal Shirt Dress pattern but I made the front and back as wide as the men’s shirt would allow. Using elastic thread, I shirred about 20 rows on the front and back pieces of the dress. Then, I washed and dried both pieces because I’ve found that the elastic thread seems to shrink up a bit with washing/drying. After drying, you should cut off any excess fabric (to fit with your normal dress pattern). Or, if it looks too small after washing/drying, you still may be okay since the elastic thread will stretch a ton. And then, just continue sewing as you would the normal Shirt Dress (minus the elastic waist band). Also, on this dress I added a separate casing around the neck, just for a color pop.
And though the dress wasn’t made for Goose, she had fun dancing around in it.
We even found a hula-hoop on our adventure:
The flower-chain crown was Lucy’s idea. She’s hit the full-blown princess stage and wanted something appropriate for any princess in the forest (or the desert).
I simply inner-twined green pipe cleaners (which I randomly had on-hand). Then I glue-gunned a bunch of flowers on top (also randomly on-hand). And there you have it! I’ll be making more of these in the future.
And now the dress is off to Arizona.
Enjoy your flower-child sunset, sweet Savanna.
Lucy and Dana

  1. 1) Amy

    You did a beautiful job on the dresses! Now to decide which one to make….For the dessert beauty did you shirr the fabric before attaching the sleeves?

  2. 2) Anne

    i love this sweet shirred dress! wonderful tutorial. i will definitely be making this for my daughter someday (she’s due this september). i have the perfect shirt that my husband is done with.
    thanks for sharing! i just googled “how to make a girl’s dress from a man’s shirt” and found your blog. i know i’ll be checking in from now on.
    take care,

  3. 5) Rachel

    I wanted to make a shirred dress with sleeves for my little girl. Thank you so much for providing a tutorial!! Seriously, you are awesome for telling us how! I’m going to make it a little fancier for Easter. šŸ™‚

  4. I’ve wanted to try sheering for a long time, well it looks like now is the time to do it. I’ve gathered my oddments to practice on, and then will be re-creating the dress you made so that Gaia has another dress for Sali Mali (Welsh for nursery school)

  5. Hi! This is a GREAT tutorial and now I have to make one (or get one made:) for my daughter! I love it! Question…do you have any idea where Savanna’s shoes are from? I LOVE them too!!

  6. Ha!! I just noticed this is from 2009. I’m guessing they wouldn’t have them on hand 6 years later;)

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