Hi all!  Carla here from Creatin’ in the Sticks for Fashion Friday. I must tell you when I saw this sweet novelty cotton knit fabric, I couldn’t wait to sew a little outfit.  Knits can be tricky, especially the less expensive ones, but with the help of HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite adhesive, the task of sewing stretchy fabrics is easy.  And the stretchy fabric stays soft and maintains it’s stretch.  A little t-shirt was transformed into a sweet little dress in an afternoon.  Here is all the information you need to make one.

Transform a T-Shirt Into A Dress with HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite

T-Shirt Dress Instructions

by Carla at Creatin’ in the Sticks

Please read through all the instructions before starting.


HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite 5/8” x 10-yard package
HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite 5” x 5” piece
Plain t-shirt baby size (white)
1/2 yard of cotton jersey knit (red)
Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread (red #2270)
Parchment paper, Iron (I love my Oliso Pro), sewing machine, rotary cutter and ruler, sharp scissors, erasable pen, permanent marker, and other general sewing supplies

Sewing instructions:

Wash the fabric and press it with a little starch.  This makes handling the cotton knit much easier.

Step 1:

Cut a strip of the cotton knit fabric 11” x width of the fabric.  This is perfect for a size 6-12-month t-shirt.  Adjust the measurements for a different size.

Remove the selvages from the strip and pin the cut ends, right sides together.  Stitch a ½” seam with a narrow zigzag stitch or stretch stitch to form a big circle.  Next, place the HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite strip on the wrong side of the fabric on one long edge with the paper side up.  Preheat an iron to high heat and place and hold the iron on the paper for 5 seconds.  Move the iron down to another section and continue around the whole circle.

Once the whole circle has the HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite around, let it cool, and then peel the paper liner off.  Now, fold the fabric over the width of the adhesive and bond it to the fabric following the package instructions.  This forms the hem of the dress.  Stitch over the HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite hem with a stretch or zigzag stitch.

Step 2:

Mark the large circle into 2 parts with pins.

Gather the fabric circle by stitching a basting stitch with a tight tension 3/8” from the raw edge that is not hemmed.  Do this by stitching 1 part of the 2 and stopping.  Leave the long thread for pulling the stitches into a gather.  Now start the basting stitch again and stitch the 2nd part.

Draw a straight line on the t-shirt about 2” below the armpit seams.  The line can be drawn anywhere on the t-shirt.  This one is more of a baby doll style dress.  Slip the large fabric circle over the t-shirt and pull the gathering threads to make the circle the size of the shirt.  Pin the gathered circle in place with a pin every ½”.

Stitch the skirt in place with a zigzag or stretch stitch.  After the skirt is stitched, cut the excess t-shirt off and finish the seam.

Step 3:

Place the t-shirt on an ironing surface.  Place a piece of parchment paper in the dress to protect the back of the shirt.  Press the front of the t-shirt smooth.

Fold a piece of plain paper in half and draw a half heart shape the size needed for the top of the dress.  Cut it out and check for size.  Trace the heart on the paper side of the 5” x 5” piece of HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite adhesive.

Fuse the HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite to the wrong side of a piece of the red knit fabric following the package instructions.  Cut out the heart, peel the backing paper off, and place the heart on the shirt with the adhesive side down on the front of the pressed t-shirt.  Bond the heart to the shirt following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Remove the parchment paper from the shirt dress and zigzag stitch around the heart with Aurfil 50 wt. thread (red #2270).

Step 4:

To make the bow, cut a piece of the cotton knit fabric 4 ½” x 5 ½”.  Hem the 4 ½” sides with HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite by fusing the adhesive to the edges and folding the edges over the adhesive as was done in step 1 to the dress skirt.

Form a tube with the pieces by stitching the rectangle with right sides together and a ¼” seam on the unfinished edges.

Press this seam open then turn the tube right side out and press while centering the seam in the middle.  Stitch the ends of the tube closed with topstitching.

Make the center of the bow with a 3” strip of HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite 5/8” wide. Fuse the strip to a scrap of the red fabric.

Cut the fabric using the fused HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite strip as the pattern.  Remove the backing paper and bond the strip to another scrap of the red fabric.  Zigzag stitch on both long sides of the strip, then cut the strip out close to the stitching.

Hand stitch a gather in the middle of the finished tube.

Next, wrap the finished center strip around the gathers and whip stitch it in place.  The center strip is much longer than needed, so trim the excess strip away.  Hand tack the bow to the top of the skirt on the dress.

Make 2 bows and add one to a purchased headband to complete the look.


I’ll be making a lot more of these little t-shirt dresses with HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite for my new little family member if I can keep up with her growing so fast.


1 Comment on Transform a T-Shirt Into A Dress with HeatNBond Soft Stretch Lite

  1. Carol Kussart
    June 5, 2018 at 5:45 am (6 years ago)

    Carla, I read this when you posted it and thought I had commented–guess not! I love this little dress, and even though my granddaughters are older (well, 3, 5, 8, and 9), they still wear tshirts and love dresses. I am sure they would love a dress in this style! Thanks for sharing.