Episode 413


Knit Knack by Stephanie Ohnmacht, courtesy of Stephanie O.

Transform a basic T-shirt into a fun and flirty dress. Easily alter the style to fit any occasion.


Black T-shirt

Black scalloped-edge lace fabric (amount according to measurements)

Nude knit lining fabric (amount according to measurements)

Matching all-purpose thread

Tailor's chalk

Cut It

Make sure the T-shirt is long enough to reach the desired skirt seamline.

Determine the desired dress bodice length. For the featured project, the dress bodice measures 12" below the armseye. All bodies are different, so choose the most flattering length for your body type.

Using chalk, mark the bodice lower edge on the T-shirt, including a 3/8" seam allowance; cut the T-shirt along the marked line (1).

Knit Knack1

To determine the skirt width, measure the T-shirt lower-edge circumference and multiply by 1 1/2. If a fuller skirt is desired, multiply by 2; record.

Determine the desired finished skirt length. Add 3/8" for the upper-edge seam allowance; record.

From the lace, cut one skirt according to the recorded measurements; designate as piece "B." Cut another skirt 6" shorter than the previous skirt; designate as piece "A." From the lining, cut one rectangle 1" shorter than the long skirt rectangle; designate as piece "C." Cut the skirts with the scalloped edge along one long edge.

Note: For the featured project, one 16"x54" rectangle is used for piece B, one 10"x54" rectangle is used for piece A and one 15"x54" rectangle is used for piece C.

Sew It

Use 3/8" seam allowances.

With right sides together, fold each skirt in half widthwise, aligning the short edges; pin. Stitch the side seams, press the seams toward the skirt back. 

With right sides out, align the three skirt pieces with the lining on the inside and the shortest lace skirt on the outside along the upper edges and side seams; pin. Position the lace scalloped edge along the skirt lower edge.

Place the skirt pieces on a flat work surface and mark the short edge opposite the side seam 1" below the upper edge; pin.

Set the machine to the longest stitch length. Beginning at the side seam, stitch the upper-edge circumference. Backstitch at least three stitches at the stitching beginning, but don't backstitch at the stitching end.

Gently pull the lower thread tail to gather the skirt upper edge to match the T-shirt lower-edge circumference. Evenly distribute the gathers along the skirt upper edge. 

With right sides together, align the T-shirt lower edge and skirt upper edge. Match the skirt side seam and opposite side edge to the T-shirt side seams; pin (2). Adjust the gathers to match the T-shirt circumference, if needed.

Knit Knack2

Pin the bodice/skirt circumference 1" from the raw edge. Set the machine to a medium stitch length. Stitch over the gathering stitches, backstitching at the beginning and end; press the seam toward the skirt.

Finish It

From the lace, cut one 1 1/2" x54" strip. Cut the strip in half widthwise, so it measures 1 1/2"x27".

Place the dress on a flat work surface with the front side facing up. Trim the sleeve to shorten it if desired. Cut a slit at the sleeve side edge, ending 1 1/2" from the shoulder seam (3).

Knit Knack3

Fold one lace strip in half widthwise; mark the center, and then unfold. With right sides up, align the lace widthwise center with the underarm seam. Lap the lace 1/4" over the sleeve edge. Beginning at the underarm seam, zigzag stitch the lace to the sleeve edge, ending at the slit and backstitching at the beginning and end. Repeat to stitch the remaining lace strip to the opposite sleeve.

Tie the lace free ends in a bow or knot. 

T-Shirt Transformations


Use extra lace to create a sash.

Cut a strip that measures the desired sash length and twice the desired width. Add 3/8" seam allowances on all sides.

With right sides together, fold the strip in half lengthwise. Stitch the long edge and one short edge. Turn the sash right side out. Fold the short open edge 3/8" toward the wrong side; slipstitch the opening closed.

Tie the sash around your waist or use as a scarf.

Max Out 

Create a maxi dress from a T-shirt.

Determine the skirt circumference according to the instructions above. From lightweight opaque fabric, such as chiffon, cut one rectangle so that it reaches the floor from the bodice lower edge. Cut another rectangle 18" shorter than the previous rectangle.

Double-fold each rectangle lower edge 3/8" toward the wrong side; press, and then stitch close to each first fold. Fold the rectangles in half widthwise with right sides together. Stitch the sides using a 3/8" seam allowance; press the seams toward the skirt back. Place the long skirt inside the short skirt with the right sides out, aligning the upper edges. Gather and attach the skirt to the bodice, according to the instructions above.

Tip: Use extra fabric to create a bodice adornment.

Raw Edge Ruffles 

For a sportier look, use sweatshirt fabric to create the skirt.

Cut only one skirt layer according to the instructions above. Stitch the gathering stitches 1/2" below the skirt upper edge. With right sides together, lap the skirt gathered upper edge 5/8" over the T-shirt lower edge, and then stitch over the previous stitching.

Use sweatshirt fabric scraps to add accent strips along the neckline and pocket upper edges, if applicable.

Pin the strip along the desired placement with the wrong side facing up, and then zigzag stitch the strip lengthwise center.

Products used in this episode:



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