Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Fabric Upcycle from Delaney Designs

Fabric Upcycle from Delaney Designs

A Guest Blog Post from Sarah Delaney

Hello, I’m Sarah of ‘Delaney Designs’ and I absolutely love and am passionate about, the art of upcycling. The joy of turning something unwanted into something new is so satisfying and I wanted to share with you a really easy sewing upcycling project with you. Sewing! Before you sigh and switch over, reminded of disastrous classes at school, I promise this is an easy project to start with – you don’t even need a sewing machine, you can do this by hand with a simple running stitch.


So, here is my step by step guide to turn a shirt into a toddler dress.

You will need:

1 shirt – I’ve used a corduroy shirt for an autumnal pinafore look, but you could use a cotton shirt for a summer dress
A toddler dress – to use as a template
Needle and thread – if you have a sewing machine, it will be quicker!
Optional – extra fabric to make embellishments and decorations for the dress.

Step 1 – preparation

Lay the existing dress over the shirt, making sure you line up the buttons down the centre of the dress.


Allowing for a seam, check that the top button will then form the top of the new dress when it is sewn together.

Pin the dress onto the shirt, so it stays in place for cutting out.

Step 2 – cutting out

Allowing a 2cm seam, cut out the shirt to the same shape as the existing dress.


unnamed (3)

There was a pocket on the front of the shirt that I used, which I removed and I ended up covering up later with a flower. But if your shirt has a pocket, you can always keep it, to make your project simple.


Don’t worry about raggedy edges (like mine!) – you’ll be making hems that will mean the edges will become neat at the end!

Step 3 – pinning and sewing together

Next , lay the two pieces of the cut out shirt right sides together.


Now pin the dress in the following places: up the two sides; and across the top of the shoulder.


Sew a running stitch (by hand or with a sewing machine) along where you have pinned.

Step 4 – hems and ironing

Next job is to hem the remaining edges.

1. Along the bottom of the dress
2. Around the arm holes
3. Around the neck

I folded the fabric twice over itself to give a nice neat finish. Pin into place and sew a running stitch to hold the hems into place.Iron out the seams and press out the hems on your new dress.


Step 5 – finish and adding decoration

Ta da! Your dress is ready. This shape looks great over a short/long sleeved t-shirt, with leggings or tights.


I also got carried away and made a flower decoration for the front of the dress – to cover up where the pocket used to be. To make the flower: cut out three pieces of contrasting fabric as shown; layer them up and make a running stitch around the edges of the flower and finally; add a button for the centre.

Step 6 – wearing and enjoying your creation

This is Connie – Sarah’s niece!


About Sarah

Sarah makes gifts and accessories using recycled fabrics and sells them online and in gift shops around The Cotswolds.

Check out Delaney Designs. Or follow Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or see her many boards for customising and upcycling clothes on Pinterest. Use the code CM20 at the checkout to get 20% off across the site until the 13th September.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.