Bandana Shirt or Dress for a Child

5:30:00 AM

I've been wanting to create coordinating outfits for all 3 of my girls for some time now. I have seen so many pillow case dresses, and thought, that might work--straight seams, basic sewing--right up my alley. Then I heard about bandana dresses, which follow the same kind of method--straight seams, a ribbon through the top, and best yet--no hemming since the edges are already finished.

So I grabbed some bandanas the last time I was at a craft store, and I was off!

First, I washed the bandanas. You will want to do this to remove the stiffening agents that they put on them to make them nice and easy to package up. You will also (hopefully) cause any shrinking or fraying that will occur before you sew your project. Then you will need to iron the bandanas--one you wash them, they will be wrinkled.

Then you will need to line up the bandanas facing each other. If your bandana has directional pattern,  make sure both bandana have the top at what will be the top of the dress. My little dress to be had this type of pattern. I didn't want those little branches facing down, or even worse, the back pointing down and the front pointing to the side! I then pinned the fabric together. I measure two inches from the bottom because I wanted a little side detail.

Then measure your child from the top of the shoulder to the arm pit. Add 2 inches to this measurement. Measure down from the top of the fabric to figure out where the side seam will start. Then use a hem gauge to fold down the top to create a little pocket for the ribbon  to run through. You will pin this too. I did a one inch turn down, but if you are using wide ribbon, you may want to add more (and don't forget to allow for the width of your seam).

Okay, so now you are ready to sew. I have no pictures of this process, partly because it is basically 4 straight seams (2 sides,top of front, and top of back), and partly because my sewing machine chose this instance to completely freak out on me. I have an old hand me down machine, and since all I do is sew straight lines, that works fine for me. Unfortunately, the thread kept breaking--not sure if it was the tension, the thread, or some other agent that I just don't understand. I am going to blame the thread, which was a stiffer grade than your standard thread, but honestly, I have no idea. Let's just say that some of the details were rougher than I desired, but since this is play clothes for my 4 year old, it's ok.

Here is the almost completed project (you'll note in the pictures with Lil Bit modelling, the ribbon is different).

And here's that little detail that came from leaving the last couple of inches unsewn.

Of course, we had to have a little fashion shoot, and what's a fashion shoot without accessories, such as Cinderella's neck ribbon...

Since my little girl is 4, she's a little too tall for me to be comfortable with this length, so I put shorts underneath the dress. It's what we call a "shirt-dress" in our house--her words, not mine!

And she loves her new outfit, which is the most important part--makes up for the major fight I had with the sewing machine! Enjoy!

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  1. Super cute and easy. I don't sew much, but I know three of my girls would love one of these! Thanks!

  2. So cute! What a fun dress for your little one!

  3. SO cute! and pretty simple! Our little girls will love them! Thanks for linking up to "Strut Your Stuff Saturday!" We hope to see you again! -The Sisters