Easy Child’s Summer Tunic (or sundress)

Turn an old t-shirt into a toddler tank topRemember when I shared this pic on Instagram? Today I’m going to share with you how easy this top was to make!  The best part?  It was basically free because I used an old t-shirt that didn’t fit me anymore!

All you need is an old t-shirt (a junior’s or women’s style size small or medium works well), scissors, and a sewing machine.  You could probably even sew this by hand because it really is that simple.  No surging or zigzag stitches.

This project is very similar to the sundress I made last summer using an old t-shirt.  The main difference is that I didn’t use bias tape to make the ties.  Instead, I used a piece of the t-shirt and threaded it through a hem at the top (not sure if that is the correct terminology, so hopefully these photos will help explain).

I started out by cutting the sleeves off an old t-shirt.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

Then I cut straight across the top just under the neck of the t-shirt.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

Next I cut off the hem and then cut a couple of strips off the bottom to use as the tie strings.  Stretch the strings out really well until the edges curl.

T-shirt Turned Tank TopT-shirt Turned Tank Top I placed one of the strings across the top and folded the edge over it and pinned it in place.  Then I just sewed along the edge, taking care not to sew the string so that it can slip through.  Then I did the same thing on the back.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  I switched shirts on you.  I made one for each kid and this image turned out better than the one of the pink shirt! 🙂

Then put it on the kid!  I’m calling this a “summer tunic” because it is a little longer than a regular tank top and a little shorter than a dress.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top


THAT’S IT!  Can you believe how incredibly simple this is??

The other shirt I used had a v-neck, so I made this one a bit differently.  Instead of cutting the top of straight across, I just cut the finished edge of the neck off.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

Then I cut a bit off the tops of the sleeves.  I just held the shirt up to my little one to determine how much I needed to cut off.

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

I used the same method as before with the v-neck.

T-shirt Turned Tank TopBecause the v-neck was a bit low, I made this the back of the dress.

T-shirt Turned Tank TopThis is basically the exact same thing as the tank top.  This kiddo is only 18 months old though, so the top is much longer on her.  I left it long so she can wear it as a dress.  As she grows I can replace the tie with a longer one to make it a tank top!

T-shirt Turned Tank Top

If the dress/tunic is too wide right at the armpits, you can use the super easy method explained here for fixing that.

This was seriously, so so easy.  I made these two during naptime!

* * *

If you like this, check out the sundress I made from an old Beatles shirt last summer and these fun ideas for making jewelry from old t-shirts!

Follow me on Pinterest for tons of other DIY, upcycle, and repurpose project ideas!

Connect with me outside the blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Linked up at A Little R & R Wednesdays and This is How We Roll Thursdays.


6 thoughts on “Easy Child’s Summer Tunic (or sundress)

  1. Cute! I should make some of these. An excuse to clean out my closet, new tops for my girls, AND a reason to buy myself new tees! Win win win!

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