t-shirt dress with sleeve ties

I saw a casual dress that I liked a lot and thought that I could make a similar version for myself. So I grabbed the Girl on the Go Dress pattern, but instead of using the ties that come with the pattern, I used modified t-shirt sleeves as the ties at the waist. Here I am sharing a quick explanation of how I made my dress in case you would like to make yourself a similar one, too. You will discover it is really quite easy to do.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go Dress with sleeve ties

To get the look of the ties that I wanted, I turned to the sleeves from the Women’s Metro T-shirt which I’ve sewn nine times so far. It has become my tried ’n true pattern (it is Shelley’s tried ’n true pattern as well). Inspired by those t-shirt sleeves, I created my own pattern piece.

sleeve ties pattern piece

I simply added cuffs to the sleeves using our How to Add Cuffs to Knit Patterns to Make Pajamas tutorial. I made my two cuffs 5.5 inches tall by 6.5 inches wide in case you were wondering.

sleeve ties on t-shirt dress

I used this great charcoal gray knit fabric. I had already made myself a Women’s Metro long sleeve t-shirt using the same fabric and I love it and wear it all of the time. So I went diving into my fabric stash and was so happy to discover I had enough of it leftover to make this dress.

sleeve ties on t-shirt dress

This dress is so comfortable and easy to wear. And what a bonus that the sleeve ties camouflage “mommy tummy.” Winner!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress with sleeve ties

You could also take the Chai Tee and make it into a dress, as well as the Maritime Knit Top, Bento Tee, or Lunch Box Tee. And you could also use our Side Vent tutorial as a hem option.


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  1. Krystyna

    Just a quick question what size “girl on the go” pattern did you use. The fit appears perfect.

    1. I am petite, 5 foot. I sewed a size 14 and added one inch to the length so it would hit at the bottom of my knee. I prefer more of a fitted rather than baggy look. Girl on the Go goes up to size 18 and you can get a very similar look using the Liesl + Co. Maritime Knit Top by turning it into a dress.

  2. Erica

    I love the humour and practicality of this idea! It reminds me of the belt/hip bag by indie designer A’N’D, which one could also recreate with the Classic or Recital Shirt sleeve patterns. Come to think of it, it would be funny and practical to add a second pair of “arms” to be a hip ties for dress versions of those patterns…. … thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Erica, I love the idea of having a second pair of arms, would come in handy for any mother 🙂

  3. This is great Rachel. I had no inkling of what you meant by “sleeve ties” but the ol’ jumper round the waist look is so familiar. Love this trompe l’oeil take on that.
    Bet one day you get a bit chilly and wish it was real!

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