Friday, January 15, 2010

Onesie to Dress: A Guest Tutorial from Ramona Burkeshire (part one)

Today we are excited to host our first guest tutorial!  Ramona from TheBurkeshires is joining us to show how to make this adorable baby dress.

We first saw Ramona's work on Wardrobe Refashion and clicked over to her blog... you will want to visit too, to see her other amazing tutorials and projects.  Here is a little about Ramona...

I'm living in my home town of San Pedro, CA, (forgotten suburb of LA), with my WONDERFUL husband, 3 year old boy, and 1 year old daughter. (and 4 cats, 3 hens, and 2 big dogs). I love sewing, knitting, embroidery, dancing, reading, and learning new crafts...(when I'm not busy playing trains or construction, of course...) I also love ellipses and parenthetical statements.

Easy Baby/Toddler Dress Tutorial

To make this empire-waist baby dress, you need:
1 onesie that fits (at least the top, collar, sleeves need to fit, but it can be too short)
1 adult or child (not baby) jersey or stretch shirt (so you don’t have to hem the bottom) or you can use about  ½ a yard of jersey fabric (45-60” wide), sew it into a big circle, and hem the bottom.
Needle, thread, machine (I use my serger, but zigzag on a regular machine would work too), imagination…

Cutting: Lay your onesie out flat, and draw (or just eyeball) a line across from side to side about an inch down from the arm pits.  Cut across.
Save the part you just cut off; you might want to use it later!
The top part will be the top of your new dress!

Grab an old shirt of yours (or husbands or older childs).  I used a medium sized mens shirt I had previously tried to refashion, but it still had the whole bottom part, so it totally works for this! Cut off the lower ½ just like you did with the onesie. Save the top of the shirt! You might want to use it later!

Pinning: turn the T-shirt inside out, and keep the onesie right side
out. Match the side seams, and pin, right sides together.
Now find the ½ point for each and pin those together. The shirt
will be much bigger than the onesie, but when you sew it together,
it will gather up nicely. If you’re shirt is really big (this will
give you a nice full skirt on your dress), pin the ¼ and 1/8 points
as well.

Sewing: Start sewing at one of the ¼ points towards a side seam. Stretch the onesie to match the unstretched t-shirt as you go.  See how stretched out the onesie is? But DON’T stretch the t-shirt! And don’t PULL on your fabrics, you’ll ruin the timing on your machine. Just stretch the onesie, but allow the fabrics to go through the machine as easily as they can. The reason you should start where I suggest is in case you have a really big shirt: if you let the shirt bunch near the center front and back of the onesie, it’ll look like
you put little pleats in. (and you can, if you have a big enough shirt
and want to take the extra time)

 You can see here, from the lettuce edge, that I really stretched my onesie, but it w9ll go back down as soon as I wash it.

TADA! You’re done!Turn the dress right side out, and iron (clearly I forgot that step), and admire!

If you have a onesie or a shirt with prints, feel free to stop here. But, if your onesie was as plain as mine, paired with a plain colored t-shirt, you might want to decorate it.

Join us tomorrow as Ramona continues her tutorial and explains how to make some adorable embellishments for these dresses, including a pom pom and the ruffles featured in the first picture!

Note to all makers: feel free to take/use whatever portions of this tutorial you find helpful/inspiring. You can make something awesome without too much work, or you can put a lot of effort into it and keep
it as a family heirloom. I love these because my daughter looks cute, is comfortable, and they’re so easy/fast/cheap I can afford to take risks. Worst case scenario: it’s a nightgown that nobody else ever sees!

Take cute pictures, and add them to my Flickr group (please?!?! I just started it just for this!, or just let your little one enjoy her new dress (and hey, it’s cotton
jersey, so it can get super dirty, ‘cause it’s super washable!) 

Hope you enjoy making some cute dressed for your little ones!


You did a fantastic job!  Thanks for sharing your creativity and taking the time to show us how it's done=) That last picture is precious!


  1. Awesome! I was going to "get around" to doing this anyways, but seeing this on Craft Gossip really got me motivated! Here's the one I made this afternoon :) Thanks!

  2. The dresses are just lovely :)

  3. Don't you just love repurposing clothes? It's made me love sewing again.


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