Friday, April 27, 2012


The Tale of Eco-Princess...

Well, not the end of the post.

This Earth Day challenge was unlike anything I have ever done before, that's for sure! I have a real problem of buying fabric. Sometimes I buy fabric because I love it, even though I have no idea what I am going to use it for. To be earth-friendly this week, my goal was to make an outfit entirely out of t-shirts already in my house, spending zero dollars, and doing something that any other earth-friendly person could do as well. I achieved the last goal and almost the first two, but did end up buying three extra t-shirts from Goodwill and a bottle of purple Rit dye.

I raided our closets and dressers for old t-shirts that were stained, too small, or otherwise haven't been worn in years. The humble beginnings:

Although the construction of the dress came together exactly as I had initially planned, the whole concept evolved as I went. When you're reusing materials you kind of have to just go with the flow, let go a little bit of control, and see what the finished product turns into. It was a lot of fun!

This look is made up of two pieces. First is the dress, pieced together with our favorite screen-printed images and tied in back with a large bow. The neck and sleeve bands are cut from the neck bands of the old t-shirts. It has an elasticized waist and is finished on bottom with a double row of stitches (everyone sewing with knits should have a twin needle!). The second piece is a petticoat I made entirely out of whatever was left of the t-shirts. The dress is perfectly finished in every way, but the petticoat I wanted to leave raw with unfinished edges. I cut out as many strips as I could, sewed them together, and let my ruffle foot gather it all together. I attached the ruffles to two circle layers and then to an elastic waistband, circle skirt style.

My favorite part about the concept of this dress is the many possibilities! Use color dye. Use favorite characters. Use ripped, stained, or otherwise unwearable shirts. Use daddy's favorite team t-shirts! Use her old baby onesies (we used one!). Use the neckbands that are already there for you on the t-shirts. Use any pattern of dress style you want. Heck, even use the tags you cut out to make a bracelet (see below!). Use your daughter in the designing process and you will have a custom dress just for her that she will love. The important thing is that you are reusing what you already have and are cleaning out your closets a little bit in the process.

It is so much fun to see how it all comes together!

I always like to show pictures of my clothes inside out so that you can see all the pieces that came together and to show how important quality construction is to me. Remember when I said the petticoat was raw? Notice the sleeve opening on it's side in the bottom picture. Did I bother to cut it out? Nope. It adds to the funkiness. Plus I was working with only the scraps of shirts I had left so I had to make do.

First, head over to Project Run & Play and VOTE for my look! And second, go search through your closets for old shirts that can be turned into something new and special, reusing things you already have!

Eco-princess would approve.


  1. This is BY FAR the best t-shirt dress I've ever seen! Somehow all those purples really come together for a cohesive, non-recycled look. And I LOVE the petticoat! Great job!

  2. Great use of textiles - you really pulled a lot together. I love that you show inside out pictures - I think I need to start doing that.

  3. Oh man! That pettiskirt rocks!! I love how you could have it under a dress or on its own. And the piecing on the dress is awesome! No wonder she's such a happy princess!

  4. I like seeing the insides too! I can appreciate some quality construction :) The petticoat was a great idea, it adds a lot.

  5. love, love this dress! i'm going through my daughters t shirts this weekend..and i love how you dyed them all the same smart! oh, and that!:)

  6. I'm so loving watching each challenge. You ROCK!!

  7. I enjoyed reading the fairytale that you wrote :D
    I agree with everything written in the comments.
    The purples are so eye catching !
    The labels bracelet is the sweetest thing ever & a super clever idea.
    Thanks for sharing a photo of the inside, it's just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside :)
    Keep up the good work !

  8. I love the way you did the blog post!!!!!! This ensemble was very well thought out! Great job!!! I find myself voting for you and kiki every week!

  9. This is stunning! I voted for YOU on Project Run and Play and am your newest follower!

  10. I really think your idea of dying everything is fantastic - a great way to make the t shirts all work so well together. I love your story telling photos too!

  11. Oh yeah, I REALLY love that pettiskirt! My daughter would wear that as a regular skirt and I'd be a happy mama! This whole outfit looks so comfy and playful.

  12. This is so stunning and your photoshoot was the cutest idea ever! Sharing on fb

  13. The dye really brings it all together and your daughter sure looks like she loves her new dress!

  14. I absolutely love this! It was my favorite by far this week. I have done a ton with old t-shirts but never used so many on one is a great idea! Time to hit the garage sales!

  15. I love that you show the insides! I am a sucker for purple and love all the different shades! This looks like the perfect thing for a girl to wear and twirl in, but be comfortable at the same time.

    By the way, your jumper last week almost killed me with cuteness. Its maybe my favorite sewn thing I have seen on a blog ever. Just perfect...everything about it.