Easy Short Sleeve Dress and T-shirt Dress Tutorials


Adorable girls from an Indian orphanage wearing our dresses.

We would love to have some sleeved dresses (size 10 and up is best) for our inventory, and I found some simple tutorials to get you started if you are interested in serving 500 Dresses in this way.

All of the dresses that we ship to India must have sleeves, and we don’t often have a lot of notice before a shipment is to go out. We send our dresses to India via missionary luggage, so we don’t plan shipment dates. The more of you who donate sleeved dresses, the easier it will be for us to fill a suitcase when we are given an opportunity to ship to India.

Thanks for considering helping us out by trying out one of these dress styles!

Twirly Tshirt dress tutorial

Twirly T-Shirt Dress Tutorial (From craftycupboard.net)


T-Shirt Dress Tutorial (from jackandkate.com)


How to Make a T-shirt Dress (from thehappyhousewife.com)


Short Sleeve Peasant Dress Tutorial (from sewlikemymom.com)


Easy Shift Dress DIY Tutorial (from sewpetitegal.blogspot.com)

Dresses for India

We’re shipping some dresses to India 🙂 Much like when we shipped to Uganda, these dresses will be sent in a suitcase on a flight with a missionary, saving a lot of money in shipping.

We’d love to have your help, but there are two stipulations with these dresses.

1. They must have sleeves.

2. They must be at least knee length.

Below I have linked to a few sleeved dress tutorials I’ve found online that look relatively simple. You can choose one of these or make a dress from a pattern you have as long as it fits the parameters. We will be shipping a variety of sizes.

DEADLINE: August 30.

Questions? Leave a comment or send me a message at 500dresses@gmail.com.

peasant pic

from onceuponasewingmachine.com

Peasant Dress Tutorial


from scatteredthoughtsofacraftymom.com

Peasant Dress Tutorial #2

shift dress

from morningbymorningproductions.blogspot.com

Shift Dress Tutorial

womens dress 3

from elleapparelblog.com

T-Shirt Shift Dress Tutorial

Easy Sundress Patterns For the Sewing Novice

One of our frequently asked questions is, what pattern do you use for dresses?

The simple answer is we use a lot of different patterns. My mom, who is a seamstress extraordinaire makes some super pretty dresses using patterns that I won’t touch.

I am mediocre on the sewing machine and prefer as few pattern pieces as possible. Plus I don’t do zippers and I try to stay away from buttons 🙂

Below are a couple easy patterns that I regularly use

siimplicity halter pic

Simplicity Halter #5531

I this #5531 may be discontinued because I can only find it for sale on etsy, but I did find a similar one that you could try.

Simplicity Halter 6478

Simplicity Halter #6478

Let me know if you give #6478 a try. I haven’t used it, but it looks very close to the one I do use.

For larger sizes I usually use the Butterick pattern below.

Butterick 3860

 Butterick #3860

Depending on the fabric, sometimes I add a little trim to this pattern because it can look very plain.

We also accept dresses made from the pillowcase dress pattern. The following is a good tutorial.


Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

We use the above patterns regularly, but will accept any sundress pattern you choose to use. It’s fun to have a variety of sizes and styles to ship.

Happy Sewing 🙂

5 Teen and Women’s Summer Sundress and Maxi Skirt Patterns and Tutorials

I rarely wear a dress. In fact, the day I wore a pretty little purple dress to church earlier this spring 5 people made a special effort to mention how surprised they were to see me in one.

I do love the look of maxi skirts though, and I’m contemplating making an attempt at sewing the one I linked below. Or maybe I’ll just be lazy and ask my mom to make me one. Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll do.

Maybe you will want to try making one of these for yourself. Or you could make one to ship to Haiti or Uganda. We get a lot of little girl dresses, but not nearly as many that will fit a teenager. We’ll happily accept your larger dress donations.

womens dress 1

Maxi Skirt Tutorial

@ the winthrop chronicles

womens dress 3

Summer Shift Dress

@ Elle Apparel

womens dress 4

Summer Sack Dress

@ Little Kids Grow

womens dress 5

Color Block Tunic

@ My Growing Home

womens dress 6

Tank Dress

@ A Small Snippet

5 Little Girl Summer Sundress Patterns and Tutorials

I’m pretty sure your little girl would look adorable in any one of the five dresses I’ve linked to.  Or, if you were blessed with 3 handsome boys and 0 girls like me, I’m positive we could find a little girl in Haiti or Uganda who would look beautiful in one.

Some look a little more challenging than others, but there are no zippers or any other crazy things involved like buttons and collars, so I think they are all doable for a mediocre seamstress.

Take a peek at the links, and if you make one, let me know. (Most of the websites have a bunch of other tutorials too, so you might find more patterns to try.)


Two Tee Shirt Summer Dress

(@ Polka Dot Chair)

sundress 1

Easy Breezy Summer Dress

(@ To Sew With Love)


Oops-A-Daisy Dress

(@ Mama Says Sew)


 Tank Top Ruffle Dress

(@ Sew Homegrown)


Boho Maxi Dress

(@ Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom)

Cinch Sack – Drawstring Backpack Tutorial

Here’s another sewing project to do in Haiti. It’s simple to make a cinch sack, but not quite as simple to explain the instructions. Hopefully they are clear enough to understand 😉


Cut a piece of fabric 36 inch x 16 inch.  A medium weight fabric is best. Too light and it may rip. Too heavy and it will be difficult to cinch shut.IMG_1736

Fold over ¼ – ½ inch down the long sides and stitch to get rid of your raw edge. (You may want to press it first to make the sewing easier.)


Now you are ready to make the casing which will eventually hold the drawstring. Fold and press the shorter sides under ¼ of an inch (the sides that still have a raw edge), and then fold and press again 1 ½ inches to form the casing. But don’t sew it yet.

Unfold what you just ironed (you will be able to see the creases), and then fold the piece in half matching raw edges.

Starting 3 ½ inches from top raw edge, sew side seam to within 3 inches of the bottom. These 3 inches that are left open will be where the drawstring is sewn in. (Sew between the pins – see photo – with a ½ inch seam.)


Press seams open.


Sew top 3 ½ inches (on both sides) in place as shown in photo.

Finishing top opening

Pin the casing down where it was pressed earlier and sew both sides close to the folded edge. You will end up with a casing that is open on each side of the bag.


It is good to reinforce the stitching where the open ends of the casing meet (as shown in photo)


Cut a light to medium weight knit or an athletic-type fabric 60 inches long and 2 inches wide. (You can also use a cotton fabric, but you would need to finish the edges. The knit and athletic fabric does not fray, so you do not need to finish the edges.) Purchased cording is another alternative for the straps.

Pin safety pin to one end of each strap. Pull strap through both casings forming a circle. Do the same with the second strap, but start on the opposite end. This will give you your drawstring.


Turn bag right side out.

Fold ends of straps in half, and lay one on top of the other. Stick the two ends an inch into the top of opening on the bottom of the bag. Pin in place. Do the same on the other side.

new straps in

Turn wrong side out again.

Take pin out of right side and pin it on the wrong side, and sew in place and finish the side seam to the bottom of the bag. It’s a good idea to reinforce the stitching going across the strap section.

Turn it right side out and you have a finished cinch bag.

Finished product

Another Easy Fabric Flower Tutorial

Mom came up with this simple little flower as a possible project to teach in Haiti. They are so cute, but for some reason my boys won’t let me put one in their hair.

You only need a few supplies to make one of these.

Flower 7

Supply List

fabric (small scraps are perfect)

needle and thread

scissors and measuring tape or rotary cutter and cutting board

iron and ironing board

button (optional)

Hair scrunchie or hair clip (optional)


You will need two cut two pieces of fabric.

1 – 3 1/2″ x 15″

1 – 2 1/2″ x 15″

Flower 1

Next, iron a crease in each piece about 1/4 inch off center as shown.

Flower 2

Once you have ironed both pieces, lay them one on top of the other as shown.

Flower 3

Now you  are ready for a little hand stitching. Stitch along the length of the fabric near the crease. (You will be sewing through all four layers). Your stitches should be about 1/2 inch apart.

Flower 4

When you reach the end, pull the thread through creating a tight ruffly circle.

Flower 5

After you have pulled the fabric tight, stitch the two ends together.

Flower 6

Now pull the four layers apart and you end up with an adorable fabric flower.

Flower 9

Optional additions/alterations:

Sew a button to the center of the flower

Sew or hot glue the flower onto a hair scrunchie, hair clip or dress

Play around with the width and/or length of the fabric pieces in the first step to create smaller or larger flowers.

(Maybe I’ll sew one of these onto one of my boys’ shirts and see if they notice. 😉 )