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How to Convert a Basic T-Shirt Into 5 Dresses (No Sewing)

My area of study is fashion merchandising. But I have a secret weapon—I love to write a lot about fashion.

How to Convert a Basic T-Shirt Into 5 Lovely Dresses

How to Convert a Basic T-Shirt Into 5 Lovely Dresses

The History of the T-Shirt

Everyone knows that the basic T-shirt is recognized to be a plain shirt with short sleeves and a round crew neck with no collar. It was labeled the "T-shirt" because of the T-shape of the shirt from the sleeves to the substructure. In the early 1900s, the basic T-shirt was only used as an undergarment for men. After the Great Depression in the United States, it then became an everyday garment that both men and women wore openly.

How T-Shirts Are Used in Today's Fashion

Now, fast forward a couple of years later into the world of sparkles, lace, and 6-inch heels. Since the basic T-shirt is a plain shirt, you can easily find it a little difficult to change it into a fabulous outfit from a fashion magazine. How can the basic T-shirt compete with the latest styles, colors, and more polished fabrics and textiles? Well, I've discovered that almost anyone can convert the basic T-shirt into five lovely dresses with no sewing.

Generally, if your personal style is a classic "girly girl" or you just generally love clothes and fashion, then knowing how to convert your basic style into five dresses may be appealing to you. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to style, dress up, and design the basic t-shirt today and I'm so glad that I've discovered a few ways to accomplish that. It will only take a few minutes of your time and before you know it, you will be proudly parading your lovely dresses at the beach, school, or a summer party.

DIY T-Shirt Into a Dress (No Sew)

DIY T-Shirt Into a Dress (No Sew)

How to Convert a T-Shirt Into a Dress Without Sewing

The only supplies you will need is a basic T-shirt in extra-large.

1. The Tube T-Shirt Dress

Take your extra-large shirt and put it on, but instead of putting your arms into the sleeves, place your arms inside the opening of the neck. Now take the sleeves, bring them behind you and tie a knot with the sleeves to create a bow in the back. Be sure you make a secure knot in the back to prevent the sleeves from falling apart.

Tip: To style your dress, you can dress it up by adding a few of your favorite trendy accessories.

I incorporated some sparkle by wearing a dazzling diamond scoop necklace and earrings. I chose to add a rope belt to accentuate my waistline. To finish the look I included a clutch purse and some classic pumps and called it a day. With the tube dress, you can pull off wearing this to a nice summer party.

The Tube

The Tube

With the tube dress, you can pull off wearing this to a nice summer party.

With the tube dress, you can pull off wearing this to a nice summer party.

2. The Front Bow T-Shirt Dress

With the second dress you are going to repeat the same steps as the "Tube T-shirt Dress," but this time instead of taking the sleeves and tying them in the back, bring the sleeves to the front and tie a knot. Tie the knot as neatly as possible to showcase a really nice bow in the front.

Tip: Wear your hair up or in a ponytail for a more polished look.

I decided not to wear a necklace for this dress but make a bold statement with a pair of big flashy earrings. I added a nice white blazer for sophistication and class. I love bling so I cannot forget my favorite pair of emerald green pumps. You can wear the "Front Bow T-shirt Dress" to a party or on a cozy date night with your beau.

Front Bow

Front Bow

You can wear the "Front Bow T-shirt Dress" to a party or on a cozy date night with your beau.

You can wear the "Front Bow T-shirt Dress" to a party or on a cozy date night with your beau.

3. The High-Waist T-Shirt Dress

Slip into another T-shirt and place both arms into the neck hole of the shirt. Grab both sleeves and make sure your T-shirt is straight or in the right position. Take the right sleeve and cross it towards your left shoulder, then tuck the right sleeve into the top of the dress. Now do the same with the left sleeve. Take the left sleeve, cross it towards the right shoulder and tuck it into the top of the dress (or tuck the sleeves into your bra).

Tip: Don't forget to wear a strapless push-up bra with your dress for a more elegant look or form.

I love tights so I am wearing my dress with leopard print tights and a long black cardigan for a different style. My favorite pair of wedge heels add a little touch of spunk and it's the perfect match for this dress. Eye-catching gold jewelry and a clutch purse are a must-have for this look.

High Waist

High Waist

Faux Pockets

Faux Pockets

4. The Faux Pockets T-Shirt Dress

Put on your T-shirt and put your arms through the neck opening of the shirt. This time you do not tie the sleeves or do anything but put them into the dress to create fake pockets. If you don't like the faux pockets, just sew the edges of the sleeves, tuck them back in and you will have real pockets.

Tip: It's best to steam press or iron your T-shirt for a more sleek and tailored form.

I'm rocking a thin bright-colored belt above the pockets to cinch in the waist and to reveal a softer silhouette. Short silver-studded combat boots is a great addition to the outfit. I am also parading my dress with ethnic print tights, bold jewelry, and with my hair pulled back into a low bun.

Faux Pockets

Faux Pockets

Faux Pockets

Don't be afraid to wear big and bold accessories and play with the look of your dress. Let the inner diva come through and be a little sassy.

Don't be afraid to wear big and bold accessories and play with the look of your dress. Let the inner diva come through and be a little sassy.

5. The Off-the-Shoulder T-Shirt Dress

Get dressed and put on your T-shirt, but this time instead of putting both arms through the neck of the shirt, only put in your left arm through the neck of the shirt. Next, you are going to put your right arm through the right sleeve. To create a "no sleeve" style tuck in your right sleeve at the shoulder. Then, you are going to grab the left sleeve and tuck it down into the dress to create a faux pocket on the other side.

Tip: Don't be afraid to wear big and bold accessories and play with the look of your dress. Let the inner diva come through and be a little sassy.

I am going for a more crisp and refined look with this dress. So I'm sporting a wide cinch belt to emphasize an hourglass shape and to accentuate my waist. To differently style this dress I've added sparkle by wearing my favorite chandelier earrings and I also layered a pearl necklace for a bit of elegance. I can't forget my black closed-toe flats with faux metal studs to finish the look.



High-Waist T-Shirt Dress

High-Waist T-Shirt Dress

In closing, knowing how to convert your basic T-shirt into five dresses with no sewing, is a cute and quite neat discovery that adds a bit of creativity and design to any fashion wardrobe. Remember, you don't have to buy a plain white style to create your own dress.

You can recycle and use one of your boyfriend's shirts or any of your shirts. You can also use printed styles and those with different colors to incorporate your own spin into your dress. Enjoy your five different dresses and be the first to set a trend!

Where to Buy a Basic T-Shirt



Fruit of the Loom, 1 shirt

$3.58 +tax


Fruit of the Loom, 5 pack

$10.00 +shipping


Hanes, 6 pack

$14.49 +tax

Choose Your Favorite Dress!


Kathy on January 11, 2015:

Boy that relaly helps me the heck out.

PrincessJoy101 (author) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on August 22, 2014:

Thanks everybody!!! I realized that there are a lot of ways to style your basic t-shirt and I wanted to show that and take it to the next level, making it trendy. Glad you all enjoyed my hub.

PrincessJoy101 ;)

Kim on August 20, 2014:

OMG Love those ideas! I've saved the link to include in a page when (& wherever) I make it as the site I was wrting on is closing down.

Ndila Kimeu on August 20, 2014:

Oh My Goodness, this is wonderful Cherie! Amazing creativity, kudos on this hub!

Chin chin from Philippines on August 19, 2014:

Great tips. Now I know what to do with those XXL t-shirts we have around that nobody wants to wear.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on August 19, 2014:

So glad you gave us "All of the above" in the poll, because I love them all! You've taken a simple t-shirt and made it look like high fashion. You have a terrific eye for accessories too. Now, I wonder if I can find an extra plus size t-shirt that will work on my plus size body. My head is spinning with ideas!

Kiss andTales on August 19, 2014:

Very creative ! PrincessJoy101 I like that you show more then one way to be creative with T shirts. And you topped off with accecories ! I must say that it would be a great thing to consider in any wardrobe. Thank you for sharing !

Veenoo from India on August 19, 2014:

Wow! these are lovely....very interesting. Thanks

SEXYLADYDEE from Upstate NY on August 19, 2014:

Great Hub! Congrats on making the front page. Dee

Selina Kyle on August 19, 2014:

great job! Very inventive and they all look great on you, too!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 19, 2014:

Cool T-idea! You also make a great model.

mariexotoni on August 19, 2014:

This is so smart! Everything looks so adorable. Voted up!

Sami from Kansas on August 19, 2014:

Excellent job! I never knew that you could put together so many different looks with ONE T-SHIRT!!! My mind is officially blown by how much money I have spent shopping for multiple dresses that fit each of these different styles. You're creative and extremely inventive.

poetryman6969 on August 19, 2014:

And look good doing it!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 19, 2014:

Really. really clever and awesome. You should go into fashion designing....and you model well, too!

Donna Cosmato from USA on August 19, 2014:

Love this hub and your creativity - you could have a profitable career in fashion design if you ever give up writing! I've been looking for ways to add pink to my standard black wardrobe - guess I'll have to buy a pink t-shirt! Pinned, tweeted and shared on FB - this hub rocks!

Melesa Francis-Turner on August 19, 2014:

Awesome hub! You're so creative and you have a good taste for style too. I must try some of these. Thanks for the tips!

mours sshields from Elwood, Indiana on August 19, 2014:

This is very creative and a great idea and very original! I love it! Especially the high-waist one. I want to try it!

Marcia Ours

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 19, 2014:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! Well done, and very clever! I would never have thought of this myself. But then again, I'm not a 'dress' gal, but a jeans and t-shirts gal. Pure tomboy all the way. ;-)

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on August 19, 2014:

A friend shared something similar on Pinterest a while ago.

I like the Front Bow and the High waist.

It's hard to get some descent beach wears these days. Most everything leaves you hanging. So, I think the Front Bow and the High waist would be a great beach wear too.

Voted up and useful.

I've seen

Jade Samantha Cowan from Scotland on August 19, 2014:

You have made spare tshirts be worth having. Could you be my first follower on this?

Michelle Scoggins from Fresno, CA on August 19, 2014:

PrincessJoy101 great article and use of a tee-shirt!!! A tee-shirt is truly versatile and can be really played up :)

swilliams on August 19, 2014:

You are a very talented woman! Great tips! Voted up! And tweeted out!

Congrats on HOTD!

Kari on August 19, 2014:

I agree with Missi. This would have worked great for me when I was young. I guess you pack light? lol.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on August 19, 2014:

This is incredible, Princess Joy101. You are extremely creative. These t-shirt creations are so wearable and easy to make. OMG, I can't believe. It is also a well-done article. You look great, too. Congratulations on HOTD. You definitely deserve it. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 19, 2014:

This information is wonderfully inventive and saves a LOT of money on spring and summer dresses. Congratulations on this HOTD!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 19, 2014:

If I had just heard this, I'd think, right. I can't believe how nice those T shirts look! What a cool idea and you look adorable.

Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on August 19, 2014:

Awesome article! You look adorable in all of these styles. I think I'm going to try the high waist.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 19, 2014:

This deserved hub of the day! Fantastic. Makes me want to run out and stock up on colored t-shirts! And I probably will. Even better article having you model for us which of course not just anyone could do. Up and sharing. Congrats!

missirupp on August 19, 2014:

Darn it. Wish I knew about this when I was young enough to wear my shirts this way. Great ideas and good instructions with pics.

jtrader on August 19, 2014:

Creative ideas!!!

Dbro from Texas, USA on August 19, 2014:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! What a fun, creative idea this is! You did a wonderful job of illustrating each of the different styles - it's almost hard to imagine all of those different looks coming from the humble t-shirt! The model is lovely too!

Thanks for this creative and inspiring hub. You helped me start my day with a smile!

PrincessJoy101 (author) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 30, 2014:

Thanks Hautetropicgirl I'm glad you love the variations of the T-shirt dress :)

Hautetropicgirl from Sunshine State on July 30, 2014:

I love the many variations!

PrincessJoy101 (author) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 24, 2014:

Thank you Christy, I'm glad like the designs :)

Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on July 24, 2014:

Wow, you look SO CUTE in these ! Such creative designs. :)

PrincessJoy101 (author) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 18, 2014:

Team High Waist T-shirt dress ;)