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Upcycle Your T-Shirts to Nightgowns

You can upcycle old T-shirts into nightgowns for kids. All you need is a bit of your imagination! 

Take your child with you to a garage sale or a thrift shop, and you can both have fun picking out T-shirts to work with. With a sewing machine, it only takes a couple of seams and some elastic, and voila! You kid has a new nightgown. 

If you have a small child or toddler, a small T-shirt will work. For an older child, a large is better. Basically, you want the T-shirt to be long enough for the child to fit like a nightgown. 

Threading the Elastic

Once you have a T-shirt selected, use a seam ripper to cut a small hole inside the neck binding. You’ll need to do the same with the sleeves. Thread a narrow elastic all the way around the neck (or sleeve) and back out the same hole. You’ll probably need about one foot for the neck and half a foot for each sleeve. 

However, because how much elastic you need will depend on the neck and sleeves, it is best to start with a long piece. You can then thread it through, have the child try it on, and then tighten it as needed. Once the elastic is the correct length, sew each piece together with a zigzag stitch. 

Set the Hems and Fix with Sewing Machine

The simplest way to determine where the side and bottom hems should be is to take a T-shirt that fits your child and place it over the nightgown. Pin a new seam starting above the sleeve hem, going under the armpit, and down the bottom of the nightgown. Do this for both sides. To avoid making the nightgown too tight, don’t make the hem exactly the same size as the outline of the T-shirt. 

Using your sewing machine, sew the hems. Have the child try it on to make sure it fits. If it does, trim away the excess seam allowance. If it is too small, you’ll have to take out the seams and set new ones. Once the seams are set and allowances trimmed, you can fold them to one side and then use the sewing machine to zig zag them flat. 

This is an easy way to recycle a favorite T-shirt into a child’s nightgown. All it takes is a little elastic and a few seams by sewing machine. If the T-shirt is plain, you and your child can have fun decorating it!


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