I found this shirt at a thrift shop the other day and fell in love. No, it's not exactly my style or size, but it was nice soft material, lovely colors, and already had the look of a toddler dress with just a few minor adjustments needed...
It already had a nice gather in the center of the chest:
Here's how I made it, should you find your own thrifted shirt looking for a better life.
First, I centered the gather where I wanted it on the little gal's chest, and cut excess material off the top.
I marked either end of the tape measure and drew lines parallel to the side seams because I wanted to keep the flare of the original garment. Continue your lines straight upward as so. Do not curve the upper part of the lines in or the chest will be smaller than you want it.
Cut on the lines, and sew up the sides (right sides together, of course).
With the scraps from the top and sides, cut strips 2 in wide and fold into bias tape. I reccomend a bias tape maker, but this can also be done by folding the strip lengthwise and ironing, opening it up and folding both sides to the center crease and ironing again. Then fold the whole thing in half and iron again. Pictures speak louder than words:
Next, I cut strips for my straps. I cut the strips 2 inches wide, which makes about a 3/4 in wide strap. Sew it into a tube...
then turn it right side out and press:
Next, I attached the homemade bias tape all the way around the top. I started and ended at the back so it would be less obvious, but you could start on the side so it would be under the arm too.
Then I sewed the straps to the front of the garment. I sewed in two spots, as seen in pic, for strength.
I had the little gal try it on to determine how long to make the straps and where exactly to attach them on the back. I sew the back of the straps at a slight diagonal, since I wanted them to cross that way.
Ta-da! A new home for an unwanted shirt! Now we just need to wait for the weather to warm up so we can ditch the long sleeve shirt and leggings underneath it.
Here are some actions shots, since when you're 1 action shots are about all you can do.