Make This: The 30 Minute $6 Dress Tutorial


Guest post by Rachael at Talk 2 the Trees.

The perfect dress is hard to come by. I like my dresses to be cheap, and long enough. (I’m not a fan of super short dresses) When it comes to clothing, cheap and long dresses don’t seem to go hand in hand.. so, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! Here is a tutorial for a simple yet cute dress. It takes about 30 minutes to make and costs much less than most dresses!

Here’s Your Supplies List:

1. First you will need a ribbed tank top.  I got mine from Walmart for 2.50. And you could also use a t-shirt. 2. You’ll also need 3 yards of matching fabric. *Clearance section is my favorite. I got three yards for 3.00 total. Quite the steal. 3. Scissors 4. Thread 5. Sewing machine


Here’s How you Make it:

1. Cut the tank top almost in half. This will depend on your bust size, and how short you want your dress as well. The shorter the tank top, the shorter your dress will be.

2. For the bottom part of your dress take the fabric and wrap it around your waist about 1 and a half times, and cut in a straight line. The fabric will come to you already folded, don’t unfold it. This way you have kind of a bubble hem. You don’t need to hem up the bottom at all, and the inside will look like the outside. I never measure, I never use patterns… Sorry if this seems silly!

3. Next you fold your fabric in half. Remember it’s already folded, so you are folding it again, creating a skirt. Sew up the short side. (There will be four layers of fabric that you are sewing.) So, you have kind of a big blocky rectangle skirt.

4. Next open it up and change your sewing machine’s tension so it will create the biggest stitches possible. Instead of sewing a waist band in like a normal skirt, you are just sewing a straight line around the two layers of fabric joining them together (You are sewing the raw edges, not the bubble hem).

5. We are going to create a ruffle. Don’t do a back stitch when you start sewing around the skirt or after. To make the skirt ruffle you hold the thread and scoot the fabric down. Make sure the skirt ruffles are evenly distributed and pretty loose.

6. Next, turn the skirt part inside out so that the raw edges (from when you turned it into that big blocky skirt) are facing out, and put the tank top inside as pictured.

7. Now pin the tank top and the dress together. Once it’s pinned make sure that the tanktop part of the dress folds out to be inside out like the skirt part.

8. Make sure that the tank top park lays flat and the skirt part is ruffled still.

9. Make sure your tension is set back to normal and sew the skirt and the tank top together just under the previous stitches.

10. Remove the pins and the dress part is done! Now for the sash.

11. Cut a strip out of the left over fabric, about double of how thick you want your sash to bed. Fold it in half long ways so that the printed side is facing in. And sew up the sides.

12. Turn it right side out and finish up the edges, and you are done! The sash is not actually sewn onto the dress, it’s removable and is just tied in the back. You could always use a regular belt or another coordinating fabric for the belt!

Here’s the tutorial in pictures…

Believe it or not, this dress only took about 30 minutes to make. And get ready for this… It cost about $6 total! If you are looking for a budget dress that you can make on your own, this is it.

About the author. My name is Rachael, I’m an artist, creator and blogger living in Utah. I have two silly puppies and a lot of creative projects cluttering up my house. I love a good adventure, and I love to document my explorations through various art forms. Follow my adventures at


52 comments | Click here to reply

I love it!!
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Naomi | August 16th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Awesome Naomi. I love it too. Rachael is definitely a talent behind the sewing machine. Thanks for stopping by!

papernstitch | August 16th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Hmmm…this is nice and has got me thinking- I bet this could be done with a variety of shirts!
How do you put it on? I have a few more curves and think it might be a tight fit over some areas with the waist. Maybe elastic to keep the gathers and be able to stretch a bit.

Jordan | August 16th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Oh wow, this is a really awesome idea! And so easy!
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Julia @ Boredom Abounds | August 16th, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Love the way you think. I would only change the wording in step 4 – change the stitch length (to bigger) instead of the tension. Called a basting stitch and commonly used to create gathers.
I try to avoid messing with the tension.
Sew on girl.

SueF | August 24th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

whaaaaaaaaaat?! this is AMAZING!!!! what an awesome project! i wish i had a sewing machine to try it myself!!!
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erin * sparkle & hay | August 26th, 2011 at 11:36 am

beautiful and simply! I love it!
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elle | October 23rd, 2011 at 6:44 am

Really cute Naomi… lovely work.

Ramya | January 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 am

I love this dress it was so easy to make like you said, I think ill have to make a few different ones in various colors, lol. Thank you for posting this it was a great help!

Shayla | January 10th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

OMG I LOVE IT im going to try and hand sewit with out the ruffle (they dont look so hot on big birls)

Brontae | January 16th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Yeah…I’d do that.

Nick | January 21st, 2012 at 8:50 pm

That girl is even cuter!
i might do this though just to do it. i’ve been meaning to learn to sew, it would be a fun project for my mom and me.

Jonathan | January 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 pm

i’ve already made six of these dresses…all sorts of color combinations..they are adorable with slouch socks and sneakers, or sandals..or high heels !! so cute !!
and SO easy to make !

susie | January 27th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Wow, this is amazing! I’ll definitely try this out when I have the chance. 😀

Evelina | February 3rd, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Im 53 yrs old and I could wear this! You are very crafty this is great little dress keep posting your ideas they are wonderful

Kym | February 8th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

My best friend pinned this on Pinterest and . . . !!! This might be the thing that will make me get out my sewing machine for the first time since moving to NYC 6 and a half years ago. You are a GENIUS.

Unapologetically Mundane | February 15th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I made a couple of these for a friend and one for me …so far! Love them and easy – no matter your size or shape!

You can use a variety of “t-shirts” – that helps give them a little give and take – comfort!

AND don’t toss the bottom you cut off the shirt – make a matching t-shirt scarf! Lots of patterns for these on Pinterest and other sites! Fast, easy and fun!

Diane | February 15th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

So cute….just wish I could sew ;-(

Julie G. | February 21st, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I had trouble when making this, because the skirt piece pulled down on my shirt piece giving it a stretched look that was unappealing. How do I fix that?

Danielle | March 9th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

How do you get it on?!?! I made it all and was so pleased then burst through all the stitches trying to put it down over my head.

Emily | March 11th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

CLEVER ALERT. The 30 Minute $6 Dress Tutorial:

ninandjuice (@ninandjuice) | March 12th, 2012 at 4:33 am

Ladies, can’t find a dress you like? You could make one yourself.

Michelle Funderburg (@sensei7) | March 17th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

For the sewing inclined – a 30 minute $6 dress. Simple & fast. #sewing #crafts

Wildly Romantic (@LovesDreams) | March 18th, 2012 at 11:27 am

Love your dresses. I learned a trick for those of you who might have a few more curves. I made a similar dress but used elastic thread in the bobbin when I attached the skirt to the tanktop. It gathers it as you see and gives it more stretch, making it easier to put on.

Julie Williams | March 22nd, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This is a really great Idea!! I think i’m going to try and put an elastic in the waist band to make it a maternity shirt/dress! This is super cute! Thanks!!
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Danielle | April 12th, 2012 at 11:25 am

This was a great idea, i just made one of these for my daughter out of one of her old t-shirts. Turned out great 🙂

Amber | April 13th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Beautiful dress! It’s quite amazing to make it ready in just $6. Thanks for sharing…
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Anand Mistry | April 14th, 2012 at 7:23 am

Wow! Awesome and easy! I absolutely love tutorials that are simple and use inexpensive materials! Keep up the great work!

missyr333 | April 20th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I’ve made a couple of these dresses now. I too have a larger bust and found that using a zig-zag stitch rather than a straight stitch when attaching the skirt to the top means there is more than enough give to get it on. One think though is that I don’t know how anyone could possibly make this for $6. At the best of times fabric is at least $8/m plus the top alone is about $6.

Lou | April 21st, 2012 at 6:17 am

Thank you! I’ve got some old tanks, a sewing
Machine that I don’t know how to use and a lot
Of fabric… This will be lots of fun for me and my two

Lisa | May 26th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Lou, I’m not sure (based on you using meters in your comment) if you’re in the US, but fabric definitely does not have to cost $8/yd. There are so many fabric store options, both with real storefronts and online, that offer tons of possibilities for under $3.50 per yard on the clearance aisles – sometimes as low as $1 per yard. JoAnn’s Fabrics (can also shop online), Hobby Lobby,,, even Walmart, to name a few. Maybe do a little more searching…

Joy | June 27th, 2012 at 1:45 am

I have maybe 8 of these now… they are all I wear, and I’m practically famous at the fabric store!

Meghan | June 27th, 2012 at 7:45 am

Even though I work for McCall Pattern; I think this is a grand idea.

DOnna | June 28th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

cute!!!! i gotta try, that looks easy enough!

Galy | July 13th, 2012 at 1:32 am

Maybe some new clothes will chase away those teacher Back to School Blues. 😉 This dress would look really sweet with a little cardigan.
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Trina | August 12th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I just made my second diy dress. But its all sewn by hand. it took me couple of hours to create this dress.. so I’m planning to buy a sewing machine very soon.,

Velle Neis | September 7th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Wow! That is so awesome! I’m gonna have to try that, especially because I hate using patterns. 😛

Tessi | December 5th, 2012 at 5:57 am

I am a very curvy women and finding curvy plus vintage dresses is a bit hard for me but I have a TON of vintage fabric, so I am going to make my own! Thanks!

Madelyn | February 8th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

brilliant work!!! beautiful and (looks) simple! love it.
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monkeycocoa | April 18th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

[…] The 30 Minute $6 Dress Tutorial – You can use any knit shirt for this, like maybe one that you already have? […]

23 Free Sewing Tutorials for Women’s Dresses! | April 28th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I just about finished my first one of these dresses and managed to do it for just over $10 which is pretty good considering the clearance section of fabrics I went to was nonexistent and I bought more expensive fabric. I did have an issue with the stiches showing a bit where there were slightly bigger ruffles but sewing around the waist a second time fixed it, next time I might try using a smaller stitch but all in all I was thoroughly impressed at how simple it was! Best of all, for once a dress isn’t too short on me!

Kim | June 14th, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I think this is a super way to make easy dresses. I make it even cheaper by using thrift store skirts and tanks! If you go on half off day you can get all the supplis for about $4! 🙂

Wendy P | July 8th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hey, I found your Tutorial and I love your dresses. So I tried one by myself, but it’s at the line between top and skirt a little bit big. Do I have to stretch the top while sewing? I’m scared that without stretching it will be crack. Can you helb me? Thanks!

Saretta | July 12th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

So cute!! I’m 13 and made it with my grandma. Remember to make sure you can get it on before you put the tank top and shirt together though.

Jen | August 10th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

This is awesome. I love the turquoise top. I think this dress will be my first sewing project! I’m so excited!!!

Charla | October 30th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I made this and it was really cute but my fabric was too heavy and I don’t think my shirt was strong enough to hold it so it stretched out weird. I will definitely try this again, maybe with less fabric by cutting it in half along the fold and hemming the bottom.

Emily | January 24th, 2014 at 2:22 am

I’m a beginner, like this is my second project and I can’t seem to understand how to do step 3 and 4. Can I get help fast???!!!

Carlyna | February 26th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I am going to make this for my girls but with princess Anna (frozen) colours of material

Charlene | July 9th, 2014 at 11:23 pm

It is just wow idea to make my own dress …love it …hats off Rachael …going to try it one day ….. Maddy 🙂

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boca raton financial advisor jobs in atlanta ga | September 11th, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I love how it turned out! So perfect for summer!!!

Kayleigh | April 25th, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Great tutorial, but the images aren’t loading for me. I tried on my computer and on mobile. … Am I the only one? I’d love to see the photos! 🙂
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