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Making a T-shirt Art Dress

Before you sew your dress, you need to make the art on the fabric. When using the fabric dye, if you color the fabric before you sew, the seams will come together better. There isn't a lot of sewing needed to make this dress. The art is the centerpiece. So grab your blank t-shirts and get ready to create a masterpiece!

  1. Make the Art for your dress

    1. Cover your work area to prevent dye color ruining furniture. I like to spray dye on a card table on my deck.
    2. Start this art project by deciding on elements you want to include in the art piece. I wanted to include both words and flower cut outs. I wanted to use my own art and handwriting, so I created my own stencils. I hand cut flowers from freezer paper and then ironed the freezer paper flowers on. I also duplicated more of these flowers on my Cricut. To create the words I used my Cricut machine again. I'll share a Cricut how-to tutorial for making your own stencils later.
    3. Once your art pieces are ironed on to the fabric, spray dye color over the fabric. To created a layered color effect you want to literally layer the color. Spray one color and then another. Sometimes I let the color dry before adding another color. Sometimes I removed some art pieces between color changes and sometimes I added new art pieces.
    4. Make sure your fabric is completely dry before ironing on new pieces or you may end up with a funky iron stain… We are going to pretend I didn't stain my skirt… Can you see the iron mark?
    5. Continue adding art stencil and color layers until you are happy with the look. Rotate the shirt around so you don't have any color edges. This is not a quick process… Plan on a nice sunny day – all day – to create this color art. Remember this color effect is subtle and you can't really remove color. So, don't over color. But don't be afraid to add bright color.
    6. Experiment! You might want to try the dye effect on a plain Tshirt just to see how the dye reacts.
Flowers hand cut from freezer paper
Flowers hand cut from freezer paper


Word art stenciled on fabric -  cut from freezer paper on my Cricut
Word art stenciled on fabric – cut from freezer paper on my Cricut


The words say:

Embrace Life Every Day
Work Hard
Remember to play.


Color layers with stencil layers
Color layers with stencil layers


Back of dress is layers of stenciled flowers
Back of dress is layers of stenciled flowers


Close up of butterfly stencil and layers of sprayed dye color
Close up of butterfly stencil and layers of sprayed dye color

I love how the colors mixed on the freezer paper when I first started. Once I was finished they were nearly black. I think I'll reuse them in another project… more fun later.

Click Here to Continue Reading… how to sew your t-shirt art dress

Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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6 thoughts on “Making a T-shirt Art Dress”

  1. So pretty! I have trouble with thin strappy straps, too. I was looking at braided straps and thinking about adding those to a dress-maybe that would work for you?
    Thanks for joining in on SONP this year!

    • I really like the idea of the braided straps too. Thank you so much for including me this year, I loved participating!


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