Maxi Dress from a Jersey Knit Sheet

The other day I was walking through Target and saw that all of their back to college things were being clearanced out.  I snatched up a few packages of jersey knit sheet sets, knowing that I would get a ton of yardage for a very little price.  In fact, Kate has done the calculations.  There’s about 6 yards of material in a twin sheet set….whoa that’s a lot of material for my $12!!!

The sheets sat on my shelf for a few weeks, and then it hit me….the gray flat sheet would be a perfect maxi dress!  I whipped this dress up in about an hour…it is super easy!  So easy that I thought I would make a tutorial for you all!

DIY maxi dress tutorial

Here are the things you need to grab:

  1. a flat jersey knit sheet
  2. 1 inch wide elastic
  3. favorite t shirt pattern or shirt to trace (Kristin has a free tee pattern here)
  4. scissors
  5. sewing machine

Alright…let’s get started on the steps.  The dark gray in these pictures shows the wrong side of the fabric and the yellow shows the pieces you are cutting out.


  1. Lay the flat jersey sheet out in front of you lengthwise.
  2. Fold the left and right sides in. Step 3
  3. For this step you need to grab your t shirt or pattern to trace.  Cut out the front and back t shirt pieces on the fold.  End your pattern pieces 2 inches below your natural waist.  Also cut out your sleeves, neckband, and if you wish, armbands (to finish off your sleeves). Sew these t shirt pieces according to your pattern directions, but omit the bottom hem. Step 4
  4. Open your flat sheet back up.  The bottom part of the sheet will become your skirt with the hem becoming your bottom hem.  Measure yourself from your natural waist down to your ankles.  Take this measurement and add 1/2 inch.  Cut out your skirt piece by using this measurement as your length (in the picture the short side of the yellow rectangle) and then use the length of the sheet as the width of your skirt (the long side of the yellow rectangle).  Leave the left and right hem of the sheet behind when cutting out the width. Step 5
  5. Grab your elastic and measure around your waist.  Subtract 1 inch from that measurement and cut the elastic.  Overlap the ends of your elastic by 1/2 inch and zig zag stitch to form a tube. Step 6_edited-1
  6. With right sides together, fold your skirt in half and sew the back seam (this is the short side of your rectangle). Step 7_edited-1
  7. Flip your skirt right side out.  At the top (unhemmed edge) sew a row of basting stitches 1/4 inch below the top.  Sew a second row of basting stitches 1/4 inch below your first row.  Gather your skirt together by pulling on the top threads of your basting stitch.    Step 8
  8. Now pin your skirt to your elastic, with the elastic on the inside (wrong side) of the skirt, matching the top edge of your skirt with the top edge of the elastic.  I also matched the zig zag seam of the elastic with the seam of the skirt.  Sew the skirt to the elastic using a zig zag stitch.  Step 9
  9. Turn your shirt piece inside out and match the top of the skirt (where you gathered the fabric and sewed the elastic) with the unfinished bottom edge of your shirt.  Right sides will be matching.  Pin around, placing the skirt seam at the back of the shirt.  Sew the shirt to the skirt and elastic using a zig zag stitch or your serger.  You will need to stretch the elastic as you sew.  Flip right side out, and you are done!  Great work! Maxi dress from a sheet tutorial Maxi dress from a sheet tutorial Maxi dress from a sheet tutorial Maxi dress tutorial Maxi dress from a sheet tutorial Maxi dress from a sheet tutorial profile photo


  • Renee

    Stunning pictures!!! And thanks for the tutorial!

    • Teresa

      Thank Renee…my husband saw this and said “did you see she said I took stunning photos!” You made his day 🙂

  • I love this! I have actually been looking for a dress pattern like this! Looks like I’ll be going to target this weekend!

    • Teresa

      Yay…have fun at Target! I could spend hours there!

  • This is so, so great!! I love how you finished your sleeves!

    • Teresa

      Thanks Monica! I need to make a shirt that has sleeves like this…they are so easy and I love the look!

  • Awesome! I actually just picked up the super deep clearance jersey college sheets- they are neon yellow and pink. I’m planning on kids stuff and muslins 🙂 I’m totally pinning this , thanks for the layout I always screw that up when you need a big chunk for a skirt.

    • Teresa

      Ha…I picked up the neon pink! Don’t think I could pull off that color, but maybe some kind of color blocking. Sweet Pea would love anything made out of those bright colors though!

  • I love that you used a sheet…that is a fantastic idea! Comfy and lovely all at the same time.

    • Teresa

      Thanks…I have a whole lot more bed sheets to figure out what to do with!!!

  • I hope you win the sew-along cause I’m in love with this dress! I want 100 of them!! You got my vote!

    • Teresa

      Awww…you are super sweet! Thanks Shelly!

  • Teresa, The dress is stunning on you! Your hubby did great taking pics! Thank you for the tutorial 🙂

    • Teresa

      Jenya….thank you! Most importantly, it is super comfy 🙂

  • LOVE this!! Oh my gosh Teresa, absolutely incredible. I love that it has sleeves! I swear every single maxi dress I see always is sleeveless and it drives me crazy. Nothing wrong with sleeveless, I just think the look of these is so much more flattering. I am in love with the slouchy fit of the bodice too, and you are pure genius for thinking to use jersey knits. I’m going to remember that one for sure, and this tutorial of course too. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Teresa

      Aww Haylee….you are too sweet! Thanks so much 🙂

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  • I love your dress 🙂 it’s very pretty on you and looks comfy too. Thanks for the tutorial!

    • Teresa

      Thanks Lala….definitely a comfy dress! I can see it working through the fall too with a jean jacket thrown on!

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  • I am so making this in a midi version for myself!! Love it! and such great instructions!

    • Teresa

      Oooh…I love the midi version idea!

  • I love everything about this dress! It’s gorgeous but so easy!
    I have one of a similar style and wear it all the time!

    • Teresa

      Thanks Heather! I have worn this dress a ton already….I love it!

  • Bisi

    I have been looking for a tutorial like this everywhere. I love it. How thick was the elastic you used? Thanks 🙂

    • Teresa

      I used one inch elastic…I can’t wait to see if you make a maxi!

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  • Min

    Hi Teresa!

    I just found your blog recently while surfing for reviews on Indie Patterns. Love the fact that you have sewed up a good range of designs and shared kindly with us.

    May I know which tee shirt pattern did you use for this maxi dress? Or was it a self drafted one? I really like the banded sleeves. I am new to garment sewing, and cannot recall if there’s any tee shirt pattern that is similar to the one you are wearing now. Would really appreciate your guidance:). Thank you!

    • Teresa

      Emailing you!

      • Niccele

        Hi, is there any way I could get an email of the tee shirt pattern too? It looks super comfortable and the longer length sleeves are just what I’m looking for. Thank you!

  • Lucy Caitlyn

    Just found your site and I’m delighted I did. What a gorgeous dress wish we had “Target” in UK :~(
    I’ll def be making this lovely dress though, will have to be shorter as I’m in a wheelchair and long dresses tend to get caught. Plan on a mid calf length and a just above knee with leggings. Many thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your inspiration too.

    just checked my stash and I have a burnt orange needlecord with abstract floral embroidery in dark brown which I think will look lovely as this dress :~)

  • Amanda LJ Adams

    Hello! I love this pattern, I’ll definitely be using it! I was wondering where you got your t-shirt pattern, I love the sleeves!


  • Sonia

    When you sowed the bodice to the skirt, is the elastic covered or will it be rubbing against your skin. Thank you.