How to Make a Cute Beach Cover-Up Dress Using 2 XXL Men's T-Shirts

Curly Made
by Curly Made
7 Materials
1 Hour

Today, I’m going to show you how to make a simple beach dress from two XXL men’s t-shirts. The first t-shirt makes the top and the second makes the skirt. This DIY beach cover-up dress is lightweight and perfect for summer.

Let’s get started!


  • Two XXL mens t-shirts
  • Pattern
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and board
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
Beach dress

Because I’m a size small, I was able to turn two XXL men’s t-shirts into a dress. Keep in mind that you may need something larger, depending on your size; or smaller, if you’re making something for a child.

DIY beach dress

1. Use a pattern to cut the top t-shirt

First, depending on the t-shirt style or the fit that you want for the beach dress, you may need to use a pattern.

Beach dress pattern

I traced this t-shirt pattern from a tee that fits me nicely.

Cutting the t-shirts

Place the pattern for the t-shirt on the body, fold it in half, and cut it. I’m using a rotary cutter, which is not the best, but I didn’t have a really good pair of scissors to hand.

DIY beach cover-up dress

Measure where you want the waist to meet on the dress, then cut there as well. 

Cutting the sleeves of the beach dress

2. Cut the sleeves

For the sleeves, I cut them out of the original sleeves of the t-shirt. Lay them flat, making sure the seams match, and cut the pattern on a fold.

I managed to use the original seam, but that may depend on the style of t-shirt that you’re using. 

Cutting the skirt of the beach dress

3. Cut the skirt

For the bottom part of the beach dress, measure how long you want it to be and cut what will become the skirt out of the second t-shirt. If you can and to save time, try keeping the original seam at the bottom.

How to make a simple beach dress

4. Sew the sides of the top

Now that every part is cut, now you can work on the top. Turn it inside out, pin the sides, and sew them. 

Sewing the sleeves

5. Attach the sleeves

Then, sew the sides on both sleeves. 

Attaching the sleeves to the dress

To attach the sleeves, I managed to do it the hard way, but I’ve since found out there are easier ways to sew sleeves!

My method was to flip the t-shirt right side up again and turn the sleeves inside out. Then, I inserted the sleeves, making sure the seams matched. 

Pinning fabric together

I pinned everything together, did a quick basic stitch by hand, then sewed it all with my machine.

How to make a beach dress

6. Sew the top and skirt together to make the beach dress

For the skirt part, gather the top of the tube of material you should now have, and make it match the width of the bottom of the top piece. Watch this tutorial on how to gather fabric if you’re unsure of this step.

Once you’re happy with it, turn the skirt inside out, put it over the top piece and match the two pieces together. 

How to serge without a serger

If you can, use a serge or a zig-zag stitch, so the seam is stretchier. My 1954 Singer machine does neither, so I went for the basic straight stitch! It wasn’t so bad, as this fabric won’t fray.

How to make a beach cover-up dress

Once it’s sewn, cut the excess fabric off the seam and your beach cover-up dress is done!

Ready to wear by the sea!

Suggested materials:
  • 2 XXL men's t-shirts
  • Pattern
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • Susan Prendergast Susan Prendergast on Aug 01, 2021

    I've made these as "bags" a coverup made out of a huge tube of fabric. used old pantie-hose elastics back when my hips and chest were pretty much the same dimensins. Even wore them out at night as a strapless dress.

    • Shan Shan on Aug 10, 2021

      I’m having trouble following you here. You wore pantyhose tops as tube tops?

  • Janice Janice on Jun 30, 2022

    This is SO cute! Love your sewing machine! It's only 2 years older than me! Thanks for sharing!