The Flashback Tee is proving to be one of (if not THE) most versatile pattern I’ve got in my arsenal…it’s so easy to mix up and change around (with minimal fussiness) that I decided it was about time I made it into a dress. And actually, this was a couple months ago, so it ended up being one of Clementine’s Christmas dresses (I’m a bit behind on my blogging if you really must know). Now I realize that a knit whale dress is perhaps a bit casual for big occasions but I’ve never really been one to pull out the tulle and satin for Christmas or Easter, so it didn’t really matter. Do you dress your kids up big-time? See, I probably would if I were more with-the-program, but holidays always seem to sneak up on me and I’m usually glad if there are any clean clothes, much less fancy clothes. Anyway, as an added bonus: Clementine wears knits without any fuss (SCORE). She’s actually wearing this dress today. I happen to like it with leggings, or in this case, a knit pant underneath:



The adjustments needed to make the Flashback Tee into a dress are really quite simple; you need to know how long you want it, and then you need to add a bit of width to the bottom so that it flares out like a skirt. How much is really up to you, though I added roughly 8″ to the 3T pattern. Kristin of skirtastop made a flutter-sleeved version last year that is really quite fetching; mine differs from hers only slightly in that I like to follow the side seam under the arm an inch or two before flaring it out towards the skirt to make it a bit more fitted, if that makes sense. But whatever you prefer! Here’s a basic diagram of how I cut the dress using the tee pattern as a general guideline; everything else (sleeves, neckband) can stay the same:


The other thing that I tried this time around was fold-over elastic (FOE) for the neckline — I’d ordered a bunch of it from Banberry Place and Fabric Fairy (both carry it in a number of colors) a while ago and I love how easy it is to just zig-zag stitch onto a neckline. SO quick!



OH! And the whale fabric is designed by me for Spoonflower; I made a few other garments with it (a whale skinny tee here and Charlie Tunic here) and you can find it here if you’d like to buy some of your own!

Categories: flashback tee, knits
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19 Responses to Whale Dress from Flashback Tee pattern

  1. Lauren says:

    I have been thinking about making a dress with this pattern! So cute! Also, I had never considered using FOE for a neckline…but that is a great idea. I LOVE FOE!

  2. Laura says:

    Cute dress and I love your whale fabric.

  3. Alyssa says:

    Rae, this is seriously cute. I am really going to have to get me a copy of the flashback tee pattern – after thinking about it for months. After one scary run-in with knits (my first time) I think it’s time to get back on that horse and ride.

  4. kristin says:

    Oh man super cute – love the whales and the FOE neckband. Thanks so much for the link love! The FBST is my most beloved (and often used) pattern by far. It’s definitely a must have, both for basic knits and as a basic pattern block for wovens too; so much easier and more consistent than the ol’ “trace around a t-shirt” method. :)

  5. Kate says:

    Love it! I am ordering some FOE right now, such an easy way to do a neckline!

  6. Becky says:

    This is so very cute! The FBST is the probably my favorite kids’ pattern EVAH.

  7. Megan says:

    Adorable dress, I love the fabric!!

  8. anna says:

    totally cute! and comfy! My girls are all about comfy, so I guess that means I need to stock up on knits if I’m ever going to get them to wear anything I make anymore! :( Love the FOE at the neckline, perfect!!

  9. marie cope says:

    I’m a newbie at sewing with knits and I’m getting discouraged by neck bindings. I think the idea of the FOE is brilliant, but I have a question: do you stretch the FOE as you stitch it on with the zigzag? All of my necklines (made with knit bias) gets all wonky and stretched and weird. Nothing lays flat. Help? thanks!

    • Rae says:

      hi Marie!

      Yes you do stretch it, a bit. But I think the key, with all knit bindings or FOE is not to stretch it TOO much. You want to stretch it a bit so that when it “recovers,” it pulls the neckline back to the original size. But if you stretch it too much, the neckline will get all puckered and gathered. So it’s definitely a balance between those two. With new fabrics, I often have to go back and pull out the neckline and try it again…unfortunately there’s no hard and fast rule for how long the neckband should be relative to the neckhole, if I had that answer I’d be so happy.


  10. marie cope says:

    oops, sorry. Not bias ~ just 1″ knit cut from selvage to selvage. thanks!

  11. Kathy says:

    Fun! I love turning tee patterns into dresses. You get more use out of a pattern that way!!

    The fabric is great.

  12. Kristie says:

    Thanks for posting about using FOE. I had never thought of it, and knits scare me, especially necklines and hems. I am going to have to give this a try.

  13. Jamie says:

    I love the dress version. Does spoon flowers fabrics wash well? I saw someone comment somewhere that they didn’t. What has been your experience?

    • Rae says:

      I have found that if you treat them a bit delicately, the colors stay alot longer; so yes, I have noticed that they fade…but if I turn them inside-out and wash on a gentler/shorter cycle instead of doing the heavy-duty cycles, they stay pretty well. It’s definitely a disadvantage of the digital printing process, but the designs I’ve made have been pretty bold, so even with a little fading it just looks a little “vintagey” as opposed to really light designs that might fade to the point of not being seen.

      Hope that helps!


  14. Anneliese says:

    Oh, I LOVE this whale dress! I am such a sucker for the preppy look. I loved your fabric when you shared it last year sometime and this dress is perfect for it. I wish I could pull it off for myself!

  15. Mary says:

    Just made a couple tees from FBST pattern. LOVE IT! Sewing for my great-grands and sure wish this pattern was around a long time ago. The tee came together real quick and is so nice looking I can’t wait to make more and thank you for the tutorial on turning the tee into a dress. Want to do that next. Your kids are adorable too!

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