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Bandanna Clothing Crafts: Halter Tops and Dresses

Make these carefree days even sunnier by creating fun-to-wear children's play-clothes out of colorful bandannas. The projects here are easy for anyone with basic sewing skills.

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 8 2003


Made mostly from standard 22-inch bandannas, the garments are approximately size 5.To alter the size, simply buy larger or smaller bandannas and adjust the measurements. Look for them at army-navy stores or outdoor markets. For vintage designs, try online auctions. Bandannas are classic American cowboy gear, but look closely: The designs vary from Indian paisleys to old-fashioned florals. Since most bandannas cost no more than two dollars, a whole summer wardrobe can be stitched up for a song. What could be cooler than that?


  • For dress: Three 22-inch pink bandannas

  • For dress: 1 1/2 yards cotton twill tape

  • For top: Soft rope trim

  • For top: One bandanna


  1. From one bandanna, cut four 3-inch-wide strips to make straps, as shown.

  2. Stack other two bandannas (top), right sides facing, matching up designs. Pin together on long sides. Stitch together one pinned side, then other, stopping 6 inches from corner (for keyhole opening). Make straps (bottom): Sew one long and one short strip together end-to-end. Fold ends under as a hem and press. Fold resulting piece lengthwise; stitch 1/2 inch from fold. Turn right side out; press. Repeat with other two border pieces.

  3. Refold dress so seams are centered and opening is up, as shown. Stitch down, across, then up other side of opening. Hem dress at bottom, if desired. At top, fold down edge along print border; stitch parallel to fold to create a 1-inch channel.

  4. Run twill tape through channel with safety pin; leave ends free. With dress flat (not gathered), pin straps to inside, placing each 2 1/2 inches from center front seam. Stitch straps in place, securing tape with stitches so dress won't gather at neckline. Tie straps behind neck.

  5. Fold bandanna in half on diagonal. At neckline, fold center point over by 2 1/2 inches; stitch a seam parallel to the fold to create a 1-inch-wide casing. Snake rope trim through casing with safety pin, and tie at the neck; tie corners together at the back.

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