Challenges, Dresses, Pattern Review, Uncategorized

Panama Tee dress for “night”

I managed to sneak in my “night” dress for the “Day and Night Dress Challenge” just under the radar!

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress

The day part of this challenge was easy — pretty much anything went for that one.  But night was a little more challenging.  I don’t have many occasions to wear fancy dresses, date nights tend to be pretty cas, and when I do want a night dress, I typically don’t wear black (a random, in my opinion, requirement for the “night” dress).

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress

Which meant I was looking for a casual black dress — enter the Panama Tee dress!  Sure, I could have hacked a t-shirt pattern into a dress, but when Alina from Alina Sewing + Design Co. was so kind as to design exactly the t-shirt dress I wanted, I just went ahead and bought it!

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress

So the Panama Tee and dress is exactly what it sounds like — a t-shirt with a dress option.  It comes in three lengths — shirt, knee-length dress, and maxi dress — with 3 sleeve options — short, elbow length, and long.  The only thing missing from this pattern is a tank option, which was naturally what I wanted.  Luckily it’s waaaay easier to hack a tank from a t-shirt pattern than the other way around!

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress

For this particular dress, I removed 1″ of width from the shoulder, tapering to nothing under the arms.  Then I finished the armhole with a binding.  On my next one (yes, I am planning more!), I think I will remove 1 1/2″ tapering to 1/2″ under the arm and finish the arms with bands rather than binding.

I also wanted a midi-length dress like my inspiration dress from the Gap:

Gap inspiration dress

To accomplish that, I just added 4″ of length to the hem — easy peasy.  If there was a lengthen/shorten line on the pattern, I would have done it there, but the lengthen/shorten line was about 2″ up from the bottom of the skirt where the width was even.  Adding my length to the bottom had the same effect and didn’t require me to slash and spread my pattern 🙂

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress

This dress fits really well. I frequently have to make a forward-sloping shoulder adjustment, but I didn’t need one here.  The top fits great in the bust and doesn’t seem to be hiking up anywhere.  It’s loose enough through the middle that it skims where it should but still gives me a really nice shape (at least I think so).

This pattern is now right up there with the Lark for my favorite t-shirt pattern!

Creative Counselor: Panama Tee Dress
How I wore it to work yesterday!

Pattern: Panama Tee dress by Alina Sewing + Design Co..

Price: $12.00

Size: 6 bust blended to 8 waist and hip

Difficulty: Adventurous Beginner

Techniques Required: Sewing a straight line; fitting adjustments (if necessary), attaching a neckband, setting in sleeves, working with knits.


  • 3 lengths (shirt, knee length dress, maxi dress)
  • 3 sleeve lengths (short, elbow and long)
  • Optional pocket

Supplies Needed:

  • Knit fabric
  • Matching thread

Similar Patterns: It used to be the case that there were very few indie t-shirt options.  That has changed dramatically in the last couple of years and almost every major indie designer offers a t-shirt pattern.  However, there aren’t many with a dress option.  Some other t-shirt dress patterns include the Made for Mermaids Mama Mya, the George & Ginger Capsule Tunic, the Jocole Quick Dress, and the Greenstyle Bella Bubble Sleeve T-shirt dress.  Note that I am only including patterns here that are traditional t-shirts with a set-in sleeve, not raglans and dolman sleeves.

Fabric: Black bamboo rayon jersey

Fit: Great.  I made no fit alterations to the pattern, other than making it a tank and blending sizes based on my measurements.

Modifications: Removed the sleeves, narrowed the shoulders to make it a tank, and lengthened by 4″ to make it midi length.

Pattern format: PDF.  Okay, I’ll be honest here, Alina makes nice patterns but the PDF files are not small!  This file was freaking huge!  In fact, the file size was a big part of the reason why I waited to long after purchasing to make it.  I really need to find some affordable large-scale printing…


  • Basic silhouette with lots of options.
  • Nice shape on the skirts — very flattering and I like the extra flare on the maxi.
  • Slightly contoured neckband shape fits really well.


  • The PDF file is massive.
  • No tank option, which is a bummer.
  • Only one neckline option, also kind of a bummer since most people want a one-stop-shop t-shirt pattern.

Overall Grade: B-.  I love the overall fit and shape of this pattern, but really wish there was a tank option and a V-neck included.

0 thoughts on “Panama Tee dress for “night”

    1. They are totally secret pajamas! I have some double-brushed poly in my stash that is very, very similar to the Gap dress that inspired me, which is destined to become another dress like this. I love that the length and shape makes it work appropriate, but is also really comfortable and so flattering!

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