Monday, 22 June 2009

Men's shirt refashion #1 tutorial (sort of)

I was given a bag full of men's shirts (I'm well known as thrifty/cheap) so I have set myself the task of refashioning them all - the 70's double-knit acrylic is worrying me slightly, so I chose the nicest one to start with!

Stupidly, I didn't realise that men's shirts have nowhere for your boobs to go. I thought to myself, "this'll be an easy refashion, just take it in a bit" *Insert deranged laugh here* I'm glad I had my trusty dressform to work with or this could have been a real nightmare. Next time it'll be much easier though, since I know what I'm doing. Sorry I forgot to do a proper tutorial, but this is how I did it.

I used nearly every scrap of fabric available for this top. I first removed the collar, cuffs and sleeves and had a good look. I raised the back, took in the sides, and added darts.

The bottom half of the sleeves became the Peter Pan collar. I used a template I drew specifically for this shirt. If you have a dressform, or a willing friend, cut the neckline as low as you want, then put the shirt on the form/friend, mark the centre of the back, and pin a piece of tracing paper around one half of the neck. Trace the edge of the neckline marking the centre front (or as far as you want the collar to go) and centre back. Remove the paper and draw the collar you want. For a Peter Pan collar, this will look like an upside-down comma (,) Cut it out and pin it to the shirt, checking it fits well and that the centre line is straight. Place the template with the centre line on the fold of your chosen fabric so when you open it out you have the full collar. When you cut, remember to add seam allowance. Cut 2 and add interfacing to one of them. Sew right sides together leaving a gap so you can turn it right side out. Snip all the curves, turn it the right side out, press and sew up the hole. Topstitch around the edge of the whole thing and pin it to your shirt. Hand sew with the most invisible stitches you can, and you're done :)

The cuffs became the scalloped placket (see the two little buttons at the bottom? They hide the old buttonholes :) To do this, I drew a template and made it in exactly the same way as the collar, minus the interfacing. I unpicked the buttonhole placket for the length of the scalloped piece and pinned the piece in place. It looked a bit boring, so I dug into my ribbon stash and found a piece of broderie Anglais edging to finish it off.
When I took in the sides I made the armholes smaller and reinserted the sleeves with a bit of puff. Finally, I moved the breast pocket to the hip. I kept the length as it was so it would be tunic-y and the pocket is so low you can tuck the shirt into jeans without seeing it.


  1. so cute! And yes, I've gone through a similar realization that uh....there aren't boob darts in a man's shirt.
    Your transformation turned out great.
    I like your style and I'm adding your blog to my google reader!
    (I'm a fellow Wardrobe Refashioner too :) )

  2. Thanks Dana! Such lovely comments :) I'm just starting out (as you can see) but it's fun to share :)

  3. Sorry I left so many comments on your blog :). It's just all so lovely. And I'm a sucker for pretty pictures. If people take cool pictures or their cool stuff...I'm very likely to leave a comment.
    I'm certain your readership will grow. Wardrobe Refashion really helped me that way.

  4. Cute! Thanks for the tutorial! I'll have to give this a try, but I'm lousy with collars!

    P.S. I found this tutorial in the Flickr Wardrobe Refashion group!

  5. aaahhh! this is amazing! i think i need to polish my sewing skills a bit before trying, but mark my word, i WILL get there... thanks so much for sharing/inspiring me:)

  6. I am wanting to transform my son's button down shirts into more feminine shirts for his younger sister. I would love to refashion them exactly the way you did in this post. Do you think there would be enough fabric in a child's shirt to do this (refashion it but keep it pretty much the same size)? Or does the original shirt need to be significantly bigger? Also, I would love to see more detailed instructions with more photos if you have the time to post them. I am a beginning sewer but am hoping to transform a ton of shirts!

  7. Hi anonymous! The shirt doesn't really need to be much bigger because a lot of it is just repositioned things. You could always use two contrasting shirts (or three!) to add the decorative bits though and I think that would look great! You might have enough fabric in the sleeves to make the collar and I assume you won't have to add darts for your daughter so the shirt would be pretty much the same shape, all you might have to do is take it in.
    I'm sorry I don't have and more detailed pics as I did this in 2009 :)