Monday, 1 November 2010

Thrifty man’s shirt refashion with a mini tutorial

I made this cute shirt-for-that-meeting-with-HR-I-have-next-week…IMG_9916
…from this big old man’s shirt…
Here’s how I did it!
First I removed the sleeves and unpicked the side seams, leaving the shoulder seams intact.
Then I put it inside-out on the dressform and pinned like crazy. I had to add bust darts to the side and front and back darts too to make it fit the form.
I also pinned the sides to make sure the darts were in the right position. I then sewed the darts in place and pressed them flat. This is the time to try on the shirt and check those darts – if they are wrong you’ll have to take the whole shirt apart to put them right!
When I was sure the darts were right I sewed up the side seams. I measured on myself, from shoulder to hem, how long I wanted the shirt to be and transferred these measurements to the shirt. Then I hacked off the bottom hem.
I knew I wanted the sleeves to hit my elbows and that I wanted to turn the cuffs back, so I measured from my shoulder to my elbow and cut the sleeve accordingly, following the line of the existing seam. I then pinned the sleeve to the shirt and used tailors chalk to mark the new armhole. Because I wanted puffed sleeves I gathered the top part of the sleeve and tacked it before pinning it to the shirt. I then pinned and sewed in the sleeves backwards. This meant that the split in the cuff would be at the front instead of at the back and allow easy movement (and maybe look cute?)
IMG_9917 IMG_9918
The cuffs were obviously too small to fasten the buttons at my elbow so I folded them back and pressed them before sewing them down following the line of the existing stitching on the cuff. You can’t quite see on the photo but the cuffs each had two buttonholes so Mr. Man could have the option of using cufflinks. I sewed the extra buttons from the bottom of the shirt onto the extra buttonholes to make it a design feature.
Now I have a shirt for that meeting I ought to try to look smart for (work attire usually consists of jeans and a jumper at this time of year – us ceramicy folk have to wear clothes we don’t mind getting mucky every five minutes)


  1. Now that is what I call a makeover...I love it.
    I bet you could have almost made a dress from it with a belt at the waist. Or leggings if it was too short

  2. Thats really good! You've done a great job, well done

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  4. Great tutorial! Thank you! I have a bunch of men's shirts that I bought because I liked the fabric; now I know what to do with them.

  5. awesome! I have been procrastinating trying something like this on my own...this will help :) But I'll be using my old shirts that are - yippee!!! - too large now :)

  6. This is so great! Any advice on how to proceed without a dressform?

  7. Thanks guys!

    RP - If you have a good friend to do the pinning for you you can wear your shirt inside-out and let them do that bit (if you trust them!) Otherwise, there are a lot of tutorials on the web to make a very cheap duct-tape dressform. You could also unpick a well-fitting shirt you already own and use it as a pattern. Thrift shops are full of garments that have amazing shape but are made from vile fabric and are perfect for this :)