I have a new tutorial for you all this week!Refashioning, also called upcycling, is perennially popular, and I love it! I’ve reworked a number of things, both clothes and nick-knacks, but this one turned out so well, I just had to share. I bought an XL men’s dress shirt a few weeks ago at Salvation Army, intending to turn it into a shirt. I neglected to take any photos of the original shirt, but trust me when I say that I was swimming in it! It was – and is – a lovely faux-suede woven fabric in matte black. In fact, it was the heavy weight of the fabric that sold me on it.But enough of the set up: Here’s the redone shirt!
Lovely, isn’t it? It’s tunic length, but fits my curves and has little cap sleeves and generous petals all down the front! If you want a shirt like it, just head to your local thrift store and pick up an XL shirt. I recommend using a heavier weight shirt if you can find one, but if not, go ahead and try with a standard weight cotton dress shirt – just let me know how it goes!
- XL men’s dress shirt
- needle and thread – I used a sewing machine, but it’s not too much to hand sew.
- fray check or similar product
- Wash your shirt according to its tag. It’s always best to pre-launder thrifted items to make sure you aren’t surprised down the line.
- Cut off the sleeves right where the join the body. Cut off the collar and shape the neckline into a scoop. Try to make your scoop hit in between buttons so you don’t have to re-sew any buttons or button holes.
- Fit your shirt. You’ll probably need to take in the seems and, if you’re busty, add darts. I don’t have a dress form, so I just pull the shirt on inside-out, pin and mark, then carefully remove and sew.
- Once you’ve make fit adjustments and checked that the shirt fits how you like, trim off the excess material.
- Set the body aside and pick up those discarded sleeves. Cut the cuffs off the bottom and open the sleeve along its seam.
- From the first sleeve, cut out petals. I made a template before cutting, but it’s up to you how regular you want your petals. I used about 28 petals to make my shirt, but depending on your frame, you may want more or fewer. Treat the edges of the petals with fray check.
- The second sleeve will make up the edging for the neckline and armholes. Cut with the grain into 2″ strips. Fold each strip in half and iron. Open and fold the edges into the center and iron. Fold the whole thing back in half and press one more time, so each strip looks the the illustration.
- Assembly time! Once your petals are dry, pin down in overlapping rows, starting from the bottom and working up. Once pinned, use a zig-zag stitch to sew each row down, starting from the bottom row and working up. Once the petals are sewn, tack down a strip of fabric along the edge of the top to hide raw edges.
- Pin the binding you made in step 7 around the armholes and neckline and sew down, close the edge of the binding.
- Wear your shirt with pride and joy!
Tips and suggestions:
- If you’re like me and fail to catch the edge of the binding in a few spots, go back and hand sew.
- If your shirt has a distinct wrong and right side to the fabric, consider mixing up your petals for visual interest.
- You could also make your petals and binding out of complementary fabric from another shirt!
- For best fit, don’t take all the fabric in at the side: Take some in with back darts. I didn’t bother, as I don’t have a dress form, but it does make a difference.
- If you want to shorten your shirt, just mark, cut, and put in a normal hem when you’re sewing the side seams and darts.