Men's Shirt to Dress Refashion 1
Dress Refashions,  Refashions

Men’s Shirt to Dress Refashion

Thrift Score Thursday: Nana Edition
Trish's Reader ReFash!

I love a comfy shirt dress.  But this Mens’ 2XL shirt I thrifted for $1 wasn’t quite working for me.

oversized mens shirt for shirt to dress refashion
Awkward Face #382

I was looking forward to catching Love, Loss, and What I Wore at Trustus Theatre….but I couldn’t very well show up to a play about fashion looking like this!

The length of this shirt would work nicely as a dress, but I had a lot of work to do!

First, I cut a bit off the sleeves.

cutting of shirt sleeve

Then, I pinned the sides to take them in.  

You can see how my plan was to keep the sleeves full and kimono-y.

taking in sleeve

I stitched the sides down, like ya do.

stitching new sleeve
See where the new, full sleeve begins?

Then, I cut off the extra fabric with my pinking shears.

By now you guys know I have a thing for sashes.  I think they look nice and polished.  They’re the easiest way to cinch the waist of an otherwise frumpy dress.

But today, I’m going to show you another way!

I still had a teensy bit of elastic from a fitted bed sheet I used to make a toga months ago.

piece of elastic
Remember me?

I wrapped it around my waist and snipped it so it would fit nice & snug.  

Then, I stitched the two ends together.

stitching elastic together

I folded my new elastic O in 1/4s and added a small mark to the end of each 1/4.

folding elastic
Following me so far?

With my dress still inside-out, I decided where I wanted the waist of my new dress to be, and I drew a dotted line all the way around it with tailor’s chalk.

Fold, Measure, and Mark!
Fold, Measure, and Mark!

Now I have a guide for where I want the elastic to go.

Just follow the dotted line
Just follow the dotted line!

Remember those 4 marks I made on the elastic?  

They’re going to help me add the elastic evenly, without any awkward bunching.  I pinned the elastic to the center front, center, back, and each side on the dotted line of my new dress…using those 4 marks as my guides.

adding elastic to shirt for dress refashion
Simple so far!

Now it gets a little finicky.  

I lightly stretched the elastic, and gathered the fabric of my dress just a little as I pinned the elastic to the dotted line.

adding elastic to shirt dress
Now we’re getting somewhere!

I stitched the elastic down using a straight stitch.  

The feed dogs on your machine will stretch the elastic a little, and I stretched it a little more as I sewed it down.

When I tried my dress on, I wasn’t happy with the fit.  It was just way toooooo blousy still.  No worries!  

I tossed it on my dress form and did a little more fine-tuning.

mens shirt to dress refashion on dress form
Look at Bandit snuggled in his blanket! 🙂

I took in the sides (again), sewing right over that elastic.

I noticed that even after using pinking shears to cut off the extra fabric before, those edges were still fraying like crazy!  So, I used this little guy to help keep things under control:

fray check
It’ll keep that fraying in check! 🙂

I’m almost done!

In order to wear this as a proper dress and not flash my lady parts at everyone, I stitched the bottom of the front placket down.

Pin & Stitch
Pin & Stitch!

I’m sooooo close to being done with this one, you guys!  🙂

All that was left to do was to hem those sleeves I cut off in the beginning.

Pinned sleeve
sewing sleeve hem

Check out that oversized shirt now!

Men's Shirt to Dress Refashion After

I styled my new frock with my favorite brown boots, orange tights, and my Cindy Saad sterling sculpture necklace.  🙂

I enjoyed pre-theatre noms with my friend, Amauri.  🙂

refashionista eating sushi
Hi Amauri’s Hand! 🙂

I really enjoyed the show and will post a link to my review right here as soon as I finish writing it.  🙂

love loss and what I wore program
Random Jillian Fact: I can remember what everyone (including myself) wore to just about any major event.

It was fun catching up the the show’s director, Larry Hembree.  🙂

Jillian Owens and Larry Hembree
Hi Larry! 🙂

I even scored a sweet painting by Lauren Maurer, who was selling her work in the lobby!

Jillian Owens with Lauren Maurer Painting
Appropriate for me, don’t you think? 😉

Such a fun & fashionable evening!


Refashionista Men's Shirt to Dress Refashion Before and After


    • ReFashionista

      Some I keep, and some I donate. Everything from Year 2 (My 365 day project) was donated to raise money for our local Women’s Shelter.

  • Jennifer

    This is really cute – the elastic really changed the look of the shirt for the better. It really feminized the shirt. Your tip about the elastic is really helpful. I can’t wait to try it.

  • liz

    sewing with elastic annoys me to the point of yelling and swearing… but your thrifty reuse looks awesome! i especially love the dolman/bell sleeves

  • Jill Schwieger

    Jillian…Great job with this shirtdress. I’ve come to the conclusion that you just look great in EVERYTHING! You take such good care of yourself that you SHOULD be wearing these cute short fashions. They were meant for you!

  • Beth Pav~

    Marking the elastic in 4 places for it to be even all the way around was such a DUH moment for me! I can’t believe I have struggled with that before (but no more). lol Luv the new haircut, and the new dress is supercute…especially with boots.

  • Leigh

    I love how this looks. Sometimes shirt dresses are too tight and wind up looking a tad sleazy. You did the perfect fit and I think the length is just right. Its all about proportion. If it was longer it would look sloppy. I love your refashion style!

  • Christine Miller

    So fun, comfy and cute! I love the look and…even more I have filed that quick elastic trick away for future use. Mmmm…..all you need now is a nice suitcoat purse to go with your great new shirt dress. Love it! Great job!!

  • Laura

    I didn’t initially see the bit about the orange tights and was thinking, “well, SOMEONE’S been on the fake tan” :)))

    Awesome refashion. If you’re happy with short, then you should wear short.

  • Jo H.

    Excellent! I would have given up near the end there, when the fit wasn’t quite right. I would think to myself that I HAD to unpick all the elastic before taking in the sides … and get all bogged down. I need to start thinking more like you do 🙂

  • anika ferguson

    I’ve been searching for a big LONG men’s style shirt ever since watching “Midnight in Paris” and they are never perfect! Now I can make my own! Thanks, Jillian! I think I’ll leave out the elastic. I have quite a few drop waisted belts that will look better on my body type. I’m a huge fan. I wish we could go thrifting together!

  • Sarah Winston

    I absolutely love your blog. I think I finished it in four days. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was already thrifting and refashioning seems like an amazing idea. I am getting someone to teach me the basics of sewing and have a few dresses I would like to refashion. I love your short dresses, they look so cute on you. I love your v-neck dresses the most and I want to be able to make my dresses like them. In one of your future refashions, can you do a 80’s prom dress? I think that it would be awesome to see how a dress like that gets to be turned into something cute. I want to thank you for sharing this amazing art with us. You could have not done a blog, but you choose to share it with the world and I want to thank you for that.

  • dana

    This is one of the ones I LIKE IT, Great Job I do have to agree with Sara Spilker on the length. Some timers there is room for the longer look and a lot of times you do go too short. O’ WELL

    • ReFashionista

      Ah! But I like short styles! They encourage me to go to the gym to keep my legs in shape! 😉 I know…short isn’t for everyone, but I promise I always make sure to follow the “fingertip rule” (the skirt of anything I wear must go past my fingertips) from high school dress code days.

      • Andrea

        I think you are young and fit enough to still pull it off. Wear it short while you can. 😀 It doesn’t offend me and I’m 37. 😉 I envy you whippersnappers with the short hems….

    • Peggy Sanchez

      Ummm, I respectfully disagree. You have lovely legs and deserve be shown off. Besides, you always wear your refashions out for entertainment and frankly, I’ve never thought for a second you lacked class. Your fashion sense is awesome.
      To this contributor, Please don’t give criticism under the pretense of a compliment. It’s undeniably catty and ironically lacks class.

  • KK

    Ugggggggh!!!! You are so awesome! I am totally copycatting you on this one with a huge men’s shirt I’ve had in the back of the closet foreverrrr trying to figure out how to reconfigure. You rock!

  • ali

    I agree with everyone – this one is a HIT! Nicely done Jillian, once again. But…that FANTASTIC coat you are wearing – so cool and funky – it’s wonderful!

  • christinapertz1

    I love it! Shirt dresses can be so awkward I think, especially if you wear nothing beneath it. (I’ve seen it, awkward!!!) But I love how this looks, and I totally have a dress shirt I have been waiting to refashion for just the perfect idea! SCORE!

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: