When I bought this rather large men’s shirt (size 4XL) at the dollar-a-pound Goodwill, I had no idea what I would end up doing with it.
I figured it was worth buying just for the fabric.
This shirt sat in my “before” pile for about a week before I came up with an idea of how to use it.
I finally decided to upcycle this men’s shirt into a cute shirt dress!
I’ve been seeing/coveting them in stores lately, so why not?
First, I used my seam ripper to remove the breast pocket and put it aside.
I couldn’t keep it where it was, as a seam would end up going through it. Don’t worry! It’s coming back later, I promise!
Now, I had to begin the taking-in part.
I put the shirt on inside-out and pinned it at my underarms (where the new sleeves would start), bust, waist, and hips.
When taking something like this in, keep your estimates conservative. You can always go back and tweak it more, but it’s much harder to add fabric back on once it’s cut!
I took the shirt off and marked in chalk where the pins were, using my measuring tape to keep each side even.
Then, I drew a chalk line between the points to give me a better idea of the shape.
I pinned along each side directly on the chalk line, being careful to keep the fabric smooth.
Next, I carefully ran each side under my machine, making sure the fabric didn’t bunch up, which it realllllly wanted to!
I used my pinking shears to trim off that excess material.
I tried my shirt/dress on and discovered it was still a bit too big up top for me.
I put it back on and pinned the arms, bust, and waist a tad more to give it a curvier shape, ran it through my machine, and cut off the excess material again.
Remember that sad, neglected pocket? I pinned it near the bottom of my new dress.
I love pockets, and would hate to see this one go!
I used a contrasting maroon thread to sew it on.
Now…my new dress was fitting much nicer, and was made even better with its new pocket.
However, I wanted a nice sash to cinch my waist, and give my new safari-style dress a bit of flair.
Luckily, I had plenty of leftover material from the sides of the original shirt.
I cut three strips like so:
Then, I sewed them to each other, keeping the raw edges tucked in, like so:
Now, I had one, long strip of fabric.
I pinned the long ends together, with right sides facing each other.
I ran this through my machine, making a seam on the long raw edge.
I trimmed off the excess material, turned my tube ‘o fabric inside out, and pressed it, making a smashing new sash!
There was one more issue to deal with.
The bottom of the front placket needed to be secured below the bottom button.
In its previous life as a shirt, this would have been the part that was tucked in to some guys trousers (ewwwwwwww!!!!!!! I literally just thought about this!!!!).
I just can’t have that level of gappage at my upper thighs, so I pinned that part down.
After a quick sew, it was good to go!
I pressed my new seams, and my men’s shirt to women’s dress upcycle was all done!
Oh, and check out my cute pocket square!
I used a scrap from my most recent refashion. I thought it tied in the contrast stitching and my burgundy brogues quite nicely!
I patted myself on the back further for creating my own version of a similar dress by Michael Kors that sells for $130.
- 1 Oversized Men's Shirt
- Measuring Tape
- Seam Ripper
- Fabric Shears
- Pinking Shears
- Stick Pins
- Sewing Machine
- IF your shirt has a breast pocket, use your seam ripper to remove it and put it aside.
- Put your shirt on inside-out and pin it at your underarms (where the new sleeves will start), bust, waist, and hips.
- Take the shirt off and mark in chalk where the pins were, using your measuring tape to keep each side even.
- Draw a chalk line between the points (from tips of the sleeves to the bottom of the shirt).
- Pin along each side directly on the chalk line, being careful to keep the fabric smooth.
- Sew each side on your machine using a straight stitch, making sure the fabric doesn't bunch up.
- Use your pinking shears to cut off the excess fabric.
- IF your shirt had a breast pocket, reattach it in your desired location now.
- Sew down the front the placket of your dress below the bottom button.
- TO MAKE A SASH: Sew the excess fabric from the sides of your dress together into one long strip.
- Fold this strip of fabric lengthwise and pin together along the raw edge with right sides facing each other.
- Sew the strip down.
- Turn the strip inside out to reveal your new sash!
- Give everything a good press!