How to Upcycle Clothing – Men’s Shirt Refashion Made Simple


How to Upcycle Clothing – Men's Shirt Refashion Made Simple

I’m on a clothing repurposing kick at the moment and finally made something for myself. Here’s two new shirts that I upcycled using a lightweight button-down men’s shirt.

I found this mens shirt refashion tutorial at Jezze via whip up. I’ve made a few of these now and I should have taken a before photo because then you’d see what a baggy men’s shirt it was to begin with.

This transformation thing is addictive!

The whole process was even quicker the second time around since I had done it once before. I cut, measured, and pinned for about half an hour one evening, then sewed the shirt the next morning before anyone else was up.

I followed Jesse’s instructions for the most part with a few variations.

Try This Simple Mens Shirt Refashion

How to Upcycle Clothing – Men's Shirt Refashion Made Simple

1. Remove shirt collar and pocket

First, cut off the collar and pocket.

How to Upcycle Clothing – back pleats

2. Add back pleats

Try on the shirt and make a big pleat in the back to gather the material to fit your frame.

I sewed the back pleat down the entire way, rather than just at the very bottom. Also I squared off the bottom of the shirt because I like that look better than the tails in the front and back.

3. Remove sleeves

Next, try on the shirt and mark how long you’d like the sleeves to be. Remove shirt and cut off the sleeves.

I found using fold over elastic for the sleeves worked best.

How to Upcycle Clothing – front pleats

4. Add neckline and front pleats

Put the shirt back on and mark where you’d like the neckline and shoulders to be. I used bias tape at the neckline.

Then, add six pleats to the front of the shirt. The second time around I made the front pleats considerably longer and I liked this much better.

How to Upcycle Clothing – shirt for pregnancy

I may make some more for this summer of the growing belly –there’s plenty of room in these large men’s shirts and they’re better for protecting my skin than the tank tops I usually wear all summer.

Also, I love how they look — kind of old fashioned — and can wear them after the pregnancy.

How to Upcycle A Women’s Shirt for Girl’s Tunic

How to Upcycle Clothing – kids tunic

I followed many of the steps from the Jezze tutorial, including cutting off the collar, adding a pleat at the back to gather in the material, and shortening the sleeves. But then I added fold over elastic at the sleeves and neckline as well as around three quarters of the waist.

I was intending it as a dress for Maia, but it turned out to be a little too short and a little too transparent for a dress.

So it ended up being more of a tunic and goes well over pants or culottes.


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Mens Shirt Refashion

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  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I like the look of that shirt. What a neat idea!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    It looks fantastic! I was skeptical when I read the title, but it is so sweet! I love the pleats in the front and the way you took the back pleat all the way down. It will be a very flattering maternity shirt.
    And I don’t remember seeing a picture of you on here before – you are very pretty!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

    oh i love that shirt! i’m going to raid my husbands closet now as i too have a growing belly!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

    thanks for sharing Jean! You look great! I think I’m going to have to try this as I will soon have a postpartum tummy to hide this summer!

  • Reply
    dundee writer
    May 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Man, I wish I could sew! That is adorable. And how perfect that you’re cutting off the collar of the men’s shirts–that’s the part that always gets stained or refuses to lay flat after awhile. Nice job. And you look great in it too!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    May 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    impressive. wish i could sew (and find the time, even if i could)!

  • Reply
    Wendy P
    May 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    What a great idea! You’re adorable, btw.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Love it. I have some old shirts I have been gathering thinking there must be something else I can do with them. What a great idea.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Perfect timing! I have one of my husband’s work shirts up on my dress form right now that needs to be turned into a dress in the next few weeks – thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Auntie Jo Jo
    May 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    so awesome!! love it!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2009 at 7:30 am

    That is wonderful. I wish I knew how to sew.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    What a cute shirt, and so great for you to wear right now. I love seeing that bump under there!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    This is brilliant and looks fabulous on you! Wish I’d found these instructions before I was past my due date, LOL. I may make some non-maternity ones though… nice for that time post baby when nothing seems to fit right.

  • Reply
    Quince and Quire
    May 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    You did such a nice job with this. I am not usually a fan of men’s shirts repurposed as women’s clothing, but you have changed my mind. Thanks!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Really adorable. The shirt is great and it looks great on you.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 18, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Thanks everyone!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    wow, you did a wonderful job!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    This is so cool, thanks for the tutorial link!! Wonderful :)

  • Reply
    Anna Lloyd
    May 21, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I LOVE your new shirt, I might make some myself!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2009 at 12:05 am

    It looks great! You did a lovely job (much neater than mine).

  • Reply
    wholesale gino green global
    July 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I love the simplicity of this blouse, you can pair it with jeans, leggings and shorts.

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