How to Transform a Men's Shirt to a Cute Summer ShirtDress

comments (4) August 2nd, 2009     

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carlyjcais carlyjcais, member
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Before - Mens L Dockers Shirt
After: Cute Summer Shirt Dress!
Close-Up of Ruffle Detail
Before - Mens L Dockers Shirt

Before - Men's L Dockers Shirt

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Hub had bequeathed me two of his old Dockers work shirts since the cuffs and collars were slightly frayed. (This is irksome because no one would actually notice the fraying and the rest of the shirt was still serviceable, but whatevs.) Yours truly had some great raw material to work with - and if you have a guy in your life who's parting with any of his button-downs (or you feel like thrifting one for cheap at the Goodwill), so will you!


[I'm a Misses' 4/6 dress size; I started with a L shirt and used almost all of the fabric...though I would have liked to work with the XL since I wanted a little more length. I'm 5'6". Calculate accordingly.] This project took me about a day and half...and that was with a million interruptions. The sewing itself was pretty simple...the issues were with salvaging the fabric from the shirt to use. This is probably an intermediate project because of that.

You will need:

-1 button-down men's shirt
-fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-thread matching color of thread used in topstitching of shirt
-1/2" wide elastic for waistband (your waist circumference -1")*
-1/2" or 3/8" wide elastic for bodice top (your over bust measurement - 1")*

*Note: this is a pull-on style tube dress. You have to be able to get into it, so you don't want to make the bodice too fitted or the bodice top elastic so tight that you can't shimmy the dress over your hips. Just sayin.' Or maybe you could put it on over your head...? You don't want to rip anything, so make sure you have enough wiggle room!

How to:
Button the shirt all the way up.

1. Cut according to the picture:

-the sleeves off at the armscye seam
-the cuffs off the sleeves
-each sleeve open down the sleeve seam

-the collar off the shirt at the collar seam
-the pocket off the front of the shirt (ripping the stitches carefully...we want to use the pocket fabric so keep that and the shirt intact when removing)

-the shirt straight across from underarm to underarm (both back and front of shirt)

-the button placket (button side only) from the top half of the shirt
-the back yoke from the remaining back of the shirt (if it has a back yoke; if not, do not cut)
-the shoulder seams open

What you should have left is the picture on the right above. Now we have to create each piece of the dress from the parts of the shirt we've just cut.

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posted in: dress, shirt, refashion, ruffle, remake, men's shirt, striped

Comments (4)

carlyjcais writes: DebraC: Thank you! Admittedly, the original idea of a ruffled-front shirt dress was actually from Urban Outfitters, but I had to figure out how to make it salvaging enough fabric and using as much as I could from a men's shirt. I even had a little fabric leftover to make some accessories too!

mapeggy: I wasn't aware of that! Unfortunately, Hub's shirt had fraying and dinginess on both inside and outside of the cuffs, so I don't think I could have salvaged this one to his satisfaction. Something to try next time I don't feel like making a whole dress out of the shirt!:-)

mcgurl2005: Thank you! I'd love to post a photo of the back (I had forgotten to - sorry!) but it will have to wait until I'm back at home with my computer and all my photos since I'm abroad right now. So sorry to not have shown the cool vest-like appearance to the back!

Thank you all for your comments! I hope you enjoyed the project1
Posted: 2:36 am on August 20th
DebraC writes: I love this! Very cute and very clever :).
Posted: 10:36 pm on August 5th
mapeggy writes: I love what you did with the shirt. However, did you know cuffs and collars can be reversed. Before the "days of plenty", we always took off frayed cuffs and collars and sewed them back on by reversing them. Therefore, the fray was actually on the inside of the shirt and not seen from the outside. Because as you say, the rest of the shirt was in good condition. If you can make this spectacular dress from a shirt, then you will have no trouble reversing cuffs and the collar.
Posted: 5:38 pm on August 5th
mcgurl2005 writes: I love the pattern and the idea. I wish you had posted a photo of the back of the dress as well. Thans for the great project! :)
Posted: 4:53 pm on August 5th
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