men's shirt refashion with jenn of 619

i am super excited for today's week four homework feature - finish something undone
because we have a guest post tutorial from jenn of 619 miles!

today she is going to show us how she made a men's button down shirt refashion into a tank dress,
a project that she has had on her "to sew" list since last summer that she finally tackled!
i know i'm inspired now to start chipping away at my ever lengthening "to sew" list.
take it away jenn!

Hola Michael Ann readers! My name is Jenn and I share a blog with one of my best friends Kerry called 619 miles, where we share our crafty and home decorating endeavors. I consider myself to be an average sewer. Back in 2008 I took one quilting class and everything else I taught myself through reading, trial and error... lots of error. In fact, I’d say my most used sewing tool might just be the seam ripper! I’m inspired by others who just go for it when it comes to their sewing projects and that’s pretty much how I operate. I just go for it.

Today, I’m so excited to share with you my re-fashion sewing project. This is one of those projects that started out with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement but ended up sitting on the shelf. I was shopping at the goodwill back in August 2011 (yes, you read that correctly 2011) and picked up a couple items for some re-fashion projects. You see, I have this dream of making lots of my own clothes and I’ve made a couple things, but not as much as I like, so I thought some re-fashion projects would be fun AND cheap. A man’s button up shirt only costs $2.50 at my local goodwill. So I picked up a couple shirts and dresses, washed them, and then began to plot what I would make. Then Life happened. Things came up and next thing I knew it was winter and who wants to make a summer dress in the cold of winter?!?! My items sat on the shelf until this month.

When I saw Michael Ann was kicking off the Becoming a Confident Crafter series I was excited because I thought it would be a fun way to motivate me to accomplish some projects I’ve been meaning to tackle, even some things I’ve never done like make a dress out of a man’s shirt! I finished the project last week and even wore the dress last friday! It feels awesome to finally cross that one off the list. Just goes to show that you can always come back to that project on the shelf no matter how much time has passed. When I decided to start this project back up I looked through my refashion board on pinterest and realized that one of the first refashions was one that Michael Ann had done last summer (check it out here).

I took photos of my process and I’ll try to share I made my summer dress.

Step 1: gather supplies (don’t forget that seam ripper... nice big purple handle)

Step 2: grab a dress you want to use as a pattern. Mine is actually a night gown, but I liked the general fit and that it was sleeveless. NOTE: My “pattern” dress was knit and stretchy, which was actually kinda loose on me, so it required more adjustments in the sewing process to get the fit the way I wanted it. Choose your pattern dress carefully and I’d recommend something that fits just like you want the new dress to fit. I used my seam ripper to remove the chest pocket. Be careful. Mine left a little spot (not hole) but with the stripes you can’t even see it. I also cut off the collar because I knew that I was going for a more scoop neck look. Lay out the button up shirt keeping the buttons buttoned. Lay your “patten” dress on top of the button up lining up the shoulders.

Step 3 & 4: Using a ruler make a line 1/2 inch away from your pattern piece. I drew a bunch of dashes all the way around and then removed the pattern and connected the lines. I didn’t worry about the neckline just yet.

Step 5: Cut along the line you drew. Keeping the buttons buttoned flip the dress inside out and pin. Sew a 1/2 inches seam from the arm-pit down to the hem. Since I used the original hem of the shirt I didn’t need to make a bottom hem. If you’re shortening to make a tunic or shirt, you’ll want to hem the bottom too.

Step 5a: TRY IT ON. yikes... my lines were wonky and there was some weird puckering going on around one of the hips and it was way too big in the arm-pit/chest area. I flipped it inside out and put it back on, then I pinched at my sides until it looked like it fit and then put in a pin. I did that on both sides with pins and then unbuttoned to remove. I drew some new lines where the pins were and sewed a new seam on each side. Honestly, I did this a couple times before I had it just right.

Step 6: After I got the sides the way I wanted I measured the neckline and cut out the scoop. Then I took my bias tape and pinned it around the neckline and the arm holes.

Step 7: Put on your re-fashioned summer dress, add a belt if you like and ENJOY!

Feel free to ask if you have any questions. Good luck on making yours, and even if it takes almost a year, the end results are just as rewarding.

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  1. this is awesome! i'm going to try it with my daughter!

  2. i love it! i'm going to try it out with my daughter!

  3. ah maze ing. you make sewing look so easy. i wish i could MAKE it easy.

  4. That's a nice way to reuse a shirt that is no longer needed for the man in your life. Sometimes men outgrow the shirts they have or just get tired or wearing them. Sometimes a sleeves becomes damaged and this is a good way to still make use of it.


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