Would you love to turn some of your man's old dress shirts into adorable play dresses?! A dress shirt remake is not as difficult as you might think. Follow along for a pattern-less tutorial that will turn something frumpy into adorable for your little girl!
My husband keeps ripping his shirts in the bicep (so manly, right?), and we've had to throw out decent shirts to buy new ones. I've been hoarding my favorite prints to make into dresses for my preschooler, and I think this dress shirt remake tutorial is a good one! The dresses turn out so stinkin' cute and I believe you'll be able to follow along easily and create the same look for your girl! Grab some of your man's old shirts and follow along!
Convert a Men's Shirt to a Girl's Dress
The first step on this dress shirt remake is to button up the shirt and cut off the collar. Cut as close to the stitching as possible because we want to keep this new neck hole as small as possible.
The next step is to create a new armhole that is basically the same shape as the original shirt, but much smaller. To do this, pencil a new curve that starts almost in the middle of the shoulder seam (A.) and goes down ⅔rds of the original sleeve.
Try to imitate the same angle of the original curve while you cut on this line. When you reach the bottom of the curve (B.), cut along the rest of the seam to the armpit to get rid of the old sleeve.
Now we need to take some fabric out of the shoulder. I sewed a new seam about 1.5 inches in. You can try this smock on your little girl to see just how much width should be taken out of the shoulder to help it look more appropriately sized. This is also the last step in making the neck hole the right size, so take out as much as you need.
Choosing a Length
This is also a good time to shorten the dress. Do you know how the hem of a man's shirt traditionally dips in the front and the back? It's hard to hem that, so I evened it up by running it through my serger, following along with the blue design on the shirt. Then, after trying it on my daughter, I cut off another 5", but you might prefer more or less. Try it on your girl first so see if this length looks good to you.
Slimming the Dress Shirt Profile
The last slimming step on this dress shirt remake is to take in the sides a little bit. I love the A-line look, so I wanted to keep it as wide on the bottom as possible. Sew a new seam along these red arrows that start in the middle of that arm curve and go down to the hem.
Finishing the Neckline
Now you're going to make a little bias tape to finish off the neckline. Because the neckline is a curve, you need fabric cut on the bias that will stretch and curve as you sew it. I made two strips from the old sleeves, about 1.5" wide to create a long strip of bias tape.
Sew it on around the neckline, tucking the raw edge inside as you would traditionally do for a bias tape finish.
Do the same on the bottom hem, but this time you don't need to cut strips on the bias if it is the straight hem.
Finishing the Sleeves
The arm holes are enclosed with a much wider strip of fabric -- nearly 3" wide.
After you measure the circumference of the armhole, cut two strips to that length but with a small seam allowance (⅝") so you can sew it into a loop that will fit the armhole. Once the two loops are sewn, fold the strip over once and sew it shut, then sew the entire ring along the armhole.
Gathering the Waist of Your Girls' Dress
For the gathered waist, cut a strip of elastic to the size of your girl's waist. Pin it in increments on the inside of the dress.
Sew on the inside with a zigzag stitch while pulling the elastic so that it gathers as you sew.
And you're done!
What else have you made from men's shirts? Tell us below or share some of your favorite recycled sewing tutorials!
Also, check out our blessing dress created from wedding gown fabric. You'll love this idea!
Lissa Crane says
I LOVE this idea! We will definitely be doing a closet cleanout and making a few summer dresses this weekend!
Mia E. says
This is the best idea. I am amazed by how cute this dress is with such a darling neckline and A Line shape.
Cute! Wish I was that crafty!
Cute! How about making pockets out of the sleeves for the dress too?