Men’s Button-Down Shirt Refashion

Blue Shirtdress RefashionSummer finally arrived in Northern Kentucky just a few weeks ago. The second the oppressive heat wave came in, my brain went into creative overdrive trying to put together a breezy dress that I can live in the rest of the summer. I didn’t mean to post two refashions in a row, but here we are. Also, what timing. I didn’t know that The Refashioners 2015 series was one, starting today, and two, involved refashioning men’s button-down shirts.

Blue Shirtdress Refashion

I pulled this old man’s shirt out of my bag of thrifted clothes. It’s like an extension of my fabric stash. Sometimes I just can’t go full throttle on a project, I can only cut and hem. And maybe make bias tape, but that’s it.

I had this idea that I wanted to buy the Alder Shirtdress pattern from Grainline Studio, but didn’t know if I could commit to the shape of the dress. I thought if I liked this version, maybe I’d actually enjoy a real shirtdress pattern. One thing led to another and I found myself several feet deep in a garbage bag of used clothing searching for a shirt to cut up. I know, I know, my storage solutions are so Home and Garden.

It turns out that I do love this style. And this DIY is so simple. I will say, I have a SERIOUS advantage with my size. I’m tiny. I sometimes underestimate my size. Growing up my favorite book was Thumbelina. Her stories always made me feel at piece with my classmates calling me “shrimp” or “shorty.” I’m sure they meant those names lovingly.

I didn’t do a step-by-step tutorial because I felt the simplicity of this make was so easy I might have spent more time doing damage control from insulting your intelligence. The important part of this project is the fabric. Try to steer clear from stiff fabric. You want soft and drapey fabric.

Blue Shirtdress RefashionBlue Shirtdress Refashion
-Find a shirt long enough to make a dress and cut off the sleeves. Keep sleeve fabric for self-made bias tape!
-Pin down where you want your width of the dress.
-Here’s the only tricky part to this project. The armscye. I wanted a loose fitting dress with almost bra showing armholes. I marked where I wanted the dress to lay on my shoulders and swooped a curve line from the shoulder to where I pinned down the sides. Because this dress has so much ease I only had to worry about how much bra exposure I wanted.
-Make bias tape. I used this tutorial.
This tutorial for inserting binding into armhole.
-Hem if necessary to match sides.
-For modesty, I sewed up the bottom of the button placket below the last button so it wouldn’t spread open as I walked.

Blue Shirtdress Refashion Blue Shirtdress Refashion

Voooiiiillllaa! A shirtdress. Now that I know I like this style I might consider buying that pattern.

Another thing, is it too late to join the #sewphotohop? I’m three days behind already!

Thanks for reading!

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  • That’s a great refashion! I wore a wiksten tank dress today which is a similar shape … I’m going to have to hunt for a button down to refashion next!

    • wefthem

      Thank you! That’s so funny. I was just thinking I could probably make Grainline’s Tiny Pocket tank into a cute dress.