Makeover Your Guy’s Shirt 5 Cute Different Ways for Yourself

So ladies…right now button-down shirts in blousy, dressy shapes are all the rage. I’m loving it because that means my Men’s Shirts DIY’s are once again totally topical! (The posts may be a little older and photos not great, but you can still follow along!)

Here’s how to get your craft on with 5 different projects to makeover a man’s shirt into a super-cute DIY piece for yourself:

DIY Cute Summer Shirt Dress (from a Man’s Shirt)


DIY Babydoll Dress (from 2 Men’s Shirts)

DIY: 2 Men's Shirts to Cute Babydoll Dress

DIY Convertible Skirt (from 3 Men’s Shirts)


DIY Jumpsuit Romper (from a Man’s Shirt)

Romper Jumpsuit from a Man's Shirt

DIY Bustier Dress (from a Man’s Shirt)


Happy DIY’ing!



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DIY Printed Bodycon Pencil Skirt From a Men’s T-Shirt

0.diyphotoprintpencilskirt_introWhat could be more Summery than beautiful photographs of must-visit vacation spots? And nothing can herald the coming of this season more than wearing said photos on your person: an apparel-fueled mental vacation, if you will.

Get A Life is a series of photo-printed tops for men, sold at Wal-Mart for very affordable prices (around $9 and up, and now available on eBay by the hundreds).  Their pieces are made of a stretchy polyester, which makes them wonderfully-suited for women’s clothing (especially bodycon styles!).  These T-shirts, since made for men, are already oversized (read: TONS of workable fabric!)…and very easily remade into something perfect for a woman…and perfect for fun in the sun.  Here’s how:

You Need: (more…)

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DIY: 3 Men’s Shirts to Convertible Skirt

Get This Tutorial As a PDF

7 DIY Men's Shirt Makeovers ebook

This tutorial has been updated, and is now available as a full step-by-step with photos in my new book 7 DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers, part of the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System.

Well, it’s high time I shared another men’s shirt refashion, no?:-)  Spring is in the air and I’m looking at lighter layers and breezy fabrics.

I last wore this piece on Day 15 in my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge back in November of 2010.

This particular project uses 3 men’s button-down shirts…which may seem like a huge waste, but if you do have a bunch of old shirts laying around, or have shirts where the arms/collars are damaged and no one can wear them anymore, or if you are buying items at 80 cents a pound from the Goodwill Outlet…then it may seem like a useful repurposing.  (I used the back of a shirt I had leftover from a previous DIY, and one shirt we were getting rid of since the cuffs were frayed, and one I bought from Goodwill.)  And you can obviously use black shirts or differently-patterned shirts so you can create a piece that’s more your own style or works better in your closet than a blue pinstriped piece (which is what I chose to make).

In any case, these shirts can be made into a cute little puff-bottom skirt, whose buttons can be unbuttoned so you can wear it as a puff tube top, OR a midi-length long skirt, OR even a tube-top dress for when the weather gets warmer.  Here’s how to do it:

Project Difficulty:  (intermediate)

You Need:

3 men’s button-down woven shirts (only 2 are pictured above…since I first tried to create this skirt using only 2 shirts – which I found impossible.  My shirts are size XL.)  /  1/2″-wide knitted waistband elastic (don’t get the roll-resistant type; I did and found it “catches” on the lightweight shirt fabric too much when threading it through the casing, making what should be a very simple process extremely difficult)


scissors  /  tape measure  /  marking chalk  /  pins  /  safety pin  /  matching thread  /  sewing machine  /  needle for light- medium-weight wovens  /  iron & ironing board  /  about 2 yd. elastic cord (not pictured; you’ll be removing it from the final piece anyway)

How To:

Make the Top Piece

1. Open two of your shirts and lay them with the right-hand sides flat.  Measure a piece 9″ wide (including the button placket) by as high as you can get to make a rectangle shape on each right-hand side.

2. Cut out each rectangular piece.  Also cut straight across the bottom edges to perfect the rectangle – which I haven’t shown above.

3. Sew the short ends of the button-side of the 2 front pieces together to make a circle.  This will be the Top Piece of your skirt.

Make the Main Piece

4. Fold the back of one of your shirts in half (vertically), and measure 9″ from the fold, in a straight line at the bottom of the shirt.  Mark that line.

5. Draw straight upwards from the end of the line, as far as you can to the top of the back part, then draw another horizontal line heading back to the center fold.  Cut – and you now have a large rectangle 18″ wide and as long as you can salvage from the back of the shirt.

6. Repeat this for the back pieces from your remaining 2 shirts.  You should now have 3 large rectangles – all 18″ wide and as long as you could get from the shirts.  If your fabric is super-wrinkly, now would be a good time to iron all those pieces flat.

7. Sew the 3 rectangular shirt-back pieces together along their long ends using a French seam.

Not sure what a French seam is?  To put it simply, you place the fabric pieces wrong-sides-together and sew the seam.  (So the seam allowances are on the outside of your project.)  Then you flatten the seam allowances to the left, and then fold the allowances + fabric underneath them to the right, and topstitch the seam to conceal the raw edges.  (You can see the fold at the top of the photo above, and my raw edges which I’m concealing as I go at the bottom.)  By creating French seams, this allows the skirt bottom piece to be finished completely on the wrong side as well – so it will look perfect when you flip it to the outside for the puffy bottom to the skirt.  You can get the illustrated how-to instructions for sewing a French seam here.

Attach the Skirt Pieces Together

8. To size the skirt Main Piece to fit with the Top Piece (which isn’t quite as wide), zigzag-stitch over a piece of elastic cording (with one end knotted) – onto the underside top edge of the skirt Main Piece.  Keep the stitches loose and make sure they go over the cord and don’t catch any part of the cord in the needle.

9. Pull the cord to gather the fabric of the skirt Main Piece.  Pull the cord until the circumference of this piece is about the same as the circumference of the skirt Top Piece.

10. Pin the skirt Top Piece over the Main Piece – overlapping enough so you can stitch above the buttons and catch the skirt Main Piece beneath. Stitch, following the seam of the button placket (but not through the elastic cord at all).  Remove the elastic cord by pulling backwards on the knotted end.

Create the Hem of the Skirt

11. Cut off the left-hand buttonhole placket from 2 of your shirts.

12. So you now have 2 buttonhole plackets.  Take the two buttonhole plackets you cut off…

13. And sew them together, end to end, to make a circle, using French seams.

14. Re-use the piece of elastic cord you used in Step 8), and zigzag-stitch over it at the bottom raw edge of the skirt.  Pull on it to gather the bottom hem of the skirt so it is the same size as the buttonhole placket circle piece.

15. Pin the bottom raw edge over the buttonhole placket circle piece.  (Don’t worry about lining up the buttonholes to the buttons at the junction of the Top Piece and Main Piece of the skirt…they won’t line up perfectly, and that creates a bit of a “puffy” shape to this skirt anyway.)

16. Topstich the buttonhole placket on top of the raw edge hem of the skirt (do not stitch through the elastic cord).  Again, I followed the line of topstitching of the placket that already existed.

17. Remove the elastic cord by pulling on the knotted end and slipping it out from under the zigzag stitches.

Create the Skirt Waistband

18. To make skirt casing for the waistband elastic, fold the top part of the skirt under about 1/4″, and then under again about 5/8.” Stitch to create casing. (If holding down the double fold is too tricky, you can always fold down 1/4″ and stitch, and then fold down 5/8″ to be really precise and neat.) Leave about 1″ unsewn so the elastic can be added.

19. Measure your elastic by place it at your waist, and cutting it where the ends meet.  (You’ll be overlapping the ends about 1/2″ when sewing, which will create enough tension to keep the waistband in place once finished.)  Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic piece, and thread through the casing from the 1″ opening you left in the previous step.

20. Overlap the ends of your elastic by 1/2″, and stitch over them, making a rectangle with an X through the center for strength.

21. Slip the elastic ends inside the casing, and topstitch the 1″ gap to close.

And You’re Done!

Though technically I think it’s really meant to be a little puff-bottom A-line skirt, with the buttonhole placket on the hem folded up and buttoned onto the buttons on the top piece of the skirt…

You could also wear it as a tube top dress with the waistband pulled over your chest, and the buttons undone.  The Top Piece creates a nice little “shelf” at the bodice – which looks sweet and summery when belted…

And you could also wear it as a longer midi-length skirt (with the buttons unbuttoned), though I found it’s a kinda difficult length to pull off…

And when I tried to style it as a tube top (with the buttons buttoned and the waistband worn over my chest), I realized I looked like I was in maternity wear. (*’0’*)

In retrospect I should have ironed this piece again before I took more pictures – it had been squashed in my closet awhile.;-)

In any event, I know I’ll be able to find a lot of use for it as a skirt – especially when I want to add some pattern to an outfit that is in desperate need of breaking up the solid blocks of color I always default to.;-)

Happy DIY’ing!

Get This Tutorial As a PDF

7 DIY Men's Shirt Makeovers ebook

This tutorial has been updated, and is now available as a full step-by-step with photos in my new book 7 DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers, part of the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System.

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DIY: Corseted White T-Shirt or What to Do with the BF’s old T-shirts #2

My hubby has a ton of white shirts that have seen better days…and sometimes I steal one or two of them to makeover for myself.  But men’s shirts are so shapeless and boxy, and I want something that isn’t as boring as it looks straight out of the package!  With a few strategically-placed hooks and some elastic cord, this is a quick DIY makeover that will turn any boxy and shapeless top into a form-fitting gathered tunic or dress.  Minimalist sex-appeal at its best!
You Need:
*white tunic-length t-shirt (mine is XXL)
*8 hooks from sew-on hook-and-eye sets
*white thread & hand-sewing needle
*white elastic cord
*marking chalk (not shown)
*measuring tape or ruler

How To:

1. Lay your t-shirt flat, back side up.  Measure about 2.5″ down from below where the sleeves meet the sides.  (This is what worked for me – you may want to try the shirt on you to make sure this is the area where you want the corseting to end.)  Mark.

2. Measure below that mark 1.5″ and make another mark at each side.  Repeat twice so you have 4 marks total, evenly-spaced at 1.5″ apart.

3. Hand-sew the hooks on at each part.  Since we’re sewing onto the back and the t-shirt fabric will be pulled to the front, make sure the hooks are facing outwards.

4. Try the shirt on.  Take the elastic cord , fold it in half, and match its center to your bellybutton.  Keep these lined up, thread either side of the cord into the bottom hook on either side of the shirt.

5. Pull to the front, pulling the shirt fabric with it.  Cross the cord over at your center, then back into the next hooks above.

Continue to lace the corset-front in this manner, and rearrange the extra fabric of the tee as you go to look neater and more tucked-in to the corset area.

6. Tie the ends of the cords at the top of the corseting in a bow; trim the ends.

Wear with something not overtly sexy – this shirt has all the sex appeal you need!

This project was featured in a recent Crafty Superstar interview on the tutorial-sharing site Cut Out + Keep

click here to read the interview questionnaire & my other projects!

(I’ll be re-posting all of them here on my blog soon.)

Thanks to Cat and the whole COAK team for the interview!  I’m so flattered to have been featured:-)

Happy DIY’ing!


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DIY Fabric Flower Patterns and a DIY Carnation Corsage Made From Shirt Fabric

DIY Fabric Flower PatternsWith Spring officially here and Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’ve had flowers on the mind.  But not just the ones growing in my garden – handmade ones, using scraps of fabric from a number of past projects.  I’ve posted before about one of my favorite flower-making books, Ima Sugu Tsukuritai Co-saju[“Corsages I Want to Make Right Now” Bunka Publishing, 2006].

I shared the camellia flower pattern before, so I’ve reposted it below for you guys:

My English translation is above. The book page is 8 1/8″ wide by 7 7/8″ high if you want to print it out, in order to make sure the petal pattern is sized correctly. The pattern requires the use of a round-headed stylus (also called a “cup”) in order to create the rounded, 3D-effect to the petals. Not completely necessary, but it helps create a finished, professional look to your corsage.

From last year’s Men’s Shirt to Cute Summer Shirt Dress tutorial that I wrote, I used some extra leftover fabric to make a carnation corsage.

Here is the how-to and pattern below:

Here are a couple more projects in the book…a dahlia:

And a lush camellia:

Okay…I’m all translated-out!

If you would like to check out more reference books in English for making fabric flowers, two of my favorites are Heirloom Ribbonwork, which constructs flowers out of ribbons, and Handmade Flowers from Paper and Fabric, which has more paper flower projects than fabric, but the projects can easily be adapted.

Both are incredibly inspiring and have you making different types of fabric flowers than just roses (which have how-to tutes all over the internet already)…but ribbon daffodils? velvet bouvardia?  If you were patient and had a lot of time – they would make a beautiful bouquet for Mother’s Day, that lasts forever.  Lovely blooms will break up any DIY monotony.

Have a flower-filled day!

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