Youtube Video: DIY Men’s Shirt Dress Configurations

Just found this uber-cool vid on styling a men’s shirt into a dress.  And you know me – I’m all about re-purposing men’s shirts, right??! Though maybe not all of the different styling ideas shown can work for all of us, I think we can all experiment with and see what works for each of our body types, and with what size of shirts!  (Maybe with some leggings underneath for winter?) Also, how about formulating our own guy’s-shirt-configurational possibilities??!

Still drowning in class and personal projects, and now Lil Tot has some flu or bug.  I’m still here, though – and hopefully will be getting a DIY Links of the Week post up tomorrow!!  Thanks~


Found via the amazing Outsapop.

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DIY: Happy Ice Cream Face Applique Tee…An Alternative to a Screenprint

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So to break up the monotony of my 30 days of outfits…I thought to share with all of you this cute and easy DIY.

I first saw this on Ramblings from the Sunshine State, where Wendy shared her how-to for a 6 Scoop T-Shirt for her daughter’s ice-cream-themed 6th birthday party.

I loved the idea of adding brightly-colored quilting fabric to a t-shirt!

I’m always dreaming of screenprinting designs into tees…The colors!  The vibrant blacks!  The limitless designs!…But face it, screenprinting ONE t-shirt (even with a Yudu) is a huge time commitment.  There isn’t much point if you’re just going to make one.

Fabric paint I don’t like very much, as even the “soft” fabric paint adds stiffness to the shirt, and you can’t get very crisp lines.

The iron-on transfers they sell at the sewing store also leave a distinct and ugly “sheen” to them…it’s obvious you’ve stuck something on your shirt.  No thanks.

But applique?!  Never thought of that!

Now the world is my oyster…or at least, the design possibilities are limitless when you start to think of re-creating your favorite screened t-shirt design with cutouts of bright fabric and patterns.  The edges to the appliques are crisp, and the applying is so easy!  (Plus it’s a great way to experiment with color and pattern…and use up the scraps of fabric you may have laying around in your scrap bag.)

You Need:

a t-shirt (I originally was going to use the white one above, and changed my mind after I took the photo)  /  brightly-colored fabric for your design (I picked out some quilter’s fat quarters at my local Jo-Ann Fabrics, paying attention to the coordination of the patterns and prints)  /  black fabric for your details (mine is a woven lightweight cotton suiting)

double-sided fusible web for applique  /  (optional) black embroidery thread

scissors  /  iron & ironing board  /  pen  /  paper to make your pattern


1. Make a pattern for your ice cream cones.  I made one that I used for each scoop, one for the cherry, one for the chocolate sauce, one for the ice cream cone, and one for the smile.

2. Place your pattern on your fabric (folded over).  Trace and cut 2 pieces for each part of the ice creams, and one piece for the smile.

3. Follow the instructions for fusing the pieces to the front of your shirt. (Usually sticking the applique onto the sticky front, peeling off the back, pressing to the shirt, and ironing for 15 – 30 seconds, applying pressure and making a few passes.  The instructions said to stick the entire piece of fabric onto the sticky front of the web and cutting through both layers just once…I don’t think it really matters how you do it.)


4. (Optional) To make your creation more “polished,” you could go over the edges of each fabric piece in a satin stitch (closely-spaced zigzag stitch on your machine), in black embroidery thread.  (I didn’t because I was feeling lazy.)  This will make your tee look (from a distance) like a cartoony ice cream face, without all the hassle of the screenprinting!

But even without the outlining, it looks pretty cute as is!

Cool down on a hot summer’s day quickly in this…or just have a sweet sense of humor while relaxing at home.

Happy DIY’ing!


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How To Re-Fit a Button-Down Shirt…To Your Size! Fitting 101

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.

How to Fit a Button-Down Shirt before and after

Tying in to my first Style It Chic! post from yesterday regarding the denim work shirt as current closet staple, in this post I’m going to show you how to fix that denim shirt you stole from your guy – or thrifted – into something that fits you properly.

As many of you know, I love finding both my materials and base items for my DIYs at the thrift store.  I’m always searching out the biggest, baggiest shirts (so I have tons of material to work with!) for my shirt re-cons.  Thus what I find is rarely pretty, and rarely fits.  It’s always the potential for a remake that gets me so excited.

So what to do with those shirts that you find – that you want to wear yourself – but aren’t quite your size??  You’re going to be keeping the sleeves and the length, let’s say, but why doesn’t the shirt look like it fits right?  And what to do? 

Can you tell what it is that’s making my shirt look too big in the above photo?
This brings me to my first Fitting Tip, the most critical for making your shirt look like it’s the right size:

Fitting Tip #1: The make-it-or-break-it “does it fit?” criteria is where the ARMSCYE SEAM HITS THE SHOULDER SEAM.
shirt refit,alteration,sewing,fitting

I cannot stress this one enough.  This is what makes the difference visually between “she’s wearing her boyfriend’s shirt” and “she’s wearing a cute shirt that fits her.”

We’ve all tried on a guy’s shirt before, right?  And, invariably the seam connecting the sleeve to the shirt (called the “armscye seam”) will be hanging off our shoulders, lying somewhere on our upper arms.

This is a DEAD GIVEAWAY that your shirt doesn’t fit you!!

Even if the body is un-fitted, loose-fit, billowy tunic, whatever…if this seam is in the wrong place on your body then it will look like it is the WRONG SIZE FOR YOU!

When looking at yourself standing normally, this seam needs to be as close as possible to traveling straight up from your armpit to your shoulder, in a straight line.  (Raglan or set-in sleeves are different, and there is a little variation to be had when you’re dealing with a blouson, caftan, or loose blouse or dress but in general this seam needs to be in that basic area.)

The closer this seam is to going straight up from your armpit – the more fitted and chic the garment will look.  Even a t-shirt will look flattering and feminine if the sleeves are attached to the body at this line.

Fitting Tip #2: The body needs to connect close to your underarm for the garment to look “fitted.”

The body is far less important than this armscye seam in Fitting Tip #1.  There are more variations when it comes to the shape and size of the body piece, so words like always or never aren’t very useful here.  Again, in general if the body is too loose right at the underarms, the piece will look big and billowy on you, even if the armscye seams are in the right place.

So how to re-fit your shirt?

How to Re-Fit a Men’s Button-Down Shirt To Your Size


You Need:
seam ripper  //  marking chalk  //  pins  //  scissors  //  sewing machine & needle for the fabric in your shirt  //  thread matching the topstitching thread in your shirt  //  mirror

The Straight Pin Method: How to Move the Shoulder Seam of a Too-Big Shirt to Fit Your Body

1. Remove both sleeves by opening the armscye seams.  Do not rip or cut through either the sleeves or the shirt body.  Often button-down woven shirts have topstitched seams, so you’ll have to go through both rows of stitching to pull the arms off fully.

Remove all the little messy threads from your ripping.

2. Try the shirt on and button it up. Put one hand on your hip. Looking in the mirror, mark where your shoulder seam SHOULD be by drawing a straight line up from your armpit to your shoulder. Mark with a pin straight at the shoulder.

3. Take the shirt off and lay it flat. Sketch a line connecting the pin you marked the shoulder with and where the shirt hits at the armpit. (Make sure you “square” the line – which means that the line crosses at a 90-degree angle over the line of stitching connecting the back yoke. Add 3/8″ to the outside of this line. Draw the new armscye by mimicking the shape of the old one.

4. Cut off the excess fabric. Fold the shirt in half, sketch around the edge of the armscye you cut onto the other shoulder area, and cut off the excess fabric on the other side as well.

The Mirror Method: How to Re-Fit the Body of a Shirt That’s Too Loose

5. Try on the shirt again, buttoning it up and putting it on inside-out. Now the vest-like shape of it should look right – at least at the shoulder area. Pin at one side to make it more fitted, looking in the mirror as you go, placing the pins as close as you can to your body. Drop your arm and confirm in the mirror that the shape of that side is now fitted and looks “right” for your body – not too tight, not too loose, and the shirt can move with you without constricting.

6. Take off the shirt and mark at the pins. Copy your markings to the other side as well by folding the shirt at the center and pushing the pins through both sides, marking where they skewer the side without the pins. Unfold the shirt, lay it flat, and remove the marking pins. Draw a line of “best fit” to connect the marks your made.

8. Sew along the lines you drew and trim the excess.  Now the shirt should fit your body properly.  (I’m wearing a shirt underneath, so it looks like it’s very fitted in the photo above, but it’s actually loose when I wear it as a single layer.)

How to Set Shirt Sleeves That Are Too Big Into Smaller Armholes

9. Now that the shirt fits you in the body, it’s time to reattach the arms.  Turn the shirt inside-out and place one sleeve inside it, right sides together.  Pin the armcap of the sleeve to the armscye of the shirt, all the way around.

10.  Sew the sleeves to the body.  If necessary, topstitch both armscyes on the body side to re-create the finished look of the original shirt.

And you’re done!  The manly shirt (or too-big women’s shirt!) should now fit you pretty well – and not look like you just stole from your guy’s wardrobe.

Note: With this method it’s unfortunate, but the sleeves will end up slightly shorter than those of the original shirt. It really can’t be helped, which is why I try to find my big shirts with too-long sleeves if I can.

In some cases, when you go to re-attach the arms you will find that there is too much excess fabric in the sleeve cap to fit into your smaller armscye.  You have one of two options:

1) Make the sleeve smaller by sewing the sleeve seam closer together at the underside.

2) Match the sleeve seam to the shirt body side seam while pinning, and gather or ease the excess fabric at the sleeve cap to create a “puffed-sleeve” look.

When altering this particular shirt, I used Method #2 and ended up with sleeves that are slightly puffy at the shoulders.

This can be done with anything that has the sleeves set incorrectly for your frame: t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, button-downs, dresses – anything!!  Hope this expands your options when shopping at the thrift store and alerts you to fitting issues before you buy something that doesn’t fit you well!

denim shirt

Hope this expands your options when shopping at the thrift store and alerts you to fitting issues before you buy something that doesn’t fit you well!

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: Men’s Shirt to Jumpsuit Romper

This is a long one, so hang on for the ride…

We’ll be using one ENTIRE shirt – and leave only the tiniest scraps behind when we’re done.  It will take awhile, and this tute is probably not for beginners.

Project Difficulty:  (EXPERT)
You Need:

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Jump! Jump! Jumpsuit Romper Outfit…from a Man’s Shirt


Button-Down Jumpsuit Romper: Handmade by Me from a Man’s Shirt
Xhilaration Multi-Studs Wallet: Target (I added the chain)
Faux Fox Fur Tail: Handmade by Me
Black Leather Pumps: Michael Michael Kors

Now that it finally feels like summer here in Portland (hellloooo, 90-degree days!!), I celebrated by making this jumpsuit from a man’s button-down shirt.  I used almost every little bit of the original shirt!


With ruched shoulders, belt loops, and self-tie at waist.

It took awhile to formulate the how-to, but I figured it out and shared the tutorial a couple days later here.  Check it out if you’re interested in making your own!!

I took an instant liking to this cute little wallet from Target.  You’d never think it was actually a wallet once you add a chain handle to it!  (I’ll probably change the chain to something a little less bright, but overall, I think this is a great little purse for going out.  Just the right size for the bare essentials!)

I made this faux fur fox fur tail recently.  I’ve been seeing them starting to crop up in photos around the blogosphere, and something tells me they will be a HUGE trend from Fall ’10.  I can only find them online made of REAL fox’s tails.  I’m so turned off by this idea (of using a real fox’s tail and hanging it off your bag –*blech*) that I decided to make my own.  So for those wanting to get the look of the foxtail accessory, but not inclined to use real fur, I’ve created fake fur tails – out of the most luxurious faux fur I can find.  Seriously, I’ve been searching for about 5 years for faux fur that looks like this and has all the beautiful variegation of real fur (and is sold by the yard to non-wholesale customers – something more rare than you might think!).  It’s just lovely.  This is the Brown-Tipped color, and I’m also offering pure White, solid Black, Orange-tipped Cream, and Brown in my Etsy store!

I also added this tiny pewter fox charm – to indicate that no foxes were harmed in the making of this piece (and still paying homage to the animal that inspired the design;-).  I’m offering the tails with and without the charm – and I donate 10% of sales to the Humane Society, who has worked tirelessly to create regulated fur-labeling standards in regards to fur-trimmed fashion products, and advocates going “Fur-Free” when it comes to fashion.

Wedge Platform Heels: Velvet Angels Optima Wedges (purchased on HauteLook for 77% off retail!)

Haha!  I just had to try these babies out!

I was so embarrassed about my lack of a pedicure I Photoshopped one in.  Sorry for the deception. 


You can also wear the romper without the belt, and with the collar open for a more relaxed look.

Hope everyone’s having a great week!
I have an interview tomorrow for a potential job…so psyched!  Wish me luck~


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