Parrot Shirt Refashion

A few weeks ago I was mooching in our local charity shop (which normally has very little of interest) and I happened upon a shirt made of parrot-covered fabric in a size 18. Rather than try to think of anything weird and wonderful to change it into, I decided to make it into a smaller shirt – ooh, thinking outside the box there (not!). I just love the fabric.


Here is the before:



It had really ugly cuffs on the sleeves:

P1010361(sorry for my weird hairy elbow!)

And horrible pleated pockets:


I started off by unpicking everything – the sleeves, the cuffs, the collar and the pockets.


I took in the shirt at the sides and added a boob dart. I think it’s still a bit big on the back, so I probably should have added darts on the back too, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

Because the sleeves had cuffs on originally, they had cuts up them, for the cuff opening. I unpicked the tiny hems on these and sewed them up, because I just wanted to use the sleeve bit and not the cuff.



I took 7cm of each shoulder (because the original shoulder seam was half way down my arm) and sewed the original seams back on, having gathered them a little to make sure they fitted. The only other main change I made were to make the collar rounded instead of pointed – it was pretty fiddly to sew the collar back on, but I figured I’d have to re-sew it whether I altered it or not, so I thought ‘what the hell’, and I took 10cm off the length. I measured the length at the front, forgetting that it goes up at the sides, so I think I shouldn’t have taken it up quite so much, but it’s done now and it looks okay. I think the thing that made the biggest difference was changing the buttons. The were grey-ish metal ones originally:


I changed them for some little pink ones, to match the pink of the pink parrots. I kept all the old ones, and have 17 (8 on the shirt, 2 each for 2 pockets, 2 each for 2 cuffs and a spare sewn into the label) so I’m sure I’ll find something to use them for in the future.


So here is the finished shirt, which I’ve already worn quite a few times.




The Boyfriend’s mum gave me a couple more shirts, both I think size 16. Does anyone have any ideas of how I can change them, other than just taking them in and making them smaller shirts?

13 thoughts on “Parrot Shirt Refashion

    1. jamahistory

      I’d thought of skirts – I’ll have to try the shirts on my bottom half and see if there is enough fabric to cover my ample rear!


  1. evenlode1967

    The fabric is gorgeous! You look so great in your new version. Its just that the old version brings home to me just how crap clothes are for larger women. Why do they think you want to look like you are walking around wearing a tent? (Rant over). Excellent job!


    1. jamahistory

      Thanks! And I agree – I said to The Boyfriend that if you were on the larger side, why would you want two massive, pleated, buttons pockets right on your boobs? I don’t know if this shirt was produced in all sizes and the styling is therefore just a bit old-fashioned or if it was just a plus-sized design. Either way, it wasn’t very shaped!


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