Refashioned Boy’s School Shirt

I’ve had a couple of old boy’s shirts on my refashion pile for aaages! And I don’t own any white shirts, so you’d think this would have been a hole I would have plugged sooner. I had 2 boy’s white shirts (I think in ‘age 14’ size) because I used to do Morris dancing and although Grandad shirts look nice, they tended to be a bit more expensive, so I went for the cheaper 2-pack school shirts option! If you don’t believe me about the Morris dancing, btw, I present you with photographic evidence!

First dance-out 1This is me (on the left) and my friend Chloe, who introduced me to the world of Morris and ceilidhs. She still dances, in a new side, but I stopped when I left Norwich 5 1/2 years ago. I do miss it, and I especially miss ceilidhs but I don’t know how I would find the time these days! I think I might even be wearing one of the shirts in this picture!

This is what the shirts looked like before (I say ‘shirts’ but I’ve actually only refashioned one so far). Wow, this ‘before’ picture is total crap – sorry! I took it ages ago (just look at the difference in my hair!), I know now a bit more about having some light when taking pictures!


It doesn’t look too bad from the front, but you can see how big it is from the back. Also the sleeves are a bit too long and the shoulder seams are half way down my arm!


I really am quite pleased with the ‘after’. Hence this supremely smug face!

White-Shirt-refashion-3Rather than just take the shirt in (which I’ll do with the second one), I found inspiration on Pinterest, my favourite way to find style inspiration and things I can copy. I took in the side seams and decided against darts as I didn’t want it to be too fitted. I don’t know why it’s all rucked up in the below picture – it doesn’t sit like that in real life! I also took about 8cm off the length.

White-Shirt-refashion-4The major change, obvs, was to sew some black bias binding to the button placket and to replace the buttons with black ones. This was fairly easy to do as luckily my binding (which I had in my stash, having bought it for some long forgotten project) was exactly the right length to fill the existing placket. I didn’t take any in progress shots as I was in a hurry the day I did this refashion, but I basically pinned the binding so all the raw edges were hidden and top stitched both sides. I then remade the button holes in black thread, using the original buttons holes which I could still see on the inside as a guide.


I had some binding left over so I decided to put some on the cuffs too. I didn’t redo the button holes on the cuffs as the binding was just narrow enough to leave the old on intact. I don’t know if it looks a bit stupid that half the cuff is black and half still white, but I don’t really care, I like it!


I also added little black tips to the collar. This could have been neater, but as long as no-one looks at the underneath, it looks fine! You can also see from this picture that for some reason on the button side I didn’t sew the binding all the way to the top, I stopped at the under collar thing (i’m sure there must be a proper name for this but I don’t know it – anyone?). I don’t think it looks too bad, though, and when the shirt is buttoned to the top, you can’t see it at all.


My only regret/ mistake was to take the sleeves in too much. I trimmed down the shoulders on the body of the shirt and then I trimmed the sleeve head to make the sleeves 3/4 length instead of just a little bit too short. But I took it all in too much and then the sleeves couldn’t meet the armhole properly without a huge hole in the armpit. So I added little armpit gussets. I don’t think they look too bad and when it’s on, you’d have to be really staring at my armpits to notice! I think the solution with the second shirt is to take in the sleeves and side seams in one go, then unpick just the shoulder part of the seam to adjust where the seam hits my arm. Unless I leave it as it is and claim it as a deliberate design feature?!


I was in a hurry to finish this shirt because I wore it that day to my friend’s 30th birthday drinks. I just finished it in time, but had to sacrifice painting my nails for having buttons sewn on! I wore it with these (very) skinny jeans and my obnoxious pink shoes which I bought for my birthday to go with my Georgia Dress. I also wore my Black Victoria Blazer. It ended up pissing it down with rain so I got soaked on the way home, but I felt cool, so that’s all that matters, right?


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