Tag Archives: Shirt Refashion

Refashioning a Shirt (sort of)

It feels like it’s been a while since I refashioned anything and this is definitely not the best, nor the most involved refashion I’ve done. It’s also been a while since I’ve updated this blog and the new wordpress editor is the actual worst thing I’ve ever been forced to use – at least before you could use the old interface but it seems they’ve removed that as an option. Urgh.

This is a shirt that my mum bought for my ex-partner and it was too big for him so he never wore it. Then I decided it was more in my colour palette anyway so I commandeered it and decided to take it in a bit as it was too big for me too. I definitely could have taken it in more though.

I did these alterations a while ago and I seem to have not written down the alterations I made. I took some length off the back by re-sewing the seam at the bottom of the yoke.

I also took off the sleeves, trimmed the shoulders on the shirt and the sleeves and sewed them back on – but they are still way too long on me so I should probably take them off again and take them in more but for now I’m just wearing it with the cuffs folded back and it seems to work fine.

The shirt is made from almost a flannel fabric so it’s pretty warm, which has been great with this never-ending cold weather we’ve been having in the UK. I think for next Winter I want some full-on flannel shirts though. My flannel pyjamas are so warm I want to live in them when it’s cold so, even though I already have a bajillion shirts, there might be some more on the horizon!

I feel like I want to be maybe a bit more adventurous with my next refashion project as I don’t tend to think hugely outside the box! And I’m inspired by the Sewing Bee to try some more outrageous refashions – though maybe not in only 90 minutes!

The Refashioners: Green Shirt into Shirtdress

After completing my first Refashioners refashion, I decided to do another one! I had bought 2 shirts at the same time,but I wasn’t sure whether I would get them both done in time. (Spoiler: I did!)



I bought this one because it was another solid colour, and it was extra long, so figured it would be long enough to be a dress.


I felt that this was a fairly insipid green so I decided to dye it. I actually dyed it twice. The first time was with the green sections of my other refashioners shirt, but it didn’t really change colour that much because it’s really synthetic. So then I decided to try to dye it black. Again, it didn’t really take the colour, but it made it quite a nice dark khaki-type colour.

I then unpicked the sleeves, pocket, collar and the yoke from the back of the shirt. I ended up not using the sleeves, pocket or collar yet (or, in fact, the collar and cuffs from the other shirt), but hopefully I’ll be able to use them at some point in the future.


The unpicking was done in one evening and then I did the sewing in the next evening, so this was a pretty quick,and not very dramatic, refashion. I quite enjoyed doing it slightly against the clock, even though I try usually to take as long as it takes with sewing (otherwise I get stressed and annoyed!). Maybe I’ll make it onto the Great British Sewing Bee one day!?(They’re taking applications for the fourth series now!)


I cut off 10cm from each side of the yoke (I measured I needed to cut off 12cm in total so 10cm left me with a seam allowance for neatening the arm holes). I then gathered the yoke so it sit the new yoke and sewed it in place.

I took in the side seams by 13cm at the armpit, tapering to 10cm at the waist and then to nothing at the hem – I wanted it to have a slight cocoon shape.


I used bias binding to neaten the neck line (which I slightly reshaped) and the armholes. The the only other changes I made were to make the neckline at the back slightly v-shaped, so sew the buttons closed after the first 3 and to change the buttons from typical man-shirt-buttons to the ones I had left over from my parrot shirt refashion.

After I’d take the above pictures, it occurred to me it might look good ‘backwards’ too. (Or the right way round according to the original shirt)




I now can’t decide which way round I prefer it!

I think I might wear it both ways round – 2 dresses for the price of 1! Which way do you prefer it? Have you entered the Refashioners competition?

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?


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?