Re-fashion a Guy’s Shirt

Happy belated Earth Day everyone!! Instead of planting a tree or installing solar panels I decided to be Green by recycling one of my husbands old collared shirts! By not throwing his shirts away we’re saving some “green” (haha pun…) and I get to expand my creativity a little too. For those of us with longer torsos and arms, re-fashioning a guy’s shirt is brilliant because you get to choose how long or short to make the sleeves or torso.

For starters you will need to find a man’s collared shirt. If you’re married, raid your man’s closet… but be sure to ask first :D Otherwise you can find an inexpensive shirt at a thrift store. Alrighty, now that we have the shirt, grab your scissors and let’s go!

Time for a little shirt surgery… Your first incision will be the cuffs. Cut them off completely! OUCH! I do this because it gives the shirt a little more of a feminine quality and it looks more casual.

Next lay out your shirt on a flat surface inside out. A table is preferable but since I don’t have one, the floor works… I also use this opportunity to practice my yoga :) Make sure the shirt is not wrinkled and laying out nicely. Because I don’t plan on wearing my shirt tucked in, I like to cut off the tails of the shirt too. Just go straight across the bottom with your scissors and “POOF” no more tails!! Leave enough to hem it though…

Its time to go dig around on your side of the closet for a shirt (collared if you have one) that fits you the way you like it. Lay it on top of your man’s shirt, no wrinkles, and pin along the perimeter. Grab some chalk, pen or pencil and trace the outline. Basically you are using the smaller one as a pattern. I prefer chalk over pen and pencil because it washes out the easiest.

Here’s what it looks like when you remove your shirt. Nice guidelines for sewing.

For my first round of stitches I like to do a basting stitch – where you set your sewing machine to the largest size stitch that your machine will allow. In my case this is number 4. For regular stitches I set it to 3 or 3 1/2.

Do a quick basting stitch along the chalk lines and make sure to take the pins out along the way, so you don’t break your sewing needle. This will allow you to make small corrections without taking out the entire seam.

When you are ready to try it on, clip the corners so the fabric has more room to curve, especially under the arms.

If, after trying it on, you’re happy with the way it fits and looks, you will want to go over the basting stitch with a smaller stitch… probably a 3. Then cut the excess fabric off leaving a 1/4 inch seam. It doesn’t have to be exact but you don’t want a lot of extra fabric bunching up on the inside of your shirt, ick!!

Okay, now we move onto hemming the sleeves and bottom of your shirt. We’re almost done so hang in there!! This step is easiest done with a seam gauge but a regular ruler or measuring tape will suffice. So… with the “wrong” side of your shirt facing out, iron the seam under 5/8ths of an inch. Do this all the way around the bottom of the shirt and sleeves. Hold off on the pins for now…

When that’s done go back to your starting point and fold the free side under to the 5/8ths crease, iron again and pin in place. Do this all the way around the bottom and sleeves.

Woooo almost there!! Hop back over to your sewing machine and stitch close to the edge of your hem. This will make it look really sharp and professional. Through this whole process you will probably want to use a thread that matches whatever garment your are sewing but I’m using white so that you can see it in the pictures.

Turn the shirt right side out and your done!! Wear it proudly and tell everyone that you tailored it all by yourself. Have fun being creative with your clothes, or your man’s clothes that is. Remember don’t always accept clothes the way they are, but see what they could be :D

  • Rachel Ann

    Sweet mother of buddha…I’ve totally been doing this lately. It must be something in the spring air. You and I are like to bodies with one mind, two minds with one heart, two…eh, well. Anyway yours looks better than mine, cause I’ve been sewing mine by hand (sewing out of boredom; sewing by hand out of lack of resources). Miss seeing you every week!