Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giant Man's Shirt to Cute Dress

Before: Big Box of a man's shirt with cool blue retro workman's stripes. I only wish I had a blue "bob" batch for the final project.

After: Cute Dress


  • 1 large mans shirt (really big is better) Try it on and it should be summer length on you and have enough ease on in the body for you to sit down without stressing the buttons. I used a 5x man's shirt I got from the thrift store for $2.
  • 1 Spool of ribbon or bias tape Enough to go around you and tie in the back with ease
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (unless you want to so this by hand)
  • Pins
  • Calk or other marking tool
  • Thread to go with shirt/ribbon
  • Measuring tape
  • Quilter's ruler
Step one - Try on the shirt and pin to mark the following places:
  • Where your shoulder lands
  • Center of boobs
  • Under boobs (Move the material close up under your boobs so that you accomodate your girly curves
  • Your wides point (usually your hips)
  • Pin along the sides until the excess fabric is taken up and you have added shape. Don't go super tight here as you will need some of this fabric for the fitting darts back and front later. And you want t be able to move.

Step two - Mark and cut

  • Cut of the sleeves leaving the seamed bit with the sleeve you cut off
  • Button up the shirt and lay it out as flat as possible (iron if needed) and fold in half with buttons on the outside.
  • Redraw the arm holes up to the pin make you made for your shoulder. Take some of the curve out of them. Cut out your drawing leaving a .5 in seam allowance.
  • Redraw the side seams along the pin marks you made. Cut and pin leaving a .5 inch seam allowance.
  • Cut open the sleeves (removing any surged edges) and lay the material flat. Place good sides together and fold in half along the top of the shoulder seam.
  • Lay along this folded bit down next to the shoulder line of the shirt. You are gonna make a quarter circle shaped sleeve here. Draw a curved line from the bottom of the armpit to the shoulder edge and cut out. Leave a little bit of seam allowance for a rolled edge finish on the sleeve.
  • Attach the sleeve to the shirt. There is a great tutorial on how to do that at http://www.whatthecraft.com

Step Three.
  • Sew up the sides and try it on. Check out the fit. It should be still sorta baggy cause you haven't added darts or gathers.
  • Mark a line with chalk under the boob where you pinned before.
  • With the shirt on, and some pins pin a small area of gathers under each boob to give yourself some curve. It doesn't have to be super tight cause you are gonna be able to tie it and you will be adding darts in the back.

Step four -

  • Take it off and add but darts to the back. You can use a tape measure and feel along your back to find out the area in the middle of your back... what you are trying to to is measure an area in the middle of your back where each end is roughly over the center of each bum cheak. You can also use a fitted skirt to match up dart location.
  • Use a ruler and even out and make darts on the inside back of the shirt. I am not going to explain how to make darts cause there are way better tutorials out in the interwebs.
  • Next take out your ruler and under boob trim.... Mark out and pin the ties on the front of the shirt... use your ruler to pin the gathered area evenly on both sides. You will pin the ties from the button line to the side seam of the shirt.
  • Before you sew either th darts or the ties, try it back on inside out and adjust sides, darts and ties as needed for a comfy fit... sit down!!!!! other wise you may end up too tight. Don't pin yourself.

Step Five - Sew it all down... darts and ties.
Ad any other embellishment you would like... and done!


  1. what a nice idea to turn a huge man dress into a stylish woman dress. I think you should also try to sew big suit and make it more elegant and trendy. Thanks for the tutorials and helpful tips. It will be very beneficial to me because I am just a beginner in sewing.

  2. @thomas. That looks like such a cool project. I am glad you dug the tips!