How to Make a DIY Two-Tone Color Block Shirt

JRenee DIY
by JRenee DIY
11 Materials
2 Hours

Have you ever woken up on a gray morning and couldn’t decide which color top to wear? What if you had a color block shirt and then you wouldn’t have to decide? If you’re thinking about how cool a color block shirt would be, here are two different ways to make a DIY color block shirt.

You can use what you have at home or transform thrifted treasures into a two-tone shirt or if you’re super adventurous, even a three-tone one. Let me show you how to make a DIY split shirt right now.

Tools and materials:

  • 2 or 3 button-down shirts
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Ruler
  • ¼ inch elastic
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger (optional)
  • Matching thread
  • Iron

I’ll show you two styles. The first uses 2 shirts and the second uses 3 shirts.

DIY color block shirt 1

Making the pattern for the shirt

1. Make the pattern

Lay the shirts down on a flat surface. Open up all the buttons. Remove the back tags.

Finding the center of the shirt

You may want to fold the shirt in half with the wrong side showing to find the exact center.

Cutting down the center of the shirt

Cut down the center on the back including the collar. You should have 4 half shirts. For the first shirt, you’ll only use 2 of them. Make sure they align. Make sure the cuffs look similar. Press the shirts to flatten the fabric. 

Pinning the backs together

2. Sew the shirt

Pin the backs right sides together. Use an overlock stitch or serge in place. Flip over and topstitch along the back seam. 

Ruching the shirt

3. Ruche the shirt

Use your ruler and chalk to make 5 lines across the front of the shirt at the waistline. Mark every ¼ inch from side seam to side seam on the front only.

Pulling on threads to gather the fabric

Sew a basting stitch along each line on one side. Make sure not to backstitch at the beginning or end. Leave a tail on either side. You may want to use matching threads. Pull on the threads on both sides to ruche.

Distributing the gathers

Distribute the gathers evenly. Do the other side. If you’re wondering how much you should pull, try on the shirt to make sure of the fit. Go back to the sewing machine and do a straight stitch with backstitching along the ruching to secure it on each line. It should lay flat.

How to make a split shirt

If it gapes, secure the space with a button.

Matching buttons and buttonholes

Match the button stitching to the other buttons. Make a buttonhole to match.

Ruched color block shirt

I think this color block shirt looks fantastic, don’t you?

DIY color block shirt 2

Making the pattern for the color block shirt

1. Make the pattern

Lay the other 2 shirt halves flat.

Cutting across the waist area

Cut across at the waist area on both pieces.

Measuring a straight line

Lay the third shirt on a flat surface with the buttons closed. Use your ruler and chalk to measure straight across and cut from the waist down to the hem. 

Sewing the DIY color block shirt

2. Sew the shirt

Match and pin the center back seam of the shirt top. Sew into position with an overlock stitch or serging them on the right side. Flip over and topstitch. 

Trimming the sides to make them even

Trim to make the sides even.

How to make a two-tone shirt

Open the buttons of the third shirt. Pin the top shirt in place by both open button plackets and then the center back.

Pinning the shirt

Pin all the way around. If there’s more fabric in the third shirt, fold or pleat towards the center on each side in the back. Sew together with a straight stitch. Then topstitch on the right side.

Adding elastic to the waist

Measure a piece of ¼ inch elastic to match your waist. Pin each end of the elastic to the seam along the waistline.

How to sew a two-tone shirt

Sew the elastic down, stretching the elastic as you sew to ruche in the waistline. Cut off any excess elastic.

DIY color block shirt tutorial

I like to sew down the buttons on the bottom by pinning and straight stitching in place.

DIY color block shirt

DIY color block shirt tutorial

You’re done making this color block shirt. Please let me know in the comments how many compliments you received when wearing these pretty DIY split shirts.

Suggested materials:
  • 2 or 3 button-down shirts
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Dana Dana on Aug 28, 2022

    Love the top one, only suggestion is should have used the same thread colour as the dark on the dark side, would have blended it in much better. Lovely idea.

    many blessings