Four Ways to Refashion a Thrifted Men’s Shirt

Liana Hardy
by Liana Hardy
8 Materials
1 Hour

Menswear shirts are a dime a dozen at every local thrift shop, so they’re a good place to start if you’re looking to get into the thrift flip game! In this tutorial, I’ll show you four easy ways to upstyle basic menswear shirts into fun, stylish new pieces for your wardrobe. I happen to have a rather large collection of these shirts already that were either given to me or purchased at the thrift shop, so if you don’t already have a few lying around you can easily go out and grab some. So let’s dive in! Check out my tutorial below to get started!

Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  • Menswear shirt
  • Chalk
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Bias tape
  • Elastic
  • Pins
cropped menswear shirt
Cropped menswear shirt

I started by turning the shirt inside out and putting it on back to front, as I wanted to avoid the button placket for this project. 

menswear shirt with short sleeves

I marked where I wanted the neckline to be and where I wanted to shorten the sleeves with chalk.

create a new neckline

I removed the shirt and added a clearer outline for the new neckline that I wanted to create. 

remove the collar

Then I cut along that line and also removed the collar from the front of the top.

shorten the sleeves

I folded the shirt in half so that the sleeves lay on top of each other and shortened the sleeves. 

crop the shirt

I also marked where I wanted the top to be shortened.

cut off the excess

Then I cut off the excess fabric from the bottom of the top.


To protect the edges of the fabric, I overlocked all of the edges of the new hem.

add elastic

Next, I determined the size of my waist and measured and cut a piece of elastic accordingly. I sewed the two ends of the elastic together, forming a circle.

add a hem

Then I folded the hem of the shirt over the elastic and sewed along the overlocked edge of the fabric. Make sure not to accidentally sew into the elastic itself.

overlock the sleeves

I also overlocked the edges of the sleeves, folded them in, and sewed down the hem. Then I repeated the process with the other sleeve.

how to shorten sleeves

I added bias tape to the top edge of my new neckline.

DIY cropped menswear shirt

Check out that before and after shot! Now I have a chic new top perfect for a day out!


raw edge crop top
Raw Edge Crop Top

This project is super simple. The only real change that I made to the top was to crop it to my desired length.

how to distress a crop top

Once I had removed the excess fabric, I distressed the new hem of the top a bit, just using my fingers to pull some of the threads out. 

how to make a crop top

If you’re not a fan of raw edges, you can add a simple hem to the new bottom of the top.

DIY raw edge crop top

I folded up the sleeves and I was done! What a quick transformation! This project was so easy and the finished effect is super stylish!

half-and-half shirt
Half-and-Half Shirt

I happened to have two shirts that were the exact same style and from the exact same shop, so I decided to go for a half-and-half shirt! 

fold and cut

I started by folding the shirts in half and cutting straight up the center of the back of the shirt. This is a great way to get a better fit, as we’ll be losing a bit of fabric in the back when we sew the pieces together. If you’re happy with the fit of the shirt, make sure to account for a seam allowance. 


Then I pinned two halves together with the right sides facing each other. Make sure to pick the proper sides of the shirts. 

sew together

Then I used a straight stitch to sew the two pieces together. 

overlock the edges

I overlocked the new raw edges of the fabric and I was done!

DIY half-and-half top

What a fun project! You can even use the remaining pieces to make another shirt to give to a friend!

men's shirt upcycle

I have one more fun project with a plain white menswear shirt, but for that one, you’ll have to check out my video above! This project starts about 8 minutes into the video.

DIY men’s shirt ideas

Don’t overlook the humble menswear shirt when thrifting. The opportunities are truly endless when it comes to upcycling and upstyling these simple tops! Which of these projects was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Suggested materials:
  • Menswear shirt
  • Chalk
  • Fabric scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 24 comments
  • Lalee Lalee on Jan 29, 2022

    Remarkable what you see could be done to a man’s shirt…

    .time and imagination✅

  • Mike Mike on Mar 18, 2023

    I LOVED the first one!!!! Great job on them all.