How to Make a Top From a Men's Shirt: DIY Vintage Blouse Tutorial

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
15 Materials
4 Hours

Want to know how to make a top from a men’s shirt? I got this oversized men’s shirt and decided to transform it into a fabulous DIY vintage blouse. The results are just amazing, so I hope you find some great inspiration from this DIY wrap top tutorial.

Tools and materials:

  • Men's shirt
  • Interfacing
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Flowy top as a guide
  • Iron
  • Buttons
  • Seam ripper
  • Pinking shears or serger
  • Marker
  • Rotary cutter
  • Paper
Seam ripping the pocket

1. Seam rip the pocket

Using your seam ripper, seam rip the pocket to remove it. Be careful not to poke holes through the shirt. 

Cutting off the bottom of the shirt

2. Make adjustments

Between the third and fourth buttons, draw a straight line and cut the shirt. Mark the line to make sure it’s straight. Put the bottom half aside for later. 

Marking the new neckline on the shirt

Now, hand mark where you’d like the new neckline to be. 

Cutting the new shirt neckline

Cut off the sleeves and collar. After doing this, cut the neckline. It will be much easier. 

Using the cut neckline piece as a pattern

To make the other side of the neckline identical and symmetrical, use the piece you just cut as a guide. 

Hand drawing the neckline curve

For the back neckline, hand draw a curve that connects the back necklines. Then, cut accordingly. 

Tracing the side seams and armholes

Take a slightly flowy shirt, and use it to trace the new side seam and armholes. 

Pinning and sewing the sides

Cut off the extra fabric, leaving a ¾-inch seam allowance. 

Tracing the sleeves

3. Make the sleeves

For the sleeves, place them 1 inch below the fold of the fabric so that the sleeves can ruffle. Then, trace accordingly. 

Cutting the sleeves

Cut the sleeves, leaving a ¾-inch seam allowance. 

Tip: Use the sleeve you just cut as a pattern for the second sleeve. 

Cutting the materials for the sleeve cuffs

I wanted to use the original cuffs for the sleeves, but they were too thick. So, I decided to make thinner ones by cutting 3 inches off the bottom of both sleeves to make two rectangles 13 inches x 3 inches.

Creating the neckline facing

4. Make the facing for the neckline

Now, cut out some facing for the neckline. To do this, trace the neckline on a piece of paper and add 1.5 inches all around. 

Tip: To avoid fraying, use a serger or cut the bottom of the facing with pinking shears. 

Sewing around the neckline

Sew all around the edge of the neckline. 

The new neckline of the DIY vintage blouse

Snip the corners and fold the facing inside the top. Next, iron the seams. This is what it should look like. 

Tip: To make the facing stay in place, hand sew it by the button placket and the shoulder seams. 

Marking the sleeves

5. Ruffle the sleeves

Add a marking at 4 inches below the top of the sleeve, at both sides. 

Sewing a basting stitch

Then, sew a basting stitch between those two markings. 

Pinning the sleeves to the bodice

Before ruffling the sleeve, pin it to the armhole. Pin the fabric until you reach the basting stitch. 

Gathering the fabric to make ruffled sleeves

Pull at one of the threads to create ruffles. Do this until the sleeve fits the armhole, then pin it down. 

Sewing the secure the ruffled sleeves

Sew to secure, and don’t forget to leave a seam allowance. 

Tip: To see how I hide the raw edges, skip to 4:38 of my video tutorial. 

Modifying the new side seams

6. Modify the side seams

Fold the DIY vintage blouse right sides together and stitch along the new side seam lines. Again, leave a ¾ inch seam allowance, then hide the raw edges.

Cutting the men's shirt to make a waistband

7. Make the waistband

To make the waistband, cut 5 inches off the remaining fabric. 

Measuring the waistband against the blouse

Put it next to the DIY vintage blouse and cut it to size. 

Adding interfacing to the waistband

Flip it right sides together and sew. Then, add interfacing to half the waistband and iron in place. 

Folding the waistband in half

Fold the waistband in half, and voila! 

Attaching the waistband to the blouse

Sandwich the top between the waistband, making sure the interfacing is at the bottom. Then, sew the waistband to the top with a standard seam allowance. 

Folding the raw edge

Flip the blouse inside out, fold the waistband in half, and fold the raw edge accordingly. 

Sewing the waistband in place

Pin in place and sew to secure the fold in place. Make sure to sew as straight as possible. 

Adding interfacing to the sleeve cuffs

8. Add the sleeve cuffs

Iron interfacing onto the new sleeve cuffs. Then, fold them in half lengthways, right sides together.

Attaching the cuffs to the sleeves

Mark the corners of the original cuff as a template and add a seam allowance to the sides. Sew the markings. Once sewn, flip them and adjust the corners. Iron them down so they stay flat. Overlap the ends and there's the cuff!

The cuff should be shorter than the sleeve so you can create some ruffles. Sew a basting stitch around the sleeves, gather the fabric until it fits the cuff. Place the cuff over the sleeve with the raw edges touching. Make sure the overlapping at the ends is at the top of the sleeve. Pin and sew down carefully.

Then, hand sew a button where the cuffs overlap (double your thread to make this quicker).

Cutting the waist ties from the men's shirt

9. Make the waist tie

Cut two strips from the remaining fabric, measuring 4 inches x 26 inches. Fold them right sides together and sew the edges. Sew the end of the strips in the shape of a triangle. Then, flip the fabric (I used a barbecue skewer to do this quickly). Iron the waist ties to flatten.

To attach the waist ties to the shirt, first sew with the strip pointing towards the back. Then, flip to the other side and sew a rectangle shape.

How to make a top from a men’s shirt tutorial

A closer look

How to make a top from a men's shirt

Here’s the final DIY vintage blouse! 

Suggested materials:
  • Men's shirt
  • Interfacing
  • Ruler
See all materials

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