Thrift Flipping Tutorial: How to DIY a Trendy Flannel Shirt

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
5 Materials
5 Hours

I started this project because I wanted a women's flannel shirt jacket with a pop of color. It turned into a thrift flipping upcycle with some tailoring thrown in.

I thrifted an oversized men's flannel winter jacket and realized I needed to make it quite a lot smaller before I painted it.

I also made a big mistake that I had to DIY myself out of, but I think the solution I came up with made the finished result even better.

Best fabric scissors!

Cut any fabric smoothly and easily with these bestseller fabric scissors that Amazon reviewers swear by!

Tools and materials:

  • Flannel shirt jacket
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric paint and brush
  • Sewing machine
Flannel shirt to thrift flip

1. Reduce the shoulder width

I found a fleece-lined, men's flannel shirt jacket in my local thrift store.

It was boxier and more bulky than I wanted, so I had to start by making it a better fit.

Reducing the shoulder width

I cut the sleeves out of the armhole.

There was no need to leave a seam allowance because I was cutting away the width of the jacket body anyway. I cut as close to the seam as I could to keep the full length of the sleeve.

Then I cut the seam away from the body so I was left with raw armhole edges.

I measured the width of the shoulder seam that I wanted, started cutting at that point and tapered the curve into the armhole.

Then, I used the cut-off piece as a template to cut the second shoulder. 

Reducing the shoulder width

2. Modify the body

I opened the sides of the jacket in the same way, by cutting along one side of each seam and then cutting away the seam itself.

Modifying the body

I used the sleeve head to show me how large the armhole needed to be for the sleeve to still fit without adjustment. That determined the maximum I could remove from the sides of the jacket. 

I re-sewed the side seams in a straight line from the new armhole and cut off the excess fabric. 

Modifying the body

I cropped the length of the jacket, using the plaid design as a cutting guide.

Then I inserted the sleeves, pinning the shoulder seam and underarm seam points first.

I did this to make sure the sleeve head was evenly distributed in the armhole, then sewed them in place.

Painting flannel shirt

3. Painting

I've found the best way to paint a design on plaid is to choose one or two elements of the design to decorate and follow that line throughout.

For this jacket, I chose to paint the center white stripe of the three-stack, and the narrow red line.

It's important to use fabric paint for this rather than acrylic, as the fabric paint blends softly into the plaid. I also chose a flat brush that was almost the same width as the section I was painting.

Sleeve modification

4. Sleeve modification

When I tried the jacket on, I realized that I'd moved the shoulder seam in so much that the sleeve was now too short!

I had to choose whether to crop the sleeve so it hung at the same level as the bottom of the jacket, or to extend the cuff with a longer piece of fabric.

Sleeve modification

I decided on the latter, so I removed the original cuff and added the extension that I cut from the excess fabric.

After that was done, I stitched the cuff back just above the extended section so it gave a belt effect to the end of the sleeve.

DIY thrift flipped flannel shirt jacket

DIY thrift flipped flannel shirt jacket

DIY thrift flipped flannel shirt jacket

I feel like I could wear this jacket with anything. I love the style mix of a husky plaid jacket with the pop of bright pink fabric paint. It makes all the difference.

Even if you did nothing else you'd have a stunning jacket. I'm really pleased with the fit and the way the sleeves turned out in the end.

I hope you enjoyed this thrift flipping and that it inspires you to try something similar of your own. If you do, please let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out my post on How to Create a Crystal Embellished Denim Jacket.

Suggested materials:
  • Flannel shirt jacket
  • Scissors
  • Pins
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation