DIY Dress From a Button-Down Shirt

Rosa Padilla
by Rosa Padilla
9 Materials
2 Hours

This DIY dress thrift flip is so fun and playful, with ruffles and tulle trimming. It’s an easy project, and I’m sure you will fall in love with the results. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to sew a DIY dress from an old button-down shirt.

Tools and materials:

  • Button-down shirt
  • White t-shirt
  • Tulle fabric
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Pins
  • Fabric pen
  • Long stick
  • Sewing machine
Sew a DIY dress

How to sew a DIY dress

Remove pockets

To begin this basic DIY dress, I removed the pockets with a seam ripper.

Make a DIY dress


Next, I cut off the sleeves at the seam.

How to make a DIY dress

I also cut off the collar by cutting a straight line across the shirt about an inch below the collar.

Basic DIY dress

Mark and sew

I turned the shirt inside out and marked where I wanted to take in the sides of the shirt to make it more fitted. Then I sewed along those lines.

Easy DIY dress


Next, I cut across the top of a white t-shirt, underarm to underarm.

DIY dress tutorial


I pinned the hem along the top edge of the shirt by folding it in twice.

DIY dress thrift flip

Cut strips

Using the offcuts of the shirt, I cut a few strips, about an inch wide, folded them in half lengthwise, and sewed them closed along the long edge. 

Pin and sew

I pinned the strips to the top edge of the shirt to create a ruffle effect. Then I sewed it all down. 

Pin and sew

Next, I placed the top of the t-shirt inside the button-down shirt, folding the sides of the button-down over the t-shirt right below the underarm. I pinned the shirts together around the top edge of the button-down and sewed all the way around. 


To hem the dress, I folded the bottom edge of the dress up once and sewed it down. 

Add tulle

I attached a wide strip of tulle to the bottom hem of the dress.

Make a belt

I cut three 3-inch wide strips of fabric from the sleeves, and folded them lengthwise, and sewed them down, keeping one side of the strip open, and sewing the other end closed.

I used a long stick to push the closed end of the fabric through the strip and out the open end to turn the fabric right side out.

Then I pinned and sewed all the strips together to make one long belt. 

How insanely cute is this dress?! I love it, and I think it looks fantastic. If you sew a DIY dress using this tutorial, I would love to see your results!


Suggested materials:
  • Button-down shirt
  • White t-shirt
  • Tulle fabric
See all materials

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