Refashion a Men's Dress Shirt Into a Cute DIY Puff Sleeve Dress

9 Materials
2 Hours

I love turning old clothes into something new and unexpected. In this DIY project, I upcycled an old men’s button-down long-sleeve shirt into a cute fitted DIY puff sleeve dress with a square neckline! There is a bit of pattern making involved, so there are quite a few steps, but I’ve laid it all out for you, step-by-step, so that you can make one just right for you! Follow my tutorial below to get started!

Tools and Materials:

  • Men’s button-down long-sleeve shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic
  • Pins
  • Safety pins
Cut Off the Sleeves
Cut Off the Sleeves and Remove Any Pockets

I started by cutting the sleeves off of the shirt. Cut as close to the seam as possible.

Remove Pockets

Then I removed the pocket with a seam ripper.

Mark the Top
Create the Pattern for the Body of the Dress

Ready for some pattern making? Bear with me, as this next part actually takes quite a few steps. However, it’s an easy way to create a pattern from scratch. I marked a line at the top of the shirt just under the collar. This will create a square neckline. 

Measure from Center

Then I marked 13 cm from either side of the center of the button along the line I had already drawn.

Measure Down

Next, I marked 5 cm down from the two marks I just made. 

Measure Side

Then I measured 9 cm out from each of the last markings and marked it.


Next, I marked a straight line from my last mark to the marks at the top of the dress. 

Mark Straight Down

From there, I marked a line straight down from the last mark all the way to the bottom of the shirt. 

Use a Tape Measure

Next, I measure 5 cm out from the bottom of each of these lines. Then I connected a line from these marks to the top of the shirt. 

Mark the Bottom

Then I marked a line across the bottom of the shirt. I was finally ready to cut out my pattern pieces!

Cut Out the Dress
Cut Out the Dress

I cut along the pattern lines that I had drawn and was finally ready to start sewing!

DIY Dress Pattern

Hem and Overlock
Hem and Overlock

I unbuttoned the top button of the shirt and folded it down twice on the backside. This will create a nice hem that will hide where I cut the fabric. Be careful not to accidentally hid the buttonhole. 

Pin the Top

I repeated this along the backside of the body of the dress and then sewed it down.

Hem the Top

For the rest of the pattern, I overlocked the edges of the fabric to protect it.

Make the Sleeves
Make the Sleeves

I measured and marked 38 cm from the top edge of the sleeves. 

Cut the Sleeves

Then I marked a straight line down from there and cut.

Remove the Seam

I cut along the seam of the sleeve and then cut out the seam entirely. I repeated this process on the other sleeve as well. 

Overlock Raw Edges

I overlocked all of the cut ends of the fabric to protect it. This will stop any fraying that may occur. 

Make a Hem on the Sleeve

Then I measured 1.5 cm from the edge of the curved part of the sleeve, folded it over, and pinned it in place. This will be where I’ll thread the elastic through to create the puffed sleeve. Make sure to check that you continue folding over the right amount as you go.

Thread the Elastic

Then I sewed the hem and inserted the elastic. Attach a safety pin to each side of the elastic to make it easier to thread it through while also making sure that the other end doesn’t get lost inside the fabric.

Next, I sewed the two ends of the elastic to the fabric and cut off the excess elastic. I repeated this process on the other sleeve. 

Attach the Sleeves
Attach the Sleeves to the Body of the Dress

I attached the sleeves to the front and back pieces of the dress with the right sides facing each other. 

Attach Sleeves to Body

Finish the Body of the Dress
Finish the Body of the Dress

I turned the dress inside out, with the right sides facing each other, and I pinned the pieces together along the body and sleeves of the dress. 

Sew Seams

I sewed the body and sleeves together. This part is all straight lines, so it’s not difficult to sew it together. 

Add Elastic to the End of the Sleeves
Add Elastic to the End of the Sleeves

I folded and pinned 1.5 cm of fabric at the end of the sleeves. Then I sewed it down, leaving a small space where the seam of the sleeve was to allow me to insert the elastic. 

DIY Puff Sleeve

I inserted elastic the same way I had for the tops of the sleeves a few steps ago. 

Finish the Bottom of the Dress
Finish the Bottom of the Dress

With the top of the dress complete, I could move on to finishing the bottom of the dress. I folded over a hem, pinned it, and sewed it down. 


Adjust the Fit
Adjust the Fit

I needed to add some fit to the bust of the dress, so I tried it on inside out and pinned where I needed to take it in. I repeated the process on the back of the dress. 

DIY Fitted Dress

Then I measured to make sure that the pins were placed evenly and that I was removing the same amount of fabric on each side. 

Mark Fabric to Sew

I marked either side of the fabric that I wanted to sew.

Make Triangles

Then I marked the center of those two marks and measured 8 cm up and down from it and marked there as well. This will allow me to make the triangles needed to fit the bust of the dress. 

Fit the Bust

I folded the fabric over itself and emphasized the line that I needed to sew. I repeated this process on the other side of the front of the dress, and then on both sides of the back of the dress as well. Then I sewed the parts I had marked. 

DIY Puff Sleeve Dress

Here is the result of all my hard work! Would you have ever believed that I made this cute puff sleeve dress from a men’s dress shirt?!?! Have you tried my DIY? Let me know in the comments below!

Suggested materials:

  • Men’s button-down long-sleeve shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Seam ripper
See all materials

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Join the conversation

2 of 24 comments
  • Emmawilliams1 Emmawilliams1 on Aug 08, 2021

    won't make as almost 83...Still have nice shape etc., but...???? Anyway I love to see the younger generation as I had done, in the past, making cute things and being constructive...With all the nonsense in the world right now, I say America is Blessed with these young girls, and boys!! They don't have to go to the Olympics...They are multi-talented right here at home with their sewing machine...Don't ever stop Don't know you but sending hugs😇

  • Maryanne Maryanne on Aug 09, 2021

    Dress is darling and so are you.