How to Make a Flannel Shirt Dress Out of 4 Old Men's Shirts

by ModernModiste
5 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a flannel shirt dress.

Are you already thinking ahead to your fall wardrobe? A cozy flannel dress is just the thing for cooler days, and this tutorial will show you how to refashion some thrift store men’s flannel shirts into your own DIY flannel shirt dress.

When you’re buying these flannel shirts, try to find ones in the same size with button placement that lines up.

Tools and materials:

  • 4 Men’s flannel shirts
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
Cutting the flannel shirts

1. Cut up the flannel shirts

Cut two flannel shirts vertically through the center. Seam rip the back of the collars an inch or two in from the raw edge. 

Pinning two halves of the shirts together

2. Attach the two halves for the top of the dress

Pin one side of each shirt together at the back with right sides facing. Start the pinning at the top because it’s important that the collar line is even all the way around. Sew the raw edge. 

Pinning the collar to the dress

Now reattach the part of the collar you seam ripped, and then pin and sew the collars together.

Topstitching on the flannel shirt collar

Finally, topstitch the collar and collar stand.

How to make a flannel dress

3. Swap out a sleeve

Cut off the right sleeve of your new shirt and the same sleeve from the shirt you want to incorporate as the new sleeve.

Also, cut off the cuff from the new sleeve, and seam rip the cuff from the old sleeve so that you can reuse it.

Tracing the sleeve pattern as a size guide

Turn the new sleeve inside out and lay the old sleeve on top of it as a size guide. Trace the outline of the old sleeve on the new sleeve, lining up the inside edge of the sleeve.

Cutting and sewing the new sleeve

Cut the old sleeve along the line you chalked and then sew the raw edge together.

Pinning the cuff to the sleeve

Pin the old cuff to the new sleeve and sew it in place.

Inserting the new sleeve into the armhole

Now pin the new sleeve into the armhole of the new top with right sides facing and sew it in place.

Cutting the top of the dress at the waistline

4. Make the skirt of the dress

Cut the new top horizontally at the bottom to the length that is where you want the waistline to be.

Cutting pieces of fabric from the flannels

Measure the length that you want the skirt of your dress to be. Cut as many pieces from your fourth shirt as you can, to the length you measured for the skirt.

Do the same from the remainder of the other three shirts you already used. The width of the panels can vary, as long as the length is the same. 

Cutting a panel that has buttons

If you want your dress to be button-down from top to bottom, then cut one panel to include the buttons and buttonholes for the center front of the skirt.

Sewing the panels together to make the skirt

Attach the panels together by sewing them, right sides facing to create one full skirt piece.

Making a DIY flannel dress

Use a ruler to fold the one wide skirt panel into pleats along the top and pin the pleats in place.

Making pleats in the skirt

Create the pleats from each front edge to the side seam.

Flannel shirt dress DIY

Locate the center back of the skirt panel and create an inverted box pleat at that point by making a fold on either side of the center back, in toward the middle.

Sewing the front pleats of the dress

Sew the front pleats into place.

Attaching the top and bottom of the dress

5. Attach the top and bottom of the dress

With right sides facing, pin the top of the dress to the bottom of the dress, making sure the box pleat is centered at the back.

Sew the waistline seam. Fold in and topstitch the raw edge hemline.

Adding darts to the back of the dress

6. Add darts (optional)

Add darts to the back of the top piece from the bottom if you want to cinch it in a bit more.

How to make a flannel shirt dress

How to make a flannel shirt dress

Iron the pleats so they lay neatly, and you’re all done! This cute swingy flannel dress will keep you cozy and fashionable in all seasons.

Since you can pick up these flannel shirts at the thrift store, there are endless color and pattern combinations you can choose!

Leave a comment to let me know how you liked this DIY flannel shirt dress tutorial.

Suggested materials:
  • 4 Men’s flannel shirts
  • Scissors
  • Pins
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Miss Daisy Miss Daisy on Feb 16, 2022

    Love this creation and want to make a few so thank you.

  • Nita Nita on Mar 10, 2023

    This dress is adorable! What a great idea! I've been looking for a plaid flannel dress to take on a fall trip to Scotland and haven't found one I like. I love the idea of reusing flannel shirts so I am going to get my sewing machine going! Thanks so much for this tutorial! I can't wait to get some shirts and start stitching!