Check Out My Upcycled Button-up Dress

Julie Willaert
by Julie Willaert
6 Materials
90 Minutes

I love upcycling! A friend of mine gave me his old button-down shirt and I immediately felt my creative juices start to flow! I decided to totally refashion the shirt into a gorgeous button-up dress. I am so excited about my new dress and I still can’t believe I made it from a men’s shirt. If you want to learn how I made this amazing fashion transformation, my tutorial is definitely for you! Follow a few simple, easy steps and you could soon have your hands on an absolutely amazing button-up dress.

Tools and materials:

  • Button-down shirt
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Refashion men’s dress shirt
Cut the shirt

To get started on this awesome upcycle, I removed the pocket from this men’s shirt and also cut off the sleeves. 

Cut open the sleeves

I then opened the sleeves up and cut off the cuffs because I wouldn't need them for my stunning new dress. 

Trace a T-shirt
Trace a T-shirt

Next, I used one of my best fitting T-shirts as the pattern. I placed it on the opened up sleeve and made sure to tuck in the sleeves on the T. I then traced the sleeves and the neckline onto the fabric. I used my scissors to cut the fabric. 

Men’s button-down shirt refashion

I copied my new bodice piece onto the other opened up sleeve and cut it out. 

Draw a square
Make a square neckline

To get the perfect square neckline for my new dress, I measured 5.5 inches from each shoulder seam and joined the points. I then simply cut out the square. 

Cut the front bodice piece
Sew the bodice

I then cut this front bodice piece in two because I really wanted to add the beautiful button-up feature to my dress. 

DIY men’s dress shirt refashion

I hopped on over to my sewing machine and sewed a zig-zag stitch around the edges to protect the fabric from fraying.  

Hem the bodice

Next, I hemmed the neckline and the sleeves on both bodice pieces for a nice finish.  

Attach the front and back pieces

I then placed the front bodice pieces, over the back bodice piece, right sides together, and pinned and sewed the sides and shoulder seams with a straight stitch. 

Add extra fabric

I tried on the bodice and realized it was too small. There was no need to panic! I just measured and cut two extra pieces of fabric and attached them to the front bodice.  

Cut the sides of the shirt
Make the skirt

I put the bodice to the side so that I could focus on working on the skirt for my new dress. I cut open the sides of the men’s shirt and removed the collar so that I could make an A-line skirt. 

Draw diagonal lines

Working with the fabric from the back of the shirt, I drew two diagonal lines along the sides and cut along them to create the perfect skirt shape. I then repeated the same step for the front piece of the shirt. 

Pin the skirt pieces together

I laid the three skirt pieces, right sides together and pinned them in place. I then made sure to sew the pieces together. 

Hem the bottom

My skirt was coming together beautifully! I hemmed the bottom to give the dress a nice, clean finish. 

Sew the dress together
Sew the dress together

I laid my pieces right sides together and pinned along the edges. I then sewed my fabric into an amazing dress. 

Attach big buttons

I like to make life harder for myself and I chose to add some bigger buttons onto the dress but you can totally leave the original buttons of the shirt. If you want to see how I replaced the buttons go to 5.43 in the video. 

Men’s shirt refashion tutorial

I am totally obsessed with this upcycled dress! How would you style this piece? Let me know in the comments below!

Suggested materials:
  • Button-down shirt
  • Ruler
  • Marker
See all materials

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