Perfect Puff Sleeve Dress Upcycle

Ram's DIY
by Ram's DIY
6 Materials
2 Hours

I found a men’s shirt with an amazing blue and red plaid fabric and my creative juices started flowing. I knew I couldn’t let the fabric go to waste so I decided to refashion the shirt into the most stunning puff sleeve dress! This piece is a total fashion-statement and I just can’t get enough of it. If you want to learn all the tips and tricks of this upcycle, my tutorial is definitely for you! Follow my simple, step-by-step guide and get started on your own dress transformation.

Tools and materials:

  • Men’s shirt
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
Puff sleeve mini dress
Cut off the sleeves

To begin this incredible upcycle, I cut off the sleeves from the men’s shirt. 

Draw your pattern
Mark your pattern

I then measured 12 cm from the buttons of the shirt and marked on both sides. I measured down 5 cm from my first markings and used my tailor’s chalk to mark that point as well. 

Draw a line between two marks

I drew a line between the bottom markings I had made, using the ruler to keep it as straight as possible. 

DIY puff sleeve dress

Next, I measured 6 cm from my marking and drew two new points. 

Draw a diagonal line

Using my ruler, I connected the points I had just made with the first markings by drawing a diagonal line. 

Mark further down the line

I moved further down the shirt and drew two markings 5 cm in from the edge. I connected the new markings to the marking I had previously made.

Mark near the edge

For the final marking, I moved down towards the bottom of the shirt and made points 4 cm in from the edges. 

No-sew puff sleeve dress
Cut out the fabric

Finally, with all my markings drawn, I could cut out my fabric. 

Sew a hem
Hand sew a hem

I really wanted my new dress to have the perfect finish, so hand sewed a hem at the top edges in the front and back. 

Measure the sleeve
Create new sleeves

In this next step, I marked 38 cm from the shoulder of the sleeves of the old shirt. Using scissors, I cut along my marking to get the length I needed.

Square neck puff sleeve dress

I then cut open the seam of the sleeves. Once the sleeve fabric was laid out in front of me, I cut off the stitching around the edges so that I had the perfect pieces. 

Make an elastic channel

I then double folded the curved edge of the fabric to create a channel for the elastic. Using a safety pin attached to one end of the elastic, I thread it through the channel. I made sure to sew the elastic in place once it was through. This is such an important step because it helps create the gorgeous puff sleeve. 

Pin on the sleeves
Pin the dress together

Next, I pinned the edges of my sleeves onto the dress. I couldn’t believe how quickly this piece was coming together!

Hand sew the dress together
Hand sew the dress together

I also pinned the sides of my new dress together. With so many pins holding the dress together, it was time to sew. I started hand sewing the dress together using all my pins as a guideline. 

Create another elastic channel
Make a second channel for the elastic

For one of my last steps, I created a second channel for the elastic in the bottoms of the sleeves to create a professional finish on the dress and give it the most amazing puff sleeves. Once again, I used a safety pin to thread the elastic through. 

Add darts
Sew darts

For the final detail, to make this dress a little more fitted I decided to add darts. I marked exactly where I would create the folds and then sewed them in place. 

Puff sleeve dress pattern

I am so in love with this puff sleeve dress! What other men’s shirt upcycle idea do you have? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Men's shirt
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Scissors
See all materials

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

Join the conversation
2 of 8 comments