Cute and Easy No-sew Thrift Flipped Shirt Tutorial

by Unorthodoll
5 Materials
2 Hours

I have an exciting and original thrift flip for you today.

We’re going to turn a large men’s shirt into a backless halter dress. And to make it as easy as possible, there’s no sewing or gluing involved.

I used a man’s polo shirt in size XXL, but this works just as well with an oversized t-shirt.

Tools and materials:

  • Very long collared shirt or T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Fabric marker
  • Ruler
  • Safety pin
Cutting halter neck

1. Cut the halter neck

Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat and smooth.

Draw a slightly curved line connecting the side of the collar with the bottom of the sleeve on the same side.

Repeat on the other side. 

Cutting halter neck

Cut the sleeves off, following the lines.

Alternatively, to make sure the two sides are exactly the same, you could cut one side, fold the shirt in half lengthways and use the first side as a template to cut the second one.

Cutting out back

2. Cut out the back

Turn the shirt over so the back is uppermost.

Draw a line across the shirt at the bottom of the sleeves.

Cut along this line, but very importantly, through the back of the shirt only.

Cutting out back

Cut around the back of the collar.

Trying shirt on

3. Fitting

Put the shirt on, still inside out.

Pull the side fabric towards the back, making the shirt fit your body.

Trying shirt on

Mark where the two sides touch at the back, on both sides. 

If you have someone to help you, this next part becomes a lot easier!

Trying shirt on

Continue working down the back, pulling the fabric to fit you and marking where the two sides meet in several places.

You want the dress to fit tightly around your waist and slightly more loosely over your hips.

Do the same thing with the collar. Pull the sides towards the back until it fits comfortably, and mark where the sides touch.

Shaping back

4. Shape the back

Lay your shirt down flat again, with the back uppermost so the marks are visible.

Shaping back

Find the center back of the shirt and draw a line down the center.

Measure the distance between each pair of marks across the back of the shirt. 

Shaping back

Make new marks at the same level, half that distance out from the center line. 

We’re basically transferring the marks from the sides to the center back.

Do this for each set of marks.

Fold the shirt along the center line, making sure the side seams are on top of each other.

Shaping back

Draw a line connecting your new marks. 

Shaping back

Cut off the excess fabric, cutting a few inches outside your line.

Making ties

5. Make the ties

Cut a few thin strips from the excess fabric.

Stretch them lengthways and put them to one side.

Cutting eyelets

6. Cut the eyelets

Keep the shirt folded. Check that both layers are lined up at the top and bottom.

Using very sharp scissors - or a punch if you have one - cut tiny holes about half an inch apart through both layers of fabric along the line you drew.

Threading ties

7. Thread the ties

Pin a safety pin through the end of one of the ties.

Thread the tie in through the top hole and out through the second hole, through both layers.

Threading ties

Knot the end to the rest of the tie to hold it in place.

Continue to weave the strip in and out of the holes down to the bottom. Pull the shirt fabric lengthways as you go, to keep it lying flat.

When you come to the end of the first tie, knot a second one to it and continue.

Threading ties

At the bottom of the shirt, knot the end back through the tie and trim it.


Cut off the back section of the collar just outside your marks.

Threading ties

Make holes at the top and bottom of the collar on each side and through both parts of the collar.

Lace the collar up with one of the ties, as if you were lacing a pair of shoes. Tie the ends together.

Thrift flipped shirt dress

Thrift flipped shirt dress

Thrift flipped shirt dress

To wear the dress, put it on over your head and tie up the collar. Fold any raw edges that show to the inside. If you really want to, you could sew them in place.

I really hope you like the latest of my thrift flip ideas. Have a go at this, it really does make a stunning dress!

And please let me know how you get on in the comments.

Suggested materials:
  • Very long collared shirt or T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Fabric marker
See all materials

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

Join the conversation
 1 comment