How to DIY a Cute Twist Front Shirt Dress

11 Materials
3 Hours

Everyone seems to love men's shirt refashion tutorials and I have one for you today, but with a twist - literally!

I'm making a twist front shirt dress from two men's shirts. Around halfway through, I ran into an issue that luckily I found an easy solution for. Problem solving is a big part of the fun for me.

Tools and materials:

  • 2 men's shirts, a little wider than your hips
  • 1/2 yard of 1/2 inch elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Seam ripper
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Hand sewing needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
Preparing top half

1. Prepare top half

Try on one shirt and mark the position of your waist with a pin.

Lay the shirt flat and rule a line across it under the pin, adding a seam allowance. Cut the shirt along the line.

Preparing top half

Turn the shirt inside out and pin and sew a tapered seam to make the sleeves and side seams more fitted and the armholes smaller.

Trim the excess seam allowances and finish the raw edges.

Preparing lower half

2. Prepare lower half

Use the first shirt as a guide for where to cut the waist for the lower half. Make sure you have a half inch available on both sides for the new side seams.

Mark the position of the waist and the new A-line side seam. Cut along the marked lines.

Pin and sew the side seams a half inch from the edge.

Joining the two halves

3. Join the two halves

Open both halves and pin the two waists together with right sides facing. Leave about 4 inches from the button placket unpinned on each side and match the side seams.

Sew with a 3/4 inch seam allowance between the two 4-inch marks.

At this point, I realized that the top and bottom buttonholes needed to be on the opposite side to each other. 

I decided to fix this by switching the button and buttonhole plackets on the lower half of the dress.

Swapping plackets

4. Swap the plackets

Cut off both the plackets from the bottom half, leaving a quarter inch allowance for the seams.

Swapping plackets

Turn the button placket top to bottom. Pin it right sides facing to the lower shirt along the seam line.

Swapping plackets

Add the buttonhole placket to the other side, opening the flap and pinning it to the edge of the shirt. 

Swapping plackets

Button the skirt to make sure the plackets are positioned properly.

Sew the plackets on, press the seams and finish the raw edges.

Add a button and buttonhole at the top of the plackets.

Making twist

5. Make the twist

Close one side of the waist seam for 2 inches from the inside edge.

Making twist

Take the placket from the lower opposite side and pull it up through the opening. 

Making twist

Bring the opposite top placket to meet it and pin them together with right sides facing. Sew for 2 inches from the center front.

Making twist

Gather the twisted front section into small pleats and stitch them in place by hand.

Sew the waist openings closed.

Elasticated waist

6. Elasticated waist

Pin the waist seam allowance to the top of the dress between the side seams at the back. Sew a quarter inch from the edge.

Elasticated waist

Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. Secure the ends of the elastic to the side seams.

Making tabs

7. Make tabs

Remove the collar stand from the bottom shirt.

Making tabs

Cut the stand in half and fold in the open edges. Sew all four sides closed.

Remove the button and add a buttonhole in its place. 

Attaching tabs

8. Attach the tabs

Turn the sleeve wrong side out. Align the tab with the sleeve placket and pin it in place.

Attach it by sewing a square through one layer of the sleeve only.

Attaching tabs

Turn the sleeve right side out and sew a button in the center of the square.

Pull the free end of the tab through the end of the sleeve and attach it to the button.


9. Finishing

I didn’t like that the inverted pleat at the back bulged out at the waist.

I opened the back yoke, unstitched the pleat and gathered the excess fabric.

DIY twist front shirt dress

DIY twist front shirt dress

DIY twist front shirt dress

This looks great as a front twist dress or you can unbutton the skirt and wear it as a long top over skinny jeans.

Leave the sleeves long, use the tab to gather them casually. or fold them back neatly for some more different looks. 

The front twist isn't as dramatic as it would be on a sweater but it adds an interesting feature. 

I hope you enjoyed this different way to upcycle men's shirts and that you'll add your own "twist" to it.

I'd love to know how it turns out, so please drop me a comment below.

Check out my post on How to Upcycle a Men's Shirt Into a Cute Ruffle Mini Dress.

Suggested materials:
  • 2 men's shirts, a little wider than your hips
  • 1/2 yard of 1/2 inch elastic
  • Safety pin
See all materials

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