White Shirt Dress Thrift Flip Tutorial

Shanna yeh
by Shanna yeh
5 Materials
45 Minutes

I'm here with another thrift-flip tutorial. I'm going to create one of those white dress shirt dresses that I've seen in the stores of a lot of popular brands. I'm just using a simple men's white button-up dress shirt that I got from my local Salvation Army. The shirt is made out of thick material, so I didn't have to worry about it being see-through. Hopefully, the shirt dress will turn out really cute, and without further ado, let's get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized white shirt
  • Another white shirt
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
DIY white shirt dress

Add a panel

After I tried the shirt on, I was worried that it was going to be a couple of inches too short for my comfort, so I went ahead and added a panel to the middle to make it a little longer. I did that by cutting the shirt in half width-ways and then taking part of another shirt that I had and just attaching it to the middle. I don't think that you'll be able to tell very much, especially after I do the little pleats in the actual dress.

Sew a white shirt dress

Bring in the sleeves

I then went ahead and made the sleeves a little bit tighter. To do this, I turned the shirt inside out, marked where I wanted to take the sleeves in with a safety pin, then took the shirt off and finished it off with pins. I pinned down the sleeves and down the body of the shirt just to give it a more natural curve. I then used a straight stitch and sewed along the pins, and cut off the excess fabric.

How to sew a white shirt dress

Add the pleats

The next step is to start sewing in the little pleats. To make the pleats, I grabbed about an inch of fabric and folded it in on itself. I then pinned it to mark how much I need to take it in. I used safety pins instead of regular sewing pins to pin it all in place so that it didn't poke me as I tried to take it off. I later realized that I probably should have made the pleats while wearing the shirt inside out so that they weren't so obvious. I recommend that when you do this step, you first turn the shirt inside out. In total, I made six pleats - two at the back, two at the front, and then two on each side. You can make more or less and make the pleats a little bit thicker or thinner depending on how tight you want the dress to be and how you want it to fit.

Basic white shirt dress

Sew the pleats

After I was done marking all the pleats, I then took off the shirt and replaced the safety pins for actual sewing pins. Then I sewed each pleat with a straight stitch about 6 inches down the shirt. Once I finished sewing, I tried the dress back on and to see if I wanted to make the pleats any longer.

Simple white shirt dress

Hem the dress

I like my dresses short (sorry Grandma!), so for the last step, I marked where I wanted to hem the dress and then pinned along the sides, sewed, and cut off the excess fabric. After I hemmed it, I tried on the dress again and realized that I wanted the pleats to go a lot further down the dress. I pinned them a little bit further down the dress, but not all the way, and then I sewed them down using a straight stitch.

Easy white shirt dress

And here we have it! This dress is definitely great for layering because you’ve got the little tennis skirt look at the bottom and the collar at the top. You can style it with a sweater vest, a sweater, or a crewneck - it looks great with all of them. On my feet, I’ll be wearing the dress with either a pair of black boots or some chunky white trainers. I hope you’ve enjoyed the shirt transformation and hope you’ll give it a go yourself!

white shirt dress tutorial

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized white shirt
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
See all materials

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