Turn Men’s Shirts Into a Cool Puff Sleeve Dress With This Tutorial

8 Materials
3 Hours

I am such a fan of a good upcycle. I just love turning one thing into something else entirely. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a super cool dress out of two men’s button-down shirts. The end result is a fun dress that is perfect for any casual setting. Keep reading to learn how to make your own version of this project.

Tools and materials:

  • Two button-down shirts
  • Sewing pins
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Pencil
  • French curve ruler
Puff sleeve dress
Deconstruct your shirt

Put on one of the shirts and use a strip of fabric or something similar to tie around your waist. Place a sewing pin under the fabric to mark it. Then cut the shirt right above your pin, where your fabric was. Next, you’re going to cut off the sleeves along their seams and use your seam picker to remove the cuffs. Take your scissors and trim around the top edges as well. Do this for both the shirts.

DIY puff sleeve
Prepare the sleeves

For this next step, you’ll be using both of the left sleeves. Lie one of them flat, with the seam in the middle, and cut along the sides of it, giving you two pieces. Set aside one of those pieces. Then cut the other one open at the seam. Cut out the button part of the cuffs. Repeat this process with the right sleeves, then iron the fabric.

Puff sleeve pattern
Sew the sleeves together

Take the rounded piece and pin it onto the open piece, matching up the angles. Then turn out the pinned piece, and pin the edges together. Sew along your pins and trim the edges of your seam, then iron the fabric.

Dress with puff sleeves
Create the puff sleeves

Take the sleeves, iron them, and trim the seams. Then cut off the corners of the sleeves, and line them up with the sleeves of another button-down shirt. Then sew the corner of the sleeves to create a ruffled look. Cut off the cuffs and sew the edges to create a ruffled look there as well. Then pin the cuffs back on and sew them. 

How to make a puff sleeve dress
Measure and mark the torso

Grab the torso of the shirt and line it up with the button-down shirt you’re using as a guide. Then measure and mark 3” at the shoulders. Measure and mark the bottom edge as well, then fold up the corners and mark there, too. Then measure and mark the outline of the sleeve holes, but more toward the center of the shirt. When you’re done with the measurements, cut out all your markings. Then you’re going to sew the sleeves to the torso and iron the seams. 

Men’s shirt refashion
Attach the shirts

Take the two bottom pieces of both the shirts and place them upside down on your work surface. The bottom of both shirts should be facing in the same direction. Take apart the darts of the bigger piece, and iron it flat. Now cut off the rounded part of the smaller piece, and sew both pieces together, then trim the seams. Iron the fabric, then fold over the edge of the fabric to the center and sew it down. Iron the seams again. 

Men’s shirt upcycle
Attach the torso

Now you’re going to take the torso that you already put together and you’re going to attach it to the top of the dress with pins. This is also the time to add your darts. Once all your pins are in place, go ahead and sew it all down, then trim the edges of your seams and iron them. Then hem the edges and snip off the tags. Now add buttons to the cuffs. Cut a slit on both sides, and hem the edges of it, and your dress is done! 

Men’s shirt upcycle to dress

And that’s how you turn two men’s dress shirts into a beautiful dress! I love this way this came out. I think it’s so pretty and I am very excited to wear it. Be sure to watch the video if you want to see it being made in action, and let me know in the comments if you have any questions! If you make this project yourself, don’t forget to post a picture of it! 

Suggested materials:
  • Button-down shirts
  • Sewing pins
  • Seam ripper
See all materials

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