Well, you asked for it! Hopefully, this tutorial will be everything you need (along with basic sewing supplies) to revamp an old mens dress shirt. We Long ladies have had such a fun time with this project. There is so much room for variation! And we do love variations, you know.
you will need…
~an over-sized men's shirt (this can be only slightly larger, or several sizes too big… the shirt we used for this project was much too huge!)
~scissors and (if possible) a rotary cutter
~a seam gauge, measuring tape, and/or ruler
Let's get started! This is a pretty quick fix… you should be able to have your shirt ready to wear in just one afternoon. (Provided that you have a couple of hours to sew!)
1. Lay your shirt out flat (bubuttoned all the way up the front) and smooth out the wrinkles. Take your scissors or rotary cutter and cut off the top of the shirt, collar and all. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them!)
2. Cut off the sleeves, about 1/2" from the shoulder seam. Use pinking shears (if you don't have pinking shears, finish the raw edge with a zigzag stitch) to finish the raw edge of the one-time sleeve.
3. Try on your shirt, wrong side out, and pin the shoulders in place. This can be different on everyone, depending on where you like your neckline. Make a small pencil mark at the place where the pins stop (next to your neck).
4. Turn the pinked edge of your sleeves under to the wrong side; pin in place. From the right side, stitch along the armhole at about 1/4", catching the pinked edges. Your sleeves should look like this…
5. Trim the upper back of your shirt neatly… right above the yoke, if possible. (See picture at left) Turn the top edges of your shirt under 5/8"; press carefully (check the care instructions on your shirt before using a super-hot iron). Turning the raw edge under to meet the crease, hem the top of your shirt– front and back. (This will be in three pieces… left side front, right side front, and back)
6. Pin the front and back together, with right sides facing each other. Stitch from the edge of the sleeve to the pencil marks, using a 1/2" seam allowance (be sure to backstitch!). Your seams should be nice and clean, since we've already hemmed the raw edges. We like to use a ruler to make sure the seam on both sides of your neck hole is the same length. Press seams open; stitch seams down along sleeve edge, over the stitches you hemmed the sleeve with.
7. Now this step can be tricky, but it is optional. So if you'd like to skip it, please do!
Measure your ribcage, a few inches above your natural waist. Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic that measurement minus about 3". (It really stretches out!) Mark your shirt (at the ribcage), on the inside, with pencil. Place pins at the quarter marks (center front, center back, side seams). Mark your elastic in quarters as well. Starting beside the placket on the wrong side of your shirt front, using a zigzag stitch, stitch the elastic along the markings– pulling it to fit your shirt as you sew. If the shirt you are using is a lot larger than your elastic, you may have to make puckers in the shirt, too, as you go along.
8. Trim off the bottom of your shirt, 5/8" longer than you would like the finished length to be. We cut ours off longer in the back, to add a little vintage swing! Turn your hem under 5/8"; press carefully. Tuck raw edges in to meet crease, and stitch.
Your shirt should be looking like this…
And tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll show you how to make the cumberbund!
xo~ the Long ladies