I made a similar men’s shirt refashion a few posts ago, but since my spouse commented that it would be a nice top for a pregnant woman (**!!?@!!?**). He then tried to explain that his comment was a from a business point of view. I guess I trust him… so you know that I had to transform another men’s shirt… and the shirt I am using for this refashion comes from his own closet. I get even like that : ) ……….
Continue reading to see how I transformed his shirt into an off-the-shoulders blouse in about 3 hours.
Men’s shirt to off the shoulders blouse
Let’s cut his shirt!
I started this project at the cottage and I packed everything but forgot to bring an L-square ruler. So I had to improvise. This plaid tea towel was perfect.
1- I aligned and pinned one of the tea towel stripe along the shirt front buttoned placket.
2- I cut off the top of the shirt by following the edge of the tea towel.
I did the same for the other side; aligned and pinned the tea towel stripe to the shirt front buttoned placket, and cut off the other part of the shirt.
Now the bottom of the shirt;
Since my tea towel wasn’t long enough to cover the distance from one side seam to the other, I used what I had on hand, a very old bath towel. But a clean one! LOL
1– I aligned the bath towel at the same distance on each side of the shirt side seams, and cut off the front and back shirt tales.
2- It worked great!
I carefully removed the sleeve plackets with a seam ripper. I plan to use them as tabs for the sleeves.
I cut the sleeves just above the placket underlaps.
You can see that I also detached the cuffs from the sleeves, in case I might find a use for them.
The shirt had a buttoned down collar and it left big holes in the shirt when I removed the buttons. Hopefully they will be hidden by the fabric gatherings.
I am using two different widths of elastics; 1 inch (2.5 cm) for the shoulders circumference for which I chose a thick woven non-roll elastic; for the hips circumference I chose a 3/8 of an inch (1.3 cm) width elastic. I cut the elastics 2 inches shorter than my shoulders and my hips width to provide for the elastic tension. Allow an extra 1 inch (2.5 cm) to sew the elastic ends together.
Note: Do not cut the elastic more than 2 inches shorter than your measurements as an increased tension will cause the blouse to run up above your shoulders and the bottom of the blouse won’t stay put at your hip level and will run up your waist.
Now the elastic casings;
For the top and bottom part of the blouse, I decided to make separate bands for the elastic casings which will make nice contrasting facings.
Note: The top and bottom bands are not of the same width but their assemblage is identical.
1- I measured the shirt around the shoulders and added seam allowances to that measure. Did the same for the bottom (hips level) of the shirt.
2- I calculated the facings widths as follows;
Shoulders elastic width is 1 inch + 3/8 seam allowance + 1/4 inch extra = 1 5/8 inch
Hips elastic width is 3/8 inch + 3/8 seam allowance + 1/4 inch extra = 7/8 inch
I then cut my two bands in the white fabric I chose to make the elastic casings. (see the image above).
Now let’s make the elastic casings;
I pinned the right sides of the fabric together and I sewed the ends of the band making a circle with the band.
I first made the shoulder casing per the above photo. I divided the band and the shirt into sections and pinned the band to the shirt, right sides of the fabrics together.
I only finished the hem once the band was sewn because I didn’t want to overly stretch the fabric.
I pressed the seam allowance extended away from the garment.
The under-stitch will prevent the band from rolling outside the garment. With the band and the seam allowance extended away from the garment, I stitched all layers together close to the shirt line.
I turned the casing to the wrong side of the shirt and pinned it in place all around the shoulders. I then edgestitched along the finished edge of the band leaving a small opening for threading the elastic.
I attached a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and worked the elastic through the casing taking care not to twist the elastic.
I always make sure to secure the other end of the elastic by attaching it to the garment with a safety pin so that it will not be pulled through the casing as the elastic is worked through the casing.
I overlapped the elastic ends by 1/2 of an inch (1.25 cm) and I stitched a square on the overlapped area, crisscrossing it for strength. I pulled the joined ends inside the elastic and distributed the gatherings evenly around the shoulders.
I kept the area flat by stretching the elastic as I sewed and edgestitched on top of the finished edge. I made sure to not catch the elastic in my stitching.
And yes, the gatherings are hiding the holes left by the buttons used to button down the shirt collar!!
I REPEATED THE SAME STEPS FOR THE CASING AND THE ELASTIC FOR BOTTOM OF THE BLOUSE.
Hum, pretty cute with the white contrasting facings.
There was a big distance between each buttons on this men’s shirt (you know, the button-down bosom gap) so I sewed a few invisible hand stitches between each button.
Now the sleeves;
I prepared the sleeves for a narrow machine-stitched hem. I first turned the edge under for 1/4 of an inch (.7mm) and pressed along the hemline. I then turned the edge again and pressed along the hemline.
I machine-stitched very close to the hem edge making sure to keep the hem and the garment grain lines aligned to avoid ripples.
I am old school ( including three years in fashion school!) and I think pressing highly improves the aesthetics of a garment.
Now the sleeve tabs;
Even after pressing the plackets looked very sad, nevertheless they will do and I decided how long I wanted the sleeve tabs to be.
This was actually easy to do as this shirt had been dry cleaned so many times that their was a permanent pleat in the middle of the sleeves.
I centered the middle of the placket in the middle of the sleeve and put a drop of washable fabric glue to hold the placket in place. I recently started to use fabric glue for busy patterns and or where I need to sew intricate positioning. (With pins there can be a bit of movement when sewing pieces together). Do you use fabric glue?
Then glued the placket on the other side. I let it dry for a little bit.
I wanted a bit of fabric pleat under the tabs ….. about 2 inches (5 cm) would be enough because my sleeves are not very long.
The glue was dry and I square-stitched the bottom of the placket to the sleeve hem.
I placed the placket flat on the sleeve aligning the point of the placket with the middle of the sleeve and glued it in place. Once dried, I machine-stitched the point of the plackets to the sleeves.
And here is the finished off-the-shoulders blouse.
I couldn’t have a better model than my beautiful daughter in-law who fell in love with the finished garment.
She looked so cute in the blouse that I gave it to her …… who can resist a newly wed?
Below the Before and After picture
Not bad for under 3 hours of work. It looks quiet different than the men’s shirt into women top, that I previously posted. That is the fun part of refashioning clothes …… I never know where it takes me.
I hope that this refashion will inspire you to steal a shirt from your mate’s closet! You have to …… and surprisingly men’s shirt are quiet comfortable .