his work shirt to her school dress

 Yes I did.  I chopped up one of my hardworking man’s old dress shirts and turned it into the cutest little dress for Grace.  My interest in such a project was piqued by others in blogland and by a darling little dress I saw in the kids Garnet Hill catalog.  I didn’t take pictures along the way because I did it at night and I honestly wasn’t sure it would turn out.  But if you want to give it a go, I scribbled some lines on a photo for you.  If you try it and get stuck, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you what I did.  Here’s the basic rundown:

  • remove upper collar, topstitch lower collar closed again
  • remove pockets
  • chop up shirt into basic A-line dress, leaving collar and buttons intact (be sure to cut front and back together, they’ll be connected at the top)
  • use sleeve fabric to cut out two new sleeves – I used a pattern piece for a little gathered puff sleeve
  • sew front to back along side seams 
  • hem bottom
  • attach new sleeves
  • sew rows of shirring across front; I sewed 9 rows about 1/4 inch apart each – be sure the two sides of shirring match up when the shirt is buttoned closed
  • sew on cute bows (or not!) 
 If you’re lucky, your cute little model will have as much fun in her new dress as mine did!


  1. Oh my sweet goodness!
    That is so precious.
    And just think, your daughter
    is wearing her daddy’s shirt.
    I wish I could sew like you do!!!

  2. Absolutely darling!!!! You are so talented! Great job :)

  3. How sweet is that!? Daddy must be melting seeing his little girl all dressed up in his shirt. SERIOUSLY adorable!!

  4. Thanks, everyone!

    Ms Moppet – yes, I just removed the pockets and steamed the lines a bit. Once the dress was sewn up and the shirring done, you can’t tell there was ever a pocket there!

  5. How adorable! Talk about recycling!

  6. SERIOUSLY… How do you come up with this stuff??!! Lovely…as usual!

  7. too cute! I will have to give this a try, thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh my! That is the cutest repurpose of a man’s business shirt I have ever seen. Who would’ve thought that something so plain and not really a little girl’s colour could look so beautiful! You certainly are very talented.

    Anne @ Domesblissity

  9. Fabulous! What a great refashion!

  10. Kristie-Creating Chaos says:

    That is fantastic! By far the cutest dress shirt to dress I’ve seen. I love the shirring and bows.

  11. This is adorable! I have seen lots of shirt conversions lately but this is my absolute favorite. I am going to have to copy this one, the bows and the shirring are the perfect touch.

  12. So cute! I have been wanting to try this (with one of my shirts actually) I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to go about it but you have inspired me. I can’t quite tell what you did with the pockets? did you just remove them? urbanmoppets.blogspot.com

  13. The Homemaker says:

    WOW!!! I LOVE IT!!! I repurpose shirts frequently for children’s craft smocks (Etsy store TheHomeMaker)but this is too cute for words!!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. мамаДаника says:

    Супер получилось!Вы молодцы!

  15. You didnt show me this one today!!! OK….now its on my ever growing list to do!! I REALLY love the grey!!!

  16. Really lovely! What a great idea!

  17. Wow, you are so talented! How did you get that out of that! Awesome!


  18. Michele Alger says:

    Oh my GOSH!!! DO YOU EVER STOP?! How in the world do you top each post with the next?! This is so incredibly beautiful!!! SO want to do this for my baby dolls. Wish me luck, cause I’m not Y-O-U! ;)

  19. That is an adorable makeover!

  20. Tonia @ TheGunnySack.com says:

    I LOVE this and totally want to try it!

  21. Absolutely, positively AH-mazing, my friend!!

  22. This is so amazing! You have skills, that is for sure. I am just impressed that you transformed it as much as you did. I would love to have you share this at Show & Share–


  23. Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life says:

    Stef – you never cease to amaze me. This is an incredible makeover, and your model is too darn cute.

  24. I might raid my husband’s shirts now, getting ready for when my little girl is big enough to wear dresses (she’s just commando crawling at the moment). That is just gorgeous!

  25. Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants says:

    This is just adorable! And what a memory. Imagine being clothed in your dad’s clothes on your first day of school! You could put the fabric stores out of business! I am suspecting your husband didn’t look nearly as cute in that shirt!!! ;)

  26. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I have a shirt I have been saving to make over for my daughter and I think this is it:)

  27. I so love this and I can’t wait to make one for every little girl in my life! Thanks for the great tute!

  28. awesome transformation!!! I love this!!!

  29. UnusuallyYours says:

    That is one of the cutest thing I have seen!!!

  30. Shelly @A Creative Space says:

    You are UBER talented!! I loved reading your tutorial! Very clear. I have to Follow you, I do not want to miss a thing! :) Gonna have to go peruse YouTube for Shirring tutorials…

  31. Wow! I love that. You’re so talented! I’m pinning this.

    - Ellie @ Mammy Made

  32. I Love this!!! I don’t have a little girl, but I have 2 adorable nieces! I am in the process of making a dress like this now! I only hope it turns out as cute as yours! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  33. Wow, you are so talented! How did you get that out of that! Awesome!dress shirts

  34. SO-MADZ-BETTER says:

    wow! this is so genius!

  35. Crafty Beth says:

    One of the best men’s shirt refashions I have seen! I just bought some elastic thread and am ready to start my first shirring project–maybe this will be it! If I do it, I’ll be sure to link to you from my crafting blog http://www.bethbeingcrafty.blogspot.com :)

  36. I am so in love with this! I only know basic sewing though and certainly don’t know how to make those sleeves or sheer….I’d pay you to make some for me though! :0) Absolutely adorable! I have a TON of my husband’s shirts that don’t fit him and they are in great condition….

  37. L.O.V.E IT!! Of all the men shirt re-dos I’ve seen this is the best one yet!! great job!

    newest follower!

  38. Simply AMazing!!! This is the best repurposing ever! :)

  39. Christina says:

    I absolutely love this dress!!!

  40. This is so great. I must give it a try for my girls!

  41. Kristie-Creating Chaos says:

    I made each of my girls a cute dress this morning using your mini tutorial. Thank you so much Stef. You should think about calling your site Girl. Inspiring. ^_^


  42. i loooove your blog. i found you via pinterest! i have two little girls and you have inspired me in so many ways! ill keep on reading

  43. Anonymous says:

    Lovely! I am thinking it would be great for me with leggings as I have no girls to wear it ;)

  44. Julie Fletcher says:

    I am blown away. I wish you could make another one and post step by step how to do this.

  45. I found this via pinterest, and it’s super super cute! Did you shirr the back too? And you did the shirring AFTER adding the sleeves and everything, right?

  46. Amazing job.

  47. This is the most ingenious idea I have EVER seen!! You inspire me to learn how to sew:) I have two children and could save so much money on clothing if i could just learn how to do this! BTW- I am your newest Follower. I would love for you to drop by and check out my blog. It doesn’t have anything crafty like this, just your average mommy blog, but I like to think it is destined for greatness:)

  48. Gwen @ The Bold Abode says:

    That is adorable! I love refashioning ideas! Fabulous…

  49. I just had to tell you…I love, love, love this dress!! SOOOOOOO cute!! I wish I were a better sewer so I could try it for myself!!

  50. This is so cute I might have to pick up a pink clearance dress shirt next time I am out! LOL. This is absolutely adorable!

  51. I wish there was a picture of the back of the dress. Did you carry the shirring around through the back as well, or attached a tie on the sides for adjusting? I have a daddy shirt that I knew I wanted to turn into a dress for my daughter, and then I found your cute example! Did you do elastic shirring, or just thread? I am definitively going to do this! Thanks for sharing!

  52. The dress shirt is Large or 16″ collar, 34/35 arm – and my little cutie was about a 2T then. I originally thought I might have to resize the collar, but it turned out to look just fine! Good luck and have fun!

  53. Love this idea!!! Can I ask what size shirt and what size was the little girl wearing it? Trying to figure it all out! Thank you!

  54. I love this dress and have the perfect shirt to do this with that the hubby no longer wants (actually looks a lot like the one in your pictures!) I have one question though that I am hoping you can help me out with. Did you cut the front and back pieces to the same width? How much did the shirring pull it in? Did you account for the shirring in your measurements? Thanks so much for a great tutorial and your help! :)

    • Hi Marci,

      I did cut the front and back the same width and I did not account for the shirring in the width – I totally just eyeballed it – a little wider than my kiddo. I’m sorry – I know I would want exact measurements if I was going to replicate something, but really, you should just go for it – it’s such a loose-fitting dress anyway that you don’t need to be exact. Use a dress or shirt from your daughter’s closet and lay it on top to give you a general idea for sizing.

  55. This is such a gorgeous refashion!!! Love the shirring and the bows!!!

  56. Anonymous says:

    that is awesome!!

  57. Anonymous says:

    I just came across your blog, and I have to say, you are one of the most clever people I have ever seen! Your designs are absolutely darling (and so are your little models)!

  58. I found this dress on Pinterest today when I was looking for some inspiration. LOVE it and LOVE your blog! I made a Princess Dress out of an old men’s shirt today. I have linked to this post and your blog as a source of inspiration. I hope that is OK :) You can find the post here: http://prettybobbins.blogspot.com/2012/03/mens-shirt-into-princess-dress.html

  59. Using your general instructions, I refashioned a women’s XL shirt into a dress for my daughter. It’s up on my blog, http://kyleandrenaehill.blogspot.com/2012/04/sew-vivor-week-2-easter-dress.html, if you’re interested.

  60. Roberta MacDonald says:

    Made one for my almost 8-year-old this weekend, and found that I’m going to need to go back and add snaps in-between the buttons on the shirred part. They pull apart just far enough that it doesn’t look right, but other than that she loves it and can’t wait to wear it!

  61. This is adorable! I think I’m going to gv it a try. The shirring scares me though!

  62. love!

  63. Gorgeous! I have been hoarding away some of my partners old shirts, the fabric was too nice to throw away. Now I know what I’ll be doing with them!

  64. So cute! I love this dress!

  65. hi! my english is`t perfect…
    can i show your blog and pictures this dress on my blog???
    i made this dress but i must show yours:D

  66. I love this dress! I linked to it in a roundup of button-down refashions on my blog http://www.true-pure-lovely.blogspot.com. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  67. Aw so cute and such an adorable little girl.

  68. I just made this for my daughter!
    I would love to share the photos, but I’m not sure how.
    This is the link to the pics on my facebook, but you might need to friend request to see them. (I am not very good at techie stuff)

  69. I’m making this for my granddaughter right now. Question: Did you do anything to the back of the shirt? or just leave it like the back of a man’s shirt? Once shirring is in place it seems very full at the sides behind the shirring. I haven’t tried it on my granddaughter since she lives hours away. Just checking!

    • HI! For this dress, I did not do anything to the back and the fit was fine. However, when I initially cut down the shirt, I cut it not much wider than a 2Tish dress. You could add shirring all the way around the back, too. Also, I found that I needed to go in and stitch down the button placket where the shirring was so that it didn’t gap when worn – does that make sense? I know your granddaughter will love it whether it’s a little wide or not!!

  70. Nathalie Swiss says:

    Haha! I pissed my husband off. I sewed his polo shirt to remove some leftover threads and I got careless and it all ripped off! :D
    Haha! Just learning my first sewing experience.

    Thanks for the tips.
    I love my Brother xl2600i!

  71. Anonymous says:

    This is a wonderful idea and the dress turned out gorgeous, best idea I’ve seen as far as repurposing clothing, too bad I don’t have a little girl to make this for, but if I did I certainly would apply this idea to an old shirt, got any ideas for grownups to apply these ideas too would love to see them

  72. Anonymous says:

    ohh so beautiful.. I just used this idea and made one for my princess from a pink satin shirt, LOVE IT. I just have no clue how to do the shirring. But i saw that you used a elastic thread, so now I just have to find one. (So glad i didn´t try to do the shirring without the elestic thread

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  74. Anonymous says:

    I JUST found your blog via Pinterest, and I love it… such neat ideas and fantastic decorating. One question, I can’t seem to Pin stuff. Wonder if I’m doing something wrong? I wanted to pin the dad’s dress shirts to girl dresses.. that is SUCH a cute idea!

  75. I LOVE this upcycle! I decided to give it a try! It turned out DARLING!!! My daughter is 6 years old and for the first one I used a ladies size large shirt so I had to do mine a little differently, also I didn’t have the elastic thread to do the shirring so I improvised a little but it still turned out so cute! I also decided to give it a little extra pop and changed out the buttons on mine! Would you mind if I sent a pic in an email to get your feedback? I have more shirts (men’s x-larges) and bought some elastic thread so I am ready to shirr and make another! Thank you so much for the idea!

  76. Erika B says:

    Such a cute idea! I am just getting back into sewing after *many* years away… My 8 year old is so happy with her new dress! I did change it up by using an oriental print with a mandarin collar. Also I left out the shirring and did gathers at either side with elastic, and added a sash. It turned out super cute. Now I’m recharged to sew everything I see!

  77. Loooooove this sooo much!! Great idea! Wish I’m good at sewing :(

  78. Dewi Maria says:

    this is super cute !!!
    I’ll give it a try today, even i’m not sure how to deal with the collar :-P

  79. Of all the repurposing a man’s dress shirt, this is my favorite. Can’t wait to make one. Even though you don’t have step by step photos, the drawings and few steps explain it perfectly well. Thank you!

  80. Melanie says:

    My sister has done this for her granddaughter with really pretty women’s shirts and they are adorable. Love this.

  81. Kellie Fluegge says:

    Would you mind emailing me a print/copy of the pattern you used for the sleeves? Thank you so much! kcfluegge@stx.rr.com

    • girlinspired says:

      Hi Kellie, I’m sorry – I made the dress so many years ago, I have no idea which sleeve pattern I used, but any puff sleeve would do, I’m sure.

  82. Hi! I’ve been scanning Men’s Shirt-to-Dress tutorials for awhile, and this is the one I have settled on to make first, it’s gorgeous!

    My question: It looks like you removed the pockets, is that correct? If so, were there obvious holes left after picking out all the threads, and if so, did the shirring camouflage them? I scanned the comments first and didn’t see an answer to this, sorry if you already answered it and I missed it!

    Thanks for putting this tutorial out on the web for us all!

    • girlinspired says:

      Hi Trish, I did remove the pockets, and you could see some stitch lines, but once I pressed and steamed over the area, and then added shirring, you couldn’t see a thing. Have fun!


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    […] Pomysł zaczerpnęłam ze strony The Girl Inspired, a tutaj możecie znaleźć DIY na sukieneczkę his work shirt to her school dress. […]

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