Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Refashion a man's dress shirt into a woman's ruffled strapless cami

Near the beginning of the summer season, I saw an adorable menswear top at Anthropologie. It was a simple strapless cami with an elastic waist and ruffled edge. When I saw the price of the top (originally $68, now marked down to $29.95) I immediately thought that a similar strapless cami inspired by the design could easily---and more economically---be sewn using a men's dress shirt.

So here you go. A super quick tutorial on how to refashion a men's shirt into a cami.

One man's dress shirt + elastic + bias tape + thread + a few hours = ruffled strapless cami.

Begin with a men's button front, long sleeve dress shirt. Best to choose a size L or larger.

Lay the shirt on a flat cutting surface.

Draw a horizontal line from underarm to underarm.

Cut the shirt along the line you just drew.

If your shirt had a breast pocket, carefully remove the remainder of the pocket. Don't worry if a bit of the stitching lines still show as it will be covered by the ruffle.

Baste the top of the front plackets together.

Trim away excess placket on the backside to remove some of the stiffness if your shirt has a firm interfacing on the placket like mine did. This will make it easier to create the casing.

Sew the front placket closed, unless you want the front buttons to remain functional.

Press under 1/4" on the upper edge.

Press under another 3/4" on the upper edge. This will be your casing.

Baste in place, leaving an opening at the side seam to insert your elastic.

Measure the upper edge of the shirt and multiply by 1.5 to determine the length of the ruffle you will need--- my shirt measured 52" x 1.5 = 78".

Cut the sleeves off of the upper portion of the shirt. Remove the cuff, and cut the sleeve open so it lies flat. You're going to use the fabric in the sleeves for your ruffle.

Cut enough strips of fabric to measure the total length of your ruffle by 3" wide. I used four strips 19-1/2" x 3". Note that the stripes on the ruffle will be horizontal, not vertical.

Sew the strips together along the short edges until you have one long strip of fabric. Mine measured 78" x 3".

Narrow hem the two short edges and one long edge.

Press under 1/2" on the remaining long edge and run a gathering stitch along this edge.

Pull up gathers to fit top of cami.

Pin the wrong side of ruffle to the right side of the upper edge of the shirt positioning the ruffle 1/2" from the top edge.
From the top side of the shirt sew the ruffle to the shirt about 5/8" from the edge. This will also create your casing. Don't forget to leave the opening on the casing for your elastic.

Once the ruffle is sewn on you can remove the gathering stitches for a cleaner look.

Measure from your underarm to your waist to determine where to create your waist casing. Mine was 9". If you want the casing higher than your natural waistline, measure from your underarm to where you want the elastic and use that number.

On the inside of the shirt, measure 9" (or whatever your measurement is) down from the top edge of the shirt and make a mark. Continue around the entire circumference of the shirt.

Using bias tape, place the bottom edge along the line you just marked and pin in place.

Sew very close to both edges of tape to create the casing. Don't forget to leave an opening at a side seam to insert your elastic.
Measure and cut two pieces of elastic, one for the upper casing and one for the waist casing.

Insert elastic into casings. Lap the two edges and sew securely together. Sew the casing closed.

Evenly distribute the elastic in the casing and you are done!

A sweet summer cami in mere hours. Happy Sewing!

Pin It


  1. Great idea, thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Clever refashion. You should take a look at http://www.clevergirl.org. Antoinette is the doyen of remaking men's shirts.

  3. I think a lot of men will be missing their favorite dress shirts! Great idea!

  4. This is so cute!!!! Very helpful tutorial.

  5. This is soooooooooooooooooo cute!!!!!!!

  6. I don't normally do strapless, but I'd consider it for this cute top! Great tutorial.

  7. Isn't that just too cute!

  8. Fabulous!!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  9. That is adorable-even cuter than the example on Anthropologie!!
    My oldest daughter would really like that. I may add some straps to it.
    So now I need to raid my husbands closet-or pick up a shirt at the thrift store.
    Thanks for sharing the tutorial. You did a great job. :0)

  10. OMG - what a great idea. Thanks for sharing :) g

  11. omg that is super cute,, i would love to give it a try,,thanks

  12. This top is so cute... what a great idea.. I am definitely going to try this one.....

  13. I love this! I'm debating which shirt of my husbands to use right now!

  14. darling! I linked at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com

  15. This is fabulous!! Thank you so much for taking the time to create this tutorial and share with us! I can not wait to make this cami! Going to Goodwill to look for shirts today :) I added your tutorial to my blog(xboutiquex.blogspot)of course with full credits! It's just a personal blog that I love to save my favorite web finds. Thanks again!

  16. Love, love, love it!

  17. Anonymous2:57 AM

    Wow, I've been away from reading your blog for many weeks...computer problems.....this tutorial was worth coming back for, many many thanks. It is wonderful and I have just the perfect shirt on my cutting board waiting.....I was about to dump it because of a worn collar but kept it to retrieve the buttons before tossing.
    You are so very creative! Thanks again.

  18. This was a great idea! I must show this to my DD who would love this over a pair of jeans!

  19. OMG, this is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I will definitely try this.

  20. Absolutely adorable! You're a genius. Thanks for sharing your idea.

  21. I loved this so much that I tried it! I followed most of your instructions, but mine doesn't look nearly as professional as yours does! I'm happy with it though. Thanks a lot for the tutorial! I posted about it and linked to you on my blog: musingsofasnail.blogspot.com

    1. Your black version turned out adorable!

  22. I couldn't resist adding this to our link luv roundup today. Great job! Come take a peek:


    Thanks for sharing :)

  23. This is so cute! So many people are giving cute tutes for little girls clothes (that are nice, but I have boys and they are grown up) Thanks for showing some cute "grown up" girl clothes for those of us that are just getting back into sewing as well as those who have been for years. I might dig into my husband and my boys closet for cute shirts that are just hanging there!

  24. Adorable! This is on my list for summer tops, thank you!!

  25. What a cute idea! I would have never thought of making a woman's top from men's shirts. I really like the way it turned out.

  26. Good work all i have to do is keep my wife away from your blog..lol

  27. This is such a cute top. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this tutorial.


  28. What a great refashion!I'm thinking, too , which one of my husband's shirts can i get away with. :)
    I've seen similiar styles, but the ruffles makes yours very attractive. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Wow! I couldn't even imagine that it is so easy to make a great stylish woman's cami of a man's shirt. It's kinda magic ))

  30. The Refashion a man dress shirt into a woman's ruffled strapless cami, is some thing which can be called a new fashion idea, these things are really good because it can make your old clouts look different and stylish which is I think a very good thing to do so.

  31. Anonymous5:05 PM

    wao que lindo perrz

  32. Interesting Article. I find this post very interesting. I really love this blog. Thanks for sharing, it's very nice :D

  33. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Comwatchv2vqgwyoyem0 beijing outcall
    Locksmith Oak Park the arena of
    Locksmith Warren beijing take an
    Burbank CA Locksmith to urlhttpwww.We have
    Locksmiths Chester services on property
    Locksmith Coral Gables FL multifamily clinics and
    Locksmith Brea even governmentrun house
    Locksmith Kissimmee FL and rooftops jobs.

    Locksmith North Richland Hills TX protected garage door

  34. Anonymous2:25 AM

    i loved!!!

  35. I can’t help but stay in admiration upon seeing your DIY strapless cami dress. It’s so pretty!

  36. now this is just cute !

  37. This is ingenious and cute! I love how clean the seams are. From being plain and manly, it turned into a very girly and fun strapless cami. It’s relatively easy to do, with your instructions being so clear. I, who is honestly stupid when it comes to sewing, can probably give it a try. But I have to remember to use a very old, worn-out menswear top. I don’t want to end up ruining an expensive top. Your tutorial gave me more courage to learn how to sew, so many thanks to you! I’ve also read some very fascinating articles about fashion and style trends on the art blog http://www.briggsrobinson.com.

  38. Thanks for the FANTASTIC post! This information is really good and thanks a ton for sharing it :-)
    Made to Measure Dress Shirts



Blog Widget by LinkWithin