men's buttondown shirt refashioning

The best men’s shirts refashion ideas (for women)

How to upcycle a men’s shirt into women’s clothing

In this post, I collected several popular ideas on how to refashion men’s shirts for women. I wanted to inspire women to reuse garments that the men in their lives would throw out.

Refashioning men’s button-down shirts is one of the most popular upcycles. Why? They’re usually made of cotton, they are durable, and they are large, so you have plenty of fabric. Since men’s fashion changed, they are available in fun patterns and bright colors too. 

Men’s shirts are very versatile. You can turn them into aprons, women’s wear, kid’s clothing, pillowcases, etc. They are the ideal choice for a summer dress, blouse, skirt, or top for women.

Spring is around the corner. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up and the multiple layers of clothing to get down. With a baby on board, I got sick of all the dressing up. In this post, I collected the best (my favorite) men’s shirts refashion for women.

Check out these gorgeous upcycles!

Man shirt upcycling

1 Tunic Top Men’s Shirts Refashion

This Diy men’s shirt tunic top from Thriftanista in the City is stunning. I really love the colorful, patterned collar she added. Just like her, I could fit this piece into my everyday style.

2 Tailored Skirt Upcycle

I love everything about this shirt skirt by Melissa Eplin, the pockets, the back, the small arrows. She really nailed it. She turned menswear to the perfect officewear.

3 Ruffled top

I’ve found the perfect men’s shirt refashion for the skirt. This ruffled shirt made by Cut out and Keep would complete your office outfit.

4 Husband’s Shirt to Dress

Oh, I love this shirt dress from Ma Nouvelle Mode. It would be ideal to wear to the office. But using the idea, and a brighter shirt with a fun print, you can create a charming summer dress.

Man shirt upcycling

5 Babydoll sundress

This babydoll dress from Clevergirl, repurposed from a men’s top is so much fun. Perfect for a hot summer day. It would look so cute with a floral pattern.

6 Romper from Men’s Shirt

This romper I’ve found on Instructables is so much fun! I’m not a fan of rompers, they look cute but so unpractical to wear, for me at least (like how do you go to the bathroom without leaving your upper body half-naked?).

7 Off the Shoulder Shirt

Revamp a men’s top into this elegant off the shoulder shirt. Hello Beautiful has an easy step-by-step tutorial for you. 

8 Lantern Sleeve Blouse

This blouse from Sew Pomona is timeless. It’s one of those pieces that my mother and also myself would wear anytime. A must try!

Man shirt upcycling

9 Shibori Shirt

I like this Shibori T-shirt from Swoodson Says. The pattern and the dyeing is so much fun. I would love to try it. (Sadly my spouse doesn’t like blue at all, but I could pull this off with a white shirt)

10 Men’s Shirt Refashion to Bomber Jacket

This bomber jacket from Trash to Couture is fantastic! I want to make it asap. It’s modern and trendy.

11 Summer Blouse

This tutorial on refashioning a men’s button-down shirt into a summer blouse is in Deutch, I don’t understand a word, but the photos speak for themselves. The tunic is fabulous!

12 Ruffle Bell Sleeve Top

I like this bell sleeve shirt. It’s feminine and elegant. This website, Cotton and Curls, is the best place for refashioning projects and sewing ideas that are feminine and fun.

Man shirt upcycling

13 Dip Dye Shirt

This dip dye top from Vicky Myers Creations is the perfect example of how to turn a boring white shirt into something stunning for women. The dark blue dye sets this shirt from simple to trendy.

14 Wrap Shirt

I’m not a huge fan of wrap shirts, skirts, and dresses, but this shirt from Makery is stunning. A perfect top for a casual outfit.

15 Feminine Button-up Shirt

I really love this idea from Grainline Studio. They swap a boring shirt into a feminine, stunning summer blouse. The step-by-step tutorial will walk you through how to make the wavy bottom part.

16 Wrap Crop Top

This DIY wrap crop top by The Felted Fox is the perfect summer wear. I really like the idea that it can be worn in three different ways. If I can get rid of my mummy tummy, I will definitely make this shirt with floral embroidery at the neckline. 

17 Ruffle Wrap Skirt

This ruffle wrap skirt from men’s shirt is feminine and stylish. The video tutorial will walk you through on how to make it.

Man shirt upcycling

18 Tie Front Men’s Shirt Refashion

This front tie shirt by One Craf DIY Girl is fashionable and also elegant. It is simple and perfect for everyday use. You can wear them with skirts and a pair of jeans too.

19 Peplum Top Tutorial

I love this shirt makeover from Cotton and Curls. This was the first refashioning idea I fell in love years ago. I tried it on a very similar shirt, and it turned out fantastic. It was one of my basic shirts until my pregnancy.

20 Bell Sleeve Button Up Shirt Makeover

Another elegant shirt makeover from Cotton and Curls. I really consider making this garment because it’s an easy and cute way to repurpose a men’s top.

21 V-neck Top

This men’s shirts upcycle idea from Snip and Sew is so much fun. I really like the idea of playing around with the striped fabric and creating vertical and horizontal lines. The video tutorial will walk you through on every step.

Man shirt upcycling

22 Off the Shoulder Dress

I’m too shy to wear off the shoulder, short dresses in our small city. But this dress from Collective Gen is stunning, casual, and sexy. The perfect wear for beach strolls.

23 Denim Shirt to Cropped Jacket Refashion

Check out this fabulous shirt-jacket from Scratch and Stitch. An excellent way to give new life to a denim shirt. I really love the frayed edges.

Now, let’s get to work. Dig up your husband’s, father’s, boyfriend’s, brother’s, or spouse’s closet for an excellent refashioning project (don’t forget to ask them before cutting up their shirts). 

If you can’t find anything usable, go to a thrift shop, you can buy quality garments at a reasonable price. I have a handy post on tips for shopping for upcycling.

What can you make out of a man’s shirt?

Men’s button-downs are versatile. You can transform them into:

  • for women:
    • tunic,
    • shirt,
    • dress,
    • skirt,
    • shoes,
    • romper,
  • children’s clothes,
  • pillowcases,
  • home decor,
  • shopping bag,
  • adult bibs.

How to refashion a men’s button-down shirt?

The easiest way to DIY your shirt into something fabulous is to use your existing garments as templates. You can also search and download a pattern and use that, but I like the first method.

When you’re done with the cutting, you have to assemble the pieces. After sewing, you can further enrich your new clothes with decorative elements: studs, ribbons, dye, bleach, embroidery, cut-outs, and others. For more ideas, check out my post on how to upcycle button-down shirts.

Can you upcycle a men’s top without a sewing machine?

All of the men’s shirts refashion ideas I listed above require sewing. But there are ways you can skip using a sewing machine:

  • tie them into a dress or skirt like these,
  • replace sewing with fabric glue – keep in mind that stitching is more secure, and I would use glue for smaller alterations,
  • hand stitching is also an option; with specific hand stitching, you can gather the fabric to fit your size.

TIP: if you want to refashion a men’s shirt without sewing, choose a shirt that’s smaller, closer to your size.

Can you use a women’s shirt for these upcycles?

Yes, of course. Use women’s shirts that are larger than your size, or if you aim for a fitting top, choose them in your size.

It really depends on your project. You can even spear some time because you will need to sew less if the shirts are not that big.

What to do with shirt fabric scraps?

You should never throw out the material you’re left after a refashion project. Use the remaining shirt pieces to create:

  • phone cases out of the cuffs,
  • tablet cover,
  • turn the sleeves into wine bottle holders, they are perfect for groomsmen gifts,
  • drawstring bag,
  • create stunning summer espadrilles.

This shoe shirt upcycles idea from Trash to Couture is extraordinary. I wouldn’t even think of it. You only need some small leftover pieces of fabric. A must-try for summer! Trash to couture has a lot of fantastic refashioning projects, you should definitely check her site.

Conclusion about men’s shirts refashion

As you can see, a man’s button-down shirt is a goldmine. You can alter it in so many ways to achieve a feminine and fashionable garment for yourself.

Use these ideas as inspiration or let your creative juice flow and try something different.

Related post:

Which one is your favorite repurposing idea? Have you tried refashioning a men’s shirt?

man's shirt upcycle ideas

The best men’s shirts refashion ideas

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