Upcycling Project – Men’s Shirt to Cute Top

by | Mar 15, 2021

An upcycling project can be a fun way to bring new life to things that are not being used. Or living up to their potential in their current form. This project takes a men’s shirt and turns it into a fun top for you!

You will need

  • Man’s shirt that fastens around your bust and hips, long sleeved works best
  • Matching thread
  • Shirring elastic

Fabric recommendations

Raid your partner’s wardrobe or find some bargains in charity shops.

How to

  • To get the most from your upcycling project, creatively use the existing features of the item to be upcycled. Such as pockets, contrasting fabrics and trims etc.
  • Unpick anything you want to save for later, eg pockets.
  • Using the zip foot if necessary. Sew down both sides of the buttons stand at the front of the shirt to avoid gaping buttons once you’ve finished.
  • Draw a line around your shirt under the collar at the front and under the yoke at the back. Miss out the sleeve sections. Open the shirt out so that the shoulders are flat and you can see both lines on one sleeve. Join the lines with a curve. Repeat on the other side, taking care to mirror the line exactly to make both sides symmetrical.
  • Cut around this line.
  • Create a narrow rolled hem on this raw edge. Stitch around the edge once and then using this row of stitching to help you roll the hem.

Get creative with upcycling

  • Replace the bobbin for shirring elastic. Set the stitch length to the longest and sew around below the hem you have just made, using the edge of your foot as a guide. After you have sewn a few inches, pull the starting thread tail through to the wrong side and knot with the elastic, continue all the way around overlapping your stitched slightly. Cut the elastic and thread and pull the end thread tail through to the wrong side and knot with the elastic.
  • Repeat 4 or 5 times. Use the previous row of stitching as guide. Keep the edge of your foot level with this will keep your rows straight. When sewing the second and subsequent rows, stretch the fabric out, so it lays flat, you do not want to sew tucks into the fabric.
  • If you run out of elastic part way around a row, overlap the stitches when you start sewing again with a new bobbin. Be sure to tie all your ends together.
  • Once you have decided you have enough rows of shirring. Hold a steam iron over the shirred section and blast with steam. The steam shrinks the elastic and pulls it all in tighter. (It’s like magic!)
  • Decide what you are doing with your sleeves and sew. You could make them shorter and create a tied cuff around them. Or roll the cuffs up and stitch. Get creative with your upcycling project.
  • If you, removed and features to use later, now is the time to use them. Replace any pockets.
  • As always, press neatly and wear with pride.

Love & Stitches

Alison xx

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