Men’s dress shirt refashion

Hubby and I perused the shirts at the David Jones sale. I felt the need to counsel him on this shirt, that collar, nice colours, not so nice cuts etc. He bought nothing – such is my wise counsel!

I however, found this rather dapper men’s dress shirt for an entire $32AUD. Thats 16.50GBP and 25ish USD – wow! Had I found something similar at my local charity shop it would no doubt have had traces of red wine, boeuf bourguignon, yellow deo stains and other unmentionables – these things happen to dress shirts; they’re party animals! Anyhow, its rare to find anything cheap in a charity shop, I’m often amazed at the extortionate prices, new goods can be bought cheaper at sales! Their staff really ought to get out more.

So here is my amazeboz $32 dress shirt, DJ’s own brand, 100% cotton, size 46 mens.

Hurrumph, the look on my face says it all!
Hurrumph, looks like Daddy bear’s shirt.


The sleeves were really long, so I calculated how much shorter they needed to be before unpicking them from the body. Obviously there was need of darts, but thats tricky because they’re limited by the excess remaining. My generous dart wedge requires lots of extra at the sides. I started by tentatively marking where the bottom of my armscye would preferably fall and where my shoulder point was. The new armscye would be limited by the cutout of the current armscye. I like to think about curves in pattern making as swimming pools. You can dig out more of the circle, but you can’t really put it back. You may prefer to subscribe to a donut nibbling analogy – whatever works!

Am I the only person to ever take what is assured to be a disappearing fabric marker to a white shirt, draw all over it, then consider I should have checked that it lives up to its name?! That was a heart in mouth moment I can tell you – all praise Sard’s Wonder Soap!


After a bit of faffing with a shirt pattern I knew had a loose armscye, I drew the proposed armscye curve – whoa whats that weird bit? Time to make merry with the scissors and straighten that bit near the shoulder point. Then I did a quick ‘walking the tape’ to determine how much I needed to lose from the sleeve head to get a 1:1 ratio. All the while cognisant that I had opted for a high fitting sleeve so would probably need a high sleeve cap. Sure, if the shoulder point had been dropped I could have made my life easier and opted for a flatter sleeve head, but I’m a try hard!

The result is a very wearable shirt/tunic. Worn here with leggings in leather and suede bought in Copenhagen years ago. They have a questionable drawstring arrangement and extremely short crotch length, which may be great if you’re a teen Dane or a rampaging pirate. The tunic length fortunately covers said crotchal region and no one need ever be the wiser! Shhhhh, don’t tell!

boots from my motorcycle obsessed days!
boots from my motorcycle obsessed days!

What about with an obi? To my eye this looks a tad Peter Pan.


Hmmm, optimistic darts – nothing can be done unfortunately, they’re limited by the extent of aforementioned excess. After seeing this photo above I did resew the right dart though, and that my bloggy friends is how you’ve made me a better person/sewist!


Replaced the top button with an attention seeker!
Replaced the top button with an attention seeker!

I rather fancied adding a flouncy self fabric belt at the side seams for tying at the back, but I knew I’d want to wear this with a jacket and how weird would that look sticking out the bottom? Next shirt perhaps!




Add yours →

  1. Yah! What a fun alteration. I even liked the original baggy look with the bedroom hair. Very sexy. I had a vintage one of these when I was pregnant and it worked just great with the sleeves rolled up. But adding bust darts and shortening the sleeves was a master stroke. Lovely.

  2. What a great find! This is one of those garments that I’d love to wear, but not sew (all those pintucks, blech!)… glad you scooped it up!

  3. Wow, second Kate’s comment. I saw the first photo and thought, “Woah, hot stuff!” Very nice look, though I love it altered as well. The fabric looks quite luxe and smooth. I have a women’s shirt made to look like a men’s tuxedo shirt, though with slightly fewer tucks than this one. I love the shirt, though it is let down by poor quality cotton that wrinkles quite a bit. One always prefers to look expensive, no? PS I also went back and fixed the darts on the recent shirt I made, inspired by the blogging thing.

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