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Easy DIY mens shirt refashion into off the shoulder top

mens shirt refashion into off the shoulder top

And our off-the-shoulder obsession continues! For this DIY we'll be refashioning a classic oversized mens shirt. Yesyes suuure there are already lots of tutorials out there for mens shirt refashions, but they are just SO easy to get hold of and the look is so flattering that we reckon there's room for just one more to join the interwebs!

All you need is: 

  • 1 oversized mens shirt in a lightweight fabric 
  • Your usual sewing supplies
    (sewing machine, matching thread, pins, fabric shears, pinking shears, tailor's chalk) 
  • 1 spool shirring elastic 

OK! Let's get refashioning.... Just follow our video or step-by-step tutorial below :) 


Extend the lines of the yoke across the tops of the sleeves on both arms. This will be your cutting line. NB You need to cut off your collar at this stage! So, if the yoke line is higher than the bottom of your collar, just redraw your line lower so that it is underneath the bottom of your collar. 

line drawn on mens shirt refashion for cutting

Now cut along that line. 

mens shirt cut at yoke for refashion

And the bit you cut off should look a little something like this:

cut off collar and yoke of mens shirt

Now cut down the top edge of your sleeves.

top of the sleeve cut mens shirt refashion

And press your neckline raw edges in by 1/2" and then again by a 1/2" before pinning into place.

raw shirt edges pressed and pinned for shirt refashion

Now stitch down your neckline hems, keeping your stitching as close as possible to the folded edge. 

hemmed neckline mens shirt refashion

Match up your shoulder seams and pin the front and back of your top together at this point.

match up shoulder seams of off the shoulder top


shoulder seams pinned of mens shirt refashion

Trim the tops of the sleeves so that they match and cut off the sleeve placket. 

trimmed sleeves of off the shoulder refashion 
With shoulder seams matched up and right sides together, seam along the top of your sleeve. 

seamed sleeve of mens shirt refashion

Pin the sleeves together at the shoulder seams and just double check the length matches.

sleeve length check off the shoulder top

Hem your sleeves like you did your neckline. 

sleeves hemmed on mens shirt refashion

Wind the shirring elastic onto your bobbin by hand, taking care not to stretch out the elastic. 

shirring elastic for off the shoulder top

Once all setup with the new shirring elastic bobbin thread, it should look a little something like this: 

shirred effect mens shirt refashion

Line up the right-hand side of your machine foot with the neckline hem stitching, stitch a straight line right the way around your top. Remember to backstitch at the start and end of your line of stitching! And be sure to sew with the right side facing you, the shirring elastic is your bobbin thread and you need that to come out on the wrong side of your top. 

sewing with shirring elastic for off the shoulder top

Then when you've finished your first row with the shirring elastic, you simply line up the right-hand side of your machine foot with that row and repeat! We've gone for five rows of shirring in total for both the look and to make sure there's enough tension to hold the shirt up on your shoulders. 

shirring elastic mens shirt refashion

When sewing all rows of shirring you need to make sure that you're stretching out the fabric at the back and at the front of your machine foot, to make sure the elastic is nice and taut as you sew. 

smocked effect off the shoulder top

 Five rows later is should look a little something like this!  

elastic off the shoulder top DIY

Here's a close up of the right side...

DIY off the shoulder top

...and the wrong side.

DIY mens shirt refashion

Add two rows of stitches using the shirring elastic to your sleeve approx. 1.5" in from the hem. 

DIY off the shoulder top with puff sleeves

Now your shirt should look a little something like this and you're all done!

off the shoulder top from mens shirt refashion DIY

If you end up using this tutorial please do share your makes with us! Tag us on instagram with #byhandlondon or @byhandlondon and we'll find ya :) We love hunting down and sharing our sewists' creations, so keep a beady eye out!  



Comments on this post (8)

  • Dec 23, 2019

    These are the easiest instructions I’ve come across so far. I want to do this for my granddaughter. I have never worked with sheering elastic—so I may have to use plain elastic. But I do want to learn how to do the elastic you used. Could you send me an e-mail with these instructions? I don’t know how to save this on my desktop—but I am going to try.

    — Bobbie

  • Feb 05, 2019

    This tutorial is a great reason to go; shopping at thrift shops for just the right man’s shirt to transform.

    — Valerie Smith

  • Dec 03, 2019

    This looks adorable and still in style a year later! I noticed that the sleeves are not like the shirt that the model is wearing. In that photo, did you just use the cuff piece instead? Thank you!

    — Sarah Arnold

  • Aug 13, 2018

    Perfect tutorial! I followed each of the clear steps and turned out a cute blouse (formerly my son’s shirt) in no time. I did add straps because the neckline was way too loose. I was using a medium size men’s dress shirt and I’m a size 8-10 top. Steaming the shirring was helpful, but not enough to keep it up on me.

    — Robin

  • Aug 13, 2018

    Perfect tutorial! Followed each clear step and turned out a cute blouse (formerly my son’s shirt) in no time! Thanks!

    — Robin

  • Aug 13, 2018


    — carol

  • May 14, 2018

    This is so clever. Love off-shoulder tops and dresses as they nicely accentuate my shoulders. Guess I’ll be stealing few pieces of shirts from my hubby’s closet. Thanks for sharing.

    - Novie

    — Novie

  • Aug 25, 2017

    This is really neat. Will have to try it this weekend. That is if I can get one of my husband shirts. Lol

    — Diana M. Dorn

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