3 Shirts to Dress Refashion


Well I failed on my “I’m not buying any new sewing books” pledge. I’d previously vowed not to purchase any more sewing books until I made a project from each of the books I already own. Oops! I recently bought a LOT of new-to-me sewing titles. My favorite is “ReSew – turn thrift-store finds into fabulous designs” by Jenny Wilding Cardon. This book includes 20 easy-enough-for-beginners refashioning projects using thrift store finds. Easy, thrift-stores and sewing? Those are 3 of my favorite things, so this book is perfect for me!

The Diner Dress project on page 66 of the “ReSew” book was the inspiration for my 3 shirts to dress refashion above. I just made a few changes in construction from the original for a slightly different look. Jenny Wilding Cardon made her Diner Dress from 3 men’s shirts and a fitted woman’s top. My version is constructed from a fitted woman’s top and 2 men’s shirts instead of 3.

Using 3 men’s shirts made the skirt part of the dress too wide for the contemporary look I was going for. The additional material gave the dress more of a full-skirted 1950’s vibe. I also didn’t include the shirt yokes as part of the skirt as Jenny did with the ReSew original. I found the shirt yokes added bulk where I really didn’t need any. Because removing the shirt yokes made the skirt shorter, I sewed wide hem facing bias to the bottom of the skirt and turned under just a smidge of the skirt itself. And although I love the clever waistband on Jenny’s dress, I didn’t add the button placket around the waist – I wanted to style the dress with a black leather belt to add a modern edge.

All in all I think this dress turned out quite well! It’s something I’ll actually wear, although probably not until next spring or summer. It’s only 12 degrees outside with a foot of snow on the ground in Boulder, CO as I write this post. So even though it’s warmed up since yesterday, it’s far from warm enough to wear this dress anywhere outside my home!


  1. I love your dress and I’d love to get a copy of that book. I have a desire to refashion my own wardrobe. All my cloths that are no longer large enough for me. You inspire me to learn the refashion technique as soon as I finish my rose dress. It’s 3/4th done.


  2. How interesting! Your refashion turned out great. I like the choice of black with black/purple plaid. Is there one man’s shirt in the back of the skirt and one in the front? Do they have to match?


    • I should have explained that in the post, thanks for asking about it, Lynne! The dress looks best if the shirts coordinate. The coordinating men’s shirts are used in the following way: The 2 front pieces from shirt A (mine had a vertical stripe) are on either side of the button placket on the front of the skirt and the 2 front pieces from shirt B (mine was plaid) are seamed to the shirt A front pieces. These 4 pieces make up the front of the skirt.
      The back of shirt A is cut in half vertically and sewn to the 2 fronts of shirt B (the back pieces of shirt A become the sides of the skirt). The back of the skirt is the entire back of shirt B. So you just create a large strip of fabric by alternating the shirt fabrics and sewing them together. This strip is gathered to fit your waist at one of the long edges and then sewn to the women’s top at the waistline.

      Liked by 1 person

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