Recycled Fashion: Easy DIY Shirt Repurposing!

Project title

Recycled fashion is a must-try for anyone who wants to revamp their wardrobe without spending a fortune. For the sake of the environment, our bank accounts and the indulgence of our creativity, Anna jay is here to show you how you can take an old garment and turn it into something new! In just a couple of simple steps, a men’s shirt can be turned into a comfortable ladies off-the-shoulder top, perfect for hot days. All you need is a couple of very simple supplies and a sewing machine – check out her tutorial below, and have a go yourself.

You Will Need:

Step 1:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Press the shirt and lay it down on a table flat, so the side seams are right on the edges. Measure and draw a straight line under the collar of the shirt that reaches from shoulder to shoulder. Pin the front and bottom of the shirt together below the line so it’s easier to cut it.

Step 2:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Cut along the line. You’ll get quite a big curve around the sleeve area, so smooth it out by cutting off a bit of that curve.

Step 3:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Fold the raw edge to the wrong side by ⅜ inches. Press it. If you have a button that’s in the way, remove it and secure the area with a pin.

Step 4:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Fold the edge to the wrong side again. Generally speaking, you need to fold it by 1 inch (since that’s the width of the elastic), but depending on the thickness of the elastic you might need to fold it by a bit more; for example, I needed 1/2 inches. It might be difficult to fold it in a straight line in the sleeve area – simply create some pleats or gathers and fold them.

Secure the casing with pins. Stitch the casing close to the folded edge, leaving about 2 inches opening for the elastic.

Step 5:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Measure the amount of elastic you need. To do that, place it around your shoulders. It should be tight enough to hold the top, but not too restrictive while moving your arms. Add 1 inch for seam allowances.

Secure a safety pin on the end of the elastic. Feed it through the opening in the casing and pull it all the way through the casing.

Step 6:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Remove the pin and pull the elastic out, so it’s comfortable to stitch the ends together. Overlap the ends and stitch them together with a zigzag stitch.

Step 7:

Recycled fashion shirt repurposing tutorial step

Push the ends of the elastic back into the casing and finish up the opening. You can do it on a sewing machine or by hand (using a slip stitch).

Finished project in use

Now your gorgeous off-the-shoulder recycled fashion project is complete – it’s time to try it on! And whilst you test out how fabulously it fits, you can dive straight back into your wardrobe, and hunt out the next garment that needs a new lease of life!

Looking for more ways to put your sewing machine to good use? Check out the rest of our sewing projects, patterns and tutorials right here.

As our content marketing executive in charge of the Create and Craft blog, Lisa loves nothing more than writing about all things craft. ‘When I’m not at work, you’ll find me attempting a wonky crochet project, playing with watercolours or trying my hand at the latest awesome craft tutorial to cross my desk!’

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