Liberty Refashions: Button Down Shirt to Dress


Reuse, remake, mend. Spend, buy, consume.

How many clothes do you buy in a month? What about a year? And how many of those do you end wearing more than once? Today’s mantras are “buy the shoes, you only live once”,”I work hard, I deserve that new dress” and “I am sad therefore I shop”. Each of us takes this more or less seriously, we each define how important shopping for clothes is to us.

As a sewist you probably buy more fabric than you buy clothes, but I bet you have a little pile of clothes you’re not wearing anymore (there was an accident, they don’t fit anymore etc), that you plan to reuse, repair or remake.

My challenge for your this month is going through your closet and putting way the things you don’t wear anymore. Then chose one thing from that pile and make it into a new garment you will wear and love. Give away the rest and only keep a few items that you really like and are sure you’re going to do something marvelous with.

With a little help from Sew Box and a bit of Liberty Fabrics jersey, I turned an electric blue bottom down shirt I had in my not-wearing-anymore-but-can’t-thro-away pile into a playful summer dress.

I loved working with this Liberty Jersey, it’s thick and non-transparent and the print is beautiful. I washed a scrap before to make sure it will not run into the blue bodice of my dress (the shirt) and it washed beautifully. Two other liberty prints I would use for a similar project are: this cute Carnaby Jersey or this floweryMissenden Jersey from Liberty of London. A cute detail about this fabric is that it comes with a label to sew on your garments and a little certificate of authenticity.

This is my second Liberty Refashions tutorial; you can also check out the first one, in which I turn a tank top into a dress.

Tutorial after the jump.

First of all, cut off the sleeves and the collar. It will be easier to work with the shirt.

Then shape the neckline of the future bodice of your dress. You can use mysummer dress bodice pattern if you like it. It’s free to download and use as you wish.

Draw and sew a little pleat in the bust area, then press it flat towards the armhole.

I have a serger so I just serge the border of the neckline, then press and topstich, but you can do a zigzag and then topstitch if you don’t own one. You can also cut the bodice one more time in a lining fabric for a neater neckline.

Once your’re done with the neckline and the armholes, sew the straps together.

From your extra fabric cut a skirt. I used a pattern I previously designed on a piece of paper, creating a trapeze shape with my waist circumference on top and my hips circumference + a few inches for movement on the bottom of the trapeze.


To attach the skirt to your bodice keep your skirt on the wrong side and isert the bodice turned on the right side, shoulder straps down, in the hole made by the skirt. Pin and stitch.

I added two rows of elastic thread on the cleavage to play with the existing elastic insert in my shirt, but that step is completely optional.

And that’s it. A new dress in less than 2 hours!

Outfit photos by JP Carrascal.

What are you transforming this month? I’d love to see your projects.


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