Spring is officially here and what better way to get ready for all the warm weather ahead than with a fresh, new mini dress? This simple little dress is easily made from a refashioned men’s button-down.
The process is so incredibly simple and the fabric most button-downs are made of is incredibly easy to work with, which makes this project excellent for the beginner. Best of all, this little DIY takes minimal supplies and can be done in about an hour or two. So without further ado, let’s get started!
- An old, men’s button-down shirt
- Dressmaker Pins
- Fabric Scissors – These ones are my favorite and they are ON SALE
- Basic Sewing Machine
- Matching Thread
- Seam Gauge
- 1″ Elastic
How To Refashion A Mini Dress From A Button-Down
Before anything else, we need to get your shirt ready to be transformed into a mini dress. At the base of your button-down there will likely be a good four inches of fabric that hangs open. Since we don’t want a huge front slit on a mini dress, place pins at the bottom to hold it in place.
Head to your sewing machine and sew the entire length of the button-down shut. This prevents any revealing gaping once it’s converted into a dress and makes it much easier to work with throughout the project.
Now, place your ruler along the top of the shirt and cut the entire collar and shoulders off.
Use a seam gauge to measure 1 1/2 inches down from the new neckline. Pin and fold a casing for your elastic before sewing it into place. Make sure you have enough space to feed the elastic through.
Now, take your elastic and circle it around your shoulders so it’s snug and stretches just slightly. Since everyone’s body is different, use your own figure to decide what fits best and what feels most comfortable for you. Cut the elastic.
Place a safety pin on one end of the elastic. This makes it SO much easier to feed through the casing of your shirt.
Feed the closed safety pin through your casing while holding onto the other side of your elastic.
Once your elastic is all the way around the neckline of your dress, sew it together.
Note: You may decide to be done with your mini dress right now. If you like the sleeves and the overall look of it, stop here. If you want to go further, read on……
If the shirt has a pocket, pick it out with a seam ripper.
Now, being sure not to interfere with the elastic, cut the sleeves from your shirt. I did one messy cut to disconnect the sleeve and then went back and cleaned it up.
Next, remove the cuffs from the sleeves.
Open the sleeves up to create a long, skinny length of fabric.
Using both sleeves, cut as much rectangular pieces as you can and sew them together to create a circle. The more fabric you can get out of each sleeve, the more ruffled your dress will be.
Hem one side of your circular ruffle and pin the other to the top of your dress.
Sew it into place.
Ta da! Slip your new little dress on and enjoy.
This little dress is absolutely perfect for spring and the relaxed fit makes it great for the casual, warmer days ahead. You can wear this dress as a swimsuit cover-up, belted and worn with leggings, or my personal favorite- paired with a simple fedora and a leather cross-body bag for farmers markets and Saturday brunch. Either way, will feel amazing knowing you created it!
As always, let me know if you have any questions and thank you so much for reading!
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