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How to Make a Ruffled Top from a Men's Shirt
Tomorrow being Administrative Professionals' Day I wanted to create something that's fashionable yet doesn't scream "look at me!" (and is totally appropo for the office!). With Earth Day just around the corner as well, what could be more eco than upcycling? Steal a button-down from your guy's closet and give it a feminine makeover...that will make it a mainstay in yours.

Thank goodness there's someone around to redo all these stuffy men's shirts and breathe some girly life into them!

Posted by carlyjcais from Portland, Oregon, United States • Published See carlyjcais's 60 projects »
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  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 1
    Step 1

    Put shirt on. Button 3rd and fourth buttons on shirt. Place one hand underneath your armpit; mark where armscye depth should be on the front of your shirt, as close to the side seam as possible. (I used a pin.) Take off the shirt and also mark the armscye depth for the other arm.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 2
    Step 2

    Lay your shirt on a flat surface and cut off the sleeves. Cut off the cuffs and discard; slit the sleeves down their side seams (as close to the seams as possible without going through any lapped seam detail). Remove the pocket with a seam ripper and discard.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 3
    Step 3

    Cut off the center button placard and buttonhole placard, below the fourth button, leaving enough allowance at the sides of each placard to fold under about 1/4". (If your placard is finished and bound, you won't need the folding allowance, but mine wasn't, so I have the extra step of finishing it below.) Cut the collar from the front of the shirt (as close to the collar underpiece as possible without going through it), and cut about 1" along the underpiece into the back of the shirt. (You won't remove the collar enitrely; you'll just be freeing it from the front of the shirt.)

  • Step 4

    Turn shirt inside out and button remaining buttons on the shirt.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 5
    Step 5

    Sew Front Center Seam

    Sew front together, down buttoned placard, so no seams show in the center front.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 6
    Step 6

    Trim buttoned placard off on the inside.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 7
    Step 7

    Adjust Fit

    Take shirt off and lay it flat. Pin down sides, straight down from the pins you added at the armscye depth.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 8
    Step 8

    Turn shirt right-side-out and try it on. Adjust pins as necessary for a more tapered fit at the waist, and a freer fit at the hip. Make sure the armscye depth is still correct, and that you can get the shirt over your head. (If not, you'll have to add an invisible zipper later at the side seam.)

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 9
    Step 9

    Take shirt off, turn inside out, and trace a "best-fit" line between your pins at the sides. Remove pins. Add 1" to the outside of the lines, and retrace the shape of the sides.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 10
    Step 10

    Cut shirt front from shirt back at the sides, cutting along the outside lines you drew in the previous step.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 11
    Step 11

    Trace shirt front onto shirt back. Draw lines on back about 3/8" to the inside of the lines you just draw. Cut shirt back on these lines.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 12
    Step 12

    Pin shirt front to shirt back.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 13
    Step 13

    (Your shirt front should now be about 3/4" larger than the back.)

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 14
    Step 14

    Sew the Sides

    Sew shirt sides together. (If you couldn't get the shirt over your head back in Step 8), do not sew the left side. This is where your side zipper will go. [And if you're left-handed and prefer your side zipper to be on the right, leave that side unsewn instead.])

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 15
    Step 15

    Iron shirt and sleeves flat, paying special attention to the button placard still attached to the collar. (Optional: also iron zipper tape flat if you are using it.)15. (Optional) Insert side zipper according to package directions, (If you are unsure of how to insert an invisible zipper, there is a great tutorial here.)
    Make the Ruffles

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 16
    Step 16

    Lay your sleeves flat and cut two pieces from the sleeves, next to the angled sleeve seams. (These pieces will be your angled ruffles.) Cut on the grain, cutting a piece about 1.5" wide at its smaller end and 5.5" wide at the widest end. Trim any raw edges near the bound edge off. 17. Cut 2 long rectangles from each sleeve about 3" wide by the length of your sleeve. Square off the ends. These pieces will be your long ruffles.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 17
    Step 17

    Sew 2 long rectangles together, short end to short end. Repeat for the other 2 pieces.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 18
    Step 18

    Fold over the long edge of one of the pieces from the previous step about 1/4"; sew a scant 1/16" from the edge. Trim the raw edge next to your line of stitching. Fold over the stitched edges about 1/4" again; topstitch close to the edge to create a bound seam. Do the same for the other connected long rectangle piece.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 19
    Step 19

    Using either a hand-sewing needle or a long basting stitch on your machine (or a gathering foot if you have it!), stitch long, basting stitches along the long raw edge of each long rectangle, and along the unbound raw edges of the angled ruffles.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 20
    Step 20

    Pull the thread to gather the pieces into ruffles.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 21
    Step 21

    Finish the Collar

    Pin one long ruffled rectangle under the button placket of your collar piece, matching the length by pulling on the basting thread.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 22
    Step 22

    Pin the angled ruffled piece underneath - the piece will only go down about 3/4 of the way of the placket. Fold the bottom of the placket under the long rectangle ruffle end about 1/4".

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 23
    Step 23

    Topstitch the edge of the placket, through all layers to secure. (I chose to connect the top of the rectangle ruffle under my collar piece, but leave the top of the angled ruffle free, like "wings.")22. Repeat for the other side and the buttonhole placket.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 24
    Step 24

    We need to re-connect the collar to the shirt now - so start with the button placket side, and pin down overlapping the open hole in the front of the shirt. (Make sure the buttons are centered over the center front seam!) Pin the placket to the shirt, going straight upwards all the way to the collar area.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 25
    Step 25

    Pin the collar to the back of the shirt, overlapping the back of the shirt as much as you can by angling the collar downward. Between the top of the placket and the shoulder seam of the shirt, you're going to have excess fabric, so gather it and pin the collar over it.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 26
    Step 26

    Topstitch the button placket to the shirt. (I had to zigzag over the collar underpiece connection at the back of the shirt - there was a small gap that no amount of angling the collar was going to fix.)

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 27
    Step 27

    Place buttonhole placket end over end of button placket, and do up the bottom button.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 28
    Step 28

    Topstitch end down, through all layers, and reinforce stitching.26. Un-button bottom button, and pin buttonhole placket to front of shirt in the same manner as you did the button placket. Topstitch through all layers.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 29
    Step 29

    Finish the Armscyes

    Try on the shirt and draw the shape of the shoulder how you want it.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 30
    Step 30

    Take off the shirt, and cut the armscye shape about 1/2" on the outside of your markings. Trace the shape onto the other shoulder, and cut it out too.

  • Step 31

    Turn under 1/2" of an inch, and stitch about 3/8" from the edge to finish, notching as you go. (If you want a more finished look, cut the armscye 3/4" outside of your markings, turn once and topstitch; turn again and topstitch to create a bound seam. I find this very difficult along a curve, as often the armscye becomes tighter and smaller the more times you turn the edge, and notching the inside on such a small seam allowance is quite difficult. If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them!)

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 32
    Step 32

    Hem and You're Done!

    Try on the shirt and mark where you want the hem to be.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 33
    Step 33

    Cut about 1/2" below this line, fold under, and stitch at a 3/8" hem on your machine.

  • How to make a ruffled top. Ruffled Top From A Men's Shirt - Step 34
    Step 34

    Phew! A super-ruffly, super-feminine piece for the office. (As you can see, I also added 2 bust darts to make the feminine fit even better.)

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Comments

Steph.
Steph. · Reading, England, GB · 212 projects
Wow! That's an awesome project ^^ I might be stealing that for my GCSE Textiles project!!
PS: is that ok with you? xx
Reply
Allison B.
Allison B.
I made the ruffle top and it is fabulous! There are a ton of steps but they truly do help - most of them go by pretty quickly as they make sense once you've started.
Reply
W A T E R M E L O N ?
W A T E R M E L O N ? · Sacramento, California, US
So MANY STEPS!!
Reply
Eszti
Eszti · Tatabánya, Komárom-Esztergom, HU · 6 projects
It doesn't look easy, but looks nice Happy
Reply
carlyjcais
carlyjcais · Portland, Oregon, US · 61 projects
@ Mod.S.T: Thanks so much! Ruffles are always in!;-D
Reply
carlyjcais
carlyjcais · Portland, Oregon, US · 61 projects
@Rifath H.: You have to partially remove the collar & button placket from the front of the shirt so you can attach the ruffles *underneath* the placket so it looks finished. Then you topstitch the placket back on. If it's too confusing you can just sew the ruffles onto the front of the shirt close to the placket, but it won't look as ready-to-wear as if the placket is over the ruffles.

I also angled the collar downwards because it's a large man's shirt...so the collar is too big for me (and would be for most average-sized women). The angling allows the collar to appear smaller and as if the shirt fits. It's not completely necessary either, but provides a better fit. I hope that answers your questions!
xoxox
Carly
Reply
Ms. Nikell
Ms. Nikell · Charlotte, North Carolina, US · 52 projects
I have been on a "ruffle binge" lately. I recently posted a refashioned ruffle top. I am totally trying this one. TOO CUTE!!
Reply
Rifath  H.
Rifath H. · Royal Oak, Michigan, US · 4 projects
I've been wanting one of these forever. I am just confused about attaching the collar and the angled ruffles. can you tell I'm a closeted sewer? can you dumb it down for me???
PLEASE!!
Reply
Janetrec
Janetrec · Aylesbury, England, GB · 5 projects
Love the idea of converting a shirt like this - may have to make a trip to the charity shop at lunch time!!
Reply
Miss Marionette
Miss Marionette · U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, US · 2 projects
So cute, I really wanted to buy one of this at the mall, but they didn't fit right. It was sad...but now I can make my own. Thanks!
Reply
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