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DIY Clothes Ideas (Episode 1) - Upcycling An Old Men's Shirt

There had been a big bag of my guy's old clothes sitting on the top of the shelf for two years. It was "for donation" which never happened. Recently I decided to make a move and went through the clothes.
My guy tends to wear his latest-favourite clothes only. He doesn't buy clothes often, but he just stubbornly avoids to wear the clothes ranked No.6 and below. So there are some pieces which he would never wear though they're still wearable to my eyes.
Then I got an idea to enjoy DIY fashion with you.

Recycle (upcycle) of clothes actually requires more effort and creativity than making clothes from new fabrics. But it has its irresistible charm - you give a new life to clothes which otherwise nobody loved any more, you have fun for zero or a very small cost, and if the work turns out to be a masterpiece, it's really really satisfying. Of course, it's ecologically good as well, but I want to emphasize its fun more.

This time, I upcycled one of my guy's old shirt. Sorry, it's pretty straightforward and not 'out of the box'. I will challenge harder stuff eventually. 


1. Before

image of an old men's shirt for upcycle idea

So here is the 'assignment' this time. My guy's pretty slim, so it's not very over-sized.
Actually, after I showed him the completed upcycled piece, he started saying, "Oh, it was the shirt I was wearing when I first met you!". I don't remember. And, if it's so, why did he put it in 'for donation' bag? Lol oh well!


2. Decide Where To Cut

You can pick up one of your favourite tops from your wardrobe and copy the shape of it. I drew like this.
When you use a marker pen, make sure not to draw on the stitching lines but with extra 'seam allowance'. Otherwise, you will see the marker lines on the completed piece.

image of an old shirt for upcycle with some lines

-   Mine has a "bust dart". If the piece you're copying doesn't have one, you don't need to care.
-   I am not using the original shoulder this time not to make the "armholes" big. But if you use a men's shirt way bigger than your size, it's possible that you can use the original shoulder without having huge armholes.
-   Since I am using the original button-opening, I had to care about the position of the top button (shown in the circle). The top button of the completed piece needs to be at the right place as 'the top button', not far below the neckline. 
-   This time I decided not to take off the pocket though the bust dart would come on it. If you decide to take it off, check if the colour of the fabric inside the pocket is not different from other parts of the shirt.

And did you notice the cool stamps on the fabric underneath the shirt?

image of the fabric with cool stamps on

This is one of the cheap fabrics sold in the bazaar. These fabric shops sell raw cotton fabrics with a variety of thickness & widths for cheap prices. Does anyone know how people use these fabrics other than making parcels??
I buy such fabrics and use them for pattern making or making MIRCHI KOMACHI Furoshiki Wrapping. And I love love love these stamps on them! 


3. After Cutting

Image of the cut bodice from the old shirt for upcycling

After cutting, the bodies look like this.
This time, I am not using the sleeves (I will use them for future recycling or house cleaning!).


4.  After Joining The Front Body And The Back Body

Image of the front body after briefly joining the front and the back bodies

Image of the back body after briefly joining the front and the back bodies

I stitched:
-   bust darts
-   darts on the back
-   sidelines
-   shoulder lines
And this is how it looks.
This "dress form" is of Size M of MIRCHI KOMACHI. Since my size is smaller than Size M, the front buttons can't be closed, but when I tried it on, the fit was fine :) 

Then, the game is almost mine! No chance it becomes unwearable.
Now I clean the seams with my lockstitch machine, and proceed to the armholes, neckline, and the bottom part.


5.  Armholes, Neckline, And The Bottom Part

Image of a left-over fabric for the upcycled old men's shirt

This time I am using this left-over fabric to make a bias tape (for the armholes and the neckline) and the bottom part.
-   I cut the bias tape 3cm wide
-   I cut out some rectangle pieces to make a loooong rectangle piece of the length: the hemline of the body + some extra for "tucks"

And stitched them to the body, and cleaned the hem (by folding twice and stitching).
Then, done!

image of the completed upcycled men's shirt (front)

Image of the completed upcycled men's shirt (back)

This hat was also a thrift-haul defect item which I recycled. 

I don't know if this post explains sufficiently on this way of upcycling. If you try to do a similar upcycling and have any questions, please let me know! I'd be so so happy to help you.

I will upcycle more clothes and post as DIY Clothes Idea blog series from time to time. Stay tuned!

Today my guy picked up a shirt and a T-shirt from "for upcycling" pile (clothes I stole from "for donation" bag) and he was going "Oh, I have no idea why I was going to give them away! These look guuuuud!". He brought them back to his closet protectively, and happily wore one for work. Hehehe...
Maybe I should hide some of his low-ranked clothes and see how he finds them after two years, shouldn't I?


Bonus Video
Have you seen Girlboss series? Sophia Amoruso, the founder of the brand Nasty Gal, started her business from her flat by selling the vintage clothes which she modified for the modern-day cool girls.
There are lots of controversies around her, but no matter what, I enjoyed this series in many ways.


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