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Style a Plain Flannel Shirt

Updated on December 29, 2017

Transform Boy's Shirt for Feminine Shape

From Store-Bought to Custom-Designed

Great Fall Fashion

Turn an inexpensive flannel shirt from the boys' department into a comfortable and stylish top for a tween girl. I made this using remnants from past sewing projects, so the flannel shirt itself was my only expense. Why did I do it? One of my daughters was on the verge of outgrowing a lovely, comfortable flannel blouse and I wanted to create a reasonable facsimile as a replacement.

The shirt pictured was made shapely and feminine with the addition of an elastic waist at the back and the removal of bulky cuffs to create 3/4-length sleeves. The whole process took less than an hour, once supplies were on hand.

(All photographs are the author's.)

Gather the Materials

Required Notions

I am assuming you already have access to a sewing machine and some basic sewing supplies, e.g. pins and sharp shears.

This project requires:

  • one boy's flannel shirt;
  • 1" satin or grosgrain ribbon or bias tape: about 1/2 yard;
  • coordinating all-purpose sewing thread;
  • 3/4" non-roll elastic: about 1/2 yard.

Clear off a flat surface for marking and cutting. Thread the sewing machine.

Measure, Cut, and Sew - Custom Fitting the Shirt

Sewn casing
Sewn casing

More Ideas for Restyling Clothes

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)

Don't throw out those old clothes. Check out this book instead.

 

Mark and Sew Carefully

Have the girl who will wear the shirt try it on. Use pins or chalk to mark the waistline in the back of the shirt. Mark the ends of the casing about two inches from the side seams, Mark the desired sleeve length as well, anywhere above the top of the sleeve placket (the opening at the bottom of the sleeve that attaches to the cuff.)

Cut the sleeves, allowing an extra inch to turn under for hems. Center your ribbon or tape on the marked line at the back and cut it the length of the marked casing plus an inch for turning under at the cut ends. Cut your elastic three to four inches shorter than the ribbon or tape.

Press under 1/2 inch hems at each short end of the ribbon or tape. Center on marked casing line on wrong side of shirt. Stitch very close to edge along both long sides of casing, leaving ends open.

Insert elastic, using a bodkin or large safety pin to thread the elastic inside the casing. Stop when back edge of elastic is even with one end of the casing. Stitch this end through all layers with two rows of stitching to secure elastic. Finish threading elastic, gathering the casing until the loose end of elastic is even with the open end of the casing. Secure with straight pins, remove bodkin or safety pin, and stitch with two rows of stitching through all layers. Remove pins.

Finish by pressing under 1/2 inch at sleeve edges. Press under again, enclosing raw edges, and topstitch the hems. Shirt is complete!

Step-by-Step Photographs - 1-Hour Shirt Restyle

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Boy's shirt before stylingCasing marked on wrong sideCasing sewn--wrong sideCasing sewn--right sideGirl's shirt after restyling
Boy's shirt before styling
Boy's shirt before styling
Casing marked on wrong side
Casing marked on wrong side
Casing sewn--wrong side
Casing sewn--wrong side
Casing sewn--right side
Casing sewn--right side
Girl's shirt after restyling
Girl's shirt after restyling

Take a Poll

Cuff cut off
Cuff cut off

Will you try this project?

See results

Here's a Big Picture of the Finished Project

Here's a Big Picture of the Finished Project
Here's a Big Picture of the Finished Project

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    • profile image

      Black Mage 2 years ago

      Cool project! I love this kind of shirt! It so comfortable to wear all day and also didn't make me sweaty a lot! This flannel shirt are the best!

      http://store.gudboi.com/

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Clever project for sewers. Flannel is so soft & comfy - I can see why your daughter loves it.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      @ClassyGals: She really should ask his permission first! Or wait for a sale in the men's dept.:)

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      My daughter likes to sew and is always looking for ways to recycle old clothing. She'll love this project. I think her brother might soon find one of his flannel shirts missing, too.

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      This is a very cute idea. I love flannel shirts anyway. This makes them even better.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      @JJNW: What a wonderful idea! Much better than just boxing up the shirts for storage.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 4 years ago from USA

      I love this idea! When my father passes away, I wanted to wear a couple of his shirts. This would be a good way to remember someone. Good job! Liked by a RocketSquid Greeter and Giant Squid.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Very cute idea! I don't sew any more, but you have given great photos and clear instructions. RocketSquid tip....create a custom bio for this lens using key words from the Introduction Title. Good work!

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      @kristalulabelle: Thank you. I need to do this again with a men's shirt, because my daughter seems to have grown a foot since I made this shirt!

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great resource! The directions were easy to follow and the pictures were great too!

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