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How To Make A Shirtdress



I like stripes and plaids together. Clothing combinations have no limits. 
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How To Make A Shirtdress with Clothes You Already Own
How To Make A Shirtdress with Clothes You Already Own

How To Make A Shirtdress with Clothes You Already Own


Find two to three pieces of clothing for making a Shirt Dress from your closet:

For the top of the shirt dress: 

  • It should be a button-down, hence the “shirt,” but not absolutely necessary.
  • Choose a shirt that fits somewhere. Too tight, loose, short, etc. We can fix that.
  • We can cut off the frayed collar, tight neckline, shoulders, or cuffs.

For the skirt bottom of the shirt dress:

  • Choose a dress or skirt with some fullness at the bottom. Never mind if the rest does not fit well or is fitted. We will cut across the fuller part, so there will be plenty of room. We might want to cut up two if you want to use a fitted dress. 

Tap into your designer self: We will combine the two chosen pieces.

  • Do not be afraid to combine prints on prints or complementary colors of solid color, i.e.color blocks or lights with darks.
  • The clothes will be sewn together. They can contrast, match, or go together. 
  • Pick a contemporary look with a contemporary print or a bohemian look with a faded piece. 
  • My favorite is combining checks and plaids of a similar color or hue but not necessarily the same.  
  • The best are combining stripes with florals. 
  • See our Upcycle Sustainable Guide

This will be harder for some than for others.

Think about all those clothes that are sitting in your closet that you never actually wear. You may have tried them on but never go out the door in them. 

Remember, we can remake them into something wearable with a new silhouette. 

Raid your closet, your boyfriend’s, your girlfriend’s, your mom’s, your kids, your dad’s, and your friends, then ask these questions if it’s your piece:

  1. How did I feel the last time I wore this? 
  2. It fits, but I would like it better as the top of a new shirt dress.
  3. Is this a representation of my ‘fantasy self’? Or will I wear it?
  4. You might, as the bottom of a new shirt dress.
  5. Do I need to be a certain weight to wear this piece and feel good in it? 
  6. We will cut off the too-big or too-small parts. 


“Keep a donation bin close by so you can say ‘later’ to clothes when the mood strikes,”  “That way, you get in the habit of paring down, so it’s not a huge feat to tackle every six months.” 

It’s always a good idea to pare down, but this time, you can remake something from your castoffs.

“Fear is usually the driving force keeping us chained to our stuff.”

“We rationalize that we may need that dress for a future costume party or holiday event. But reality tells us that we have never needed it, so I say, why keep it?”  

Except to make it into something wearable.

We can remake the clothes to give them another chance at a fun new life.

Do not cut up Designer Clothing. Selling those to a second-hand site like Real Real would be wiser because making a shirt dress with clothes you already own is for all those other clothes.

“It’s a no-brainer—sell or donate the expensive designer pieces and get the tax write-off,”  Looking for a more significant investment? Why not try buying stocks for the brands you love? Clickable link. 

The most important takeaway is to use some of the clothes in your closet to make something new.

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Hi, I'm Mary

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There are plenty of sustainable clothing options. Mend your clothes. wear second hand, or shop upcycle. 
But the best one is to shop your closet with clothes you already own.

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