Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow

Refashion: Shirt Dress with Bow and a Dose of Bad-Weather-and-PMS-Induced Ranting

Toronto weather. Barely cracking double Celcius digits. IT’S MAY. Raining, like, ALL THE TIME. My sunglasses have been sitting, neglected, in the same spot for so long that there’s a sunglass-shaped outline in the coffee-table dust. COME ON. I overheard a woman on the subway the other day saying to her friend, “Alright, winter’s over. This is just harassment!” We’re DYIN’ over here. I need a dose of SUN to lighten my MOOD. Admittedly, PMS may also be a factor in my current whiny mood situation, but just DON’T BE ASKING ME IF I HAVE PMS, cause we all know how well that question helps to quell the DON’T-MESS-WITH-ME-CAUSE-YOU’LL-REGRET-IT state of mind. (I also notice that I have a predilection for using ALL CAPS when I have PMS…ANYONE ELSE DO THAT TOO???)

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow

Ok, if I haven’t scared you away yet, BRAVE YOU! I’ll lighten things up now with what I think is a dose of sunshine in a dress. JUST LOOK AT THAT GIANT BOW.


This is my entry in the Sewing Pattern Review Thrift It Up contest….if you’re already a user of Pattern Review you can go vote for my entry here. Please and thank you!

I made the dress by refashioning three pre-loved men’s shirts. It’s based on a dress made by Mira of the blog Fafafoom. If you don’t follow Mira’s blog, you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD! (Sorry, there goes the caps lock again.) What a great sense of style, and such skill in garment making. I had one of those moments when Mira’s post showed up in my inbox: sharp intake of breath, followed by an exclamation of “I MUST HAVE THAT DRESS!”, accompanied by a Hollywood-style swell of melodic strings that indicate our protagonist has found her purpose in life.

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow

With melodic strings buoying my every step, off I went to Value Village to spend a stupid amount of time finding just the right combination of shirts. (My husband has some great shirts in his closet that would have been perfect for this, but I figured he’d notice when he, like, didn’t have any shirts left to wear. What SACRIFICES I make for the success of this marriage!)

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow
I kept the original curve of the front hem of the shirt and used it for the back of the skirt, giving it a hi-lo hem.

I’m happy with the combination of colours, and I took quite a while deciding which pieces of which shirt would go where. I’m pleased that the colour-blocks don’t look too “patchworky”.

These were the steps in my process:
1. I decided on the pink shirt as the base for the bodice. I kept the front, collar, and back yoke intact. I cut away the back and replaced it with fabric from the white-and-blue striped shirt.
2. I unpicked the Tommy Hilfiger logo on the front of the pink shirt, and covered up the resulting tiny holes by sewing on the pocket I had removed from the white-and-blue striped shirt.
3. I took in the sides as well as the sleeves and the armscyes quite a bit for a better fit.

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow - work in progress
After attaching a new back piece, there was still lots of fitting to do to make the bodice fit.

4. I cut the existing cuffs off the white-and-blue striped shirt. I then cut the sleeves off the pink shirt at about 3/4 length, gathered the sleeve ends, and sewed on the cuffs from the white-and-blue striped shirt.
5. I cut the bottom of this newly modified Frankenshirt off a few inches below my waistline.
6. I cut off the bottom of the third shirt (the baby blue shirt) to become the skirt. I turned it around so the button placket would be on the back of the skirt for some added interest in the back, and kept the curved hem intact. I gathered it and sewed it to the bodice. I cut away the front of this new skirt and re-hemmed it so the outcome was a hi-low hem on the skirt.
7. I added 2 vertical fish-eye darts on the back of the bodice for more waist shaping.
8. I unpicked all the seams on the sleeves of the white-and-blue striped shirt. From these parts I pieced together two long tapered ties and hemmed the edges. I left on the small buttons that had been part of the cuff placket on each of the ties.

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow
Those tiny buttons, though!

9. I sewed the ties to each side of the dress.
10. I was very pleasant and accommodating to my husband so that he would agree to take pictures. (AGAIN with the SACRIFICES!)

Look! The bow can be tied in the front or in the back! Who needs the sun or even a hint of warmth when I can have A GIANT BOW ON MY BUTT??Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bowI’m awarding myself bonus points for avoiding having sewn any buttonholes at all! I used all of the existing button plackets. That’s what’s a great about a refashion — being able to use existing design features if you can.Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bowshirtdressrefashion2Here are the existing shirts that were sacrificed to the Goddess of Giant-Bowed Dresses. Note the deliberately frayed hem on the blue and white striped shirt. That’s basically a crime against humanity, and therefore that shirt deserved to be sacrificed.


Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow - original shirts

This happens EVERY TIME I lay out fabric on the floor. It all must pass kitty inspection.

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow - original shirt with kitty inspector
Kitty Inspection in progress. And in case you’re wondering, those metal discs are meant to cover up disused light fixture outlets, but they make perfect pattern weights! About a dollar a piece at your hardware store.

Frivolous at Last - Refashioned shirt dress with bow

OK, TORONTO WEATHER! ENOUGH WITH THE HARASSMENT! I want to wear the hell out of this dress. (A look at my window thermometer indicates that the temperature has climbed to a BALMY ELEVEN DEGREES CELCIUS at midday. I’d better go turn on the air conditioning lest I faint from the heat. Sheesh.


Would you take a minute to go vote for my dress in the Thrift it Up contest over at Pattern Review? I’d really appreciate your support.

Thanks for stopping by! Or should I say, THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

— Lori

15 thoughts on “Refashion: Shirt Dress with Bow and a Dose of Bad-Weather-and-PMS-Induced Ranting

  1. ooh i love this look!.. Well done! Jokes on the caps PMS thing.. hahahahah
    Can we also talk about the shoes? They are gorgeous.. I love it.. It goes well.. you definitely need higher digits weather.. I hope you can rock those sunglasses soon too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Too cute! Sorry about the weather. At least you’ve something to whip out when the temp improves. I’m usually sewing a season behind. You had my vote on PR.


    1. Thank you! I’m usually a season behind, too. With knitting, it’s usually a year or two before I’m in season again on any given project. Lol


  3. What a creative use for pre-loved shirts. I feel for you about the weather. It didn’t reach positive double digits here today and we woke up to another light blanket of snow this morning as we have most days this week in my little corner of south-eastern Saskatchewan. So tired of winter jackets and icy walkways early in the morning. We should be seeding, but it’s too cold.


    1. Thanks for putting it all into perspective…at least we don’t have snow on the ground. May Spring hurry up and get to your corner of Saskatchewan soon! Thanks for commenting.


  4. I love the shirt dress and very clever to have the bow to tie front and back. Yes the shoes ARE AMAZING! So it’s nearly end of autumn here and I came home on the ferry this evening with sleeveless jumpsuit. Tonight it will go down to 11 celsius for a lovely 25 tomorrow. So, I feel for you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi… I’m in Brisbane. A beautiful city with glorious weather mostly. The state’s promotional marketing is “beautiful one day, perfect the next!”.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahhh I hope your sun shines soon! Ours just came out in the past couple weeks and it’s a mood lifter (I mainly managed to avoid SAD this year, but it got a little dicey in the times of many freezing rains…).The dress is awesome! I think Esme would appreciate the BIGNESS of that bow!

    Liked by 1 person

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