Western Shirt to Rockabilly Dress Refashion




Today I am sharing how to take a Western Shirt (or any button down) and turn it into a dress! Since the shirt I have is a women's small, I am using it to make my daughter a dress. Although, this tutorial would work the same for turning a larger shirt into a dress for a woman.

Step 1: Gather What You Will Need:

  • Western Shirt (or any button down)
  • Flat twin bed sheet
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread- more power to you!)
  • Scissors
  • A dress pattern (needs to be a bodice and a skirt portion- not an A-line pattern). I used the Magrath dress pattern by Sew Much Ado
  • iron and surface to iron on
  • pins

Helpful Tips:

*When it comes to choosing a western shirt, size matters.The bigger the better!

*I always take out two different bodice patterns, so I can choose which one fits better on the shirt with the pattern placement.

Step 2: Step 1: Look at Your Shirt

Not the one you are wearing! Take a good look at the shirt you are about to cut into.

What do you like about it? What do you want to keep? Is there a snap placket that you want to use as a functioning closure? Decide now where you want everything.

Take your bodice pattern and play around with placement. I like using the snaps in the back, so I make sure to place my back bodice pattern on there.

This is also a good time to make sure your shirt and sheet are pressed. Get out that iron and get rid of those wrinkles!

Step 3: Cut That Shirt Apart

Cut carefully (or seam rip) along the arm seams, and the shoulder seams, the shirt side seams. Make sure to keep any pieces you might want whole. I kept the cuffs in tact, and the collar. You never know when you might want to embellish with these! I use scissors because I want to get started this year. If you want to seam rip, go for it! It may take you a bit longer. I'll wait.


Step 4: Cut Out Your Bodice Pieces

Lay your bodice pieces wherever you want to on the shirt pieces. Do this carefully and slowly. Make sure they are where you want them. Pin them in place.

Cut them out.

Repeat for the lining

My fabric is quite sheer, so I am lining the dress. Cut out the same pieces only this time using the bed sheet. These will be your liner.

Step 5: Embellish

Take those bits and pieces you saved and place them where you want. Pin in place. Make sure all raw edges will be concealed. If they need to be finished, do that before you pin on.

Baste them in place!

*Tip: if you are sewing on a peplum with the cuffs like I did, make sure you sew them right sides together with the bodice (upside down).

Step 6: Sew Up Bodice

Sew bodice according to the pattern's instructions.

Step 7: Sew on Skirt Portion of Dress

Now take the sheet and cut out the skirt portion of the dress. Sew it onto the bodice as the pattern directions state.

Step 8: Stand Back and Admire

Give yourself a round of applause! You did it!

Add some accessories, and stand back to admire what you made.

For more photos please come visit me on my blog:

Falafel and the Bee

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for the Instructable! I find there is lots of refashion inspiration on the internet, but so little for those of us who are nervous of doing things on the fly and need some tried and true steps. This is wonderful!

    4 replies
    legomumFalafel and the Bee

    Reply 3 years ago

    Actually I have been excitedly planning it. I thought of using 2 western shirts if all I can find at the thrift are plaid, and use the 2nd for the skirt. Also, I think I'll keep the front the front if it's more ornate. Love using the collar and cuffs like that. I was thinking of making something like this for our local western agricultural fair exhibition. Western is perfect for that. I hope it's okay if I use your idea for that! :)

    legomumFalafel and the Bee

    Reply 3 years ago

    I am notorious for becoming overwhelmed by projects and not completing them, but I really want to do this and I will certainly take pictures of it and post them here!