"Miniaturizing" a Men’s Shirt (A Tutorial)

I made this “Annie Hall” inspired outfit for Week 4 Project Run and Play using the material from a men’s shirt and a pinstriped skirt of mine:

It’s fairly easy to re-tailor a men’s shirt to fit a boy or girl:

Updated: I woke up early this morning to find a photo of a shirt that Lisa over at Stuff Mummy Makes had already made using this tutorial and wanted to share since it shows a boy version! So cute!

Here’s how to make your own:

First I took one of my husband’s old dress shirts:

I marked where the new smaller arm holes would be….

….and cut my new shirt. The width of the shirt will be reduced by where you cut the new arm holes. I checked my shoulder measurements by trying it on a toddler sized dress form:

Note: you can see here that it was slightly too big and I had to cut them down about an inch. I cut the hem based on the dress for as well….so the bottom of the shirt was a few inches below the waist.

To cut the sleeves, I took one sleeve and used one of Boo’s shirts to figure out the length:

I used a disappearing ink pen to trace the arm curve…you will want to add a little “swoop” at the the bottom of the sleeve opening to account for the curve under the armpit:

Here is the first sleeve I cut….you can see that I just cut straight through the cuff:

Note: Make sure to leave the cuff wide enough for the hand to fit through….you’ll be sewing it closed as a “faux” cuff.

I used the first sleeve to cut an identical second sleeve:

I pinned the center of the sleeve first to the main shirt piece:

….and then pinned each side before sewing the sleeve on:

I sewed the sleeves and sides of the shirt closed and finished the seams. I left my shirttails long to they would tuck in easily but if the tails are to be left out you can hem them. Here is the finished shirt with the “high-waisted” pants I made:

Think twice before throwing out those old shirts now! You can make them into something cute for your little one!


  1. Erin @ BringingUpBurns says

    I can't wait to try this! I have been wanting to "sew" dress shirts for my son and couldn't find a good tutorial or a pattern that seemed do-able for me.

    Would be kinda fun to buy two matching shirts for my husband and son. Downsize one. Freezer paper paint the kid one up. Use for our next photo shoot. YES. I think you just gave me a FAB idea!

    THANK YOU =)

  2. Sabra says

    I love this outfit. Like, really. It's just so perfect. And such a great way to resize the shirt! I totally am bookmarking this. Thanks.

  3. sameer bindu says

    Hey Ashley! your blog is such a nice place to read through and learn from. that you make no big deal about the ADHD or OCD or anything at all – makes you come across as more human yet particular :) i have something with numbers – the more i am uncomfortable about them the more i tend to get into numeric details (did you notice that you are just shy of your 500th post?!) 😀 😀 😀 i like how you keep matters and things just as important as they ought to be – nothing more nothing less. the lack of a condescending air also makes your blog a very comfortable, encouraging and therefore truly inspiring place.

    i have been wanting to learn to sew for some time now, saving up for a machine too. hopefully coming Christmas may get magical for me :) i wish there was some person who could give me a simple, straight and dependable suggestion regarding that. i think that will happen too.

    looking forward to more fun filled ideas and projects from you :)


  4. Jodi says

    I loved this look on PR&P. I was wondering what adjustments you would need to make if you were using a womans shirt with darts? Any helpful tips?

  5. Andrea says

    This is too cute! I'm a little intimidated, I'm a learn as I go kind of sewer, but I'm so inspired that Im going to rummage the DH's closet right now!

  6. Bella says

    Ashley, those pics are soooo flippin adorable, not sure I could visualize how cute it could be, without your wonderful photos. Gosh little princess, is so cute dressed up like a boy, I LOVE IT!!!

    I am featuring this on my facebook page. I hope you can also link this up to my weekly party, and maybe you can be featured there too, for a whole week!!

    Come say hi sometime!! Bella Before and After , and if you want to win an Avocado Painting, come enter myGIVEAWAY HERE, I really appreciate the support.

    Bella :)

  7. herocopia.com says

    Hi, I would like to subscribe for this blog to get
    most recent updates, thus where can i do it please help.


  1. […] I had to find a tutorial. I found that on this blog: Lil Blue Boo. That is such a nice tutorial and the shirt came out lovely. I however, wanted to do a few things […]