"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!



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About Ashley Hackshaw

Living a simple, creative life in #smalltownusa Bryson City, NC. Renovating a 1960s ranch house and an old train depot. Thank you for reading! Read more in my about section. 


  1. 1

    Who knew it could be so easy? Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    Thanks! I think that I could even do this;)

  3. 3

    oh wow!
    this will be on my next to do project list!

  4. 4
    CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [12 Feb 10:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  5. 5

    I loved your entry. Good call with "Annie Hall". It was awesome.

  6. 6

    can't wait to try this! if you want another suggestion for old men's dress shirts, check this out… here's the one i made:


    and here's the original tutorial by dana on "made":


    seriously, how do you guys come up with these great ideas?!?!

  7. 7
    Natasha Klein says:

    wow great tut!!
    I hope to see the pants tut soon ;)

  8. 8
    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 =)

  9. 9
    Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    A twist on the upcycle men's shirt…


    Love your tute!

  10. 10

    I love it!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  11. 11

    This is such a great idea! I would love to feature it on my blog, Reduce, Reuse, UPcycle.


  12. 12

    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.

  13. 13
    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?!) :D :D :D 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 :)


  14. 14
    CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [23 Feb 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  15. 15

    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?

  16. 16

    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!

  17. 17

    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 :)

  18. 18
    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.


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