SouthWestern Menswear Refashioned


I just used my new dressform for the first time! It really does make a difference when tailoring/refashioning clothing. I couldn’t have achieved this kind of fit if I didn’t have my trusty dress form.


I found this great button-up at the Tooele DI while out on a little excursion with Sarah (one of my many thrifting idols). We both were in love with the embroidered arrows on it. Arrows are so hot right now. Have you noticed? The first thing I saw when I first laid eyes on this beauty was a tailored skirt. With pockets. Here’s what I had in mind:

I don’t really ever share these little sketches, but Jill says I should. So I will. I had envisioned switching the buttons in the front to the back & using the sleeves for pockets & doing a drop pocket in the front. I originally thought it’d be easier & faster than it was, but as I was going along, I made sure not to take any shortcuts which added to the time considerably.


I usually take shortcuts; just little ones here & there, but as I’ve refashioned more & more, it’s not worth it to spend the time to refashion something if I’m not going to do it right the first time. It’s pretty crucial to finish edges & hems properly. It takes a bit more time, but it looks SO much more professional. I started on this little project around 7pm and finished at about 2am. I ended up having to unpick everything in order to get the shape I want & that took about two hours. Every seam was finished with a regular stitch, a top stitch & a surged edge. It’s a lot more work when you have to unpick 3 sets of threads per seam.


I’m really proud of the final product. I feel like it looks polished & not at all like it was originally a mens shirt. What do you think? Would you have passed this shirt up in the thrift store?

To see the full outfit & all the other outfit details, click here.

• U P D A T E •

To answer your questions, I originally thought that it’d be better to have the buttons along the back, so that when I sit down they don’t pucker & reveal my whitie tighties. I did have to sew in two hook & eyes; one above the top button and one in between the first & second buttons, because of puckering, but that fixed the problem.

I’ve worn this skirt all day: at the park, at the computer, on the couch, in the car & it’s been incredibly comfy! None of the buttons have popped open (that can be a problem with front button dresses) and I haven’t even noticed the buttons while sitting. Not quite sure I would’ve thought about this approach if I didn’t already have a dress that buttons up the back.

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    1. Kayla says:

      Oh man, this is amazing. I’ve made a skirt out of a men’s dress shirt before but yours is way better. Mine definitely doesn’t have pockets.

      Freckles in April

    2. Shala says:

      Wow! That looks awesome!! I would have never guessed it was a shirt to begin with. Yes, I would have passed up the shirt in the store…but I can’t really sew…. :) Great job!!

    3. you are amazing. i LOVE this so much. the color, the print, the end result… so awesome! and your sketches are brilliant. you really should keep sharing them.

    4. Erin says:

      Love! I agree with you, taking the time to do it right is so worth it!

    5. This is my favorite thing I’ve ever seen on your blog.
      Seriously brilliant.

      keep posting your sketches. love that too.

    6. Sarah Jane says:

      OH Melissa. This looks amazing!! I seriously can’t get over that print. Bowing down right now.

    7. How funny Melissa! I just posted today about men’s shirt refashions. My friend and I are making a skirt as well this weekend! Yours is perfect…love the arrows!

    8. Wow wow WOW! Amazing!

    9. Katie says:

      it looks FABULOUS! thanks for sharing the sketch… i LOVE it.

    10. Gentri says:

      Oh my amazing!!

    11. erica says:

      this is really really lovely! i love that you showed your sketch too. you did wonderful! congratulations on a job well done!

    12. You should be proud. Fantastic vision on this works. Works perfectly. I have never been a fan of mandarin collars on mens’ shirts. This is a perfect use for such shirts. I will keep my eye out.

    13. Shaela says:

      Um, yes. I would have walked right past it and thought it was hideous, haha. But DANG WOMAN, that skirt looks amazing! You have a wonderful sense of vision to be able to see a completely different piece of clothing. You are the refashion queen! :)

    14. Libby says:

      Two thoughts…
      1. Wow. Seriously-such a professional looking end result. And it even matches your blog background!

      2. Jill is right-share those sketches! So fun to see the primary thought process.

    15. Sidney says:

      This is totally cute and amazing, and it kind of matches your blog’s wallpaper! Go you! However, how is it when you sit down? I’m not sure how comfortable it would be sitting on buttons?

    16. Summer says:


      That is fabulous. Hands down THE BEST shirt re-fashion I’ve seen. And I love the drawing too.

    17. Bellesme says:

      wow! cool.. can you sit down in it though? i would be afraid of the buttons popping or poking me =p btw share your sketches! they’re nice =)

    18. Nicia says:

      Looks awesome! But…I think I may have found a typo. I know. I’m probably one of those few out in the blogging world who actually reads the post and not just looks quickly at the pictures! You put without your dress form you wouldn’t have gotten that god of a fit. Could you maybe have meant to write that good of a fit? Haha. Really does look great!

    19. GREAT JOB! And you’re so right… it’s normally worth it to take more time to do things right when it comes to sewing. This is terrific.

    20. must……have…..dressform

    21. Wow this is awesome… I want one and immediately!

    22. Heidi says:

      Very cool! I like the buttons in the back!

    23. ariel says:

      This is the cutest skirt…ever! It belongs on the rack in Anthro. SO cute. Want it. And your sketches are great! So glad you shared. This is my favorite refashion of yours. If you ever throw it out…tell me!

    24. Emily says:

      LOVE!! Good job and great fit!!

    25. Marie, Stockholm, Sweden says:

      Oh yes, listen to Jill, your sketches are wonderful! Your blog is the first website I open every day when I get to work (sorry boss) and you are an inspiration to me!
      Thank you and have a lovely summer!

    26. jen says:

      I LOVE IT! Man, I really, really need to learn how to sew! You’re amazing.

    27. […] thrifted & refashioned, […]

    28. Bmerry says:

      Dress forms are fabulous!

    29. michael ann says:

      oh my goodness! this is fabulous, i’m learning myself to not take the shortcuts and do it the right way… i love those pockets, so classy!

    30. Johanna says:

      What a great refashioning! And your drawings are beautiful, love them, keep ’em coming. Hmmm…and arrows are hot now? — I just noticed the background on your site!

    31. Padgett Hoke says:

      stop it! you amaze me! I would have never looked at that shirt and thought, hmm that would work great as a skirt! I absolutely love! nice job!

    32. holy cow!! that is amazing … one of my most favorite things you’ve ever made!! amazing

    33. Marissa says:

      i’m always impressed at your brilliant eye and your amazing creativity. yes, i would definitely have passed this shirt up!

    34. Linda says:

      very creative, Melissa – I’m impressed with your vision, and your sewing skills – the transformation from shirt to skirt is remarkable

    35. Nancy says:

      It really looks awesome. I am amazed at how tailored you got it. It looks like completely different fabric as a skirt. Very snazzy. And, thanks for sharing the sketch. I like seeing those every time!

    36. […] in awe of this amazing DIY. I wish my sewing skills were […]

    37. Kait says:

      That’s it, I’m taking a trip to my local thrifting store to look at some mens shirts!

    38. Peggy says:

      i like it. very original. i’m glad you included the sketch. so much talent.

    39. Susan says:

      I know i’m late to the party, but wanted to let you know how much I love your refashion! I never would have seen a skirt out of that shirt, but it turned out to be the cutest thing ever! Great work!

    40. laurie says:

      Fabulous! LOVE!

    41. Sophie says: you are soooo cool! This is such an awesome print to start with and the skirt details are divine. I’m totally inspired by your site!

    42. Kay says:

      Absolutely love this skirt…the fabric, cut, fit, pockets and the professional result of exquisite sewing skills! I appreciate that you showed your vision via your sketches. Hopefully, I can start to see what thrifted and castoffs can become. Thank you for sharing!

    43. melanie says:

      Oh wow! The skirt is so nicely done, I thought for a moment that the diy part was that you block printed the little arrows! (And now I’m thinking that in itself would be a cute way to add something special to a plain skirt…hmm…)

    44. Jada says:

      Dang girl! You are very talented, I think your friend is right about posting your sketches! Anywho I found you via Pinterest and I have to say that your blog has quickly become a favorite of mine!

    45. […] Southwestern Skirt from Melissa […]

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