I have an awesome new tutorial to share today that involves thrifting, sewing, and a cute outfit! This autumn I've really enjoyed wearing tunic tops with leggings and boots because it's such a comfortable combination - but I could really use a few more tops in the rotation. I wanted something lightweight to pair with a cardigan or jacket and the soft cotton of a quality men's shirt seemed like the perfect fabric.
I took a detour to the thrift shop one afternoon while I was out running errands and picked up this awesome Land's End men's button down for $6:
This shirt is a size large, which ended up being just the right size for me to sew into a tunic dress with only a few quick alterations. When you pick out your shirt keep in mind that you want it to be long and wider than something in your size, probably about 2 sizes larger. (If you are tempted to choose a shirt that is more than 2 sizes too big you will end up with a lot of extra fabric around the arms and shoulders.)
And here is what my finished tunic top looks like (you won't believe how simple this project is!):
There are really only a few quick steps to turning an over sized men's shirt into something for your closet!
Try on the shirt and place a couple of pins under the bust to mark where you'd like to gather the top to create shaping a the waist (this line goes around the entire shirt). I was really glad I picked out a plaid shirt because I could follow the lines on the design for help in sewing straight!
Next you'll need a package of 3/8 inch elastic. There are a lot of elastics to choose from at your average sewing store, but I like to use lingerie elastic because it's softer. On the wrong side of your shirt, place the elastic along the bust line you marked out with your pins. Use a zigzag stich on your sewing machine to sew the elastic around the bust line of the entire shirt while stretching the elastic as you sew. As you release the elastic after sewing it will contract and gather the fabric, creating a more flattering silhouette for your tunic top!
Try on your shirt again and use a couple of pins to mark where you'd like the sleeves to fall on your arm. You can choose any length you'd like (full sleeve, three quarter, etc.) Add an inch to this measurement and then use your fabric scissors to cut off the extra fabric. Fold the sleeve under 1/2 inch and press, then another 1/2 inch and press again. Use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to complete the hem.
That's it! Style up your new tunic top and hit the town : )