How To Refashion a Silk Shirt

Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!

Did you find a cute silk shirt at the thrift store you’d like to refashion? Alli of the now defunct One Pearl Button blog has your back! 

When I’m thrifting, I shop as much with my hands as with my eyes.  As long as you’re at a reasonably priced thrift store, high quality cashmere and silk are always worth buying, so I’m on a constant hunt for them.
When I came across this silk shirt on the dollar rack, I knew immediately that it was coming home with me.  The fabric was thick, soft, and beautiful – it was clearly the highest quality silk, and I wanted to wear it everyday.  The only problem?  Um…it wasn’t quite my style.
That’s okay, though, because I know an incredibly simple technique for refashioning an outdated button-up, and today I want to share it with all of you!

How to refashion a silk shirt

What you’ll need:

Iit doesn’t get much easier than this one; all you’ll need is a button-up and some basic sewing supplies (you don’t even need a machine!)

Step 1: 

Pick out a good Pandora station (I went with New Slang by The Shins).

Okay, I suppose this step is optional, but Step 2 can take a little while, so I recommend finding something to keep yourself entertained.

Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Step 2:
Use a seam ripper to carefully remove the sleeves and collar of the shirt, keeping the seam allowances as neat as possible.
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Step 3:

Chose which side of the shirt will be the front (I wanted mine to button up the back, so I reversed front and back), fold the front of your shirt in half with the shoulder seams lined up, and draw on a new neckline.  I traced the neckline of another shirt to make it nice and easy.
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Step 4:
Cut along your traced line.
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Step 5:

Hem the raw edges.  For the armholes, I simply folded the original seam allowance over once and stitched in place (no need to press!).  For the neck hole, I hid the raw seam by folding over twice, pressed, and stitched.  I’ve been on a hand sewing kick lately, so I did this by hand, but you could easily use a machine.
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Annnnnd done!  Now you have a pretty, modern shell, perfect for the hot weather that’s coming or for layering on chillier days.  I wore mine to watch the Cincinnati Rollergirls destroy Dayton and Fort Wayne on Saturday night – fun!
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
Want to refashion a silk shirt from the thrift store? This tutorial doesn't even require a sewing machine!
silk shirt after small
(I realized after looking at this shot that I should tack up the back so it doesn’t gape open – oops!)
I’d love to see photos, if you give it a try!

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13 Comments

  1. The Dame

    Ooh! I was about to give a silk shirt of mine to charity as Ive lost the love for it! Awesome! Just in time for summer!

    Reply
  2. Kit

    Love this- and it looks simple enough that even I could manage it! Very excited to give it a go, will have to resist the urge of going home and cutting up any old top :-p

    Reply
  3. Natalie

    Oooh, I saw a silk shirt in a beautiful olive green at the local Red Cross charity shop a while ago, but didn't buy it because I didn't like the style (similar to the shirt you found). Now I think I need to go back and see if it's still there…

    Reply
  4. Heather

    oh my god – genius! i love it!

    Reply
  5. Cate

    This is the best mod I've seen in a really long time. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. nova

    That looks really cool! I should try this.

    Reply
  7. hungryandfrozen

    Thanks for sharing. I love that you don't need a machine. I am hopeless on a sewing machine but actually enjoy pottering round with a needle and thread. Will keep this in mind 🙂

    Reply
  8. jess

    This doesn't look too impossible, I might actually give it a try since I don't have to use my machine, and by that i mean, attempt to use my machine.

    Reply
  9. Nahid

    I love this! I want that shirt 😀

    Reply
  10. Mia Wallace

    You are ridiculously clever. The shirt looks awesome.

    Reply
  11. EMackk

    Love the shirt now, so much more stylish. AND I have a greyhound too, aren't they just the best?! – Emma (from The Written Nerd)

    Reply

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