Monday, 6 September 2010

Men's Shirt to Smocked Halterneck TUTORIAL!

Well I said I had managed to fit in a little sewing....and when I said little I mean little! This was such an easy top to make that I thought it would be fun to make a little tutorial.

1. Take one large men's shirt (I got this nice pink and white striped one from a local charity shop for the tidy sum of £3.50 because my boyfriend wasn't parting with any of his current shirts - the cheek!) and cut straight across the body below the base of the sleeves. I used a ruler and rotary cutter to get a perfectly straight line (but that's because I, for some reason, do not have the basic ability to cut in a straight line with a pair of scissors!).

2. Turn down the newly created edge twice and straight stitch.

3. Do a quick straight stitch down the front to sew the button piece and buttonhole piece together (so that it won't gape while you wear it!)

4. Now comes the fun part -smocking / shirring! Get some elastic thread and wind gently onto an empty bobbin. Thread your machine as normal with white cotton as the top thread and use the elastic bobbin - threading like normal thread. Adjust the tension to make it a little tighter and then sew! I started and finished each line with a little bit of back stitching just to be safe then to move onto the next line I just lifted the foot and moved the shirt across by the distance of one half of the foot. After trying on the top while adding more lines I ended up with about 10cms/4inches shirred.
Top tip - if you have a button in the area you want to smock, unpick it so that you can easily sew over this area and then sew it on again at the end.
For an excellent tutorial for shirring check out Grosgrain

5. If you like you can leave the top like this and you would be done!! If you leave it like this you could actually wear this as a top OR a skirt! I was going to do this, but after trying out the various options I decided I just didn't suit the skirt version and thought it would actually look quite nice with straps. So....

6. Cut two strips from the sleeves each measuring about 9cm x 50cm. For each one fold in half and sew 1cm seam along long edge and also along one of the ends. I decided to make my ties have pointed ends so my seam at one short end was done at an angle. Turn each strap right side round and iron. Put on the top and mark where you would like the straps to start from. I think it looks better if the straps are quite far apart. Then take off top, double over the ends of each strap (fold 1cm then 1cm again) and sew each in place. Put top on, tie straps behind neck and you are DONE!!!

As I said, so quick and easy. And I love the end result:

I think this would also make a very sweet dress for a little girl!

P.S. I'm linking:


  1. This summer top is just adorable! I'm not good at sewing, but projects/tutorials like this one make me want to learn.
    Thank you for joining me. Have a nice day ;-)

  2. What a fabulous idea!

  3. This is ADORABLE. So so so so cute.

  4. That is so cute!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  5. Thanks you guys for all your lovely lovely comments. So glad you liked the tutorial. Hope you all give it a go - it's so easy. And thank you so much Anne for featuring my tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing - so touched!

  6. This is really cute, so perfect for summer! I currently have a button up shirt that's been sitting in my closet for a few years that I've literally never ever worn. Hmmm........ might have to do something about that!

  7. so so so cute- I'm so happy because it's a great idea for some of my man's old button downs that I snagged months ago haha

  8. Thanks for the really cute tute. I linked to it on my FB page

  9. I've never shirred anything before, but I've read it's not hard to do. I will visit that site on shirring, and make my daughter a cute top like yours. Thank you for sharing :)


Thank you so much for your comments - they really do make my day!

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