Make-it Monday: Altering Old Boxy Flannels – Getting the Perfect Fit from a Button Shirt

Hi Lovelies,

Well with the low tonight finally dipping into the teens, I guess I can admit that winter is here. While I was out at the store this week, I noticed some nice and warm men’s flannel shirts on clearance – how was I supposed to resist this? This isn’t my first adventure into men’s fashion. Before you judge me, you need to hear the whole story. You see, in the past, I’ve been lovingly described by friends as “a female paul bunyon”, “a future pro wrestler” and of course – the classic, “lumberjack.” While I don’t take offense anymore and have, through the years learned to love myself – one thing is true: I’m not a petite person. Being really tall (and I think just a woman in general) some articles of clothing are just hard to find. The first thing that always comes to mind are button-up shirts. No matter who you are, finding one that fits is like finding a giant pot o’gold sitting at the end of a rainbow with a leprechaun standing there next to it waiting to give you a high five and celebrate how awesome you are. The odds are against you.

My “problem area” (nothing is a problem – seriously, it’s not you – it’s the CLOTHES) is my shoulders. If I can button the shirt and not have it rip open, then the rest of it looks like it was custom made for a stegosaurus.  Absolutely huge. If it fits my torso, there’s no way on the good, green Earth that it’s ever going to button up.

Work shirts are something I’m always looking for, and men’s flannels are perfect. They’re tough, warm, and super soft. However, there wasn’t a way to wear them without looking like a gross, shapeless lumpy mess. That, my friends, is when I decided to put my basic sewing skills into action.

Obviously, I wouldn’t tackle this type of project with a nice dress shirt or something that I spent more than a few bucks for. There are professional tailors for a reason, folks. I am not a pro (lol, no duh.) Take your nice stuff to someone who knows what’s up. But, if you’re like me, and wear most of your shirts while crawling around on the ground in the mud, you may want to give this a try.

Project Precautions: Don’t steal your shirt from guys, they don’t like that (apparently). Make sure you know how to safely operate a sewing machine. Don’t make your shirt too tight, people might judge you for it.

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Lol. You seriously can’t even tell that I’m wearing it. This is a size XL men’s flannel.
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The first thing I did was put the shirt on inside-out and button it up. I pinned along the curve of my body as best as I could. This would have been much easier if I would have had someone around to help. I managed to get one side completed, but I just laid the shirt flat and guessed for the other side, which would explain why the finished product was a little looser than I would have liked.
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If you want the bottom seams to meet after sewing you’ll have to curve your pins in an arch, meeting in the corner. If you choose to do this, your patterns on the shirt are not going to line up from front to back. If you choose to sew a straight line down, your patterns are probably more likely to match, but the bottom seam won’t line up from front to back.

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As you can see my bottom seams line up, but the pattern is just barely off. Obviously not professional quality, but totally functional for cheap work clothes.
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Well what do you know! There really was someone wearing that huge shirt!?!


So there it is, a very rough way to alter an old shirt to make it a little more shapely and appealing. Do you sew? Do you know an easier way to do this? Share in the comments! What would you like to see next? Want to learn how to add darts to this shirt? Hope you’re having a great day, much love!


14 thoughts on “Make-it Monday: Altering Old Boxy Flannels – Getting the Perfect Fit from a Button Shirt

  1. The “after” shirt looks great and so do you! My sewing skills are about on par with yours so I can’t offer any advice. But, when I’ve stolen a husband’s shirt, I just wear it as it. You are way ahead of me on this!

  2. All I can say, from the last photo of you wearing the shirt, is you look great. Rugged, yet still very feminine.

    So if anyone from now on calls you “a female paul bunyon”, just say that is right: because you can whoop their ass while still looking great in a cocktail dress.

    The fact you would rather wear a flannel shirt than a cocktail dress is simply a matter of preference, and thus not germane.

  3. I love this idea! Besides the fact they always charge more for women’s stuff anyways. And you don’t tend to find working flannel for women very often.

  4. Well done. If you want to keep the plaids matched and the bottom edge even just mess with the hem a little bit in that area, like un-stitch, trim and resew.

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