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Repurpose, Recon, and Upcycle Men’s Dress Shirts

January 12, 2010

According to’s gallery,

A term coined to describe the creation of a product with higher intrinsic value, manufactured from a material at the end of its service life, which had a lower initial end use value.

Oh, and when I say “recon,” that means reconstructed items from already existing items.

Mamas, I’ve got lots of goodies for you today! If you are cleaning out clutter as a New Year’s resolution (or you already cleaned out clutter and meant to drop off the bags to get your end of the year tax slip except they are still sitting in your trunk or foyer…not that I personally have any experience with that) have no fear! There is hope for you yet. Gather some men’s dress shirts and see what you can make with them.

First, the high-end repurposing.

Mija Fiber Art takes vintage clothing (i.e. thrift store, garage sales, etc.) and turns them into absolutely stunning fabric art. I am not going to put some pictures on my site without permission, but you will be so glad you clicked on the link. I discovered them when I was living in Asheville, where I would always wear a bib to catch the drool as I browsed the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands. Their process of fiber art is on their website. I bet it would be so fun to design these unique pieces.

Men’s dress shirts make great memory quilts. Look how this quilter took her friend’s old shirts and made memory quilts for all his family members. She also made six more for other people. What a beautiful gift and a wonderful way to honor a loved one’s memory.

Reconstructed Apparel

I love the look of this women’s skirt made from a men’s dress shirt

Apron from men’s dress shirts  from Mommy Blessings

The Cheytown dress is all over the internet. I first discovered it on, where you can find the Cheytown button shirt to toddler dress recon tutorial with instructions for how to make a girl’s dress from a men’s dress shirt. I fudged and used a women’s shirt for a fun little girl, Jillian, whose mama runs Future Rock Stars. I made it 2 years before HC came along, but I can assure you HC will have a toddler’s closet full of these little dresses soon.

Baby sleep sack from a men’s dress shirt tutorial at luvinthemommyhood

What about the boys, or you need a complete outfit? Make some sleevy pants!

Livvyloo’s Sleevy pants tutorial

vegbee’s sleevypants

And the ultimate: Make your own fitted diapers using men’s flannel shirts! Sew a diaper stash for $30 or less!

If you’ve made anything using upcycled, reconstructed men’s dress shirts, post a link in the comments please with a link to your item.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dottie permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:34 am

    neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. in size 12 mos. and 3T as it will only be wearable in 6 mos when its warm.

    mostly kidding.

    • January 12, 2010 3:03 pm

      Helloooo baby turtlenecks and tights for winter! Dottie, bring some of Jeremy’s shirts over and we’ll sew.

  2. January 12, 2010 10:35 am

    Lucy! Thanks for the loving. I am a total slacker on getting pictures up but I will see if I have a picture of The Jillian wearing that dress. It’s so cute, I’ll be sad when she grows out of it.

  3. bennett permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:42 am


  4. January 12, 2010 10:46 am

    That’s some upcycling girl!

  5. January 12, 2010 11:53 am

    Super Cute! Waste not want not!

  6. January 18, 2010 11:16 pm

    great idea! Thanks for these!

  7. Jackon permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:34 am

    Any help and advice for myself as Im thinking about doing a blog like this?

    • May 1, 2010 10:58 pm

      Honestly, just doing it. Just start something small and don’t let it stress you out. I keep a folder of pictures on my desktop so I can post something when the mood strikes. Go for it!!

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