Jenny Brownlees | Contributing Writer | Sunday, 22 November 2015

UPDATE AN OLD SHIRT USING A PILLOW CASE (yes you heard that right)

Give Your Boring Old Shirt A DIY Catwalk Makeover

The Debrief: Get shirty and ruffle some feathers…

 If you liked our recent post about fashion peeps covering their hands with super long sleeves or luxe cuffs, this DIY is for you!

Ruffles have been reinvented on the S/S 16 Catwalks, Gucci was all about that frill, whilst Miu Miu’s star piece has been its blue ruffle shirt, as seen on many a chic Fashion Editor.

We wanted to combine the blue-hue of Miu Miu, with the flared statement cuffs seen at Acne and Ellery.

 The great thing about this DIY is you only need white cotton fabric, so you can literally rustle up a new on trend shirt with a pillowcase you have going spare….result!

You’ll need

A shirt, We used this light blue H&M number

½ metre of White ribbon (aprox 1cm thickness)

White cotton fabric (or a fabric colour of your choice) 

Fabric Scissors 

 A sewing needle and corresponding coloured thread

Tape Measure 

An Iron (optional)

How to

1. Lay your shirt out on a flat workspace.

 2. With fabric scissors, remove the bulk of the original cuff of the shirt by cutting in a straight line 1/2 inches below the seam.

3. If this is neat, you can leave as is, if it’s a bit ragged you can fold over 1 cm and sew down to make a neat hem. If you use fabric scissors it should be a clean cut.

4. Measure the width of your cuff with a tape measure; ours was 4 ½ inches, double that to get the width of the whole cuff. (Ours would be 9 inches)

5. If your cotton fabric is light in its thread count, i.e. quite see through, you can simply double up your fabric, as we did.

6. Decide on how long you would like the cuffs to be, pop your shirt on and measure from 1 inch above the hem of the original cuff to the length you want the cuff to finish on your hand. We wanted a quite a long cuff, to make it a real feature of the shirt.

7. We wanted the cuffs to be 5 inches long, but added ½ an inch at the top and bottom for a hem.


8. Take the full width of your cuffs, worked out earlier (ours was 9 inches) and add ½ inch at each edge for a hem. Add double the cuffs full length in width, to allow for the gather of the ruffle. So your length would be 19 inches in total.

9. If you are doubling up your fabric for thickness measure 4 times the width of your full cuff, then add ½ inch seam allowance at each end.

10. Cut out your measurements of height and length with fabric scissors. We cut our fabric to 6 by 19 inches.

11. If doubling up, cut the extra length in width, then fold your fabric in half.

12. Lay out your rectangle of fabric. Measure and fold over half an inch at the top and bottom seam and side seams of your fabric, and flatten down with a hot iron (this makes it easier to sew a hem, if you don’t want to do this, you could use pins or sew freehand.)

13.   Hand sew the bottom and side folds in place with a straight stitch, to make a neat edged hem. Leave the top hem open for now.

14.   Now’s the time to make the gather that will create the ruffle on your cuffs. Double up your thread so you can pull it tightly without snapping it.

15.   Starting from the inside of the top hem, make small and frequent stitches in and out of the fabric.

16.   Holding the end of the thread tightly, pull to gather your fabric together, creating a ruffle.

17.   Lay the side seam in line with the side seam of the shirts cuff, and pull the gather along accordingly, until it is ruffled tightly, but will definitely cover the cuff all the way around.

18.   Once you are happy with the length you need, finish the stitch of the gather on the inside seam, with a few looped stitches at the back, knotting twice.

19.   Your cuff is now ready to be attached to your shirt. Measuring one inch up from the shirts cuff, start with the new cuffs side seam and the shirts side seam, and sew in straight stitches, starting from the inside of the shirt.

20.   Once you have sewed all the way around at the top hem, the two edges should meet, sew these up by overlaying one slightly over the other, and sewing with straight stitches.

21.   Repeat for cuff number two! 

22.   To finish off the join between the original shirt and new fabric, we measured 10 inches of ribbon (one inch extra for the little bit of gather) and starting at the side seam of each cuff, sewed it on with straight stitches, to hide the join. The ribbon won’t lie flat due to the gather of the ruffle, but it gives a nice finishing touch!



You’re done! Pop on your shirt and be in awe of your skills, surely this deserves a selfie?!


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Model: Holly Dawson at Savalas Models






Tags: DIY