How to Make a Button-Up Shirt Into a Vest

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Convert a men's shirt into a vest to wear with tights and a belt.
Convert a men's shirt into a vest to wear with tights and a belt. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Repurposing existing clothes you don’t wear any more is a simple way to get the most mileage out of your wardrobe. You can use a basic button-down shirt as a jump-off point for several different new pieces of clothing. With a few easy alterations, you can quickly turn the shirt into a dapper new vest. For best results, use a button-down shirt that is made from medium-weight fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Shirt
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Chalk pencil
  • Ruler
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine

Wash and dry the shirt according to the instructions on the label. Iron the shirt to remove any wrinkles. Lay the shirt on a flat, hard surface and smooth with your hands.

Measure 4 inches from the right top edge of the collar and mark this point on the shirt with a chalk pencil. Repeat on the left edge. Use your ruler to make a diagonal line from the lowest point of each shoulder seam, where the armpit area of the shirt is, to the marks you made with the chalk pencil. Cut on this diagonal line to remove the excess shoulder and arm pieces.

Make a mark 1-inch above the third button on the shirt. Use your ruler to draw a diagonal line from this mark up to the pointed edge of the collar on the right side. Repeat on the left side. Cut the shirt on the line, starting on the right side. Cut up the line to the pointed edge and continue cutting around the collar area, where the edge of the collar meets the fabric. Continue cutting to the left pointed edge of the collar and then down the line you drew on the left side of the shirt. Completely remove the area you cut.

Cut off the bottom section of the shirt so it is straight across at the bottom.

Turn the shirt inside out. Fold over the raw edges of the arm sections, collar section and bottom hem section. Fold each edge up 1/4-inch toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press into place with an iron. Fold up another 1/4-inch toward the wrong side of the fabric and iron. Pin all folded edges into place.

Sew all the folded edges of the arms, collar and hem with a straight seam and a 1/8-inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and ending of all of your seams. Trim any excess threads. Turn right-side out and iron to remove any wrinkles.

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References

  • Rip It!: How to Deconstruct and Reconstruct the Clothes of Your Dreams; Elissa Meyrich; 2006
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