button-down refashions

I avoided button-down shirts as a whole for awhile because the top buttons always seemed about to bust open. If I found a shirt and the top fit, it was too baggy overall. Recently I’ve found shirts to be more accommodating, made with stretchier fabric or knit panels at the sides. I’ve also figured out how to alter shirts so they fit throughout.

Here are a few of the shirts I’ve altered recently. All of these shirts are thrift store finds.

This first one was great except for one thing.

Seriously. It had pieces to button up the bottom on the sides of the shirt, but since it was so wide it didn’t help much. I chopped a big chunk out of there, still leaving room for some hips, and ended up with this. I mentioned the part about hips because if you don’t take them into account and only consider the waist measurements you’ll end up with too slim of a fit and the front will gape at the bottom. I’ve done/almost done this a few times now.

But this one turned out fine. It’s much better, and I like the color with my new wine/oxblood/burgundy skinnies.

This second one had a standard neckline that buttoned all the way up. I modified it by turning down the top corners at angle and topstitching to give it a more open neckline. I also replaced the large, ugly tan buttons with shiny white ones. I’m still debating how I feel about the multi-colored polka dots, but I’ll hold onto the idea of this neckline.

This one didn’t work out. I’m posting it here because sometimes button placement and the style of the shirt just don’t work without some serious refashioning (that I didn’t feel like taking on). I took the sleeves and the body in, but just wasn’t feeling it. I’ll donate this shirt back but you could also turn a failed shirt refashion into a bag or a tank.

I did like the fabric, so I think I’m going to buy some black gingham and start from scratch with New Look 6010.

This last one is the main event. I was drawn to the on-trend polka-dots but they weren’t looking very trendy when I first found this shirt. A few changes and this shirt is retro chic instead of sadly outdated. (Btw, the brand name on this shirt is “Poochie Sport” because you can’t make this stuff up.)

This shirt required a number of changes to go from boxy to flattering. I took in the sides with a curve to give it shape; took in and shortened the sleeves and reattached the cuffs after narrowing them; replaced the white buttons with black ones from my stash, and added an extra button and hole to the bottom.

I also sewed some snaps between the buttons at the top to keep the placket from gaping when I’m wearing it. I do that on a lot of my button-down shirts.

buttons close up

new cuff close up

And here’s a shot of me wearing the before and after. I don’t purposely make the before pictures look awful; they just tend to turn out that way because I care more about the finished shots. You can see the lack of a buttonhole more clearly in the before shot. I don’t know why the buttons just ended midway down the shirt.

I’m really happy with how the finished product turned out. I bought new skinny jeans and a denim button-down from Target and a lacy cream and black polka dot tank from Old Navy last week. With this polka dot button-down (especially paired with my burgundy skinnies which look black in this photo) my fall wardrobe is coming together!

Linking up at Recycled Fashion.


3 thoughts on “button-down refashions

  1. Wow isn’t it amazing that making the tinest change like switching up the buttons can make an old blouse look brand new and stylish. Great alterations!! This makes me wanna go to my thrift store and buy out all the button down shirts!

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