A couple of my dad’s old quilted flannel shirts have been sitting around in my “clothes to upcycle” pile for quite a while. Finally this winter I decided it was time for a men’s shirt refashion and turn one of those cozy flannels into a women’s vest.
To make this reversible vest all you need is a quilted flannel shirt, bias tape, matching thread, and some buttons. Here is how I refashioned my flannel and some tips for this men’s shirt refashion.
Men’s Flannel Shirt Upcycle BEFORE
Try on the shirt and decide where it needs to be taken in. For me this flannel shirt needed to be given a flattering fit, shortened, tightened around the bust, shoulders adjusted, some hole repair, and new buttons.
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The first step was to cut off the sleeves inside the seams. (Save those sleeves for another project.)
Before any torso adjustments were made, the shoulders needed to be fixed. This flannel shirt was made for a man and the shoulders were very square so I ripped the seams open.
I was able to overlap the front and back pieces a bit more and sewed them back together.
Wear the shirt buttoned up with right sides out. Begin creating a better fit by pinning the sides. Mark where the bottom of the vest should end. This took me several tries.
Cut off the excess fabric leaving a bit extra (I left about a 1″ seam allowance) just in case. Try on and make any adjustments.
The original men’s shirt had a nice bottom curve on the backside so I cut it to keep that curve.
Flip the flannel shirt inside out. Pin the inside and outside shells separately so your seam allowance is towards the middle. Sew down the sides. Iron seams flat. Leave the bottom of the vest open for now.
Typical cat taking a nap on sewing project pic.
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Additional Refashion Adjustments
The original shirt was a XL men’s shirt so the chest was very broad and I wasn’t content with the way it sat on the bust. I added some “darts” to both the quilted inside and flannel outside between the arm holes and pockets.
I had to do a little hole repair with a patch of extra fabric.
When I decided to remove the collar I realized the potential of the men’s shirt refashion to a reversible vest. Bonus!
Adding pockets to the vest was not part of the original plan but I had so much extra fabric to work with. And who doesn’t love pockets?!
I cut pocket shapes from the scraps.
Two sides of the pockets were already hemmed so I finished off the other two sides with double-fold bias tape.
This was the first time I’ve worked with bias tape. I found this awesome tutorial on what bias tape is, how to make it, and how to use it from Dana Made It. Thanks Dana for helping me understand this amazing finishing technique.
The pockets were made to be on the black, quilted side of the vest and are lined with red flannel.
Pin on the pockets, try on the vest, and test the placement. Adjust as needed. Sew pockets in place.
Finish the vest edges with bias tape around the arm holes and bottom. If needed replace buttons and add buttons to the reverse side.
Men’s Shirt Refashion AFTER
I couldn’t be happier with the way this men’s shirt refashion turned out. I got two vests for the price of…well none. :)
Here’s the backside with the bottom curve.
My favorite part about this project was that it turned out to be reversible.
The black quilted side is my favorite.
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Are you looking for a simple men’s shirt refashion? Find a oversized shirt at a thrift store or raid someone’s closet and try this reversible flannel shirt upcycle.