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Ruffle Shorts From Men’s Dress Shirt

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Make your own cute ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt to prepare for the warmer days during the summer season. The side ruffle insert and drawstring tassel detail gives a casual look to the comfortable DIY shorts. 

If you have any debate over what to make and need some creative direction, the men’s dress shirt upcycle ideas include step-by-step tutorials for you to explore. Pick and choose based on which design work best with the color and pattern on the fabrication.

You will love this ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt because…

  • No sewing pattern is needed to make the DIY shorts.
  • Learn how to create shorts that fit you perfectly.
  • Practice manually distributing shirring evenly throughout the ruffle.
  • Create thread tassel at the end of both drawstrings.
  • Easy sewing project for beginner level to accomplish.
Ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt before and after

For this project, I used 100% cotton poplin material with navy and white bold pinstripe pattern.

If you have white background stripe shirt to work, don’t be afraid of it being too sheer. The the elastic bunching around the waistline will give enough shirring around the front and back hip area so that you don’t need to add lining inside.

The crisp and rigid surface gives a nice relax structure to the garment. Because the material is non-stretchy fabric, you will instantly notice how easy it is to sew side seams and hemming without experiencing a puckering problem. 

A bold pinstripe pattern button down shirt is easy to work with for this upcycle tutorial. Make sure to layout the lines in a vertical formation for the shorts body, as a result it makes it easier to match the stripes along the side seams.

Follow the detailed instructions and step-by-step video to help guide you through the journey of making cute DIY shorts.

How to make ruffle shorts from shirt?

Ruffle Shorts From Men’s Dress Shirt

Make sure to wash and dry the men’s dress shirt before proceeding to make DIY ruffle shorts. I recommend ironing every corner before deconstructing the shirt so that the seams and cutlines will be flattened for consistent measurements.

Review the measurement that I put together and adjust according to your size. First of all, you want to see if you have enough fabric in the original shirt to be able to make the ruffle short.

In addition, it’s important to take body measurements and convert the sizing in the tutorial. You want to the DIY ruffle shorts to fit you properly.

The upcycle dress shirt project requires a sewing kit with basic tools and a few sewing skills that will be covered along the way. Grab the button down shirt you pick for this shorts conversion and let’s get started!

DIY Ruffle Shorts From Men’s Dress Shirt Materials:

Materials to make ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.
  • Men’s Dress Shirt 
  • White Embroidery Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Chalk
  • Measuring Tape
  • Ruler
  • Loop Turner
  • Straight Pins
  • Scissors

To make ruffle shorts from a men’s dress shirt, detach both sleeves, cut off the collar and remove the pocket square.

Cut both side seams, shoulder seams and across the back yoke.

Remove the buttons and also use a seam ripper to open up the button placket.

Use the front piece of the original dress shirt to make the front piece of the shorts.

Following the measurements to make the front waistline and front crotch.

Include the placement for the ruffle piece so that you can add ruffles to the leg opening.

To make the other side of the front shorts pattern, copy the front piece onto the other front piece of the original dress shirt.

Use the back piece of the original dress shirt to make the back piece of the shorts.

Following the measurements to make the back waistline and back crotch.

Include the placement for the ruffle piece so that you can add ruffles to the leg opening.

To make the other side of the front shorts pattern, copy the back piece onto the back piece of the original dress shirt.

Join the front shorts pieces by sewing the center line with the right sides facing together.

Join the back shorts pieces by sewing the center line with the right sides facing together.

Join the front and back of the shorts by sewing the crotch seam and both side seams with the right side facing together.

Use the original sleeves from the men’s shirt to make four ruffle pieces.

Join two ruffle pieces by sewing the center line with the right sides facing together.

Use a wide stitch width and topstitch along the curved edge of the ruffle pieces.

Pull on the back thread to bunch the fabric and make shirring on both ruffle pieces.

Pin the ruffles to the ruffle placement on the leg opening of the shorts, and then sew the ruffles in position. 

Double fold ¼” and hem the bottom of the ruffles and leg opening.

Topstitch the waistband to the waistline of the shorts and slide a piece of ½” elastic band through the tunnel.

Use the remaining scraps to make the front bow tie straps.

Make the tassel trim embellishments with a string of embroidery floss.
Use a needle to attach each tassel trim to the ends of the front bow tie straps.

Attach the straps to the front center waistband of the shorts to complete the ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt tutorial.

Front view of the ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.

DIY Ruffle Shorts Sewing Tips

Back view of the ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.

Upcycled clothing requires specific assembling steps and different sewing tips to accomplish brand new clothes from old clothes. In order to make process of making a dress shirt into short smooth and easy to accomplish, I’ve put together sewing tips that will help you to avoid any unnecessary mishaps.

Check each sewing tip before you get started making the DIY ruffle shorts:

  • Sewing tips: When sewing shorts, keep a ½” side seam allowance to help you widen or narrowing the hip area while fitting. For the curved waistline, make a ¼” width seam allowance. 
  • Stitches: In this shorts making tutorial, I used regular 3-3.5 length straight stitch and overlock/zigzag stitch for a clean finish along the inside side seam. Always test your stitch tension and stitch length on a scrap to see if the settings work well on the fabric.
  • Thread: The shirt that I’m working with is 100% cotton, so I used 100% cotton all-purpose thread. Double check the shirt content on the care label inside of the shirt. If you have cotton/polyester blend thread, you can also use that for this project. 
  • Elastic:  The easiest way to sew elastic on the waistband of shorts is by making a casing or waistband. Then, slide the elastic through the tunnel. Slide the elastic band around the waist, overlap about ¼” and zigzag stitch to join the waistband. Lastly, close the waistband tunnel for a clean finish.
  • Functional drawstring: If you want the drawstring to be functional, simply attach the side seam of drawstring inside the waistband. Create a small button hole in front center waistband to release the string outside to make adjustments. 
  • Thread tassel: I add a cute thread tassel to the ends of drawstring to give a boho look to the DIY ruffle shorts. Wrap embroidery thread around two fingers about 15 to 20 times. Slide the fingers out and tie the ends of the tassel with additional thread. Tighten and make a knot, then cut the other ends of the loop and evenly trim the ends of the tassels.

More clothes to make from men’s dress shirt sewing project for your next DIY fashion: 

Sideview of the ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.
Yield: 1 ruffle shorts

How To Make Ruffle Shorts From Men’s Dress Shirt

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $2.00

Deconstruct and re-assembling an old button-down shirt into cute DIY ruffle shorts. The entire process is mesmerizing and rewarding when you see the complete a garment that looks totally different than the original. 

Explore your creativity and add a personal touch by incorporating buttons or adjusting the ruffles. Take time while sewing the ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt and enjoy every stitch you make!

Materials

  • Men’s Dress Shirt
  • White Embroidery Thread

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Chalk
  • Measuring Tape
  • Ruler
  • Loop Turner
  • Straight Pins
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. For this ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt tutorial, start by deconstructing the original button down shirt.
    Deconstruct the men's dress shirt by removing the collar, neckband, pocket square and cutting of the sleeves.
    Detach both sleeves, cut off the collar and remove the pocket square.
    Cut the shoulder seam, side seam and back yoke line.
    Then, cut along both shoulder seams, side seams and also across the back yoke.
    Use a seam ripper to remove the buttons and open up the button placket.
    Remove the buttons and open up the button placket.
  2. To make the front piece of the shorts, use the front piece of the original dress shirt.
    Measure 12½” away from the center line and square off the bottom edge by drawing a straight line across.
  3. To make the waistline, measure 11½” up from the bottom edge;
    draw a straight line across.
    Square off the bottom and measure 11½” up from the bottom edge to make the waistline.
  4. To make the front crotch, measure 2¼” away from the bottom edge along the center line.
    Draw a straight line with a slight ½” angle.
    To make the front crotch, measure 2¼” away from the bottom edge along the center line.
    Measure 1½” away from the top of the front crotch;
    Measure 1½” away from the top of the front crotch.
    and then 3” up from the mark.
    and then 3” up from the top of the front crotch.
    Measure 2” away from the center line along the waistline;
    Draw a line connecting the points for the front crotch.
    then draw a line connecting the points for the front crotch.
    Draw a smooth curved line from the crotch to the front center waistline.
  5. To make the front ruffle placement, measure 2¼” away from the bottom edge along the side seam;
    and measure 6½” away from the side seam along the bottom edge.
    To make the front ruffle placement, measure 6½” away from the side seam along the bottom edge.
    Draw a straight line to make the position for the ruffle piece.
    Draw a straight line to position the ruffle piece.
  6. Cut along the lines to make the front piece of the shorts.
    Copy the front piece onto the other front piece of the original dress shirt.
    Copy the front piece onto the other front piece of the original dress shirt. Pin to secure and trace the front piece pattern.
    Pin to secure, and trace the front piece pattern.
    Two front pieces for the DIY shorts
  7. To make the back piece of the shorts, use the back piece of the original dress shirt.
  8. To make the backside waistline, add 1” to the center line.
    To make the back piece of the shorts, add 1” to the center waistline.

    Draw a straight line to the side seam.
    Draw a new backside waistline.
  9. To make the back crotch, add 2½” to the measurements of the front crotch.
    To make the back crotch, add 2½” to the measurements of the front crotch.
  10. Cut along the lines to make the back piece of the shorts.
    Copy the back piece onto the back piece of the original dress shirt.
    Pin to secure, and trace the back piece pattern.
    Copy the back piece onto the back piece of the original dress shirt.
Pin to secure, and trace the back piece pattern.

    Pro tip: I didn’t have enough seamless fabric to make the other back piece, so I had to lineup the stripe pattern and join two pieces together.
  11. To complete the front of the shorts, sew along the center line with the right side facing together to join the front shorts pieces.
    Sew along the center line to join the front of the shorts with the right side facing together.
  12. To complete the back of the shorts, sew along the center line with the right side facing together to join the back shorts pieces.
    Sew along the center line to join the back of the shorts with the right side facing together.
  13. To join the front and back of the shorts, sew along the crotch seam;
    and also both side seams with the right side facing together.
    Sew along the crotch seam 
and both side seams to join the front and back of the shorts with the right side facing together.
  14. To make the ruffle pieces, use the original sleeves from the men’s shirt.
    Measure 14” away from the edge and draw a 6” parallel line across.
    Flip the DIY shorts inside out.
    Measure the center of the line, and cut a straight line perpendicular to the edge.
    Use the original sleeves from the men's dress shirt to make the ruffle pieces.
    Draw a smooth curved line from the end of the line to the corner on the cut edge.
    Cut open the underarm seam. Measure 14” away from the edge and draw a 6” parallel line across.
    Cut along the line make two ruffle pieces from each sleeve.
    Measure the center of the line, and cut a straight line perpendicular to the edge.
Draw a smooth curved line from the end of the line to the corner on the cut edge.
    Copy the ruffle pattern onto the other sleeve of the men’s shirt to make two more ruffle pieces.
    Make two ruffle pieces from each sleeeve.
  15. To finish the ruffles, sew the center line with the right sides facing together to join two ruffle pieces.
    Sew the center line of the ruffles with the right sides facing together.
    Use a wide stitch width and topstitch along the curved edge of the ruffle pieces.
    Use a wide stitch width and topstitch along the curved edge of the ruffle pieces.
    Pull on the back thread to gather the fabric with bunching.
    Pull on the back thread to gather the fabric with bunching.
    Match the length of the ruffles to the ruffle placement on the bottom of the shorts.
    Match the length of the ruffles to the ruffle placement on the bottom of the shorts.
    Pin the center line on the ruffles to the side seam,
    Pin the center line on the ruffles to the side seam.
    then sew the ruffles on the leg opening. 
    Sew the ruffles on the leg opening.
  16. To finish the leg opening, double fold ¼” and hem the bottom of the ruffles and shorts.
    Double fold ¼” and hem the bottom of the ruffles and leg opening.
  17. To make the waistband, use the original yoke piece.
    Separate the layers of the yoke piece with a seam ripper.
    Cut four separate 2” x 10½” straps.
    Use the original yoke piece to make the waistband of the shorts from men's dress shirt.
    Join the straps with the right sides facing together.
    Cut four pieces that are 2" x 10½"
    Fold the waistband strap in half lengthwise,
    and iron to flatten.
    Attach the ends of the waistband straps and fold the long strap in half lengthwise.
  18. To finish the waistband, topstitch the waistband to the waistline of the shorts.
    Attach the waistband to the waistline with topstitch.
    Cut a 30” long piece of ½” elastic band.
    Use a safety pin to slide the elastic band through the waistband tunnel.
    Slide a long piece of ½” elastic band through the tunnel around the waistband.
    Zigzag stitch to join both ends of the elastic band to complete the waistband.
    Zigzag stitch the ends of the elastic waistband to secure the waistline with a snug fit.
  19. To make the front bow tie, use the remaining scraps from the yoke to cut two 1” x 16” straps.
    Use the remaining scraps from the yoke to cut two 1” x 16” straps to make the front bow tie straps.
    Fold the strap in half lengthwise and sew the edge.
    Use a loop turner to flip the strap inside out.
    To make the tassel trim, wrap a string of embroidery floss around your fingers ten times.
    Use embroidery floss to make the tassel trim for the ends of the front tie straps.
    Cut a short piece of string and tie it around one side to secure the tassel.
    Cut the opposite end of the tassel and trim the ends for a clean finish. 
    Wrap the floss around your fingers, tie a knot around one end and then cut the opposite side to complete the tassel.
    Make two tassels for the bow tie straps.
  20. To finish the tie front tassels, use a needle to attach each tassel to the ends of the front bow tie straps.
    Attach the straps to the front center waistband of the shorts.
    Use a needle to attach the tassels to the ends of the front tie straps.
    Tie a cute bow with the straps to complete the ruffle shorts from men’s dress shirt tutorial.
    Attach the tie front straps to the center waistline of the DIY shorts from men's dress shirt.

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How to make ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.
DIY ruffle shorts from men's dress shirt.
How to make ruffles for DIY shorts.
How to make waistband for DIY shorts.
How to make tassel drawstring for DIY shorts.
Upcycle women's blouse from men's shirt
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