Lace Front Blouse from Men’s Dress Shirt {Tutorial}

*Tutorial by Autumn @ It’s Always Autumn for the Refashion Challenge of season 13*

Hi! It’s Autumn here, from It’s Always Autumn, with a tutorial for the lace front blouse I made out of a men’s button down shirt. (Check my blog for the slacks to skirt tutorial.) In the photo above you can see the finished refashion, and below you can see the before:

Just a fairly normal, cream colored men’s dress shirt. It wasn’t huge, just a little roomy on me, so I ended up using just about every scrap of fabric in my refashion. I started by tracing the bodice shape of a blouse that fits me well and cutting out one half of it. Then I folded it over and cut the other half to make sure everything was even.

I decided to put the buttons down the back of the blouse, just for something different, and to cover the front of the blouse with lace from a thrifted lace curtain panel. The lace adds some femininity to the blouse, and keeps it from being too sheer.

I pinned the lace to the front of the shirt so it wouldn’t move around during sewing. The first step in construction was to pin the front and back together at the shoulders and side seams, and then sew along the pins.

At this point I tried on the blouse and was fairly happy with the general fit (if it’s too big, you can take in the side seams now). I put one pin where I wanted the neckline to dip down to, and then I also pinned bust darts to help give the shirt shape and take out any puckers along the arm hole. Then I sewed and pressed the bust darts.

I have a hard time free-hand cutting a nice scooped neckline, so I generally find a plate with the right size curve and trace it on the neckline.

Next I used the yoke of the old shirt to cut out a peter pan collar. For the top curve of the collar I traced the blouse’s neckline curve, then I cut a rounded peter pan shape for the bottom of the collar (collar piece is actually upside-down in the photo below). I cut four collar pieces, two for each side of the blouse.

I also cut a neckline facing out, using the cuffs of the shirt for fabric. (Good facing tutorial here.)

To put the collar together I placed two collar pieces on top of each other and sewed along the bottom and side edges, then turned inside out and pressed. In the photo below the collar on top is sewn together, and the collar on the bottom is sewn together and turned inside out and pressed.

To attach the collar to the shirt I followed these steps (pictured below): 1. Lay collar on top of blouse. 2. Lay facing on top of collar and pin. 3. Sew along pins, attaching collar and facing to shirt. 4. Flip facing to the inside of the blouse and press down, then topstich to keep facing down flat. 5. Press collar down.

Here’s what the neckline looks like finished:

Next it was time for the sleeves. I wanted a full, romantic looking sleeve so I kept the full width of the original sleeve, cutting a gentle S-curve at the top and cutting it to elbow length at the bottom.

I used a basting stitch (long stitch length, low tension) at the top and bottom of the sleeve, then pulled the bottom thread to gather.

With the blouse inside out and the sleeve right side out, place the sleeve inside the blouse and match up the top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam and the bottom of the sleeve with the side seam. Adjust gathers as needed and pin the sleeve into the arm hole, then sew.

At the bottom of the sleeve I made a simple cuff out of a long narrow rectangle of fabric sewn into a circle, then turned in half and pressed. Match up raw edges of cuff with raw edges of sleeve and sew.

Once the sleeves were attached, I pressed the gathers down at the top of each sleeve so they wouldn’t pouf up at the shoulder.

Because the bottom of the blouse was already hemmed (I used the original hem), once the sleeves were in the blouse was done!

Here’s the full outfit (remember to check my blog for the slacks to skirt tutorial!):

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