Oversized Button Up Refashion (Tutorial)

A few weeks ago I joined the cool kids and went thrift shopping. Kayla and I went together, and after wandering around Goodwill with three babies (between the two of us) in tow, I left the store with this beauty:

 After a few well-place seams, it became a gorgeous new blouse that I used for my Valentine’s Day outfit:

And if you happen upon a ginormous grandma shirt on your thrifting trips, you can make a cute blouse too.

Here’s what I did:

Step 1. Put on the shirt backward and, with a pin, mark the length you want the sleeve, minus the wrist cuff. Take off the shirt and fold the sleeve up (as shown below), matching the top of the cuff with your pinned mark.

Sew over the cuff seam, as seen below.

Step 2. Trim off the extra sleeve fabric and zigzag stitch or serge the raw edge. Repeat with the other sleeve.

Step 3. Try the shirt on again, backward, and measure how wide and low you want the neckline. My cut was about 8″ across and 2″ down. Take off the shirt and cut out the collar, down to your marks.

Step 4. Turn the shirt inside out, double fold down the neckline (about 1 cm per fold), and pin. Sew around the neckline, on the folded edge, with a straight stitch.

Step 5. (optional) Turn the shirt inside out, and starting at the sleeve cuffs, sew down to the hemline, slimming the shirt and sleeves. Cut off the extra fabric and zigzag or serge the raw edge.

And, done! Scroll down to see how I styled it, and the before and after.

Any questions??

pencil skirt: target (recent, but can’t find online), tights: can’t remember, black heels: target (shop), Valentine’s banner: made by Peanut and me


  1. Thrift shopping is so much funnn! I wish I had your skills and could do this! That outfit it adorable!!!

  2. Katie says:

    beautiful! you are so talented! I love how this turned out!

  3. Janssen says:

    That's darling! I think thrift store shopping takes a lot of imagination to see what something smelly and ugly can become. (Needless to say, I am not a good thrift store shopper).

  4. Kayla says:

    I LOVE it! You made it look so cute. We must go thrifting more often… Dragging three babies with us. Or, even better, get our husbands to take them while we shop! πŸ™‚

  5. Krista says:

    I just recently found your blog…and now its one I must read daily! I love all your outfit ideas, refashions, and photos. You are inspiring me to try some of my own since I love to sew!

    Oh, and thriftstores are addicting! I shop my local goodwill weekly. I love a good bargain. πŸ™‚

  6. preethi says:

    Love the back especially!

    lace, etc.

  7. heidikins says:

    *jaw drop.

    I'm pretty sure I have a small-ish pile (ok, it's towering) of thrifted shirts with prints I loved but haven't refashioned yet. I know what I'm doing this weekend!


  8. Britty says:

    Darn you! You look adorable, and I wish I had thrift stores that had great finds like that! Seriously, i swear the college kids hit the stores long before I get off work… and I'm a good thrifter! LOVE how you did it backwards; I'm definitely going to use this as inspiration!

  9. Ugh!! Posts like this make me sooooo envious and annoyed that I have no clue how to sew! That top is seriously gorgeous! Blue is most certainly your color. You look stunning!

  10. OMG, freaking gorgeous. Such a great print! Your alterations + genius idea of wearing it backwards make it so chic.

  11. Jenni says:

    That is quite an impressive transformation! It's adorable on you now! =) Great work.

  12. Erica says:

    Just one question – will you refashion my thrift finds for me? Because I most definitely cannot do what you just did. That top is BEAUTIFUL.

    North Meets South

  13. Packrat says:

    How you do this without a pattern just amazes me. Very nice.

    Be careful – "thrifting" is addictive. πŸ˜‰

  14. Emma Koller says:

    This is so crazy cute! I just wish I knew how to sew. πŸ™

  15. Loren says:

    This is super cute. The top is pretty much perfect on you. I love the pattern.

  16. Steph says:

    Um I'm pinning this–gotta share the Merrick love. You are so creative!

  17. Insane! This. Is. Beautiful. Man, I am so glad you shared this one! It looks great with that Target skirt! You go girl!

  18. Elisabeth says:

    Merrick you are a wonder worker! Beautiful job on this. πŸ™‚

  19. This is SO great! I love it! It's official, I am buying a sewing machine!

  20. Saskia says:

    Beautiful. The front is simple and gorgeous, the back is a little daring, absolutely beautiful!

  21. Bethany says:

    BRILLIANT. I am in LOVE with that final outfit.

  22. Leanne says:

    Darling! I especially love the back.

  23. Monica says:

    This is absolutely incredible. So inspiring, Merrick!

    And I just read your guest post on ask the duplex. Whitney is my dear, dear friend. I wish you could meet her in person!

  24. TiAnna says:

    This is so inspiring to me! I'm a beginner sewer and I think I can do this πŸ™‚ Also, love love the v back.

  25. Meghan says:

    While I am very impressed by the refashioning— I'm even more impressed by thrift store shopping with three kids πŸ™‚

  26. Madeline says:

    This is incredible! I love the fabric pattern. And the shape.

    I am totally inspired.

  27. Shawna says:

    Amazing remix, this took vision and style and you have both!


  28. I just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE your sewing tutorials! Majorly inspired to pick up sewing again!

  29. Shea D. says:

    Do you have any tips on re-sewing the neckline? I'm a beginner, and have tried a couple times to re-cut and hem a neckline but it seems INCREDIBLY difficult to get it to lay flat. Ugh.

  30. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this!

  31. This is fantastic!I'm heading the thrift store in search of a ginormous shirt this afternoon! Thanks for this!

  32. Bike Pretty says:

    Use an iron to (carefully) press the folded edge and get it to hold the crease and lie flat.
    First give it a spritz or two of water.
    Fold the edge.
    Iron, working your way around the neckline.
    Optional: Fold the edge again, and press into place.
    Add pins (although you might not need them if the fabric holds a crease) and sew.

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