Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Frumpy shirt makeover--super easy tutorial!

Take a look at this super easy tutorial for refashioning a storebought garment.  You can totally do this!
I bought this cute print top at Old Navy last week--darling yellow and grey print, but awful shaping.  Look at the dumpy sleeves and baggy shape.  It was on clearance and all the clearance stuff was 50% off, so it was like $6.
The flutter sleeves made my arms feel fat.  And there's no shape in the bodice!  Hello, waist?  But I love the fabric and the collar/yoke detail.  So here's a tutorial and some simple tips to alter storebought tops.  With all the nice finishing they do, it can be hard to make changes to garments without making them look off.  I've seen some pretty bad home alteration jobs on things at Goodwill, but those mistakes are avoidable!  Check out my pictures and tutorial:
  • I'm going to get rid of the sleeves on this top and finish the edges.  Leaving enough fabric to be turned over with a clean edge (I did about 3/4 of an inch), just cut the sleeve off to the yoke.
  • Trim the 3/4" back toward the sleeve/bodice seam, at the yoke.
    • Cut exactly at the seam of the yoke.  Yes, there will be a raw edge, but it will be exactly on the seam that used to attach the sleeve to the yoke (and it will be covered by the 1/4" bias binding on the yoke).
    Here's what the inside will look like:
    • Press the seam allowance flat at the same edge as the armpit. (This top had partial sleeves, so the underarm of the armhole was already finished.  I'm not going to change it).
    • Turn under 1/4", to match the binding on the armpit of the sleeve.
    • Sew with a scant 1/4" seam allowance, attaching the folded part.
    • ***If you don't have a sewing machine, no problem!!  You can do this by hand with a hidden whip stitch.
    So simple!
    Of course, this is specific to this type of raglan sleeve, yoked top, but the lessons to learn from these techniques can be applied to almost any storebought, finished item--sometimes it's okay to leave a (hidden) raw edge, and try to leave existing style elements (like the underarm seam) and work around them.
    Anyway, here it is.  I thought about adding elastic to the waist to cinch it in more, but I really think that the 60's retro yoke style is meant to be straight up and down (not loose, with dumpy frumpy sleeves, though).  I may still take in the side seams just at the waist.  Ta-da!
    And it fits with the Week of Yellow and Grey!!


    1. It looks so pretty now! I want one :)

    2. Oh, I love it! It does look soo much cuter! Good job, clever girl!

    3. Your new shirt rocks! Those sleeves really detracted from the overall look; take them away and that gathered yoke detail really pops!

      I blogged your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


    4. monica1/30/2010

      this is so funny, i bought the same shirt! great idea, thanks for sharing. bet it won't look as cute on me as it does on you!

    5. what a transformation! so much more flattering! :)

    6. Great job! It looks fantastic! For shape, maybe belting it? Simple fix for when you want more structure.

    7. If you still feel like it's frumpy, a belt at your natural waist would look great with this shirt (probably a very thin belt).

    8. Anonymous2/17/2010

      nice post. thanks.

    9. I love it, it looks amazing! :)

    10. Anonymous12/12/2010

      I cannot say how surprised I am to see this post ... I have a similar top in black with similar frumpy look and I thought I will alter it in the same way as U did ....
      Thanks a lot,
      N by the way your tutorials are awesome,





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