December 5, 2008

Step by Step; Men’s polo shirt to woman’s cute shirt with yoke

Filed under: Tutorials — laupre @ 5:05 pm

I just posted some photos of my first serger recon, the argyle one, and I got a lot of great comments and a few questions about construction.  I decided to whip up another shirt in the same style and I took photos along the way to share.  Click more below for a lot of photos and a little description to see how I made this shirt, step by step!



1 Large Men’s Polo shirt

some knit fabric for the yoke, ruffle, and cuffs


basic sewing supplies

Step by Step:


Cut your large polo shirt to the basic shape you’ll want.  If you don’t know the basic shape to make your shirt (especially the armholes), then you can use a shirt that you like as a pattern.  I’ve used one for these photos so you can see what I mean.


You may be tempted to try and get away with resizing the armhole without detaching the sleeves (I know I hate setting in sleeves!), but trust me, it usually doesn’t work well.  You’ll be recutting the sleeve, the armhole, and the length of the seam at the shoulder to get the right fit.  It will be worth it!  You can see in this photo how I’ve folded back the original shirt and cut close to the original shape.  When you lay your pattern shirt out on the shirt to cut, make sure that the shoulder seams are below the original shoulder seams of the cut shirt.  Finally, cut off the original neckline.


With the shirt cut, you will have two “body” pieces.  The piece that was the front should look something like this once the buttons and collar are cut off.  Use a marking tool and draw the basic shape shown here.


Fold the front body pice in half and cut along your marked line.  The piece you cut off will be the pattern for your yoke.


Lay your yoke pattern out on the fabric you’d like to use and cut around it, leaving a seam allowance around the edges.  Fold the yoke in half and cut in a light scoop along the top edge for your neckline.  Also cut out a stip of this fabric into a rectangle that is 2-3 times longer than the height of your yoke and a couple of inches wide for the ruffle.


I serged the edges on each side on the ruffle, then attached it in a line down the center of the yoke with a straight stitch on my sewing machine.


Match up the edges of the yoke and the edges of the body piece and pin into place. Remember to keep your pins set well away from the edges so that they won’t get into the machine or hit the cutting knife on the serger.


Serge along this edge, then match up the finished front body piece with the back body piece (right sides together) and serge the shoulder seams and side seams together.


Then I serged around the neckline, folded the serged edge under and secured with a straight stitch on the sewing machine.


Now we will resize the sleeves to fit into the new armhole.  Be sure to cut the stitching off of the sleeve from where it was originally attached to the shirt.  Lay the sleeve next to the new armhole and cut to match the basic shape it had before, but smaller.  Cut along the seam (that should be on the bottom side of the sleeve) and taper it down to the correct size and shape.  You may leave the original wrist cuff on the sleeve if you like, but I chose to make a new, long cuff so I cut the original off at this point.  Serge the new bottom seam of the sleeve and turn right side out.


With the body piece turned inside out, and the sleeve piece turned right side out, slide the sleeve into the armhole wrist end first, then line up the armhole and the top of the sleeve.  Match the bottom seams together and pin the sleeve into place.  Then all you have to do is stitch around the armhole.  Do the same for the other side.


Tah Dah! Sleeves!  If you decided to keep the original wrist cuffs from the shirt you are done, but now I’ll show how I made the nice, long cuffs.  I used the same knit fabric I used for the yoke and cut two long rectangles.  Each rectangle should be as wide as the circumference of the end of the sleeve and twice as long as you want the final cuff to be.


Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and serge along the long side of the fabric.  This photo shows one of the cuff, of course you’ll need two.  Begin to turn the cuff right side out, but only go half way.  You’ll want a tube that is open at both ends, has a double thickness of fabric all the way around (with wrong sides and seams together), and the raw edges of the tube lined up at one end.


This is how the raw edged side will look.  The other side is a fold all the way around.    Slip the cuff over the end of the sleeve (it should be right side out at this point) so that the folded side is towards the top of the sleeve and the raw edges of the cuff match up with the raw edge of the sleeve.


Serge all three layers together around the end of the sleeve.  It should look like this.  The sleeve is right side out, and the raw edges of both layers of the cuff are serged to the sleeve end._h105287

When you pull the cuffs down, the seam you just sewed will be hidden away inside the  sleeve.  All that’s left to do is add your buttons!  I sewed four shiny black shank buttons on by hand.


That’s all there is to it.  This is a quick and easy recon that can be done in about an hour.  There are a ton of different variations and additions you could add to this simple project, so have fun with it!



  1. this is sooo coool love it alot. great job.

    Comment by Barbz — January 20, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  2. I Love it. Thank U

    Comment by Barbaa — July 21, 2010 @ 9:32 am

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