Craftsicles: Monstrous Madras Shirt Refashion

While I’m horrified that it’s been since September (being a senior in college is hard work!), I’m so pleased that I finally found the time to do a new refashion! You all really liked my big, blue, and buttoned dress refashion from Labor Day weekend, so I hope you’ll like my monstrous madras shirt refashion equally as much. If I do say so myself, it’s a good one!

#TotesAdorbz. Fun fact: After ample research, I discovered that this print is not technically plaid nor gingham, but instead it’s called “madras.” You and I both learned something today!

I found this size “B8” beauty at Value Village for $4, which pains me because it was one of the cheapest articles of clothing I could find. My last refashion I got for mere cents in South Carolina while on vacation! Curse you, financially-inflated tri-state area. Anyway, as you can see, this little number needed some major work done.


My initial thought was that I would do another buttoned dress refashion. However, once I got home, I realized that the length was not what I thought it was. If I transformed it into a dress and wore it out and about, one wrong move and things would get a little… cheeky (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Also, the loud madras pattern would most likely overwhelm the dress.

Suddenly, I thought of something even better and more fashion-forward: a CROP TOP!

Can you say “polka dot crop top” five times fast? Image courtesy of

I always try to buy ones like the example above, but it has become increasingly apparent that clothing companies rarely make size “Kelsey.” What better way to solve that problem than to refashion one with personalized measurements? Without any sewing patterns nor proper experience, I knew opting for a fitted crop top was biting off way more than I could chew. But unlike last refashion, I had a new weapon on my side: 


My prayers for my very own sewing machine were answered by my boyfriend’s incredibly generous parents. Things will be so much easier and faster now! After my mom took time out of her busy schedule to show me how it works (warning: sewing machine manuals leave way too much to the imagination), I was ready to rock and roll.

In order to have something workable, I needed to get rid of that bulk. The enormous sleeves were first to go.

Get outta here, parachute arms.

As I was snipping away, I had a genius idea. The ends of the sleeves were hemmed strongly and thickly–perfect for the straps I would need in order to finish my desired crop top look! I carefully snipped what I needed from the sleeve scraps and set it aside for later.

Thank you for my straps, sleeves!
Perfect width! We’ll cut those loops open later.

Next, to continue streamlining my material, I chopped a foot off the bottom of the shirt.

Poof! I made half of the shirt disappear.

It was time to get rid of some fabric on the top as well… but this was trickier. How would I make a bustier-like neckline for my crop top? Free-handing it would lead to an asymmetrical mess and a ruined project. After perusing my room for differently sized rounded objects to trace, I woke up. I could trace one of my bras! Duh!

Tip: trace way more modestly than you think you need to!

After a long while of guessing and checking and pinning and chalking, I just about finished my basic form by taking in 10 inches off each side.

It didn't help that my chalk line blended completely into the!
It didn’t help that my chalk line blended completely into the madras.
My ginormous scrap pile! Don’t worry, nothing is wasted. Bits and pieces are bound to show up in future projects.

Before heading to the sewing machine, I put on my sheared garment to check sizing… and of course there was an issue that’s solution wasn’t in my repertoire. The bustier-like neckline was full-on gaping up top. I knew that my saving grace would be bust darts, but I just didn’t know how. Eager to use my new sewing machine, I decided that I would quickly improvise instead of searching YouTube for instructions. WARNING: I do not recommend this.

There are no pictures of me going through the bust dart process. This is because the attempt, while ultimately successful, was pitiful. They do the job, but I won’t show you any close-ups because I don’t want you to make fun of me

Anyway, after that episode, it was time to use my new machinery skills! All my pinned chalk lines were now securely stitched closed, and all edges were hemmed.


The buttons were spaced very widely on this shirt, so in order to not expose myself to the world, I added two more closures. Luckily for me, there were exactly two sacrificed buttons from the bottom half of the original shirt. I stitched them down between the existing buttons, as well as created two new corresponding button holes.

More buttons, more fun!

I was almost done! The final step was, of course, to implement those salvaged sleeve hems/crop top straps. I marked where to add them by pinning where my bra straps intersected with the shirt, on both the front and back. This way, no strapless bra will be needed because everything is precisely hidden away.

Pinned and sewed!

YES! My first refashion with a sewing machine was finally complete!

Finally, my very own fitted crop top!

Look how cute it turned out!

YAY, I did it!

The warm-weather look is complete with my swingy blue skirt, which I thrifted from the same store a year ago.

If only it were warm out, I could wear this outside my living room!

I know what you’re thinking: Well, great. You made a crop top, but you can only wear it with one skirt. …Or maybe that’s what I was thinking while rummaging around for other possible outfits in my room. But, never fear! I can also wear it with jeans. This look is especially cute when you play with length, using a long cardigan to contrast the shortness of the crop top.

Nice and snuggly, and surprisingly very comfortable!

So there you have it! My second major refashion. I thought it was pretty successful, and I hope you thought so too! Tell me what you think in the comments; I love hearing feedback, whether positive or negative.

Before and After. What a difference!

I hope you all have been well! My apologies again for my absence. I also plan to add to the “How to be Happy” series soon. This is The Cheerful Times after all!

Stay warm,

4 thoughts on “Craftsicles: Monstrous Madras Shirt Refashion

    1. That’s a good idea! I do have a ton of extra fabric from this refashion, so that could totally work (and be very adorable). If I end up doing so down the line, you’ll see it in a new post!


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