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Make a 2-in-1 “Preppy-Style” Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up)

Remember how it was only like 2 weeks ago that I announced here that we had our 4th little baby and time stopped so I could snuggle on that wee boy day after day? Ohhh, those were some precious days…..but it hasn’t only been 2 weeks, and that wee child isn’t so wee anymore. Oliver is a huge 19 month old now and is as full of fire as they come!  Ahhhh, the sass of the youngest child is a real thing, my friends….but wow, we can’t get enough of him and constantly laugh as he figures out his own little personality each day.

And while Oliver’s been growing, his clothes have been shrinking (at least it seems that way).  And that’s always been a pet peeve of mine, because dang it, STAY LITTLE! ;)  No, but really, I am constantly wondering how he grew out of something already when he barely wore it. So, I was thinking of ways to get more use out of some really cute button-up shirts that he wears on Sundays to church…..and decided to cut one up, add it to a boring ol’ onesie, and create a little 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt that he can wear with a rugged pair of jeans or a nicer pair of pants to church!

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


And yes, you can definitely get the same look by placing a button-up under a shirt of any kind…..but if the button-up is too small and you hate to give it away just yet, you might as well save some cash and extend its life a bit!

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


Those flipped up cuffs are so cute……and you would never know that they came from a shirt that’s too small!

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


The collar folds down all the way around….making it looks as though there is really a full shirt under there.  But really, it’s only part of an older shirt that’s sewn right to the neckline of the onesie.

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


Ha…..this kid is just too cool for school! ;)

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


And since there’s only a collar attached to the neckline and then cuffs added only to the end of the sleeves…..this shirt is mostly just a regular onesie — comfy and stretchy and perfect for babies!  (Would also work great added to a Long-Sleeved Tshirt for older boys.)

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


Just watch out though…..the shirt may age your child by years, and you’ll have sudden glimpses of them strutting their little stuff out the front door, onto their way to college and beyond!

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


But go on Oliver, grow if you must….I’ll just keep extending the life of your clothing the best I know how! :)

Oh man, I love this little guy.

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


Ready to whip one up too??



  • Long Sleeved Onesie (in the child’s current size)
  • Button-Up Shirt with Collar (in current size or 1-2 smaller)
  • Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas)

***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.


Okay, let’s get cutting!  Grab your button up and cut out the collar section of the shirt, making sure to leave enough fabric to be tucked inside of the the onesie.  It’s a good idea to cut as wide as you can up until the sleeves are attached and then cut down along the front of the shirt so that there’s at least one button that will still be used to keep the front of the shirt closed and also enough shirt so that it can stay tucked into the onesie once it’s being worn.  (The button that you keep should be one down from the tippy top button, which probably won’t be able to close anyway if this shirt is too small for your subject.)

preppy shirt 1


Then, zig-zag along the raw edges of the shirt.

preppy shirt 2


You will want to test the opening of the shirt to see if it will fit over your subject’s head if you sew this closed.  I ended up having to pick this out and just leave the shirt open, so that it would fit over Oliver’s head.  But that’s okay, because that’s what the button is for, to help keep the shirt closed.

preppy shirt 3


Now, slide the collar down inside the onesie and adjust it so that it’s centered and laying flat.

preppy shirt 4


Now, turn the shirt over and pin the collar to the onesie along the back.  (The neckline of a onesie sits lower on the neck than a collared shirt, so you can let more of the collared shirt rise above the neckline of the onesie.)

preppy shirt 5


Now, sew in place along the BACK OF THE ONESIE ONLY, stitching right along the existing stitches of the onesie neckline.

preppy shirt 6


Sew right up until the back neckline of the onesie crosses over the front neckline…..but don’t stitch through it.  You still want the onesie neckline to stretch open to fit the head through.

preppy shirt 7


Now, use your fingers and manipulate the collar fabric and onesie fabric so that it’s laying nice and flat along the shoulders.  Then, add a few stitches right along the shoulder seam of the onesie, to tack all of the layers of fabric together, to help the collar stay in place.  (And I know you can’t see my stitches…and that’s the point.  I sewed them really close to that seam and just sewed forward a few stitches, then back, and then repeated a few times.)

preppy shirt 8


Now, onto the sleeves.

Cut the sleeves from the shirt, right above the nicely finished opening, giving you some extra fabric to tuck into the sleeve.

preppy shirt 9


Zig-zag along the unfinished edge.

preppy shirt 10


Now, if you look at a button-up shirt, the opening of the sleeve is centered on the back side of the sleeve……not with the seam along the bottom edge of the sleeve.  So, fold your sleeve cuff so that the opening is along the back side and slide it into your sleeve that’s laying flat in front of you.  Pin in place.

preppy shirt 11


But be sure that you stretch the cuff of the onesie sleeve to the same size of the cuff of the collared shirt and pin as you stretch.  (You don’t want the cuff buttoned….you want it completely open because it will always be folded up and never buttoned closed.)

preppy shirt 12


This may seem a little tricky to sew the cuff in place….but the easiest way to do it is turn the sleeve inside out (carefully….since all the pins are in place) and then slide the cuff under the needle of your machine.  Then, slowly attach the cuff to the onesie sleeve, sewing a few stitched, lifting the presser foot, adjusting again, and repeating until you’ve sewn all the way around.

preppy shirt 14


Once you’re done, you’ll have a seam all the way around the sleeve opening.

preppy shirt 13


Now, you can fold down the collar and fold up the sleeve cuff…..and you’re done!

Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It



Make a 2-in-1 Preppy Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) | via Make It and Love It


Thanks for checking out my Make a 2-in-1 “Preppy-Style” Shirt (from a onesie & outgrown button-up) post. Check out my full collection of DIY Sewing articles. Find even more sewing projects, patterns, and tips for beginners and advanced sewists by Liz Call, Mariah Leeson, Randi Dukes and Tauni Everett.
Ashley Johnston

Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!


  1. Shubha says:

    Good idea Ashley and very neat tutorial. I tried this for my son …he really liked it…chk my refashioning here

    Shared your link…

  2. Jessica Harris says:

    Just want to say thank you for this tutorial! I made my little guy the cutest birthday shirt by following your instructions!!

  3. Sharon B Graham says:

    This is such a cute idea! And if you fold down and stitch a casing along the remaining part of the shirt you didn’t use,and add 1/4inch elastic,you can make a cute peasant shirtdress for a lucky little girl or her Dolly.

  4. Renee says:

    What a fabulous idea, thanks for sharing! Excellent tutorial, as always!

  5. Jenny says:

    I’ve been following you since 2008 and you continue to come up with the best kid clothes ideas. This is so cute!

  6. lindsey says:

    what a sweetie oliver is – why do they never listen when we tell them to stop growing? my son is exactly the same he is 2 next week and boy that 2 years seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye! love the shirt idea i might have to make some for my LO george

  7. Artemisa says:

    Oh how big is your son…

  8. Priscilla from CA says:

    Can’t believe how big he’s gotten!

  9. Caz says:

    How too too cute he is! Also, this is an ingenious idea! All onesies should look like this – you’re very clever and should patent the idea, really! They’ll be selling in stores before you know it.

  10. Sharlyn says:

    Soooooooo cute! Oh, the shirt looks great too ;-)

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