This is something I've had on my mind for a while now since I've got a growing collection of cast off, button-up shirts crowding my craft closet. This project totally appeals to my craft pack rat sensibilities. ("I could do something with this" is a phrase often heard in our household.)
Before I tell you how I did it, I have to give props to My Mama Made It for all of her cute shirt reconstructions and this blouse by Angry Chicken. Both served as the kick in the pants I needed to finally take on this little project. So, here's goes. Forgive the lack of technical terms.
The starting point, one of Rich's dress shirts (thanks, hon!):
First, I flipped it over, back facing up, and cut off the sleeves and collar.
Next, I tried the shirt on and decided where best it would fit across the chest and under my arms. On me, that required raising it up about 3 inches. I had to cut new shoulders and neck openings, fortunately under the back yoke, which I removed completely. I made the neckline lower in the front than the back by about 2 inches. (For the back neck line, I ended up cutting about 1.5 inches above a button. I'll show you in a sec how I finished that off.) I also drafted new side seams to fit my form a little better (but not too much - it's still a fairly loose fit). Here it is, right sides facing and basted:
I tried it on again to check the fit before sewing the seams. To finish the arm and neck holes, I applied a water soluble hem tape to the wrong side edges and turned them under twice, topstitching 1/4 inch from the edge.
In the back I added a new button hole and a covered button in one of my favorite fabrics. I don't love how this part turned out, but it's rarely seen, so I'm not stressing. Ignore the sloppy stitching.
On to the embellishment! From the leftover sleeve material, I cut three strips, approximately 3 inches deep by 20, 18, and 16 inches wide, respectively, then serged the edges...
and used my ruffler to pleat the pieces.
Finally, I eyeballed their placement on the front of the blouse (formerly the back of the shirt), pinned and stitched them down along the ruffle seam line.