Red, White, and Blue Refashioning over Memorial Day weekend

Wow.  Who knew I’d try doing a blog again.    Not me.

I’ve always avoided writing like the plague as I’d rather do some sort of non-language communication such as programming, music, or arts.     So why the blog?   I’d like to share my adventures into sewing and reconstruction.  Something I’ve wanted to do for some time but felt discouraged for many reasons, but I also wanted to practice my writing.

Anyhoo.    My first, well, third upcycle/reconstruction/recycle project was this past Memorial Day weekend.   It was lots of fun.  Well, to be honest, some moments were frustrating, but isn’t working through the tough parts make the end result worth it?

In the beginning, there was a large button down shirt that I picked up from my most favorite thrift shop down the street, such lovely red, white and blue plaid, but a bit big and manly.


Big and manly

First step, ripping out the seams.  The sleeves didn’t take that long to undo, but they were strong flat felled seams.  What surprised me (yet not) is the fact that the seams had some sloppy parts to them.  Not sure about you but I always thought retail sewing was perfect and only *I* had misaligned seams.

After removing the sleeves, the side seams were next.   I started going down the seams when I realized I was going to bring them in so cutting them open would be fine.   So snip, snip, snip, I had the shirt ready for refashioning…   wait, what about the shoulders and collar?   Well, I was happy with them and made my life easier.  No need to do more work if it works.

Now that it’s ready to become my next awesome top, I first started with reshaping the sleeves.    They were huge and long.   So I took a pattern’s cap and recut the sleeve to have a smaller opening and shorter in length.

Then I took the sample pattern’s front and back that had the matching sleeve hole and laid it over the body.    In the back of my mind, I knew going overboard and trimming the body to the same shape as this pattern’s outside might make the shirt a bit small.   Well, once I sewed the sleeves and the sides back together and tried it on, my intuition was correct.  The top few buttons did become a bit tight, but that’s easily fixed with a cute top under.  Who buttons to the top anyways. 🙂

Now that I had reshaped the shirt, I tried it on and it as a bit bunchy in the back.   I looked into darts or pleats or something to help it out, but the little voice came back and said, “It’s a bit long too”.    So I took the effort to shorten the length first.

Guess what happened?   The bunchiness wasn’t so bunchy anymore.  Woot!!

So now I have a cute top, but could it be cuter?   Yes it can!

I have tons of vintage lace scraps from that favorite thrift store.   One day, I got a boat load that the ladies in the back was stashing away.   That load was an awesome score! So on goes some lace.

The shirt reminded me of some lovely country or mountain or mori girl style.   So I swooped the lace over the shoulders.

Front Side

Front Side

I also draped it across the upper back.    Definitely getting more girly.  But this was not enough.  I needed MOOOOORE.

Back Side

Back Side

Then I recalled some pretty reverse applique.   So beautiful and intricate, they provide just a bit more love for any garment.  On goes some thread with some white fabric and wala!  Cuter top with a pair of daisy like flowers.

So pretty!

So pretty!

All in all, I got a cuter top from this big, frumpy, manly button down shirt.    Definitely gave me the momentum to do some more refashioning.

Before and After

Before and After