Thanks so much to Portia for organizing another amazing round of the Refashioners, I’m so, so tickled to take part again! This challenge is great to push you outside of your comfort zone and really think about clothing and construction in different ways. Since this challenge was all about shirts, you can truly say you have to “think outside the box”… and what I started with was indeed a pretty boxy shirt!
My item started life as a men’s Hawaiian shirt, sent to me by the lovely Marie from A Stitching Odyssey. I am a huuuge sucker for Hawaiian themes. Hilariously, my first thought was the exact same as Oonaballoona’s and her Hawaiian refashion shirt . This shirt would look great on my stepdad, a stylish fellow with good taste in boisterous shirts. And likewise unbeknownst to one another, my refashion thoughts ended up going down a similar path to hers.
I turned mine into a vintage cropped top! My general plan was to use the shirt as constructed in the front, with the original button placket down the front as the button placket down the front of my cropped top. The main concerns were working around the armholes, the patch pocket (I knew it would be less faded underneath), and the button placement on the center front placket.
I used the bodice pieces of a vintage dress I’d sewn before, McCall 6116 from 1945, and instead of adding on a skirt, simply finished the bottom edge with bias tape. I actually did this once before last summer so I knew my idea was sound. Then since I was using the original button placket at center front, I finished the neckline with bias tape, too. Easy concept, right? But placing the front pattern pieces was HARD!
That probably took the longest of anything, plotting that out. Kimono sleeves on my pattern made the original shirt’s armholes fall beyond the shoulder seam line into the body of the shoulder a bit. I could have switched them to sleeveless, but I really like the kimono sleeves for extra coverage when I’m bearing a bit of skin elsewhere. The cropped top length made trying to place 3 of the original buttons in a pleasing and useful way difficult. And the less faded fabric under the patch pocket (once I ripped that off) was going to show up on a shoulder no matter what I did.
Of course, I couldn’t turn it all upside down and try that on for size either, as the palm trees were directional! In the end, I sloped the shoulder line down towards the armhole to place the original armhole seam within the seam allowance, figuring with kimono sleeves, you’d never know the difference. I placed one of the buttons at about the fullest part of my bust, making sure that the top most button fell beyond where I planned to topstitch the bias tape binding, but close enough to the top to be useful and not look too low.
I used Emmie’s gaping button band trick to add a secret inside button between the bottom two buttons, so that the top didn’t gape open under my bust, which worked perfectly. (Seriously genius idea.) I even kept the nice wood buttons.
Actually the last button was broken, but the beauty of this refashion was I had plenty others to swap it with with the cropped top was so short compared to the original shirt. And last but not least… that patch pocket area, right?
Yeah. It’s totally just hanging out up on my shoulder left, as a shadowy remnant of the original shirt. There was just no way at all to work around that. So I’m calling it “living history”. It’s a “thing”, okay! It’s not a mistake, it’s a purposeful thing. ;) I was going to take the original patch pocket and make it smaller and place it back on the shirt, but decided it was just too busy for that. So, the sole reminder of the patch pocket lives on with my incarnation up on my shoulder. To use up the last little bits of fabric that I could, I just threw together a matching headband.
There’s an offcenter seam somewhere towards the back so that I could piece the remaining shirt fabric together, but it’s a headband, so who cares? I lined it with some turquoise cotton so that you get a peek of that when it’s tied at the top, or I can reverse it for the opposite look.
Thanks again to Portia for organizing such an ambitious round of the Refashioners, and getting us to all think outside the box… but inside the “shirt” box. As her hashtag says, get shirty!
Ah! I love this so much Tasha! It’s very “you” and Marie did a GREAT job choosing that Hawaiian number! Tasha makes good points about the things that need to be considered when cutting pattern pieces on existing garments. That armhole curve can be really limiting….even on an XL shirt there’s rarely enough for a pattern piece with a grown on sleeve like this. Often the answer is to flip the shirt upside down and cut it from where the shirt is wider. However in this case….the directional pattern scuppered that idea! It’s these very obstacles in refashioning though that get your brain working in a kind of “right! I AM going to work this out” kind of way! And when you do overcome those obstacles and finally nail it like Tasha has here….it’s very satisfying indeed! And I like the little pocket shadow Tasha. Let it serve as a reminder of your ingenuity 🙂
You can find Tasha here and here. Tasha has also very generously a selection of goodies from her private stash to the prize package!! Take a look at ALL the amazing prizes to be won as part of The Refashioners 2015 Community Challenge. So get involved for a chance to win!!! Grab a shirt and get refashioning! You have until Sunday 27th Sept to enter! Stay tuned for more inspiration throughout the WHOLE of August!