Refashion a Shirt Adventure
I posted a teaser on this project a few Saturdays ago, and almost forgot to share “the rest of the story”.
Or more of the story, anyway.
Most of my wardrobe is thrifted. While I love to find things that fit perfectly in the perfect color and perfect cut, it’s rare. And for some reason, not quite as exciting to me as discovering diamonds in the rough…clothes that seem irrelevant but have untapped potential (like a dress that could be a skirt, or a blouse that would look great as the bodice of a dress). Or clothes that are way too big. Sometimes, the bigger the better. Bigger means more fabric to play with (think yardage), more wiggle room. Which was the original state of this shirt (“AND YOU! Friendless, Brainless, Helpless, Hopeless. Do you want me to send you back to where you were, unemployed in Greenland?”—Vizzini to Fezzik, The Princess Bride).
It was way too big. And it was very boring. But I loved the length (I’m short; tops skimming just past the top of my hips help me look less boxy), I really really loved the blue/green pinstripes, the fabric was excellent quality (I think the shirt was Eddie Bauer). No pockets in awkward places; I knew I could cut the collar off, deepen the neckline, finish it with a Peter Pan collar, take the sleeves off, take in the sides and add front and back darts for a more flattering fit, and sew the sleeves back in with just enough gather to fit the new, slightly smaller armhole. And that is how this “refashion a shirt” project went. I almost choked on the collar, when I saw how incongruous the yellow looked with the blue/green…but after waiting a day or two, I found I liked the contrast.
This project was a milestone for me; it is one of my first significant “refashion a shirt” attempts (beyond adding darts or taking in side seams). I’m pleased with it; barring a couple of minor fitting errors and an over-emphasized peter pan collar (it almost looks pilgrim…still fun though).
Lessons learned: *mark points for the new neckline while the shirt is on. Somehow, this neckline got lower than I wanted. *Pin alterations with the shirt on; my alterations ended a little snug in the bust and tummy. *Study lookbooks to find ideas…especially line/proportion ideas. Since refashioning this shirt, I’ve seen other more diminutive peter pan collars that I like better. *And last, don’t be afraid of messing up. Taking the plunge is the best way to learn.
Here are snippets of my thrifted shirt deconstruction, and how I made the pattern for the peter pan collar:
The Original, and its Deconstruction (Farewell To Arms, And Collar…But don’t lose the arms, you’ll need them later).
I traced the neckline of the deconstructed shirt, front and back, to make a peter pan collar pattern
Note to self: don’t forget seam allowances!