The Refashioners 2015 – Oonaballoona

Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

When Portia asked me if I wanted to refashion a man’s shirt, my response was HEEEWWWWWL NO. I can barely bring myself to make a man’s shirt from scratch. Could I actually bring myself to deconstruct and then reconstruct menswear?! And come out sane? I thought not.

But that Portia has a way with words. So flattering was her response to my tepid reply, my psyche would’ve be more bruised by refusing the challenge than by picking up the seam ripper. The clinching sentence on that lovely emaiI: “Shirts are just fabric and you’re awesome with fabric. ‘Nuff said.”

CHARMER! Was my response. And I was in.

Now, there was zero chance that I was going to snag a shirt from Ruggy’s closet for this challenge, seeing as how I’m made him 3 shirts in my 7 years of sewing , only 1 of those being wearable. That’s just bad math. A few short weeks later, this arrived from our fearless leader’s neck of the woods:Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

I did NOT want to rip this up! In fact, I wanted to give it straight to my Dad, a very stylish guy! I was stumped, which began another Portia conversation, involving her Lolita vision of me turning it into a woven Watson bra, then me picturing my dad in a Watson bra, then me needing to go wash my brain.

After a thorough rinsing, I got to ripping. Kiiiiind of. I hacked the sleeves and collar off, then cut it open at the side seams. To be honest, I was all about as little seam rippage as possible on this reboot. Although I am aware that the whole refashion thing is about being green, this was admittedly not my primary concern.  I was more into being happy and not worrying about scraps.The sleeves and collar went into the remnants bin without a thought of reappearing in the reboot. Mea culpa.

I flipped one front panel upside down and re-buttoned the front pieces, shifting the buttons up by one to get a pleasing print placement. Why did I do that? Hard to say. Maybe I thought there was (*extremely slight and now completely unnoticeable in hindsight*) twinning on the original shirt? Maybe it made me feel like I was really refashioning the shirt?? Maybe the gin and tonic was especially ginny that evening?Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

Imma go with ginny. Because my next step was going to be pleating and draping and pulling this into a cute top on my dressform, and I abandoned that route seconds after beginning it. Instead, I reached for my little pile of vintage patterns and came up with Simplicity 6284, a three piece women’s suit. The vest had two simple pattern pieces. BOOM.Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

I used the original placket and changed up the buttons from black plastic to blonde wood, for a bit more tiki vibe, and used red braided piping for my seam finishes. Just stitched and turned under. Less worry, more happy.Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

Though the pattern had a little gapiosis in the front, requiring an extra dart at the neckline, the back fit beautifully. I love the racerback vibe!Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

And it gives me enough armsyce coverage, which, guys. I HATE it when my shirts show Texan sized real estate of arm cleavage. What’s that you say, you can’t really tell from these shots? Again, mea culpa. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Ruggy full on ABHORS this vintage denim skirt. But I did think it was the perfect mate for this crop top. I’ve tried to wear this skirt out once on a date night. The look on his face was so pained, I changed immediately. Guys. If you know how I dress, you know that this look said a lot. And then I made him take eighty pictures of it.

I think he had a hard time doing it. To wit, what  is the focal point of this next shot?Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

Mmmm hmmm. What a pretty red wall. But there’s the armscye for ya. Thanks for bearing the vibe, Ruggy.Oonaballoona - The Refashioners 2015

And thanks for nudging me into this, Portia! I love my little top, and since diving into this challenge, I’ve refashioned three RTW tops in my closet into a more pleasing configuration! This refashioning thing is infectious!

Ha ha! As are you my lovely, lol! But you had to go and remind me of that conversation about your Dad in a Lolita style Watson bra didn’t you?! Now I’m picturing it all over again. Sorry Papa Balloona!! 😉 So, yes. I selected this shirt. Well I had to pick something a touch “kerching” for Oonaballona didn’t I?! But it’s a case in point in terms of looking at shirts as fabric. Those really crazy 80s print shirts you see but would never wear? They may not be de rigeur as they are but boy do they make awesome sun tops! Look for huge oversized mens shirts in crazy prints and get chopping!

You can find Ooonaballoona here and here. And don’t forget 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!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+


  1. Elisalex August 7, 2015

    Aaarrrrggrrrryyyy this is amazing! Reading this and seeing Marcy’s inspired refashion over my morning coffee has got to be the perfect start to any day. But especially FRIDAY!

  2. Helen S August 7, 2015

    That fabric is much less boring than your average man’s shirt! I had been looking forward to your refashion and it did not disappoint. Actually that big leaf fabric style seems to be everywhere this summer – I think it H&M that are featuring it.

  3. Marilla August 7, 2015

    How does your husband not love that skirt??? Great refashion and I love the back arm shaping. The piping and new buttons really make this exciiiiting!

    • oonaballoona August 9, 2015

      haha!!! he TRULY hates it!!! i think it’s the length that makes him nuts…maybe i ought to refashion it 😉

  4. Jane August 7, 2015

    Oh wow it’s perfect! I love how you’ve transformed the shirt into such a gorgeous little tiki top! x

  5. Wowsers!! These refashionistas are so freaking creative it hurts! Love this top and loving this series. Hubs’ wardrobe is getting scouted as we speak…

  6. Hélène August 7, 2015

    Oona has such a sense of her own signature style. Her refashioned top is awesome! Especially paired with this denim midi skirt. This girl is amazing.

    • oonaballoona August 9, 2015

      wow thank you so much helene! (sorry i don’t know how to type the proper accents for your name!)

  7. Patti August 7, 2015

    When thinking about men’s shirt refashioning, Hawaiian shirts never even crossed my mind!! That opens up a whole new world!!’ Thanks O B for showing such a cute top!!!

  8. Begum Sen August 7, 2015

    It’s charming!

  9. Seamsoddlouise August 7, 2015

    Fantastic top, looks awesome with that skirt. He must be mad you look ace.

  10. Catherine August 8, 2015

    I have three BEAUTIFUL silk Hawaii shirts I got for my husband and he says he wouldn’t be buried in them. I never had the heart to give them away. Now I know what to do with them. You have made me so happy, thank you.

    • portia August 8, 2015

      Hubbys loss!!! 😉

  11. Toria August 8, 2015

    Omg, I love it!! Especially with that skirt, which is totally gorgeous 🙂 I’m not sure I could get away with wearing any kind of crop top, but if I could I’d be out looking for a tropical print shirt right now!

    • oonaballoona August 9, 2015

      the key is a high waisted pairing! i tried to wear this with some low rise pedal pushers and i was all NOOOOOOOOPE!

  12. oonaballoona August 9, 2015

    lemme stop hijacking portia’s comments section and just give a huge THANK YOU to everybody! i really enjoyed making this little top!

  13. chris August 10, 2015

    What a fabulous little top and what a great job you did – Congratulations!

  14. Marie August 11, 2015

    This is so up my street, it hurts Marcy! Really, really, really lovely! And it looks great with Ruggy’s beloved skirt ;o)

  15. Sasha August 26, 2015

    this is so much fun! … besides it has a racerback – how can you not love a racerback!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *