When Portia asked me to join in with this year’s Refashioners I was seriously overwhelmed! I mean, the lineup is phenomenal! Once I got over the shock though I remembered that I had already been planning a shirt refashion for a while so I calmed down a bit and began to think. I do love a bit of refashioning – what’s not to love? It’s cheap, environmentally friendly and often quick as parts of the existing garments can be reused. I blogged last year about making a shirt into a NewLook 6808 and recently I made a pair of shorts for my child from an old dress. I have also just made some nightwear from three old shirts. But I wanted this refashion to be something more experimental, maybe to push my boundaries a bit further than I had before.
It just so happened that I had found a seriously nice quality white shirt in a charity shop for about £2 (bargain!) and then my Dad visited and left me with a pile of his shirts that he doesn’t wear any more….
I really wanted to make a sundress out of shirts as I thought the fabric would lend itself nicely to a dress. Of course there isn’t enough fabric on one shirt for a sundress so the obvious answer is to use two!
I started looking at patterns to use as my base and quickly dismissed a vintage sundress pattern as being too fabric hungry and was just about to turn to a vintage nightie pattern when Portia kindly lent me issue 4 of Simply Sewing Magazine which included the jumpsuit/camisole pattern from the last series of The Great British Sewing Bee. Obviously this isn’t a jumpsuit but the bodice was exactly what I had in mind.
I decided I wanted the buttons running down the back of the dress as an accent so this was my starting point for the cutting out. The main pattern pieces fitted on to the shirt quite easily but I did have to put a seam in the centre of the ruffle which was a bit of a shame.
Also the shirt fabric is thicker than the recommended fabric so the ruffle doesn’t ruffle quite like it should, but I still like the effect. There was not enough fabric for the facings so I used a sleeve from my second shirt for these.
For the skirt section, I cut the shirt just above where the armhole starts, separated the front from the back and reattached them together with the front slightly lower down to compensate for the tail of the shirt now being the front.
In truth, the front is still longer than the back so I could have gone further but I don’t really have a problem with this. The new side seams are slightly angled outwards creating more of a shaped skirt than a straight one.
The final things I had to do were to create a channel for the elastic to go through at the waist and add some extra buttons and button holes. I used the remaining sleeve from the blue shirt to make the bias binding for the channel. As the fabric has a check running through it was really easy to make sure I was cutting correctly and I didn’t need a lot to go round the waist seam.
The two extra button holes were needed just above the waist seam which was near the bottom of the original shirt, and at the bottom of the skirt. I also added a popper right on the waist seam so the gap in between the buttons doesn’t gape under the strain of the elastic. And done!
I have loved this challenge so much! Refashioning is such a fun thing to do, whether it is simply harvesting the fabric to reuse or altering something so it fits better it always gives me joy to know I am giving something new life! Thank you so much to Portia for all her hard work organising this and for inviting me to take part, it’s been ace!
Thank YOU Jenna! ( Love this lady!) Such a cute way to combine two shirts. (and did you notice the nice little touch of a line of sahiko’esque embroidery on the ruffle?!) I’m a big fan of combining garments; and combining shirts is easy because the fabric is generally of a comparable weight and handle so they blend pretty easily. So don’t just stop with one shirt! Use a whole array of them and combine different elements. Colour block. Pattern clash. Slice em all up and put em back together in a different order!
You can find Jenna here and here. And just like Marie, Jenna has also very generously delved into her own personal pattern stash to add 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!