When I refashioned a man’s shirt for the first time I wrote: “When refashioning a button-up shirt you have three choices: keep the buttons in front, turn it around and put the buttons in back, or eliminate the buttons altogether by cutting out the placket or sewing it up.”
I’d already done the first two alternatives, so I wanted to try the third option.
I removed the pocket, snipped up the sides of the shirt, cut off the buttonholes and removed the buttons from the other side of the shirt. I got out my Colette Sorbetto pattern to cut out the shirt. The back of the shirt became my new front. I was able to cut it out below the yoke with the intention of using the original hem.
Since I was going to be putting a seam in the back, I placed my pattern pieces about 5/8 in from the edge allowing for a seam allowance on both pieces.
Once I had my pieces cut out, I stay stitched the neck to keep it from stretching out of shape. Every time I make a shirt I’m always making changes trying to get the darts right. This time I kept them at 1 inch wide, but I moved them down 1 inch to start at 3 1/2 inches down from the top of the shirt and I had them end 5 inches from the side of the shirt. It worked; they looked good, and no armhole gap.
I sewed up the back seam, leaving a slit at the bottom. I decided to add a feature I’ve never tried before: a keyhole opening at the neck, with a button closure. I was unsure how to do this – with facing? bias tape? do I cut further into the seam allowance? I cut a slight oval because I wanted the opening to be visible. I used bias tape made from the shirt and had to redo it a few times before I was satisfied.
I machined basted the side seams, made fitting adjustments, and then took the shirt apart and transferred the changes to the pattern.
I took one sleeve and made 1/2 inch bias binding from it for the neckline, armholes, and keyhole. I used the binding as facing, sewing it to the right side of the shirt and then turning it completely to the inside and stitching it down close to the edge.
When I started cutting the shirt, I noticed that the shirt had a strategic print placement with most of the hula girls and airplanes on the front of the shirt, while the print on the back was more subdued. At first I worried that I had made a mistake turning the shirt around, but decided I liked the new less loud front just fine.
I wore it right away! I love it! The calendar may say fall, but the weather in southern California still feels like summer with shorter days. Now if I can just find a solid color men’s rayon shirt I will be all set for any occasion.
Look who also posed with this enormous hibiscus flower. I caught some funny expressions as Sparky smelled it, licked it, and cast an uncomfortable sidelong look at it.