Category Archives: Thrifting

Button-up Willamette Shirt

 

I made the perfect match!  I paired the gingham fabric I bought at an estate sale a few years ago for $1 with the Willamette pattern by Hey June Handmade.

The pattern is for a casual boxy shirt with cut-on short sleeves, a collar,  and a placket that is sewn together instead of buttoned.

This pattern is easier and quicker to sew than a traditional shirt because there isn’t a collar stand, armhole seams, or even buttonholes.  However, I opted to change the pattern and made 5 buttonholes.  I used another shirt as a guide for placement.

I liked the opportunities in this pattern to play with the direction of my fabric, and cut the yoke, collar, and cuffs on the bias.  I decided to make the pockets blend in and cut them straight of grain.

I sewed a size 10 based on my high bust measurement.  It’s roomy with about 8 inches of ease, and doesn’t pull at all across the chest.  I could go down a size but glad I didn’t sew my full bust size of 14 which would have been too big for my shoulders and arms.

I believe the lavender gingham fabric to be a cotton and polyester blend.  It’s crisp, doesn’t wrinkle, and was a breeze to to sew.

I learned three new skills sewing the Willamette shirt.

  1. Sewing a double yoke:  This is sewn with a burrito technique to result in a clean finish with no raw edges visible on the inside. I did get it wrong the first time, and had to unpick.
  2. Cutting pattern pieces on the bias:  Although I have cut bias strips many times, I haven’t cut pattern pieces that way and had to look up how to do it.   I drew cross grain lines and then 45 degree grain lines on the pattern pieces.
  3. Sewing buttons on by machine:  I used the pretty blue foot that came with the machine for the first time.  I used fabric glue to keep the buttons in place before putting the foot down on top of them.  I also put the darning plate on to disengage the feed dogs.The back view:

I’m wearing the shirt with two other handmades: the Mountain View shorts and the Sorrento Bucket hat.  This pose shows the amount of ease in the shirt.

Gingham has a country look, doesn’t it?  I finished the shirt before Memorial Day weekend, and wore it out to go shopping.  I like this pattern.  It’s a nice change from both tee shirts and wide necked tops, and I would make a variation of it again.

 

Upcycled Boxy Tops

I used the Maya pattern by Marilla Walker to transform two cotton pillowcases and a rayon rectangular sarong cover-up into two unique tops. The Maya is a simple pattern with a generous amount of ease and cut-on sleeves without seams.

Top 1:

I used a pillowcase with an interesting asymmetrical print, and another with a  coordinating solid gray color.

I arranged my pattern pieces to use the deep hems of the pillowcases, and I finished my seams with flat fell seams on the inside. I drafted my own neck facing, because the one supplied by the pattern has a center seam, and I didn’t want bulk there. I used the plain pillowcase for the sides, sleeve cuffs, and facing.

I attached the pillowcase tag to the neckline.

I like the everyday comfort of cotton which gives this top a soothing, casual feel.

 

Top 2:

I bought this striking print pareo or sarong for $2 at a garage sale. It still had the tag attached with a copyright date of 1994 and a little booklet showing the many ways to wear it.

The print was so beautiful in its entirety, I hesitated to cut it up, but I felt it had stayed hidden in a drawer long enough.

I expanded my pattern pieces to be full size, and spent some time playing with the pattern placement.  I had originally wanted the lizards to be oriented vertically heading up towards my shoulder, but that didn’t work out.

I used french seams in the construction, and again attached the original tag.  I decided to use the fringe on the arms, but not on the bottom.

The top is quite eye catching with its statement print and different front and back. This rayon top feels dressier, and has a Southwestern look.

I’m always on the lookout for different sources of fabric to sew with.  What’s next?  I would love to find a pretty tablecloth, or maybe a linen towel.

 

Can This Dud Be Saved?

We all have them.  The project that just didn’t pan out as we imagined.  Some call it a wadder, and throw it out in frustration.  I kept mine.

It started with the best of intentions. Last summer I paired a light cotton lawn fabric with the peplum top, a free pattern from  Peppermint magazine.

The fabric came in 2 separate pieces from the thrift store.  I liked the Moroccan type print, and the soft, light feel of the fabric.

The top is sleeveless with a v-neck back, and a gathered peplum.  It is dartless and somewhat oversized, as you can see by the shape of the bodice pattern pieces.

I cut a size E which is the size for a 38 inch bust with a finished bust measurement of 41 and 3/4 inches. The waist and hip measurement for size E is 32 and 41 inches, although the waist size is not important as the finished waist size is 44 inches.

I cut the bodice from one piece of fabric on the lengthwise grain and cut  the full length of the second piece of fabric on the crosswise grain for the peplum.  It also has a separate shoulder piece.  I ignored the grainline marking, and didn’t cut this piece on the bias because I was trying to make the best use of the print.

I had major fitting problems with this pattern, and abandoned it last August.

I took some in progress photos and didn’t like what I saw. Unflattering!!

Where do I start?  It looks like I have a pillow stuffed under my shirt, the front is pulling up, and the underarms are too low.

A year later, I decided to give this top another try.  When I first tried it on, I had to take in the sides a bit.  The pattern is meant to have a generous amount of ease, but it’s sleeveless so the underarms have to fit. It’s very obvious the top needs a full bust adjustment, but it’s too late for that and I don’t have fabric to cut a new bodice front.  I also can’t add a longer shoulder piece and lower the front because the armholes need to fit.

I took out some length from the shoulder seams to take up the armholes.  I removed the front peplum and took out some more of the gathers.  I took out some of the back length by taking in the back waist seam.

I especially hated that rising line at the front waist that is so apparent because of the white stripe of the print.  To camouflage this, I added sash ties into the side seams.

I didn’t have enough fabric for the facings, so I used bias tape.  I ran out of the turquoise so had to use a different shade of blue on part of the armhole.

I decided I liked the frayed raw edge of the selvedge showing on the front bottom.  I sewed a leftover selvedge strip to the back bottom to match.

My top looks quite a bit different from the pattern with a longer, less gathered peplum.

So what do you think?

 

 

Sure it looks OK from the front , but how about the side view?

The before and after profile shot.

Much better. Saved?

What do you do with your rejects? Try to make them work, or call it a day and move on to a new project?

Silk Shirt into Kimono Jacket Refashion

I have wanted to do a kimono jacket refashion since 2015 when I saw it on Portia’s refashioners challenge.  Her Makery blog tutorial uses two shirts.

I had this thrifted men’s Perry Ellis size large shirt in my stash.  I thought the fabric felt like a very soft peachskin rayon, and then rechecked the label.  No, this is silk. Perfect!

I cut off the collar, buttons bands, and the hem.  I cut a line from the shoulder to the hem on a slight diagonal.  I pieced together a long facing strip from the cut off portions, sewed it around the full length of the jacket, and rehemmed it shorter in the front.  I then turned the facing to the wrong side, pressed it with the seam rolled to the inside, and stitched it down.

the shirt is turned back on the right side of the photo to show the facing

Can you believe how easy this was?

Easy, breezy style.

Bird of Paradise Shirt Refashion

It’s another “I love this print” refashion.

I knew which thrift store shirt I wanted to make over to wear this spring.  The soft rayon print has big bird of paradise flowers and also a background of vertical blue stripes.  I like it even in its original XL size as an overshirt, although that armhole depth is super deep.

I used New Look 6598, the view on the bottom right with a collarless v-neck and short sleeves, for my pattern pieces. I like the way this style of shirt looks like a jacket.

I had to place the front piece in the best spot to use the existing button placket.  The problem that resulted was a large space in the middle of the bust with no buttons.  If I were sewing a shirt from scratch, a button would be placed at the fullness of the bust to prevent gaping.

What to do?  Lean closer and I’ll tell you: I sewed a secret button.

location of secret buttonhole

I sewed a buttonhole between the buttons and a button on the inside of the shirt on the buttonhole side of the placket. It is invisible when buttoned as the button is on the wrong side of the shirt.

I remembered seeing this technique on Handmade Jane’s blog. It works well, although my shirt should have more ease over the bust.

I sewed bust darts, and omitted the waist contour darts and the back tie. The v-neck was a little awkward so I also added the tiny neck button from the original shirt at the top of the shirt for more coverage.

 

No Fuss Quick Raglan Tee

I got out of the habit of sewing after the holidays, and didn’t plug my machine back in until January 20th.

After writing my 2018 Make Nine list to get me motivated, I decided to start with an easy tee.  I had taped the free pattern by It’s Always Autumn together previously. Then on a windy Saturday I cut and sewed to completion my first raglan! This was my first ever one day project, and after this instant gratification I understand the allure of sewing with knits.

I wanted to make the baseball jersey type of shirt and found a XL tee for the body and a size small for the sleeves.

I find using the fabric from thrift store tee shirts to be a cheap and practical way of sourcing knit fabric.

I made a few small changes to the pattern taking away 1/2 inch from the length of the raglan, and adding 1/2 inch to the hip.  I used a rotary cutter which made cutting the bodice front, back, and sleeves so quick and easy.  I cut the elbow length sleeves.

I put in a stretch needle and sewed with a zigzag width of approximately 1.5 width and a 2.5 length. I have a manual machine, so I’m just twisting a dial.

I love Autumn’s method of attaching the neck band.  Instead of measuring the neck and using a mathematical calculation to figure out the length of the band, I simply stretched and pinned the unjoined band to the neck, and sewed it together where it meets in the back.

Another no fuss technique I used was to bypass the double needle. Instead I used the same zigzag stitch to hem the sleeves and top stitch around the neck. No changing the thread either.

I loved this sporty look so much I decided to do it again!

This time I cut the shirt tail hem of the pattern, and short sleeves.

This shirt would look more dressy made in one fabric, but I was enjoying coming up with the color combinations too much to stop.  I didn’t buy any new tees;  I was working with the colors I already had on hand.

These shirts already feel like old favorites.  They’re a hit!

The I Love This Fabric Refashion

I don’t do much thrift shopping anymore, but I still have a pile of clothes for refashioning possibilities.

There was less fabric than you might think to work with in this size small rayon dress with a shirred top and high-low hem.  I almost left it behind, but I loved the two tone print.

Because it was truly small, I didn’t cut it apart at the side seams because I was afraid it would become too narrow at the bust and hips when resewn.

As the photo shows, I simply cut off the top, cut a scoop for the neckline, cut down 10 inches for armholes, sewed the shoulders, and cut a new hem.  I finished the neck and armholes with ready made bias binding.  I needed every bit of length for the front, which is a little shorter than I would like.   I didn’t add any dart shaping so it’s free flowing from the bust and hangs away from my body. I like the longer back.

This refashion was completed last year.  Next up, my first project in 2018.  I finished something in January from my make nine list! Can you guess which one?