Tag Archives: upcycled fabric

Color Block Tees

I was working on a upcyling project that I had lost interest in when the July sewing challenge for the Sew Over 50 Instagram group launched. The challenge was to mix at least 2 solid colors in a garment. OK, I’ll play!

I had done color blocking with raglan tees (also known as baseball tees) before, but that’s about all. I had a few old tees and other tees that I bought for a dollar each at a garage sale that I thought would be fun to experiment with.

BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern is a book I have had in my library for years. It was published December of 2012 and has examples of styles from the 1920s to the 80s. I almost never make anything from sewing books but I used to enjoy browsing through them at the bookstore, and this is a book I actually bought in person. How old fashioned, ha! I liked the Veronica Geometric Top, and used the illustration for my inspiration. In the book, this top is an example of an 1980s inspired look.

My mother had a similar woven color blocked top circa 1960. Fashion does tend to be cyclical. I remember bright color blocked dresses from the 1960s mod era. The most famous color blocked garment is the Mondrian inspired dress introduced by Yves St. Laurent in 1946.

See more examples in the article: The History of Color Blocking.

For my project, I drew out a basic boxy tee and then made 2 cuts.

I used 4 colors, blues and gray, making a v-front and putting the little lavender triangle of fabric in the back.

The joining of the fabrics to a point was tricky. It’s more of a skill that quilters have than a garment seamstress.

Then I made a second tee with a variation on the same shirt but with only one diagonal cut to the pattern. I used a coral tee for 2/3 of the shirt and periwinkle blue for the rest. I sewed v-neckbands for both tees. They are a little tricky – I had to read a few tutorials.

I even did a little piecing within my block, choosing to make the join using the original shirt hem overlapping to make it part of the design. The back of the shirt is shown with the close-up on the left:

I feel prints are more fun to sew than solids, but combining solids creates an interesting look. I love these!

I also sketched out other color block combinations I might want to try.

I would put the cut in this shirt over the bustline.

Either of these would be striking with black on the sides, or combining a print and a solid.

Just some ideas for possible future projects. Of course, there are many other ways of combining solids, whether for woven fabrics or for knits. Sew creative!

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.