A refashion project – great! Until a few months ago I didn’t even realise this world existed! Like many others when I refashion or make garments for myself, I stick to my usual fabric type and styling. I wear jeans, trousers and tops most of the time. I do make sample garments for other people and this is where I find my sewing and making challenges. A man’s shirt is not something I would normally move towards simply because I find the fabric not drapey enough and they always make me think “stripes” and I rarely wear stripes. However I knew there was a neglected print shirt, in the wardrobe next to mine, years old and originally bought by me.
I am using one of my own tried and tested patterns. I reused the button stand for the back opening and changed and increased the number of buttons. When I want to match the print, even on such a limited piece of fabric I cut each panel singly. I cut one half of the front, unpin the pattern piece, after marking the centre front line, and flip the front over. This is the most precise way of matching the print, by lying fabric on top of fabric, matching the print and then cutting.
I had no spare fabric for facings so I used an old pillowcase. This allowed me to cut the neck facings, deep hem facings and binding for the armholes.
Since I have been recently obsessed with collecting old buckles, I decided to make a matching fabric belt.
I am a fan of top stitching, both visually and practically. It prevents annoying facings from popping out and creates an extra feature on a garment. I knew I would top stitch this neck facing so wanted to create a deep hem feature too!
Here’s the finished piece. I like the retro feel to the print and considering it’s 100% cotton it is fairly soft. I press every seam meticulously as I work through each garment that I make, however I found this one a bit stiff when completed, so I stuck it in the washing machine, twisted it when drying and did not iron it again – perfect. I enjoyed making this one, and I think there’s a plain white cotton shirt that’s not been worn in a long time in that same wardrobe!
And then at the last minute, just as I was about to post it, I changed my mind. I decided that the neckline was a bit boring, so I unpicked the facing, kept the V-neck shape and added a narrow rib instead. The rib is from an old vest top, a constant source of ribbing for me. Which version is better? I don’t know, but I felt that version 1 was a bit unfinished, hence version 2, and I know I’ll wear this one.