Refashioners 2015 entry – Alternative angles

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This will be my entry for Refashioners 2015

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I bought this shirt for £2.99 from Roundabout Sheffield which is a local charity for homeless young people, so a worthy cause.

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It was originally from River Island and was in very good condition, fabric 55% cotton, 45% polyester.

There was a bit of shoulder detail but otherwise pretty standard stuff in a pleasant pale blue with a subtle white stripe.

I thought I would use the back to front and hoiked up method with a neckline embellishment to make a new ladies top, but I did not want to keep the button placket

I began the deconstruction, removing the collar and pockets.

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Then the sleeves, and because I knew I would need all the width I could get, I undid the button placket which gave me a couple more centimetres.  Now I was left with just fabric.

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My seam ripper was seeing a big piece of the action, but there was a seam ripping incident which left me with a small hole which I had to repair.

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In my opinion, a refashion should retain some features of the original garment.  If all you do is harvest the fabric to use with a commercial pattern, that is fabric recycling and does not involve the creative thinking outside the box involved in a refashion.  I’m not saying its bad, in fact its a good idea, but not what I will be doing here.

Anyway, enough pontificating, I draped the fabric around me and it occurred to me that the armholes looked a bit like a neckline, so I turned the shirt round 90 degrees.

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This puts the original armpit right slap bang in the middle of the new neckline so a good condition shirt was essential.

It also occurred to me that the collar would make a good addition to the neckline.  It was at this point I introduced a contrast fabric.  This contrast fabric came from another top I bought from a charity shop.  It was quite a nice little smock top which I could have worn as it was, and I’m a bit ashamed of the mutilation I inflicted on it, so I’m not going to show it to you intact.

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Now I added simple cuff sleeves.  On one side I had to make an armhole where no hole had existed before.  My first attempt at sleeves went wrong and there was not enough fabric to repeat the process so I had to sew some pieces together to make a big enough piece for more sleeves.

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You can see my multiple layers of tacking, in fact I used tacking throughout.  It felt as if I was making the shirt twice, once in tacking and once with the machine.

The back needed something to hold it together, so I used the sleeve button hole and the small pieces from the shoulder detail, binding with the contrast fabric.

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The front of the top still looked a bit plain so I made a badge by cutting out some flowers and used tiny hand stitches to sew them on.  I first sewed the flower fabric onto wonderweb for re-inforcement.

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With all the hard work over I was really enjoying myself and added a couple of small contrast triangles to the bottom of the sides.

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Then I stitched the two pockets together to make one new pocket for the bottom of the front, replacing the buttons with flowers.

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I am really loving those flowers.  Actually this pocket helped to hold the drape of the fabric down in this area, it had a tendancy to stick out a bit, having been the side seam in its previous life.

In a final flourish I made a patch out of the River Island logo and sewed it to the bottom of the back to perform the same dual function here.

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So that’s it I’ve finished.  This has not been one of those ‘just knocked it together in 30 minutes’ jobbies, but I wanted to challenge myself a bit.

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I’ve had a quite a lot of wear out of this top, including on recent holiday to Split.

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What I like is the fit of the sleeves, there is virtually not ride up when I lift my arms up.  I also like the pocket.  It’s great for holding tickets or boarding pass or anything heavier like a phone short term.

I have my eye on a shirt on the other side of the wardrobe to repeat this refashion.  It will be easier second time around.

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