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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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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