Shirt with lace doily insert

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I bought this white short sleeved shirt  for £3 from a charity shop.


I  had read some fashion advice recently which said that 70% of your wardrobe should be ‘meat and potatoes’.  Upon reading this advice I realized that a lot of my wardrobe is gravy and puddings so I was shopping for some items to redress the balance.

I looked for something of a neutral colour to  wear with my many patterned items, but of course also had a refashion in mind.

The shirt brand is Papaya from Matalan, so would have been inexpensive when new, possibly not even much more than £3 and I’m normally a bit of a snob about buying cheap items second hand but I was pushed for time and this looked OK.

Fabric is 55% linen 45% cotton, made in Bangladesh.


I didn’t try the shirt on in the shop but guessed it would more or less fit, maybe a little on the small side, but my refashion would add a bit of give.

Enter the doily:


The plan was to use this doily as a lace insert to the back.

The open lacy nature of the doily would add a small amount of stretch.

I like the  old fashioned nature of doilies – there are many languishing unsold in charity shops and when a beautiful and talented shop manager (my daughter) brought this one to my attention  I was on a mission to do put it to good refashion use.  The texture had a slightly silky feel and the colour was off white.

First thing was to cut a hole out of the back of the blouse,  a side plate was the right size to use as a template.

There was a question of where exactly to place the hole so it showed the minimum combination of flesh and bra strap, difficult job given the rather large size of the doily.

I opted for approximately the middle of the below the yolk section of the blouse.

Next I hemmed the cut side of the blouse with the smallest hem possible – several cuts were necessary to make up for the curve of the circle.


I didn’t want floppy bits of scalloping dangling loose so I used tiny hand stitches close to the scalloped edge for the initial attachment.  This was a bit of a job so I chanced a second layer of top stitching with the machine, using a medium zigzag close to the cut edge of the blouse, so there was a 2 to 3cm doily/blouse overlap.

Here is the result. The doily texture manages to hide all the stitching threads.


The sleeves were a bit tight and I think they were on the original owner as well because the buttons were open when I bought it.


I thought it would be nice  some introduce some colour, just a teeny bit, so I added a triangle of red check at the sleeve cuff, sewing the cuff opening open and tucking the button hole side under like so:


I am pleased with this blouse, the lace improves the fit, is not too immodest and will add some welcome ventilation on a hot day, or when wearing a rucksack, or under a  lab coat at work, and its so meaty!



The fashion expert was right, it will go with any colour or pattern.


My stepson was brutally honest he said ‘you have sewn a cushion thing onto a shirt’




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