January 4, 2014

Like Daughter, Like Mother....again!

Marissa has done it again! She has inspired me to get crafty with the sewing machine. I enjoyed her post here about a plaid shirt refashion. So I ran right to my local thrift shop and started looking for a nice plaid shirt. Here is what I found. It was such a lovely shade of blue and was a very nice quality fabric so it was the winner. Because it was a quality fabric the plaid is woven instead of printed onto the fabric, some of the reconstruction was easier, and the end result more attractive. The seams were flat felled seams, and they always make a nicer product. I replaced those with regular construction seams. This is just for fun after all.
 The shirt is a man's medium. It didn't really matter what size I chose because there would be so much altering going on. If you choose a refashion project think about how much alteration you will need to make to the sleeve length and shoulder area.
Well lets get serious about this thing. You are going to have to cut it sooner or later. Here we go. Start by cutting up the side seams and all the way to where the sleeves attach. Now cut the shoulder seam away from the body of the shirt, being careful to maintain the original shape of the sleeve. The next step is to cut the sleeve seam. Cut the full length of the sleeve. Do not cut through the cuff of the sleeve. I cut the sleeve seam to with in 3-4 inches of the cuff. At that point I opened the cuff seam where it attaches to the sleeve. Open just enough to ease the sleeve seam out. I will want to complete the sleeve seam and then reinsert into the cuff at the end of the project. I used this method so that I didn't have to change the sleeve placket. It was very nicely constructed and had multiple buttons on the placket.

Here is what it will look like when you get the side seams opened and the sleeves removed. You can't see in the photo very well but I have opened the sleeve seams nearly all the way at this point. Being careful not to cut the cuff.

Now that you have your shirt cut, you start the engineering process of reconstruction. Start by deciding how wide the shoulder seam should be. I put on a shirt that fits nicely and measured the width of the shirt from the collar to the shoulder seam. It was five inches for me. Keep in mind for this project the end product is supposed to be a little box-ie. (If we wanted to make a more fitted shirt we would need to deconstruct a bit further before reconstruction.) After I knew what the shoulder width should be I knew how much fabric to trim away from the shirt. I used the same measurement and followed the original shape of the garment. Then I measured how long the sleeve would need to be. I guesstimated that length by putting the sleeve onto my arm and bending my arm at the elbow. I pinned the top of the sleeve to the shirt that I had on, and looked in the mirror for a point of reference. When I was satisfied with the length of the sleeve I marked where the shoulder seam would need to go. The picture above shows that I needed to cut off 4 inches. I cut off 4 inches all the way across the top of the sleeve piece being careful to maintain the original sleeve shape. Re -attach the sleeve to the shirt. It will no longer match exactly because we have made so many alteration. Be sure that your sleeve is attached to the shirt with out any puckers. 
Once the sleeve has been reattached to the armscye you are ready to determine how to trim the side seams. I used one of my dresses that fits loosely as a guide. If you have a pattern that you like, that would be a really good guide also. When you determine where you will trim be sure to make each side match each other. After I had the fabric trimmed away from the side seams I re-sewed the seams extending the seam from the hem of the shirt all the way out to the end of the sleeve. I finished the side seams with serging and reinserted the sleeve into the cuff and top stitched the cuff. That was the last step! Yay, it wasn't tooooo labor intensive and the shirt will be a fun addition to my winter wardrobe. 

I will probably pair the shirt with jeans and boots when I wear them outside of the house. It is a nice warm and soft shirt and will be a trendy/fun thing for me to wear for the season. Thanks mama for teaching me how to get crafty with refashions.