Refashion Friday: Blue, Mustard and Orange shirt dress refashion

I was struggling to think how to start this post so The Boyfriend said I should say ‘hello, here is the start of my post’.

Hello, this is the start of my post. This original shirt dress, with a dropped-waist waist band was from my friend – the one who gave me the big pile of clothes which precipitated my big wardrobe clear out.  I immediately fell in love with the fabric. But this is possibly the most difficult fabric to photograph ever, in the whole world! This is possibly the most ‘first-world-problem’ ever…….

Also, sorry for the worst ‘before’ photo ever – but maybe it’s good to have a terrible before so the after looks even better by comparison!?

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There were a couple of buttons missing at the bottom of the dress, but I like how the buttons are in pairs – it’s a bit more interesting than them being evenly spaced!

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It also did have this cute little pocket – if you can make it out?

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Below is the best picture I could get of the ‘waist’ band, which sat on my hips – pretty much the least flattering silhouette on me. So I unpicked the waistband, removing the bottom part of the dress and removing the band from the top part. I measures I needed to raise the waist band by 15cm to put it on my natural waits, so I measured that and then sewed the inside part of the waist band back in using normal seams, cutting off the excess 15cm from the top part of the shirt. I then top-stitched the top part of the waist band, using the holes from the original stitching as a guide.

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Originally the bottom part of the dress was gathered, to give it a bit of fullness, but I decided I wanted a more sleek look so I replaced the gathers with pleats. I also used pleats to narrow the top part of the dress, which then attached to the waistband. I removed 13cm from the original waistband (to make it fit my waist instead of my hips) and then put in 2 pleats on the front and 2 on the back, evenly spaced, each of 3cm. I took the Deer and Doe Bruyere shirt as my inspiration. Though you can’t really see the waitsband or the pleats because of the pattern on the fabric!

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Once I’d put the waistband back in, I slotted the front edges back into the button bands where I’d unpicked them, topstitched both sides in place, trimmed the bottom and hemmed them. Then I just had to sew the buttons back on – I’d had to take them off when unpicking the button band. Sorry there aren’t any ‘in progress’ shots, I tried but none of them looked like anything!

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The fit of the sleeves, shoulders and collar fitted quite well from the beginning, so win! I’m glad I didn’t have to fiddle around with resizing the collar!

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Did I mention that I love my new top!? I’ve already worn it a couple of times – I refashioned it a couple of weeks ago. It goes well with my beloved mustard yellow cardigan and I’ll definitely get a lot more wear out of it as a top than if I’d left it as a dress. I’ve finally accepted I wear more separates – and especially trousers – than I do dresses. I do wear dresses sometimes, but not enough to keep making loads more! My friend who gave me the clothes pretty much always wears dresses, so most of what she gave me were dresses. So hopefully there will be some other ways to making tops out of dresses in my future!

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In the below photo you can actually make out the newly placed waist band! And you can almost make out the pleats. I think it was an advantage that the pattern is so busy as it meant it didn’t really matter how neat my sewing was!

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I’ll leave you with one more, slightly smug looking, photo!

Also, check out my matching coral nail varnish! That wasn’t on purpose, but a happy coincidence when I took these pictures!

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Best Makes of 2015

So since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do the obvious thing of looking back over the last year and seeing what I’ve made and done. This was inspired in part by the Instragram #2015BestNine hashtag.

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I’ve made myself 14 garments, which isn’t really that many – I have felt like I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I would have liked.

I particularly like my BHL Victoria Blazer, and definitely feel smarter when I wear it instead of a cardigan.  I like my Merchant and Mills denim Dress Shirt, too.

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I made a few things with knits, for the first time this year: a Closet Case Files Sallie Maxi Dress; a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress; and a Breton-style Deer and Doe Plantain Tee.

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I have also refashioned 7 things, so I’ve been a bit more productive than a first glance might imply!

My 3 favourite refashions were my ugly skirt to Grainline Scout tee (which I unfortunately shrank in the wash, boo!), my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip-off and, probably the one I’m most proud of, my ugly coat which I remade into a Freemantle Coat.

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I’ve made 6 non-clothes things, including my first (pusheen) and second amigurumi (a Minion), and my first scrapbook, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday.

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But my very favourite non-clothes thing (and probably favourite out of everything I’ve made) was the felt allotment I made for my friend’s daughter for Christmas 2 (which happens in January so this was made this year). This was one of those things that I saw on A Beautiful Mess and knew I had to make it, and then was super excited to see my friend’s daughter open it! I was almost too excited to wait until the present exchange, and wanted to open it as soon as I arrived for Christmas 2!

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This is the anniversary of this blog, too – I had an old one but transferred the content over and focused just on sewing and crafty things (I had previously written about food and books too), and I’ve introduced a couple of new regular posts – style inspiration and fashion history. I’ll continue with these I think, as they help me to cement my personal style and guide me what to make next! I’ve also reviewed some books, events and shops. You can see the archive of all these posts here.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and I hope you’ll come back in 2016. xx

Breton Style Plantain Tee

This has to be one of my thriftiest makes ever. It’s the Deer and Doe Plantain Tee, which is a free to download. I downloaded and assembled the PDF quite a while ago but only just got around to making something from it. I had this little bit of stripey fabric in my stash for a few months – it was only £1.50 and was from Rolls and Rems (where else!). There was juuuust enough fabric to make this tee and I love it!

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The stripes are actually navy blue, though they look black in the photos.

With my new haircut (which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), and in this tee shirt, I definitely feel like I’m channeling Jean Seberg!

circa 1965: Promotional portrait of American actor Jean Seberg (1938 - 1979) sitting barefoot and cross-legged on a stool, wearing rolled blue jeans and a French-striped sailor jersey pulled off one shoulder. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)(image source)

I made this tee in the size 36 and changed the neckline. The classic Breton Tee has quite a high neckline (probably a boat neckline would be best), but the Plantain has quite a low scoop-neck. I raised it to just below the back neckline. I also didn’t bother with the neck band, partly because I would have had to work out a new length for it, and partly because I wasn’t entirely sure from the instructions how I should attach it! So I just turned the neckline under by 1.5cm and stitched it with my twin needle.

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The sleeves are 3.3cm longer than the short sleeve length. I would have made longer, 3/4 length sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric – there was literally just enough to cut the front and back, then squeeze the sleeves from single layers left over after the other bits were cut out. I hemmed the sleeves with the twin needle too, turning under a tiny amount so as to preserve what length I had managed to eek out.

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I think the original hem is a little curved, but I straightened the bottom, using the stripes as a guide. Then I turned up one white stripe and stitched the hem with the twin needle.

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I think I’m starting to get the hang of sewing with knits. I matched the stripes on the side seams (but then, of course, forgot to take any photos) and I quite enjoy the professional look a twin needle gives to the hems. This is the thickest and most stable knit I’ve sewn with so far, and I like the fact that this is quite thick. I think I need a bit of a tweak in the armpit area to get it to sit better – I’ve had this before with other patterns, so I wonder if I have something that makes me atypical in the armpit/ sleeve area – I’ll try to make some changes if I make this pattern again, which I suspect I will. Any ideas what the issue is and how I can fix it? I think an armscye that extends lower than the pattern originally does.

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I’m trying to make more basics for my wardrobe, so I think there’ll be more and more t-shirts and basic things like that coming up on the blog! Also skinny jeans hopefully!