Tag Archives: Shirt

Refashioning a Shirt (sort of)

It feels like it’s been a while since I refashioned anything and this is definitely not the best, nor the most involved refashion I’ve done. It’s also been a while since I’ve updated this blog and the new wordpress editor is the actual worst thing I’ve ever been forced to use – at least before you could use the old interface but it seems they’ve removed that as an option. Urgh.

This is a shirt that my mum bought for my ex-partner and it was too big for him so he never wore it. Then I decided it was more in my colour palette anyway so I commandeered it and decided to take it in a bit as it was too big for me too. I definitely could have taken it in more though.

I did these alterations a while ago and I seem to have not written down the alterations I made. I took some length off the back by re-sewing the seam at the bottom of the yoke.

I also took off the sleeves, trimmed the shoulders on the shirt and the sleeves and sewed them back on – but they are still way too long on me so I should probably take them off again and take them in more but for now I’m just wearing it with the cuffs folded back and it seems to work fine.

The shirt is made from almost a flannel fabric so it’s pretty warm, which has been great with this never-ending cold weather we’ve been having in the UK. I think for next Winter I want some full-on flannel shirts though. My flannel pyjamas are so warm I want to live in them when it’s cold so, even though I already have a bajillion shirts, there might be some more on the horizon!

I feel like I want to be maybe a bit more adventurous with my next refashion project as I don’t tend to think hugely outside the box! And I’m inspired by the Sewing Bee to try some more outrageous refashions – though maybe not in only 90 minutes!

White Melilot Shirt

Wao another shirt (I hear you all crying!). I can promise this will be the last shirt I post here for a while! I planned this shirt as an alternative to my white Archer for playing in the brass band I play in (white shirts are part of our uniform). Little did I know when I was planning it that I wouldn’t be playing for almost a year! But you can never have too many white shirts in my opinion.

I still really like the shape of the hem of the Melilot. It also doesn’t have a yoke so it’s a good pattern to start with if you’re wary of venturing into shirt making.

The fabric is not the best quality to be honest. It’s certainly not as nice as the stuff I used for the archer. It feels and sounds shiny and crinkly which makes me think it’s definitely got some synthetic fibres in. I bought it with a voucher I won at Sew Brum a couple of years ago I think (it’s literally the only time I’ve won anything). It was from Clothspot which I had never heard of before (and haven’t shopped with since, embarrassingly). There were slim pickens for things I felt would work in my wardrobe so I got this white fabric and some fabric for trousers, which is also pretty synthetic feeling (though I haven’t sewn them up yet). I think that’s why I like to stick with the same few online fabric shops I’ve shopped with before as you know you’re going to get good quality fabric.

The Melilot as drafted has a rounded collar. I’ve made 3 other versions (see the bottom of the post), all with the rounded collar but because we wear a tie in band I thought that might look a bit odd so I made the collar pointed. I used the collar pattern piece from the archer shirt as the template for the edge of the collar but kept the rest of it as in the original pattern so it would still fit on the stand.

I made the size 38 and, as with my other versions, I made no fitting changes. I made the long sleeved version for versatility of using it in multiple seasons – and I can always roll up the sleeves if it’s especially hot! Though actually if I’m playing a band gig in the blazing sun (as I’ve done a few times) I learnt the hard way to keep your sleeves rolled down to prevent arm sunburn (I didn’t bring my sun cream because I didn’t think we’d be outside that long – also a hard lesson learnt!). A lot of people think I’m overly obsessed with sun cream but, seriously, I can burn in like 10-15 minutes!

Anyway….shirts! I put 2 pockets on because why not.

The top-stitching on this shirt is definitely not my best handiwork (though I didn’t take any close ups) because my machine was having tension issues. I fiddled with the tension to get it better but nothing seemed to work. I gave the little screw on the bobbin a tiny turn and that seemed to help a little but I think it probably needs another service. I’ve had my machine for probably 7-8 years and I had it serviced when we moved to Cirencester coming up for 5 years ago and this year especially it has probably had the equivalent of 2 years of ‘normal’ use when I was furloughed for so long!

I think I’m going to start saving up for a new sewing machine though as I could probably do with an upgrade – though this machine (which is the £110 model from John Lewis) has done basically everything I’ve needed it to do, from coats to jeans, to many many shirts, to sequinned dresses. I also want a new overlocker as I have the Lidl Singer and the tension is always off, no matter what I do – it’s fine for neatening seams but I don’t trust it enough to actually sew seams on it. Which machine do you use? What do you love/hate about it? I think given their not great responses to various members of the sewing community about accessibility information and them seeming to lie about working with disable sewists, I’ll be most likely avoiding Pfaff.

Are you especially obsessed with a particular kind of garment? I’ve definitely got enough shirts for now so I’m going to have to pause my shirt-making.

 

 

Blaire Shirt (I have a shirt-making problem!)

I’m pretty sure I kinda said I was done making shirts a while ago (though I think I acknowledged that I had 2 more planned…..this is one of the 2. And then I’m really going to stop, honest!

I’d kinda forgotten about the Blaire pattern (as I was on a Kalle- and Archer-making kick most recently) but I really like it! I’ve made it once before, in peachskin, which is really quite a sweaty fabric so I don’t wear it as much as I could. But I think this one will get loads of wear (once the weather is warm enough for short sleeves (with or without a cardigan).

I again made the size 8 without any fitting changes, though I did leave off the underneath panel which I added last time (I’m still not entirely sure whether the different bottom panels are interchangeable or meant to be used together, and Style Arc’s instructions have to be the sparsest in the business, even more so than the big 4). I did this because my fabric was very limited – I bought I think 3 separate remnants of it from Guthrie and Ghani at the Sewing Bee Live. I knew I would be pushing it to be able to make much but I’m glad I managed to squeeze out all the pieces for this shirt, though I obviously couldn’t fully pattern match but I don’t think it’s too obvious.

I love the little peek of skin on the side from the shape of the side seam – and wearing it with my high-waisted black dawn jeans, the peek isn’t too much for what I’m comfortable with!

As I mentioned before, although the instructions are very limited, this is a slightly simpler shirt pattern than, say, the Archer or Kalle as there is no back yoke – so you don’t have to wrestle with a burrito! And there are no cuffs/ sleeve plackets. So if you’re looking for an easier shirt to try for your first one this could be a good choice. Though I would also really recommend the Archer as the instructions are excellent and there’s a full sewalong on the Grainline blog, including some videos for the trickier parts.

I used plain black buttons which I had in my stash, and I’m amazed how well they seem to blend in in these photos!

Do you have a particular garment that you can’t stop making? I don’t know why I’ve made so many shirts! I’ve got a white Melilot made (I just need to photograph it) and then I really am don’t for a while! I think I might love shirts because often the kinds of fabrics I’m drawn to, I think ‘that would make a great shirt’ if it’s a woven – because I don’t really wear dresses that much and making a plain tee would be less interesting somehow (though I’ve also got loads of those thanks to my Inari binge over the Summer).


 

Pink and Blue Popover Kalle

This is the third and final Kalle shirt tunic I made when I was first furloughed at the beginning of the lockdown here in the UK.

I made the size 6, as with the other 2 versions (first and second) and with the sleeve expansion. This time, though, I made the popover placket instead of the full or hidden placket, for a change. And I really like it – not least because it involved making fewer buttonholes (which I kind of hate even though I love making shirts!).

There honestly isn’t much to say that I haven’t already said about the other Kalles I’ve made or about shirt-making in general! I do have a couple more shirts cut out (a plain white Melilot and a cream and black patterned Blaire) but then I really think my wardrobe is set for shirts! With this lockdown period I’ve sewn all the things I’ve wanted to sew/have been meaning to sew for years so now my me-made wardrobe is pretty set so maybe I’ll sew some more fun projects moving forwards as I don’t have the need to fill holes in my day-to-day wardrobe any more. Though I’ve got quite the backlog so it will be a while until you see any fun projects here!

Still my favourite thing about the Kalle is the shape of the hem – I love it in the cropped version I made, too – and I love it possibly even more in the tunic versions. I kind of wonder what they would look like with shorts underneath – but I’m probably just thinking that because I’m writing this on a really warm day!

The fabric is a lovely viscose from Like Sew Amazing. I think Sarah posted it on her Instagram a while ago and I immediately snapped some up. I would probably not recommend viscose if you’re planning your first foray into shirt-making as it’s a bit more slippery than a cotton. Also I didn’t do myself any favours by being a bit sloppy with my cutting out – I’m often a bit lazy when it comes to cutting out and set aside a day or two to cut out ALL THE THINGS so then I do things quickly and sloppily!

But that’s not to say the fabric isn’t lovely! And I’m really glad I went for the half popover placket as it makes this Kalle a bit different from the others. Being viscose it does, of course, crease like a bitch with a tiny bit of wear but the busy pattern kind of hides that a bit.

I did put the usual 2 pockets on the front of this version but I maybe should have interfaced them. I would maybe recommend that or lining them with a more stable fabric as they kind of sag – and especially if I try to put, say, my phone in one of them, the pocket ends up at my waist with the weight!

Sitting down = instant creases but what can you do?

So that’s it for shirts for a while for me. Have you been sewing ALL THE THINGS during lockdown? I’m very fortunate that I am furloughed on my full pay and had a rather large stash of fabric and patterns to sew through. And, of course, no children to try to home-school! I really feel for anyone trying to work from home and/or home school children. Not easy!

 

 

Yellow Geometric Kalle Shirt

Another day, another Kalle shirt tunic!

When we first went into lockdown I started off sewing the 3 Kalles that I cut out ages ago but never got around to making! I’d kind of been in a sewing funk for quite a few months before lockdown happened, but having so much more time after being furloughed I’ve definitely rediscovered my love for sewing (and I’ve made a LOT!). This is the second one and is made also in the size 6, with the sleeve expansion and the tunic length like the first one I already shared here.

This fabric was much harder to wrangle than the nice crisp faces cotton! It was from Sew Over It (I think) ages ago. I bought it because of the colour and the design and I can’t now remember the make-up of the fabric, but it’s definitely got something slippery and synthetic in there. It also doesn’t press super well which makes me think it’s more synthetic than anything else.

The colour of the fabric is coming out much more washed out here than it is in real life – it’s a much brighter yellow, whereas it looks kind of gold-ish here.

You can kind of see some old creases from where the fabric was folded in my stash for a while still in the fabric – it defo doesn’t pres nicely, which isn’t super ideal for a shirt. But at least it will mean I don’t necessarily have to iron it when it’s washed, which is a super win in my book!

Ah, I do love the shape of the Kalle at the back. Love the huge pleat and the cocoon-y shape of the tunic length!

You can’t really see here as the fabric has photographed oddly but the pattern is geometric black and white on a yellow background, so I used some basic white shirt buttons. I was planning loads of shirts at the same time (including the faces one and the 2 striped Archers I made a while ago) so I bought a million white buttons at once from my local sewing shop (a good while before lockdown)!

I still really like making shirts (I have 2 more cut out ready to sew 😳, I have a problem!) but I think I really have enough in my wardrobe now so once I’m caught up sharing ones I’ve made and making ones I’ve cut out that might be it for a while for my shirt-making😭