Men’s Button-Down Shirt Refashion

Blue Shirtdress RefashionSummer finally arrived in Northern Kentucky just a few weeks ago. The second the oppressive heat wave came in, my brain went into creative overdrive trying to put together a breezy dress that I can live in the rest of the summer. I didn’t mean to post two refashions in a row, but here we are. Also, what timing. I didn’t know that The Refashioners 2015 series was one, starting today, and two, involved refashioning men’s button-down shirts.

Blue Shirtdress Refashion

I pulled this old man’s shirt out of my bag of thrifted clothes. It’s like an extension of my fabric stash. Sometimes I just can’t go full throttle on a project, I can only cut and hem. And maybe make bias tape, but that’s it.

I had this idea that I wanted to buy the Alder Shirtdress pattern from Grainline Studio, but didn’t know if I could commit to the shape of the dress. I thought if I liked this version, maybe I’d actually enjoy a real shirtdress pattern. One thing led to another and I found myself several feet deep in a garbage bag of used clothing searching for a shirt to cut up. I know, I know, my storage solutions are so Home and Garden.

It turns out that I do love this style. And this DIY is so simple. I will say, I have a SERIOUS advantage with my size. I’m tiny. I sometimes underestimate my size. Growing up my favorite book was Thumbelina. Her stories always made me feel at piece with my classmates calling me “shrimp” or “shorty.” I’m sure they meant those names lovingly.

I didn’t do a step-by-step tutorial because I felt the simplicity of this make was so easy I might have spent more time doing damage control from insulting your intelligence. The important part of this project is the fabric. Try to steer clear from stiff fabric. You want soft and drapey fabric.

Blue Shirtdress RefashionBlue Shirtdress Refashion
-Find a shirt long enough to make a dress and cut off the sleeves. Keep sleeve fabric for self-made bias tape!
-Pin down where you want your width of the dress.
-Here’s the only tricky part to this project. The armscye. I wanted a loose fitting dress with almost bra showing armholes. I marked where I wanted the dress to lay on my shoulders and swooped a curve line from the shoulder to where I pinned down the sides. Because this dress has so much ease I only had to worry about how much bra exposure I wanted.
-Make bias tape. I used this tutorial.
This tutorial for inserting binding into armhole.
-Hem if necessary to match sides.
-For modesty, I sewed up the bottom of the button placket below the last button so it wouldn’t spread open as I walked.

Blue Shirtdress Refashion Blue Shirtdress Refashion

Voooiiiillllaa! A shirtdress. Now that I know I like this style I might consider buying that pattern.

Another thing, is it too late to join the #sewphotohop? I’m three days behind already!

Thanks for reading!

DIY Kimono from Dress

DIY Kimono refashion

What do you do with a dress that you’ll never wear, but you love the fabric?

My friend unloaded a ton of her clothes on me before moving out of state. Some of them I wasn’t thrilled with, but a few I kept for no other reason than I loved the fabric. She was an impulse buyer and never wore most of the cheaply made dresses bought from places like Forever 21 and Love Culture.

This dress…who wears this stuff?

DIY KimonoDIY Kimono dress sleeve (1 of 1)

The bottom half of the dress seemed sufficient enough to make something with. To clarify, I am 5ft nothing weighing in at almost 100lbs so a lot of things are big on me.

I cut off the bottom half of the dress and removed the stretchy lining. For help and inspiration for this project I used these two sites here and here since I didn’t have a pattern. Luckily my fabric wasn’t too slippery so I didn’t spend time chasing it around my apartment.

My only qualm was that I didn’t have enough fabric to work with so I ended up with a cropped kimono. I even recycled the bias binding from the old dress for my neck band. I patted myself on the back for that one. I also kept the original hemline, which you know, shaves off like 20 minutes of sewing time. Love refashions.

DIY Kimono DIY Kimono refashion

I used the sliver of fabric leftover from the skirt to make bands for the sleeves. This added length to what little sleeve I had. All seams were finished with French seams. My favorite seams of all time.

DIY Kimono

Here’s a few things I learned from this project:

I didn’t even know I wanted a kimono. They serve no function in my wardrobe, but now that I’ve made this teeny one, I kind of want to make a few more. Longer of course.

Next time I’ll round the front panels so they drape better. The corners turn in already giving the illusion that I rounded them off.

DIY Kimono

I don’t look good in a fitted top + kimono. Tops must be drapey + drapey. Like the tank I wore here. It’s Grainline Studio’s Tiny Pocket Tank in white rayon challis. I made it a few years ago and wear it at least once a week in the summer. So this might be my new summer combo before all hell humidity breaks loose.

So there you have it. A tiny kimono draped over a tiny pocket tank.

Thanks for reading!

All things Tailored

Tailor tools (1 of 1)

Do your friends or coworkers ask you to fix their clothes? I know this is a popular discussion amongst sewers out there. I’ve read posts on learning how to say no to people and how to price out your work when you can’t say no. It’s all good information, but what if you’ve never done the thing they need tailored, do you still do it?

A coworker recently threw a blazer on me saying he needs it tailored in five days. Five days. He only needed it taken in a little, and luckily the coat didn’t have a back vent so I was able to slice out three inches from the center seam.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never tailored a coat before. That’s real. This guy, my coworker and friend, gave me a fancy coat to tailor only a few days before a wedding he’s attending. Do I tell him I’ve never done it before?

PFFFFTTTTT NO! Not me. Not this guy.

So I fitted his coat on a sidewalk next to my car a few blocks from our work in the middle of the afternoon. Never mind us people, we’re just pinching and pinning here.

The actual restructuring process took about an hour. Would’ve taken less time but I started taking pictures of the process as it happened. The most challenging part was just overall nervousness of fucking up. I mean, Jesus, he gave me his only fucking coat for this wedding. I know that’s his bad for poor judgement, but I really didn’t want the rest of our relationship to be like “and then she messed up my coat.”

Tailor newseamline (1 of 1)Tailor seamline chalk (1 of 1)

I actually loved the entire process. It’s like refashioning things, which I’m totally into.

I like seeing how clothes are put together. The real guts of an outfit, if you will. I’ve learned a lot about sewing this way. I mean you can read about sewing stuff and then you can bust out your seam ripper only discover that the SEAMS ON COATS AREN’T FINISHED?!?

Tailor unfinseams (1 of 1)

I get it, they don’t have to be finished because they’re housed by lining, but I was still shocked. Aren’t these items worth several hundred dollars?

Don’t we learn in sewing that finishing the seams helps the longevity of the clothing? See, this is why it’s important to tear up clothing made from the pros.

The coat fit him perfectly, by the way. I’m happy, he’s happy. I have a couple more things to fix for coworkers. Next up is a coral chiffon dress for a bridesmaid. It’s beautiful and I’m not going to mess it up. I am not going to mess it up.

Thanks for reading!

Prep Work

color pencils (1 of 1)

Hey guys. I’ve been thinking about my projects for the next few weeks. It’s always exciting getting another one started.

I read a post from Vivat Veritas about what happens when she doesn’t plan out her projects. It got me thinking about what everyone else does when they plan. Since teaching myself how to draw last year, I’ve become relentless about adding that step to project planning. I would liken it to carrying something around the store to make sure you want it. The more time I spend on it, the more time I have to figure out if this is actually something I’d wear.

The fun part of sketching the pattern is buying supplies. I love my pencils and paints. I’ve been talking to some artists recently about their illustration tools and I think I’m going to invest in markers. Maybe not Copic, but Prisma. Someone told me they’re just as rich in color, but less expensive.

My drawing process is pretty simple. Pencil first. Not mechanical. Go over sketch with micron pen. Erase. Then the fun part, much like stitching everything together under the sewing maching, coloring everything in.

Drawing tools (1 of 1)

Gouache paints

I’ve got a couple of black dresses drawn. Both are knit. Both will get worn. I can’t decide which will get made first.

Sketch Black Lady Skater (1 of 1)Sketch V1314 (1 of 1)

I recently switched gears and traced a pattern that I’ve had for a few years, Simplicity 3964. I think I’m going to make it a top with sleeves instead of a dress. Gahhh..I don’t know. I have a beautiful navy rayon challis that I would love in this pattern.

Sketch Simplicity 3964 (1 of 1)

So, how do you guys plan your sewing?

Light Grey Linden

Light Grey Linden Sweatshirt--Grainline Studio |

Hey guys. Here’s my second Linden Sweatshirt. It’s got a lot more drape than my pink version. I actually ironed this one before taking pictures of it. You’re welcome.

I’ve worn it out a couple of times. I think it looks better with a long dangly necklace like this here vintage Armani piece to break up all of the white/grey fabric. Here’s the sweatshirt without the distracting jewelry.

Light Grey Linden Sweatshirt -- Grainline Studio|

The fabric is from They’re out of the grey, but have a couple other colors like this cream one. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best quality of fabric, I’ve already seen a couple of holes forming around the bottom band after one wash. So we’ll call this version a very wearable muslin until it falls apart.

Since this fabric has some substantial drape compared to my last one, which was definitely more of a traditional sweatshirt, it pools and hangs much more freely. The one thing that bothers me are the sleeves. If I make it again in a less stable fabric I’ll definitely take more than the inch and a half I already removed.

Light Grey Linden Sweatshirt -- Grainline Studio|

I didn’t add any topstitching on to this version. Since it looks “dressier” than the last one, I thought I’d keep the lines cleaner. Less is more.

Light Grey Linden Sweatshirt -- Grainline Studio|

I’m trying to decide on my next project. I want to make a dress, but it’s going to be zero degrees out here for the next few weeks. It’s not too soon to start sewing up spring and summer dresses, is it? I might make a black Linden. Emma, from Emmadime, showed this sweater from TaylorStitch a few weeks back. Perfect, right? I can definitely find that fabric. And really, what’s one more Linden Sweatshirt when I want to wear them daily anyway? It’s like I’m a cartoon. Same thing, different color.

I hope everyone is staying warm. Thanks for reading!

Hey. Welcome.

Magenta Linden Sweatshirt -- pattern from Grainline Studio|

Hello! I’m so excited to finally launch my new site and talk about this sweater. I was previously over here, but had to move. A big life change meant I had to change everything. I stopped sewing for the last 10 months and just sat behind the scenes reading what everyone else was making. It was depressing. Since I began sewing back in 2011, sewing blogs have been my source of inspiration, they’ve keep me motivated. Not sewing made me feel lazy and guilty especially when sitting by my sewing stuff. When this pattern came out last fall, I knew it would be the ONE to get me back in front of my machine.

It’s the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio. I love it. As easy as putting together the pattern was, I found several areas of opportunity in my new sewing space. Where muscle memory used to help speed things along, I felt like a clumsy calf knocking things over and stumbling around searching for things. Everything felt new again.

The pattern instructions are clear. Jen is thorough enough that I didn’t get lost or overwhelmed. I love the shape. I made a size 0 and chopped off about an inch and a half from the sleeve. I basted everything first then ran it through my serger. I’ve worn this sweater at least once a week. The fabric is soft and light weight from

Linden Sweatshirt

The pattern doesn’t say to finish the finishing bands with topstitching, but I thought it made the sweater look finished.

Linden Sweatshirt topstitching

I have one more Linden to show you. Next time. Until then, I’ll be working on putting this site together.

Thanks for reading.