Thursday, 23 April 2009
Shirt to Blouse
A tutorial detailing my spur-of-the-moment sewing last week:
You'll need a shirt, pins, a sewing machine and some elastic.
1 Cut the collar off.
2 Try it on. Pinch a pleat at the back so that the shoulder seams sit on your shoulders. Pin (you can do this by yourself, but it's tricky - estimate and lay the shirt flat to pin it neatly).
3 Push the fold flat and pin. Put the shirt on again. Measure and mark how long the sleeves should be, then add about 3 or 4 cm for a casing. Cut the sleeves off. (Cut one and use it to measure the second, so that they're the same.)
4 Put the shirt on again, mark with a pin, front and back, where you'd like the neckline to be. Mark the shoulders too. Consider that you'll have to be able to pull the shirt over your head.
5 Now it gets (only a little) tricky. Using chalk or a disappearing pen, connect up the pins.
6 Fold the shirt in half and pin together. Draw another line about 1 to 1,5cm inside the first line. Cut along this second line. Open the shirt out and correct the neckline if needed.
7 Try it on again. Pin pleats in the front, as many as you need. Accuracy is a matter of taste or time!
8 Fold neck edge inwards about 1cm, and stitch down all the way round. More intrepid sewers could use a facing or bias tape....
9 Topstitch the pleats a short distance if it's unlikely that you'll ever iron this shirt.
10 Try on yet again, and mark the narrowest part of your back. Stitch the pleat down at this point for a little bit of waist shaping.
11 Sleeves: Turn shirt inside out. Turn the cut edge of the sleeve up 1 cm, pin, then fold up again at your desired sleeve length. Stitch down, leaving a 2cm gap under the arm. You'll be gathering the sleeve, so don't worry if the turn-up doesn't fit the sleeve properly. Cut a piece of elastic to fit around your arm comfortably, with a bit extra. Thread through the casing, stitch the ends together, and close the gap in the casing with some handstitching.** I found inspiration for this project at clevergirl, in her fabulous shirt refashion series. If this kind of thing is your cup of tea, have a look at clevergirl to see what can be done with a shirt!