Getting Shirty

Every Spring two craft-related events are bound to occur in my life: the annual washing of the woollens, and a bout of refashioning.

Last year was an exception because with my bad back and work stresses I didn’t have much enthusiasm for either, but this year I was keen to do both. The first is well underway. All my jumpers, cardigans, jackets and vests, handmade or bought, are getting a gentle wash in woolmix then being spread flat to dry. I’m packing warmer items away with sachets of lavender (home grown) until the chilly weather arrives next autumn. Lighter, usually cotton-based items I keep on hand for the cooler days of summer.

This year I’ve set up a folding table in the guest room so I don’t take over the dining table for weeks on end. This had the added bonus of freeing up space for a bit of refashioning.

I wanted to begin with four old shirts of Paul’s that, from the looks of it, he barely ever wore. Apparently stripes are in again and these will certainly add a bit of that to my wardrobe. The first shirt (I began pinning and cutting before it occurred to me to take ‘before’ shots) was of a thin cotton, yet had long sleeves. I planned to make a sleeveless top.

The second was made of thicker cotton – with a fairly heavy yoke and collar lining – but with short sleeves. The thicker fabric had me thinking it was suitable for a dress.

The third was of thinner cotton. My plan was to make this a v-neck, short sleeved shirt.

The last was made of a lovely soft cotton. I hadn’t decided what to make out of it, but…

…then I saw the label…

… and decided not to cut it up, but wear it as it is, with the sleeves rolled up.

The red shirt required a fairly basic refashion, so I ‘warmed up’ with it. As it turned out, it wasn’t as straightforward as I hoped. I cut off the top part of the collar, but wanted to keep the stand bit. This was a bit large so I unpicked along the top, trimmed and sewed a new seam, which was rather fiddly.

Next, I started on the dress. This was one of those ‘two steps forward one step back’ sewing projects. I had to unpick and resew so many times. The armhole seams were done four times. When I was done I liked what I had made…

… but it’s just bit too short for a dress. It’ll have to be worn over something. That’s fine. I’ll call it my ‘butt-covering top’.

By then I had to clean up the kitchen table ready for visitors. I wound up putting everything away because I’d stirred up my neck injury and after futzing up the dress numerous times I was over sewing for a while. Still, I have two new tops made from shirts that would have gone to the op shop. Not that I’ve had a chance to wear them, what with Melbourne’s unusually cold spring weather.

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