So, I've told you how I am trying to extend the life of my wardrobe in the interest of saving a little cash. Last week I showed you how to lengthen shirts by adding lace. This week's refashion is a little bit more involved, but so much fun.
I had this darling one-shoulder top that I never, ever wore, because it was what I call "high-maintenance clothing". That's what I call any of my clothes that require a special bra, or a tank top or cami to be worn underneath--basically if I can't grab it and throw it on without having to make sure that something else is clean first, it's "high maintenance". This top was in that category because, being one-shouldered, I had to wear a strapless bra with it, which is just so uncomfortable.
I knew I would wear this shirt more often if it had a strap on it, but of course I couldn't go and find fabric that would match exactly. I didn't want the strap to look out of place, so I decided to incorporate the strap fabric into other places on the shirt so it would look like it belonged. I am so, so happy with how it turned out!
When I went in search of fabric, I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous print. I have a special fondness for damask, and when this multicolored damask caught my eye I just couldn't say no.
Even though there's no navy in the damask pattern itself, I thought it looked great with the navy shirt.
The first thing I did was try on the shirt and mark where I wanted the strap to go (basically where it would cover my bra strap).
It's a little difficult to see, but there are two pins in the picture above marking the point where I wanted the strap centered. I also took a rough over-the-shoulder measurement to see about how long I should cut the strap. I added on a couple of extra inches just to have plenty of wiggle-room, and cut out two pieces of fabric for the strap.
To make the strap "fit in", I decided to add a piece to the bottom of the shirt, and an extra ruffle sandwiched between the two previously-existing ruffles.
To cut out the bottom piece, I just laid the shirt out on top of my two layers of fabric, about 4 or 5 inches up from the raw edge, since that was how thick I wanted the bottom band.
Then I cut the band pieces the width of the shirt plus 1/2" on each side for seam allowance.
To make the ruffle piece, I took a rough measurement of the finished ruffle length after it was gathered. I just laid the tape measure across it, following the curve, and used that measurement; it didn't need to be exact.
Then I doubled the length I measured to get the total length of the ruffle for the front and back, because I was going to sew it all in one piece. The finished length measured about 24", so I knew it would take 48" to cover the front and back. Then I doubled that whole measurement again to get the extra amount I would need for the ruffle, for a total of 96". (I know, I know, too much math for a Friday!)
Since the ruffle is on the bias (a diagonal line, not parallel or perpendicular to the grain line of the fabric) I decided to cut the new ruffle on the bias, too.
Fortunately my cutting mat has a 45° angle marked on it, so that was easy. I cut four 24" strips about 4" wide, on the bias. (I didn't bother adding seam allowance, since it was going to be gathered).
After cutting out all the pieces, I started the sewing by doing the strap first. With right sides together, I sewed the side seams. I decided to make my strap a little wider in the front and taper it to a slightly narrower strap, which is why my sewing line looks a little crooked.
I turned it right-side out and gave it a good press.
I tucked the raw edges in on the ends and topstitched them closed, and then pinned it onto the shirt where I had previously marked in the front. I sewed the front of the strap on just by topstitching it in place. I stitched on top of the stitching line already on the shirt so you don't notice the extra stitching.
Here's how it looks on the inside:
After sewing the front of the strap in place, I had my husband pin the back of it for me until it felt comfortable (yep, I'm teaching that man to pin, ha!) and then I attached the back of the strap the same way as I did the front.
To add the bottom band, first I ripped out the original hem in the shirt and pressed it flat.
I sewed the sides of the band pieces together, and then hemmed the band.
Next, I just lined up the side seams on the band with the side seams on the shirt and sewed it on to the bottom. (And apparently didn't take pictures of that part).
Finally, I created the new ruffle. I sewed all of the ruffle pieces together end to end, creating a big loop of fabric--pretty much just like the bottom band, only longer. I then hemmed the bottom edge and serged the top edge. Sorry I didn't get a picture of this part, either, but really it looked just like the picture of the bottom band above, except about twice as wide. I ran a gathering stitch along the top edge of the ruffle, and then gathered it to fit the shirt.
I lifted up the top ruffle and sewed the new ruffle to the underneath one.
The top edge of the new ruffle is hidden when the ruffles are all laying down as it's being worn.
Ta-da! My refashioned shirt was complete!
I know not everyone will have a shirt like this in their closet, but I hope this tutorial will inspire you to look at unworn clothes in your own wardrobe, think about why you don't wear them, and what creative things you can do to fix them.
What kinds of things do you have in your closet that you never wear? Have you thought about trying to refashion them?
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