Thursday, July 26

Re-fashioning/upcycling a man's linen shirt

This is something I've long wanted to have a go at, given that a local charity shop has a whole rail of men's shirts for £1. I didn't actually buy this one there, but found it on the reduced-to-£1 rail in another charity shop. With the weather being so hot this summer, and finding linen the coolest of fabrics to wear, I bought this XXL 100% linen shirt -

I made it into this - 

I wish now that I had taken more photos in the alteration process, but to be honest I don't think that I thought I'd be as pleased with it as I am, so didn't bother!

Basically what I did was - 

1 Remove the sleeves as close as possible to the armhole

2  Cut about 1" off the armhole all the way round

3  Took in the sides 

4  Re-attached the sleeves (using the flat method - more on that in a minute)

5  Cut off a few inches off the bottom of the sleeve

6  Made two pleats on the outside of each sleeve, and bound the raw edge using offcuts.

7  Gathered about 4" on each side of the shirt just under the arm, and stitched over this with pieces of the cuff plackets.

8  I couldn't resist putting one of my old Bag Lady labels (I used to make and sell bags) on the back, and then I did the line of running stitch in embroidery thread.

I didn't do anything to the collar as it looked fine as it was.

End of sleeve, pleated and bound

Pieces of cuff placket used to stitch over the gathers

Finishing touches!

The end result is well below bottom length, which I like as if I want to I can wear it with leggings. It is lovely and baggy but in a way that actually looks as if it was made to fit me. I can wear it on its own at this time of year, or wear layers underneath in colder weather.

Flat method of attaching sleeves

I'd never really cottoned on (almost a pun there...) to the fact that sleeves aren't always sewn in the same way until I had a job ironing. I had one of those "aha!" moments when I was ironing the shirts of the man of the family. I could see that the sleeves were attached flat to the opened out armhole and then the sleeve seam and side seam were stitched in one go.

While I had been reasonably successful in the past at setting a completed sleeve into the completed armhole of a blouse or dress, and easing out the excess fabric at the top, there would sometimes be a telltale pucker at the top and I thought that surely this way it must be easier to eliminate those. I tried it on something though I can't remember what but it is indeed easier. There is an excellent explanation of the method here - do have a look! She even has a "combination" method which I shall try out next time I make something with sleeves.

I shall now be on the lookout for more XXXL linen shirts!