Friday, April 01, 2011

A paisley shirt it is

Yes, I’m officially sewing. In an effort to continue practising my hems while actually using whatever I create, I decided to take a page from the Marisa Lynch handbook. I first heard of her on The Nate Berkus Show: she buys used clothing at $1 apiece and modifies it to fit her (shortens the hem, cuts off the sleeves, redoes the neckline, etc.; the previous link will give you great examples all on one page). She did this every day for a year and catalogued the odyssey in her blog, New Dress a Day (and here’s the post where she talks about appearing on Nate).

I didn’t see a $1 pile at the Salvation Army, but I did end up buying a somewhat ho-hum paisley sundress for $4.99. The print on this long dress was a little too much for me, and the cut was definitely not flattering. The skirt was torn, and there was also a little tear near the bottom of the zipper in the back. I decided to make this into a shirt!

I shortened the hem of the dress (after pinning it and trying it on to make sure, and measuring as best I could to get a straight hem). I folded it over twice in ¼-inch increments, pressed it, and stitched the new hem with matching thread. The front of the new shirt fit quite well, but the back was still loose, so I decided to remove the zipper in the back and stitch both sides together (again, I pinned it first and tried on the shirt to make sure). I then loved the fit of the new shirt, but it was still missing a little pizzazz.

The front of the neckline was a little worse for wear. I dug into my (still small) button collection and found a great round pink button that I thought would work wonderfully. However, once I got a good look at the back of the button, I realized that it would be hard to sew it on and not have it wobble. So I kept looking and chose a light pink two-holed button, which I sewed on the front of the shirt. (As you can see by the pictures, I actually did this before I removed the zipper, but it made more sense to finish with it.)

Ta-da! Brand new (and cute) shirt for $5, and a little more confidence in my sewing skills. Next up: I’m making a dress from scratch, which I’ll post about once I finish it.

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