Tuesday, November 30, 2010


WOW. I am sorry, that tutorial was long but we are going to do so much with that shirt and make at least five variations. It is a great staple for any wardrobe. Look for the variations in upcomming months.

Today, right now we are going to do the 8 days of refashioning. I am going to take you on a journey through the web and give you a peak at some of my favorite sewing tutorials and introduce you to some very talented people. Get excited. This is going to be fun. This will run from December 1 - 8.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Isn't she hot? If you want to look as hot, just follow this tutorial. I know it is a long tutorial but some of my friends who haven't sewn much begged me to make it as detailed as possible. This shirt would typically take me two hours to make and the tutorial took me two months to write. I am better at sewing than writting.
This shirt was made from a pile of clothes I was just going to thrift. I love the saying, "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without." I love making something beautiful from another person's trash. All you need to make this shirt is an old shirt your husband no longer wears, as long as you have a smaller frame than him. (Curse skinny men. ;))A sewing machine and some thread and a little elastic thread and the pattern you are good to go. If you don't have a sewing machine look on craig's list. The best brand is a Bernina. Even a really old Bernina will do an amazing job.
All my sisters are begging me to make one for them for Christmas. Maybe I will. Maybe you should make some for a few women you love.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It all starts with a man's shirt. An old one you have lying around the house or one that you buy at a thrift store. Just watch what we can do.

A2 McCALL'S 5929

A pattern is nice to have. I refashion a lot for little kids without one but when you are refashioning for an adult especially a woman you need a pattern. There are a lot of curves to a female figure so a pattern is necessary. (Was that redundant, yes.) Eventually, I would love to write my own patterns but until then this one will do the trick. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY A PATTERN. I WILL BE HERE HOLDING YOUR HAND THE WHOLE WAY. :)

P.S. Our final shirts will not look like the one pictured. It is simply a pattern we are going to base our shirt on.

A few things to note about patterns.

1. Pattern Pricing.

We are refashioning to save money. Pattern's are expensive. Luckily, fabric stores often have sales on patterns, especially during the holidays. You can call your local Joann's or Hancock and ask when their next sale on patterns is. Usually, the pattern will be .99 - 1.50, which is super cheap. However, if you want to follow this tutorial day by day and want to start now then just click here and order it. The cost is around 10.00, which isn't a lot of money for a shirt especially if you are going to use your husband's old shirt to transform. Then the total cost of your shirt will be 10.00, + plus thread, elastic thread, and interfacing. However, each additional shirt will be substantially cheaper. Around free. We are going to make different variations of this shirt, so it will be a good pattern to own.

2. Pattern Size Selection

You aren't fat, patterns run large. Gap, Banana Republic, Abecrombie and Finch have all have learned that women like to feel skinny. Through the years these companies have made the labels to their clothes smaller and smaller while pattern companies have remained consistent. If your pattern says you are a size twelve, don't be offended. I know you are a size two, it is okay. I have given a lot of sewing lessons through the years and this is always a discussion with my students. Look at the back flap of your pattern envelope. You will have to enlarge this picture to get a good look at it. Then take a measuring tape and measure yourself. If you have any questions about measuring yourself click here or leave a comment. On the flap of your pattern look at the body measurement chart. The most important measurement for this pattern is Bust, Waist, Hip. Here are my measurements. 35 inch bust, 31 inch waist, 38 inch hips. As you can see from the flap there is no size I fit in. My bust is a size 12 1/2. My waist is a size 16 1/2. My hips are a size 14. Yeah, now what? It would be easier if we could all fit in a mold. Sigh. I am going to start in the middle. I will make myself a size 14. If you have any questions on which size to choose write, "My friend is ____ measurements in the comment box below and ask for a suggestion." No one will ever know it was your measurements. Or, just send me an e-mail. Then get your pattern and get ready to start. We are going to have some fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The first thing you do when you are starting a refashion is remove the pocket. You don't want to cut into the pocket when you cut out your new shirt. You may want to reattach the pocket or you may not, but you don't want a partially cut into pocket hangin' out in the wrong place on your shirt. Therefore it has to go. See ya.

Seam ripping is easy. Just go slow and don't gouge the fabric. You don't want a hole. You only want to cut the small threads. Once the pocket is fully removed there will be a few threads remaining. You will want to pull these out. Here is a little trick for you. Get a lint remover and run it along the spot where the unwanted threads are lingering and then you won't have to pull them out one at a time. If you need a more detailed post on seam ripping just leave a comment.

P.S. Seam Rippers are cheap and one of the most necessary tools in sewing. They are a few dollars at most and you can pick one up at your local Walmart or fabric store.

Friday, November 26, 2010


An iron is the very most important tool you will use in sewing. You can see from the starting picture that we needed to do a little ironing. Especially, and I can't stress this enough, before you cut into fabric it needs to be ironed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Each pattern piece is clearly labeled. Open your pattern and find pattern piece one. Cut it out.

Then lay it atop your man shirt. Get the corner marked 1 as close to the arm pit seam marked 2 without crossing over the seam. Also, be sure that the shoulder seam of your pattern does not cross the shoulder seam of your shirt.
Be sure to line the edge of the pattern up with the edge of the shirt. Pin it down.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The front band of this shirt pattern is unique and we could cut it out and make it work but the tutorial would be a little more complicated, so we are just going to alter this pattern a bit. Take a crayon, pencil, or a fabric marking pen and draw a curved line. Place your ruler where the front of the pattern starts to turn at a diagonal, mark up 5 1/2 inches, toward the collar. Then start at the size six line where the shoulder seam meets the neck line and draw a curved line down to your mark. Look at the picture and study it before your start. Easy easy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Cut the shirt. Don't get nervous. You were just going to throw it away anyway. Just go for it. Cut it out following the pattern lines according to size. I followed a size 14. Each line is drawn differently. Identify the size line you will follow and then follow the dashes, dots, or line used to identify that size. Remember follow your marked line (see marking our shirt post) as you cut along the neckline.
Then remove the pins.
Walla. Easy. Easy.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Lay the button front on top of the button hole front. Right sides together. ("Right sides together" means the sides you want showing out will be facing each other.) Then button the shirt up. If this is confusing leave a comment. I will try to clarify more. The above picture should help. (Note: You do this instead of using the pattern piece because you want your buttons and button holes to match up.)
Then cut out the button hole front by following the outline of the other side you have previously cut out. (Note: The two fronts pieces are identical.)
Walla. Then you can unbutton the shirt and set it aside.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Look in your pattern envelope for pattern piece number 4. Then cut it out. It will be the next piece we will be cutting out.
Look at the back side of your shirt. Most men's shirts have a little pleat back here. It will be a good guide if there is one in your shirt. Use the pleat as a guide to find the exact middle of the back of the men's shirt. Then lay it down in half.
Run your hands along the piece of the men's shirt you just folded in half and make sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric. You want to have a clean cut, so this has to be a clean fold.
Then lay your pattern piece down. Place the edge of the pattern piece along the fold in your man's shirt. There will be a small arrow diagram saying "place on fold." I know you are not an idiot but I have to say it because I have done it before. Don't cut the fold. Don't cut the fold.
Cut along the outer edge of the pattern. Cut along three sides leaving the forth side, the fold, uncut. (Again: If you have an questions leave a comment.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


We are going to make this sleeve easy peasy. There are other fun ways to make sleeves. We will start here, but don't worry we will make all sorts of sleeves. This is only the beginning. Oh, this makes me so happy. Make sure the seam of your shirt sleeve is up and the fold of the sleeve is along your cutting board even with any line.
Then cut a straight line as close to the triangle of this button up cuff as you can.
Then move your ruler over five inches and angle it down to seven inches. The five inch mark will be along the seam. The seven inch mark will be along the fold. Just remember this.
The other sleeve is just the same way. Make sure the seam is on the top and your sleeves fold lines up with a straight line. Cut off as close to the triangle of this button up cuff as you can. Then move your ruler over five inches and angle it. The five inch mark will be along the seam. The seven inch mark will be along the fold. Wasn't it fun to work with a cutting board and blade instead of scissors and a pattern? Wow. And you just refashioned a sleeve without a pattern. Look at you. You will be better than me in no time and I will be looking at your blog for ideas.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Find pattern piece 6 and cut it out.

I used pattern piece 6 for the collar on another shirt I made with this same pattern and didn't like it. It was just too tall. I wanted something a little shorter, so with this shirt I am going to cut off some of the collar pattern. I know what you are thinking, "Isn't that against the rules. Nope, you can chop up a pattern you just have to do a little math to make sure it will match up with the body of the shirt. I will do the math for you, so don't worry about it.

You want this to be accurate, so grab a ruler and mark 1/2 an inch in from the inner edge of the collar. (Note: the inner edge of the pattern is the longer side. Look at the picture the side with the ruler layed across it.)
Move the ruler along the edge of the pattern as you continue to mark along the inner edge of the collar.
Then lets just cut if off and be rid of it. Trim along the line you have marked.
Easy Peasy. Done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Now we are going to cut out the collar pattern. I have a little fabric left in the fatest part of my sleeve. I am going to place the pattern here on the fold and cut two.
If there is a seam in your sleeve, and there is in mine, you will want to place your pattern on the fold without a seam. You don't want a seam mid-way through the collar. Or maybe you do. It might be sexy. I am not going to do that. I am going to place my pattern on the edge without the seam. (NOTE: Do not place your pattern on the seam edge. The edge pictured in the above picture.)
I am not going to mess with the full length of this pattern because I will have fold it in half. I would perfer to just cut the pattern in half. Gasp. No, you will be fine. Cut along the line marked "Center Back".
We added a little extra in the collar when we angled it a different direction. (See MARKING OUR SHIRT.) We also added a little extra when trimmed off the inner edge of our collar (See COLLAR ALTERATIONS) Therefore we will have to add a little bit of length. I calculated the additional length. We will need another 3". Since the pattern will be cut on the fold that will only be an extra 1 1/2". (Note: Be sure to line the sleeve edge up with the straight of the ruler and then line the ruler up with the straight of the "Back Center" line of the collar.) Pin the pattern piece down and mark the extra 1 1/2" then you are ready to cut.
Cut the piece out.Then use the piece you cut as a pattern to cut your second collar piece. This will be easier than remeasuring. If you have room you can use the same sleeve, if not you can use the other one. (Note: Again, make sure you cut on the fold without the seam. And, make sure your collar "Center Back" is lined up perfectly with the fold.)Pin and cut.
Your two collar pieces are cut. (Wait, there is more.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


You will need a little interfacing to help the collar maintain its shape. There are iron on interfacing. (Meaning when you apply heat it will fuse to the fabric.) There are interfacings that are not iron on. You can pick up either at your local fabric store. Find a light weight interfacing. I am to lazy to drive to the store, so I will grab some really stiff old curtain fabric that my mother had lying around and use it. You can use any stiff fabric. (Note: Make sure it is lighter than the color of the fabric you are using for your shirt, preferably white.) Fold the fabric in half use one of your cut collar pieces. Lay the "Center Back" along the fold of the fabric.Then pin and cut. Easy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We are going to cut two inch strips out of the remaining fabric. (Note: Be sure to cut them off straight measuring at the fold.
Now we got to take care of these bulky seams.
Trim off the seam, cutting it straight.

Now you have two long strips.

Do the same the other sleeve. I have three strips total. They aren't that long approximately 12" each. That should be more than enough frill for the collar.

Mark two inches in. My ruler is crooked, your should be straight.

Trim off the seams.
Last one is done.