Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Long Sleeve Shirt No More

There are a lot of people out there in the blogosphere who spend a lot of time rebuilding clothing and making one thing become something else.

In general, I don't want to spend a lot of time making shirts into skirts or t-shirts into underwear.  Mostly because I'm lazy and it takes some ingenuity.

And also because if you're not careful, you can end up wearing things like this.  Forget about 'dropping it like it's hot'.  If you walk by someone while you're wearing this, they will drop everything and run very fast before they go blind.

But, I got some bug up my butt yesterday about seeing what all the hoopla is over making long sleeve shirts become tank tops.  I like tank tops.  I have long sleeve shirts that I'm no longer in love with.

And since it was like 85 degrees and very humid, I figured what better way to spend an afternoon than soaking with sweat trying to "repurpose" a shirt.

My sewing room is sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter.  I like to think it's really a sweatshop up there.

I had this Old Navy shirt for a long time.  I am not usually a fan of Old Navy and I tend to think their things are made like crap-o-la but I have a few weird pieces that I've found and worn to death over the years.  This shirt was one of them.  I can't believe Old Navy even sold anything like this.

I've come to a point where I think flowered patterns like this should only be worn in small amounts, like in a tank top, not a whole shirt with a collar and sleeves.  No one really looks good in a flower print all over the top of her body!

So, with just some ideas about how this would work, I cut off the sleeves.

Then I put on the shirt and decided where to cut it across the top.

Then I rolled the under arm seams over twice and stitched them so they wouldn't pop out and look homemade.

Then I had to debate a lot of things.  The back was kind of floppy because I think there had been a pleat across the shoulders.  I decided to make a casing across the back and put in a little elastic.  That solved that problem.

Then I had to debate the front.  Since this was a partial button down shirt, it was fairly tailored and if I didn't want to add a side zipper, I was going to have to leave the buttons unbuttonable.  This meant I had to figure out something so that the front didn't flop around like the back, so I made casings on each side of the front and put in a little elastic there too.

Then came the straps.  I ended up making two sets because the first set was too much like spaghetti straps and I didn't want that look.  Thankfully, I had enough material in the sleeves that I could make another set that was wider.
It took a while to get the straps attached the way I wanted.  If I had a dressmaker's form, this would have been much easier because after about the 50th time that I put it on and off, I was very hot, sweaty and sticky and becoming agitated.

After less than 2 hours, this how it turned out.

If I had done a lot of things more carefully along the way, it would probably have taken less time.  But, when I get excited about an idea, I hate to take the time to run downstairs and iron a seam or baste the straps with thread so that they will hold for a minute.

Instead, I pin and repin and stick myself and get aggravated.

I like the way it came out.  I'm probably just so overjoyed that it looks the way I thought it would, that I can't see that it's pretty heinous.

My original plan was to have elastic in the straps so they would not flop off.  When I was first trying it on, I was so hot, they were sticking in place.  Now that I am slightly cooler, they are kind of sliding around, so I might make an adjustment.  Or maybe not.

I am sure I will look back and wonder why I thought this was any better than the long sleeve version, but I had to satisfy my curiosity and make sure I could really do what I thought I could.

No, I will not make you one, so quit asking.

Linking here:


  1. But...but...I want you to make me one! Seriously, I'm very impressed. Would look adorable with a white cardigan!

  2. Ya, I kind of think of Old Navy as disposable clothing too, but I love what you did with that. I wish I could sew. I screwed up the locker caddy I made in home ec, so I never really tried it again.

  3. I think it turned out totally cute! I'm still a beginner sewer myself and haven't tried a project like this before :)

  4. Very creative! Thanks for linking up!


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