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Topic: Smallish man's button-down to upsized blouse  (Read 3227 times)
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« on: October 15, 2012 03:51:16 PM »

I haven't sewn for myself for a long time - I got pretty down about my weight gain and felt like it (I) wasn't worth the effort... but this challenge got me thinking and I even decided it would be nice to have something 'new'. I don't take a very good photo, but here's the finished product. Hopefully my description of the process will be useful.

I made this with the impending Australian Summer in mind, and also since gaining weight I prefer looser clothing.
I started with a shirt from the thrift shop that cost $4.00.

 I could do up the button under the bust but tummy and hip areas were not accommodated.
I decided to set my own parameters for the challenge - I wanted to do it all with the one shirt, no extra fabric. This is because all the beautiful projects featuring men's button-down shirts usually begin with shirts that are big and the project is all about shrinking it down, and while I do love those, I wanted to try something that would be helpful to those of us who hardly ever find shirts in attractive fabrics that are so much bigger than we are to start with.
By the way, here's my attractive fabric:

 (100% cotton, so ironing would have been good, but I only realized this challenge was on yesterday so I've been rushed).
First step: Admire the shirt you are starting with, knowing that you will make it into something you can wear:

2nd step: Chop, chop sideseams and sleeves:
3rd step: I took the cuffs off the sleeves:

4th step: Try on your chopped shirt to get an idea of what you will need to insert/modify:
  (sorry for hopeless self-photography)
5th step: These are my two sleeves. I have chopped them to make two parts - the top part will go back onto the blouse as the final-product-sleeves, the bottom part will be modified and inserted in the side to increase the girth of the blouse:
6th step: I got those bottom sleeve pieces and halved them downways, then put the two pieces together to make the strip to insert in the side of my blouse.

7th step: I hemmed the ends while I was at it. These hemmed ends will become part of the existing hem on the blouse. Notice the plackets from the cuffs... these make a cute hem-edge detail on the finished blouse.

8th step: I trimmed those strips I made so that they'll insert nicely into the side-seams of the blouse.

9th step: Pin strips in and try it on. The dangly bit will get cut off and used in the sleeve.

10th step: Testing out the sleeve - this would fit but I'm making mine a little looser with the dangly bit I mentioned before.
11th step: Here's the bit that previously dangled being inserted into the sleeve.
12th step: With more time I'd do something fancier with the sleeves - cap sleeves or puff sleeves - but ever-mindful of how little time I have handy I am just doing boring sleeves. For all practical purposes you could stick the sleeves in and just stop here... but I am going to alter the neckline to make it look less masculine.
So that was 12 steps to something wearable - and it didn't need any extra fabric!
 But then I went and cut the collar out.
13th step:
14th step: So here I am, unironed and trying to photograph myself - but you'll see the neckline has changed. I can now leave the shirt buttoned up as the neckline fits over my head. I might even stitch the front down so that the buttonholes won't get spoiled in the wash.

Collar detail: The collar is made from the original collar plus the two cuffs. I just let them overlap and I'm really pleased with the final effect.

I had been feeling down and had not sewn myself anything for so long and this challenge really cheered me. I'm thinking of looking in the thrift store for another shirt and I won't be sad about all the shirts being too small for me - I'll find the one made of the nicest fabric and bring it home and make it fit!

I also thought of trying a version using a Winter shirt that would turn into something like a short-sleeved jumper to wear over a long-sleeved skivvy... but that will be a project for the Australian Winter - right now I'm thinking of the sleeve and collar variations I might deploy on another Summer version.


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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012 05:03:40 PM »

Great job.  It looks great on you.  I love that you just used the one shirt as it makes it easier to repeat and works really well with the design. 

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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012 05:41:33 PM »

I like that you took something to small for yourself and upsized it so it could fit you. You did an amazing job at that and the blouse is really cute.
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012 08:10:33 PM »

It's neat you were able to make it bigger while keeping the basic style the same, just shortening the sleeves.

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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012 01:34:55 PM »

Wow, what a brilliant job.  At first I thought I heard wrong, that you hadn't used extra fabric and yet you'd upsized it!  You totally inspire me to try the same.

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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012 09:02:06 PM »

Great idea to use the sleeves for side panels!! Fantastic!!
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2012 10:56:43 AM »

Wow - way to not use extra fabric! It looks great on you. Smiley
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012 12:11:00 PM »

Hey Jen,
Cute redo, don't worry about weight  there are many many of us (including me) out there in the same boat you are in with the weight, it sucks!  After two kids and thyroid cancer causing even more weight, I have a new motto, Watch what you can, exercise and LAUGH the rest off!  So cheerio to you and keep on smiling, do another shirt, the better they fit the better you feel! God bless you!
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