May 16, 2012

the Button Up Refashion Swap

Friends, here it is! If you follow me on Facebook - which you should - this is the project I posted a little while ago. And this is also the project that I was talking about with my thoughts on refashioning. I'll admit, I'm a little hooked on refashioning now. Can't say that I'm really good at it, but I can see the value and sometimes the project can be really easy, like this one I'm about to show you how to do, and it can give you a little boost in your sewing if you need one. And as you know, I've needed one.

So about this Blogger Refashion. I was contacted by Miranda of One Little Minute awhile back asking me if I wanted to participate. The premise was simple - refashion a men's shirt for a blogger that was assigned to you. I couldn't have been luckier in my partner who was Jen of Grainline (an awesome seamstress and proprietress of downloadable sewing patterns and wearable beauties) because she has nearly identical measurements to mine. Yay! That meant that I could at least try on the refashion and see how it would all work out! Yay! Anyway, there are 10 of us in all and we're all posting tutorials for our refashions today, so don't miss out. Here's the list:

Grainline Studio
Lazy Saturdays
Cotton & Curls
Megan Nielsen Designs
I Still Love You
One Little Minute
See Kate Sew
Adventures in Dressmaking

Alright, so let's discuss what I decided to do for my refashion. I opted to make a box blouse, basically two rectangles sewn together with room left for your arms and head. Yup. It's so easy, you might just chuckle. Seriously. Amy from Yellow Bird gave me the idea, which by the way, she's made several and you should head on over to see them because then they'll give you ideas for what to do if you want to make yourself one. Now here's the thing, I wanted to keep this simple. I wanted this project to be something you could really whip up in a jiffy and all without the use of a pattern. Something that WILL fit you, because box blouses fit everyone! Got it? Yeah. That's exactly the idea. So let's just start with the Box Blouse formula.

The Box Blouse Formula
Width = Hip or Bust measurement (whichever is larger) + 2 - 4 (more if you like) inches of wearing ease + seam allowances (side seams)
Length = the measurement from the shoulder seam to the hem of the finished garment (take this one when wearing a shirt!) + shoulder seam allowance + hem allowance (I like to have at least a good inch)
Note: You'll need the 4 inches of wearing ease if you are doing a box blouse that doesn't have a button up front - this to get it over your head, or you can always add a zipper to the side seam if you want to go with less ease!

Not bad right? Here, let me show you what this all would be for me:
My Width = My hip cuz its bigger than the bust (39") + 2 inches wearing ease + seam allowances (1/2 for each side seam) = 42"
My Length = 25" from shoulder seam to hem + shoulder seam allowance (1/2") + hem allowance (1") = 26.5"

Now before you go a cuttin out, divide your Width by 4. Now go and cut out two rectangles that equal your width divided by 4 x your length, on the fold of the fabric. For me, I would cut two rectangles that are 10.5" wide x 26.5" long. Friends, this could not be simpler. Are you with me? If you too would like to refashion a men's shirt into a box blouse, I recommend deconstructing the shirt by cutting each of the elements out like the shirt fronts, back, (I cut off the yoke) the sleeves. Then cut the back panel of the shirt on the fold and cut the shirt fronts with the center front buttoned up as the foldline.

Stitching it up!
All that's left is to stitch up your box blouse and maybe add a few details here and there. Stitch your shoulder seams leaving enough room for your head to fit through or if you're refashioning a men's shirt, you can opt for a neckline that's smaller than your head as you'll have the button up portion at the front. From there stitch the side seams leaving enough room for your arms to fit through and move about in comfortably. Hem the neckline, sleeve and the actual hem at the bottom of the garment. So easy right?

Deconstructing My Refashion
There are details you can add to give your blouse a little edge too. I thought, for a good example I would deconstruct the blouse I refashioned to give you some ideas. I used the neckline of a sewing pattern to create a sweet rounded neckline. You too could also take the neckline from a favorite sewing pattern or even an actual garment. I also added bias tape, made from the sleeve of the original shirt, to finish off the neckline plus give it a sweet little tie bow.

For a little more fit, I took in little pleats at the natural waistline. Just tacked those down with a fine zigzag stitch.

At the hemline, since I didn't have quite enough fabric to do a full 10.5" width for each of the rectangles, I thought "Oh Well!" and left little open vents at the side seams. I've found with refashions that as you go along you make constant changes to the base of the garment, which doesn't have to be a bad thing. More of an inventive fix, right?

I took off the old buttons and replaced them with new ones and also added a few more buttons & buttonholes to keep the blouse from gaping you know where. And finally I removed the pocket, but could easily have added another more stylish one.

Now Friends, how's that for easy? How's that for getting your sewing mojo on the level again? What do you think of my refashion? Like it? Wanna make one for yourself? You should! So easy, and really such a great blouse to jump into summer with. Jen will be give you a fashion show of it next week, in the meantime, I'm working on another for myself.

On the hunt for another refashion....

PS ~ We'll all be showing off the refashions that were made for us next week! Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking did mine and its delightful - I really can't wait to show it to you! Yay! Here's a schedule of when you'll see us in our button up refashions:
Monday, May 21st ~ Lizzie of Cotton & Curls, Krista of Lazy Saturdays
Tuesday, May 22nd ~ Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch, Kate of See Kate Sew
Wednesday, May 23rd ~ Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking, Miranda of  One Little Minute
Thursday, May 24th ~ Miriam of  MadMim, Melissa of  I Still Love You
Friday, May 25th ~ Megan of Megan Nielsen Design, Jennifer of Grainline Studio


  1. It came out so well! Seriously, I would wear that. You are clever!

  2. Awesome. I love the tie at the neckline, and what clever pleats at the waist! Can't wait to try it!


  3. Lovely! I have one way-too-piratey-looking tunic top and a man's white dress shirt that I needed for one day at work waiting to be my first refashioning projects. This gives me some great ideas. I would never have thought of using sleeves for bias. Thanks!

  4. Yay!!! So glad to hear you're hooked on refashioning! Obviously I love it :) Of course, there are definite fails along the way, but there are with sewing from yardage, too. This shirt is a total win!!

  5. That is an awesome refashion!

  6. What a cute idea! I have a few of my fiance's shirts in my stash that were waiting for inspiration like this.

  7. What a sweet refashion, it's perfect for thrifted shirts.

  8. so so cute! so glad to have been introduced to your site from this swap, i love it!
    now the real question is, how well would a box blouse work for my current pregnant lady figure...
    haha, this shirt is just so cute i want one bad!

  9. Ok that's a seriously cute little blouse!! I wouldn't have guessed the pattern for it was so easy! I'm a big fan of cute little boxy tops for spring and summer, they just go so nicely with jeans and skirts. :)

  10. I love the shirt that you used, and all the fun little details.

    Aren't refashions so addicting!?

  11. I love this! I think I have to make one. I should go hunting for a mens shirt that needs a new home and a makeover. Refashioning old clothes really isn't anything I've had any luck with, I never know what to do or where to start but this really inspired me!

  12. so cute! I love the little side vents and the stripes are awesome!

  13. Love the bow and the new buttons.

  14. Very cute! The bow and pleats are nice touches. I have two Mexican peasant blouses I absolutely adore and are this shape. I had yet to discover the shape had a name. I've had it in the back of my mind to eventually sew another using one as a pattern template and had a plan of action fairly similar to this tutorial. I'll feel more confident with this by my side when I finally do sit down and sew!

  15. So perfect. I love the clever way you brought it in on the sides! And the sleeves and bow tie are so lovely.

  16. [...] for me!) Kate of See Kate Sew (see the jumper dress Kate made) Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch (see the top Sunni made!) Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking (see the dress Suzannah [...]

  17. Sunni this top is adorable! I love all the little details and the print you choose. I can't wait to see it on!

  18. I think this is lovely! I think there may be a trip to the local thrift shop for men's shirts in my future.

  19. What! That is amazing! I love it. What a fantastic refashion! Now you're really inspiring me to want to try one to tuck into vintage trousers!

  20. Super cute! I love the tie bow.

  21. Wow, I love it! The bow is such a charming touch. Super cute...hmmm, Hubby has a couple of shirts he rarely wears. I doubt he will miss them. *sneaks into closet*

  22. Very good idea - I have a lot of mens shirts from my partner that are now too small for him, and I have been thinking about what to do with them - now I know!!

  23. [...] I’m really into the ties at the neckline as well, you can wear the top a little unbuttoned with the ties loose and it’s really cute but sadly it was so crazy windy and cold out that we couldn’t get a single photo that turned out like that. I think this top would look great tucked into a skirt as well, maybe a pencil skirt? I’m pretty low in the skirt department at the moment so perhaps I need to add some of those onto my sewing list and test the theory. If you’re interested in making one of these suckers for yourself, check out Sunni’s step by step tutorial on making this top here! [...]


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