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
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