Welcome to Top-toberfest: Day One. To kick off the celebration I thought that I'd share a tutorial for my recent refashion of a men's dress shirt. I picked this shirt up at Old Navy a few months ago for ninety-seven cents. I have been holding onto it hoping to turn it into something great. I must admit that I am quite pleased with the transformation.
|Image Source: Gap Online|
While browsing through Gap online I found a few cute tops for inspiration. These particular shirts don't button all of the way down, but I don't mind that mine does one bit. I had intended on adding a ruffle, but decided to hold off for a little while. I kind of like the clean simplicity of the pleats, but looking at these images does make me want to frouf it up a bit. The neckline and sleeve are hybrids between the two shirts. All in all I love how my shirt turned out.
The refashioning was a bit involved, but not too complicated. I ended up removing the collar, adding some back and front pleats, altering the sleeves, and taking in the sides. I kept the original hem and placket on the shirt.
For the tutorial read more below. To link up your tops in the Top-toberfest Show and Tell click here.
Alright, here is a basic tutorial for making this top. First of all a little information. The shirt that I used was a men's size small. I typically wear a women's small, but I am on the long side so I can get away with having a longer top (hence no need for shortening the length). I would suggest (if possible) working with a shirt that is fairly close to your size.
The Fitting and Marking
The first thing that you will want to do is try on your shirt. I apologize for the horrible pictures, but I was in our bathroom marking and shooting photos as I went. You can see that the shirt is too large for me, and definitely needed some alterations.
The first thing that I marked when trying on the shirt was where I wanted the neckline. In all reality I probably would have lowered the neckline a bit, but I didn't want to have to add an additional button. Because I wanted a button near the neckline I marked my neckline above that second button (upper right). I kept my placket open and didn't stitch it together when finishing my neckline. If you really wanted the neckline to fall between two buttons, you could always stitch the placket shut around the neckline.
I then determined the length of sleeve that I wanted. My sleeve ended up being a modified cap sleeve. To mark the length of the sleeve you will want to move the shoulder seam of the shirt to where it should naturally fall. Once your seam is in place you can mark the desired length (lower left).
Once you have marked the depth of the neckline you will want to determine the width, and mark your neckline symmetrically. Next add a seam allowance, Mine ended up being around 3/8ths of an inch. I then cut out the front of the neckline, unbuttoning the collar as I reached the shoulder. Now it is time to mark the neckline for the back of your shirt. As you can see my neckline in the back is about an inch and a half higher in the back than the front. Now cut the remainder of your neckline. Try on shirt to make sure that you like the neckline.
We are now going to prepare the sleeves. Because you have already marked the length of your sleeves you can very easily sketch out the sleeve shape. I wanted some fabric width on the underside of the sleeve, so I tapered the sleeve to the bottom rather than having a traditional cap sleeve like the teal Gap blouse (upper left). Once your sleeves are marked you can cut the sleeves off of the shirt outside of the shoulder seam. I found it much easier to work with the shirt if you leave the original shoulder seam attached to the body of the shirt (upper right). Now cut out your sleeves (bottom left). The bottom right image shows just how much room was left in the arm hole when I tried on my dissected shirt.
We are now onto pleating. I created three pleats on each side of the front of the shirt. I did so by creating my first pleat two inches in from the button holes. Each additional pleat is 1 3/4" away from the nearest pleat. The amount of fabric that you take in with each pleat should be determined by how much extra material you have to work with. I don't have a mathematical formula for you to determine the amount of each pleat, so try on your shirt and see what works best with your shirt and body. (upper photos).
Once your pleats are marked, pressed, and pinned try on your shirt to see how it looks. Adjust the pleats if needed. When you are satisfied with your pleats you will want to baste stitch the pleats in place. I did so by stitching 1/4" away from the raw edge. I also tacked down each pleat by stitching about 5 stitches down on each pleat. (bottom left)
The bottom right photo is a picture of the back pleats that I created. When I tried on my shirt with my pinned pleats I noticed that there was quite a bit of extra material around the back of my neckline. I marked the amount of fabric that needed to be taken in and created a box pleat (two pleats in opposing directions. I then stitched along the pleat until I reached the bottom of the back yoke.
After basting around your neckline and creating your pleats you can finish your raw edge. All of you fortunate women with sergers can serge the raw edges, if you are like me (a bit less fortunate), you can use an overcasting zig zag stitch to finish off those unsightly edges. (upper left). Now turn in your raw edge just inside the basted neckline. Pin the fabric in place. Press. Stitch 1/8th of an inch from the edge. Your baste stitch should not be visible.
Now it is time to try on your shirt again (and have the pins and chalk on hand). You are going to determine how much you are going to take in your shirt. The main considerations for me when doing this, was to reduce the size of the arm hole opening, and to create a slight more fitted look to the top. On the first side of the top I made quite a few practice seams. After trying on, marking, and stitching the shirt a few times I finally got it right. Once I had the first side done I simply transferred the shape of the seam to the opposite side and stitched. Trim you properly fitted seams, finish the edges, and press out.
Don't be intimidated by these sleeves at all. We aren't going to set them in in the traditional sense. It really is quite simple. Pin the center of the sleeve to the center of the shoulder. (Shirt right side out with right side of sleeve on right side of shirt). Next pin around the sleeve until you reach the under arm section. We are going to overlap the two narrower sections of the sleeve so that they overlap (lower right). You will the raw edges of the sleeves to be facing the same direction as the raw edges of the shirt. Pin in place.
Because we left the original shoulder seams on the shirt we can use them as a guide when stitching our sleeves in place. I stitched along the original stitching line (upper left). When you have sewn completely around the sleeve you will want to backstitch for reinforcement. Finish any raw edges. Press the seam to the inside of the shirt. I then stitched 1/8" away from the seam line to secure the seam. (bottom right).
Bottom left photo shows how the sleeve overlaps on the under arm section.
That is basically it. You will need to make modifications for your specific shirt and body type. I felt quite fortunate that my shirt was the size that it was. I love pairing it with the belt that I made and a simple pencil skirt. Feel free to ask any questions if I left out any major details.
|Oh the wonderful expressions of self portraiture.|
|Don't mind the wrinkles, it just sat through 2 hours worth of meetings....says something about my posture right?|
I'm linking up here today. Don't forget to stop back by all week long for more tops and tee's. Feel free to link up all of your tops on the show and tell page.