30 May 2009

144. Refashion 20: Gathered Neck Smock from Men's Linen Shirt / Refashion 21:Driver's Cap from Men's Dress Shirt / Gingham Sleeveless Summer Dress

I'm now officially sewing much more than I'm blogging -- I think I'm 5 or 6 posts behind, just in the last week! In the interest of catching up, here are the first three, starting with...:

I. The Dress

The bodice is from a shirt drafting experiment last year with simple princess lines. I drafted the pattern but never sewed it up. For the dress, I trimmed the bodice at the high waist  and went rockabilly for the skirt, which is just a fancy way to say that I indiscriminately gathered two widths of 44" fabric, , and threw them on the bottom.  The fabric is a dreamy, nearly gauzy cotton in chartreuse gingham.  Sooooo soft and light!

I hadn't drafted a collar to go with the bodice, but an image that Geek Sewing posted on Facebook a few weeks back from the latest Mrs. Stylebook - MSB154(79/174) - had been on the brain. This MSB dress had what looked like a Peter Pan collar with pointed tips, with a little rise. Again, it gave me a leave-it-to-beaver/ 50's vibe so I went with it. I went to my new favorite drafting book, Dorothy Moore's Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking, to draft a simplified collar. I was going to use the sleeve pattern from the Pixie Shift but liked it sleeveless after everything else was done. So I bound the armholes.   I left the top unlined (I wear a thin camisole underneath) but lined the skirt with some white cotton batiste.

Despite not putting buttonholes and buttons on the front placket (used a hidden safety pin on the inside), I wore it Sunday to the Austin Wine Festival, where it got good and sweaty. It really is just great for our summer weather. A trip through the laundry but not a subsequent trip under the iron later, it's back for our viewing pleasure.  BTW, it may look snug up top on Clementine, as she is 1/2" - 1" larger around the bust than I.

II. The Cap

Louis had Track & Field Day at school a few weeks back, at which point it came to my attention that he didn't have a summer hat that fit. A Japanese hat pattern book I bought two years ago came to mind -- I'd never sewn anything from the many books I bought, and I figured if I could get comfortable tracing a hat pattern from the sort-of-confusing pattern sheet, and drawing in my own seam allowances, I might work up the courage to tackle a garment from another Japanese pattern book.  I can't find an ISBN anywhere though it's got to be in the book somewhere, right?  Anyway, I have always had a driving cap for Louis from when he was a small baby, so I traced out the driving cap pattern and sewed it up.

The hat and lining are from a men's shirt that was a little on the heavyish cotton side.  I'm glad I used 1/4" seam allowances because there was a bit of curviness, thus made so much easier with narrow seams.  All I had on hand was a pretty stiff heavyweight craft interfacing, so I interfaced both layers of the brim.  The smallest size hat (56 cm) was a little big for Louis, so I'm modifying the pattern to scale it down in the right places for his head.  In the meantime, the hat is still a little big for me but might be perfect for my dad.

III. Gathered Neck Smock Refashion

This started out as a men's shirt, too, in a banana-y yellow linen-cotton blend.  In my eternal quest for slightly ever-new approaches to the men's shirts, I opened the neckline to a boatneck and gathered the shirt at the front neckline, then bias-bound the whole thing.  The bodice fell over the shoulder enough to  look like a little cap sleeve so I didn't sew in sleeves and just bound the armhole, too.  (Please ignore the sloppy posture and subsequent shirt swinging to the left!)

Either this pattern needs some work or I picked the wrong fabric for the pattern.  I used a self-drafted loose-fitting tunic pattern, made from my sloper, that had a side bust dart.  I rotated the fullness to the neckline.  But there's something odd about this shirt, how it seems to pull down at center front.  Since the shirt has linen, it has eventually wrinkled  along these pull lines, in a way I don't think 100% cotton would.  I took the photos first thing this morning, and you can already see the tendency for that front placket to pull down from the neckline.  I'll try this refashion again in 100% cotton, to determine how much of the pulling is due to a pattern problem vs. a fabric choice problem.  Do you have any thoughts or experience with this?

So ends this very long post!  How did I do trying to weave three projects into one photo shoot?  LOL  Next couple of posts: Yet another men's shirt refashion for me and one for Louis!  And he likes it!  It has been a busy week, hasn't it?


  1. Your refashions are so inspiring! I just love what you have done!

  2. you certainly have been busy! They look really great. I don't know how you manage to balance such a full schedule with 3 (count them) sewing projects! that lemon yellow is such a fresh colour. I look at that sleeveless number with the sweet little peter pan colour and long for summer, or even spring will do at this time of year.

  3. I adore Peter Pan collars!!!
    As always, great job.
    For the last one, maybe it's just the fabric.

  4. As usual, LOVE all the men's shirt transformations.
    And that hat?????! Super impressive! Awesome! Your pops would be proud.

  5. That's my favourite hat style - apart from the cloche, which I would never wear anyway as the rest of my wardrobe wouldn't go with one.
    And the tunic, despite it's left-wing swing, is probably my favourite of your shirt refashions i.e. I can see myself wearing something just like it.
    My own men's shirt refashion stalled when I realised I didn't have enough fabric where it was needed (at the arm holes). In other words, the boy is too thin or I am too fat. So I have re-cut it entirely into a...tunic.

  6. wow . . . this looks great. i am so impressed with your talents. thanks for sharing.

  7. Just got to do the buttonholes on that dress with said peter pan collar. Oh, yeah, I'll have to buy the perfect buttons first. Knowing me, it'll be blah-blah boring.

    Creations look awesome! Nice work on that collar.

  8. LOVE the lemon yellow color :-) And that cap is too precious.

    On the pulling on the tunic... is it a neckline problem? I wonder if you need a forward shoulder adjustment on the pattern.

  9. That is adorable! I used to refashion clothes for my daughter when she was little. Now at 16 she needs a lot more fabric!

  10. your command of the sewing lingo continues to impress me... not to mention your ability to imagine multiple creative refashions from a boring old man's shirt! and you've totally inspired me to make a hat. newsboy's are the way to go.

  11. They all look great. I like the dress best, but then I'm biased towards dresses anyway. I don't think it would have occurred to me to make a hat by reusing shirting materials - you know... if I made hats.

  12. I have looked all over for a hat like the one you made for Louis, but in adult size. What is the name of the book you got it from? Is there a way to get a copy of the pattern?



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