Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Trimming my waste: Week 46 (mom's refashion)



To say that this refashion was years in the making is no exaggeration. I started it three years ago. Then shelved it because I had an idea of what I wanted to do next, but didn't have the know-how. Last month, my parents came to visit. And I hauled it out and asked my mom for help (pro sewer) - so glad I did! Along with the know-how, this really needed someone else's eye and patience. 

Here's some version of a how-to:



I love this floral thrift-store shirt. But it got a little tight in unexpected ways, which is why I started on a refashion. It needed to be both wider and longer. 

Step one: Lengthen the sleeves. As this shirt got tighter, the sleeves somehow got shorter. Or hey, maybe my arms grew! Anyway, I tackled this part years ago and with confidence. 



After removing the original sleeves, I stitched in the burgundy sleeves.


I could have just cut the original sleeves part way down and inserted a piece of the burgundy to lengthen them. But the seam around the arm looked weak. So this felt like the right option to both lengthen and reinforce the old seam.


Lots of measuring later, I added back most of the original sleeve. I used the rest of the old burgundy shirt on little dresses I made for Ms R. 


Step two: Lengthen and reshape the bodice. Oy. I stared at this for a long time. The old green sweater was both stained and horribly out of shape. But it has a really cool zipper down the back so it felt like the perfect thing to use. In theory, I knew what I wanted to do and got started. 


I cut the back out of the shirt and used it as a template for cutting out the back of the sweater. 


This looked like a pretty comparable shape, but I was worried about attaching it back onto something that already had sleeves. 


Before I attached anything, I cleaned up all the raw knit edges so they wouldn't fray. I don't have a surger so this is a long zig-zag. The I pinned it back onto the front. It was a mess and I shelved it again. After this, my mom led the way.


I don't have anymore process shots for you because mom kept working while I wasn't around. To attach the back, she actually removed the sleeves (!). This is because my mother is fastidious in a way I'm not. But the result is a cleaner, stronger shoulder and sleeve join than I would have had. Then she reattached the sleeves and we started working on the shape and the length in front. 

The triangle inset on the side is something I've done plenty of times on dresses and tunics for Ms R. It's much harder to get right on my body. But again, having another pair of hands and eyes helped a ton and we got there. The final challenge: the shape the across the front. This involved trial and error and lots of tacking and unpicking for my mom. 


Was my new shirt worth three + years of work? That's probably not the right question. Most of my refashions are quick and don't require much skill. This was was a lot more complicated and I like the finished product a lot! And I enjoyed watching my mom wrestle with it - garment reconstructing like this can be much harder than making something from scratch, especially when you're joining two very different types of fabric. Thanks mom :)