Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday Sew-Day... a day late

In my defense, today totally feels like Sunday due to the three-day weekend we're enjoying. You see, in the United States today, we've been celebrating Memorial Day - a time to reflect on the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces and given their lives to preserve our way of life. Whether you believe in the cause or not, whether you support the given war or not, there is no denying that what these people have done is courageous.

In honor of the occasion, I decided to create a military-inspired shirt dress using this free maternity tunic as my starting point.

Khaki Shirt DressKhaki Shirt Dress

In addition to it being too large, it was also just shy of being long enough to be worn as a regular dress. But it did have pockets!

I started with sleeve removal.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Then I cut just above and below the drawstring.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I cut the cuff and cinch strap off each sleeve.

Khaki Shirt Dress

From each sleeve I cut out my waistband pieces. This will help lengthen the dress to a more modest hem. The three pieces with the serged edge trimmed off are the ones I'm going to use.

Khaki Shirt Dress

So I had four short pieces and two long pieces. Each piece is slightly longer on one side than the other to make my waistband flare out just a smidge.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I attached the smaller pieces to the ends of the long pieces.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Next I took in the sides of the bust portion.

Khaki Shirt Dress


I added a little pleat on each side of the front for bust room.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I snipped off ten 4-inch pieces from the original drawstring. These will become my belt loops.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I sandwiched the top portion of my dress between the two waistband pieces, stuck in my belt loops, and stitched it all together.

Khaki Shirt Dress

After pressing the waistband flaps downward, here's what I had.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Then I added the skirt portion on the other edge of the waistband. In addition to the existing center-back pleat, I added a couple more to pull in the excess fabric. I only attached the skirtto the outer layer of the waistband though.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Then I folded over and pinned the inner waistband layer to enclose the raw edges.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I stitched "in the ditch" so it's barely noticeable from the outside.

Khaki Shirt Dress

To finish off the waistband edges along the button band, I cut two rectangles from one of the discarded cuffs. The existing layer of interfacing will reinforce the ends of the waistband.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I pressed all four sides inward, then pressed the whole thing in half.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I pinned and sewed and we're all set with that for now.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I cut off the excess shoulder and armhole fabric.

Khaki Shirt Dress

A couple bust darts will keep the armholes from gaping.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I used my trusty seam ripper to open up the remaining drawstring bits.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Then I used that opened drawstring as an armhole binding.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I reused the sleeve cinch straps by stitching one end to the inside of the collar at the shoulder seam. This will be folded over and buttoned on top of my shoulders as a nod to military uniforms.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Finally, I hand-stitched two buttons on each shoulder, for the straps, and three hooks on the waistband. I ran out of eyes for my hook-n-eyes, so I just used my thread to create a few little loops.

Khaki Shirt Dress

To be honest, I'm not entirely thrilled with how it came out. The original drawstring was just too high, so I was forced to put the waistband higher than I would've liked.

Khaki Shirt Dress

As a result, The dress looks like it's too tight across my chest, because there's not enough fabric to do down under my boobs quite all the way.

Khaki Shirt Dress

I may still wear it a time or two, but it will probably end up in the donation pile.

Khaki Shirt Dress

But that's the beauty of refashioning cheap (or even free!) garments: if you're not happy with the final product, it wasn't a big investment in the first place.

Khaki Shirt Dress

Pardon my furry photobomber. See likes to steal the spotlight.

Khaki Shirt Dress



Khaki Shirt Dress - Before & After

14 comments:

  1. Too bad it did not work out this time, anyway, I love how you used the opened drawstring as binding tape, that was super smart!

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    1. Thanks! It was pure laziness. ;)

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  2. Someone will love it your discard! It is all about the process, and this remake was time consuming. "Watching" you work develops more insight for me - I notice possibilities in garments that I may have overlooked before. Today, it may not have been perfect, but the lesson is!!!

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    1. That's fantastic, Linda! I'm glad I've helped get someone else's creative juices flowing too.

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  3. Hi Carissa! Nevertheless I like it! Much better I must say! It's too tight in the chest you're right, but you can buy another one bigger and do the same!!!
    kisses from Portugal!

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    1. Absolutely! I may not be happy with this piece, I may not even feel inspired to re-refashion it, but it's still better than it was!

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  4. I still think this is an amazing refashion. I'm sorry that after all that work it's not quite right for you but still...look how you changed that garment!!! That's just incredible. I'm lucky if I can cut off some sleeves and not make one shorter, ha ha!

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    1. Hey, sometimes trimming sleeves and length is all it takes to make a frumpy dress fabulous!

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  5. Cute concept, though. Some flatter-chested lady will love it when she finds it in the thrift store :)

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    1. I hope she appreciates what I did for her! :)

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  6. It does look to small on you.... or your boobs look to big for it (that's not so bad right?) But still.... it's an amazing refashion! You might be my sewing idol!

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  7. Oh, so sorry the fit wasn't ideal and you weren't happy with it, because this is one of my favourite refashions from you.

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    1. Thanks, Magda! I wish I could say the same, but that's okay.

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