Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So I Had This Shirt...

We'd come to a face off. I love this shirt - the colors, the pattern, the soft material...but not the cut. The cut that shows off waaay too much of my cleavage to be appropriate. I am someone's mother, after all. Plus the sleeves are too short to be worn to work (shows my tattoo, which is distracting for some of my little special needs friends). I know the first thing you're probably thinking - layer! - but I am too much of a hot flasher to make that work, especially considering we live in DFW. There ain't no summer like a hot, humid, Texas summer, let me tell you! But back to the face off: This shirt was hanging in my closet, unworn, ill fitting, and making a mockery of my supposed decluttering mission! What could I do?

Upcycling is the answer, friends, and so that is exactly what I did. My firs
t thought was to turn it into a tunic, like mid-thigh length. I had this printed cotton left over from a mock dance blouse I sewed back in December to be used for a fit model:

A little mis-matchy, yes, but that's how I roll. I did grow up in Oregon, after all ;-)

First thing is first. I tried on the shirt and figured out a good level for the new, empire-style waist to be. Measuring from the bottom with a ruler, I marked all the way around with a Sharpie. Yep, we like to keep it classy around here!

If you are bra-cup well endowed, as I am, you may want to mark the back an inch or so higher than the front. That leaves some extra room for the girls without making the back hang low. Here's what it looked like with the line drawn:

Next, I cut off the bottom of the shirt, folded the bottom band in half and sliced it into two pieces. Can you guess what those pieces would become? That's right, sleeves of a work-appropriate length!

Here is the "new" top for the tunic, complete with the sleeves. I didn't do anything fancy with them, just turned, tacked and sewed them on the hem of the existing cap sleeves.

Just as a I got to the point where I was ready to attach my mis-matchy cotton, I got swept up in another sewing project. Driving one of our little teenage friends home from church, we swung by a garage sale (I know - dangerous!!!) and I happened upon a cast-iron room divider with absolutely hideous fabric panels on it. Price? $1. Unfortunately, I happened to have $1 on me (this is another reason I don't generally carry cash), so I was unable to say no to the gorgeous thing. Aah! I love it!!

Just so you don't think I've gone completely over the edge, I did have a use in mind for the screen. Mr. Make It Happen and I have an ongoing disagreement over the use of windows and sunlight in our apartment. I like to have the blinds open during the day, as I find the natural light energizing and it cuts down on the electric bill. He is, apparently, part vampire, and finds sunlight to be unpleasant indoors. He also dislikes having the neighbors see into our apartment, which is unfortunately one of the side effects of having a first floor apartment. I decided to try this screen out in front of the living room window, in order to have some privacy for him without giving up my sunlight. Here's how that's working for us, two weeks in:

As I'd said, the fabric panels currently on the screen were ugly: beige, scratchy, worn - yuck! Luckily, the velcro at the top and bottom were in great shape, so I was able to rip that off and reuse it with the pleated panels I made (shown above). I had a king-size flat sheet from Freecycle sitting in the utility closet, just waiting to be used, and I loved the color with the black iron frame. Because it's so sunny today (love it!!!), it's hard to see, but it is actually burgundy.

So after finishing the screen panels, I had just enough burgundy cotton left to make the skirt of a dress for my upcycled shirt, which I was planning to tunic-fy. What do you think?

I linked this post to Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesday post!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

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