Quick remakes – T and Shirt

I was asked to help with a workshop a youth group was running locally.  The ‘summer camp’ was going to try and combine fashion along with eco-sensibility – by both discussing the negative environmental and social aspects of fast fashion as well as facilitating the attendees to make their own fashion by handing over a fiver and getting them to go to the charity shops and find some clothes that they would wear or upcycle!

I thought I better do some quick sews to show them pieces that can be done with very little sewing and cutting.  I found a shirt and tee in the sewing room box (a lot of unsaleable pieces from the attached charity shop end up here so some have holes some have stains….).  The big T had some small holes and the design was badly faded, the shirt had a stain to the front.

The T

grey tee shirt cut out

The front print on this was faded but was not as noticeable on the wrong side – which I used as the right side,

  • I cut it up and rough cut a tee-shirt shape from the front and back and shortened the tee shirt
  • cut a slight curved arm-scythe. I used one of my own tee’s as a guide.
  • I sewed the shoulder seams together
  • I trimmed the sleeves into as long a rectangle shape, and joined each to a rectangle made from the front and back trim from the bottom of the tee – with the original hems left intact so they became the finished edge of the new sleeve – I gathered the sleeves and inserted them flat
  • and over-locked the sides together and twin needled the neckline and hem.

grey tee after (1)

The hem and neckline were turned over and finished with a twin needle!  The sleeves in this are very dramatic, but its a great tee, and I have since tried another with smaller sleeves.  The sleeves here were made from the 2 rectangles cut from the bottom of the tee-shirt only.

G Star T upcycleG star t upcycle

The shirt

There are a few upcycles around for this style of gypsy shirt, but I wanted to show shirring as I find it so useful, effective and fast.

shirred shirt upcycle to summer top

So for this I cut the shirt above cuff and placket, and around the neckline (which was just under the yoke of the shirt at the back, and over-locked all edges.

I then did 3 lines of shirring…. which equated to one bobbin full!  I later put in some at the hem.

Both took less than an hour each.

The workshop was last week and it was so interesting and so hectic – I did 3 afternoon sessions of about 2.5 hours and it was non-stop.  There were 7 attendees and a great mix of ages and fashion styles, and they were all incredibly enthusiastic.

Few had really sewn before and the nice bit about the making were all were happy with making in general and setting a realistic standard (I think sometimes teaching adults to sew is more difficult as some expect to have a store bought finish and feel defeated when it comes out otherwise.)  Anyway this was just as well as they all seems to have picked up very tricky fashion fabrics at the charity shops.


11 thoughts on “Quick remakes – T and Shirt

  1. wrong doll says:

    Fantastic – what a brilliant way to pass on your skills and ethos. I’d bite your hand off to be on a workshop like this. Really glad it went well for you – loved seeing the pictures of these creations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thanks Aimee – It was fun to be with with them – as it reminded me of my teenage sewing in the 80s – but equally I was rather conscious not to mention it too much (I used loathe adults saying to me as a teen ‘that was fashionable in my day’ and when I was your age….etc!) but I did mention to them that when I was in school, I used make dresses from old white sheets and dye them so I could swap with my friends for store bought dresses as I was always too broke to buy fancier clothes- I omitted the reason I was broke was that I smoked too many cigarettes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • wrong doll says:

        I’m terrible for saying to people younger than me ‘when I was your age’. I have made a mental note not to do that anymore! Making dresses from sheets and tie dyeing them is the coolest. I would have tried to nab you as my best friend back then – for the fashion and the fags! Now it’s just the former 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      ah thanks – but I am sure that ‘condescending’ comment is laced with envy – as they are the ones paying to get trousers taken up! I was happy that the teens got sewing, one even tried the shirring on a tee shirt neckline, and was so disappointed that she did not get to shirr the hem as well as we ran out of time – there was a queue for the 2 sewing machines to get everyone finished, but she showed me how she was going to knot the bottom of it so it tucked in. I loved the way they were so proud of their makes as once you are used to sewing you forget what an achievement it is in itself!


  2. Cate says:

    I bet they really enjoyed the workshop. The first t-shirt reminds me so much of what’s in the high street at the moment, so I can imagine girls finding it amazing that you can do that from an old tee. Hoorah for passing on your knowledge! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thank you, its only after doing the ‘camp’ that I am really appreciating the value again of sewing. I suppose as I have always sewn I forget what it is not to have used a machine and have a load of ideas in your head. One attendee there used only handsew (which was an achievement in itself) as she was into steam punk and cos play – and was rather intimidated by the machine (for real) but when she saw how much it speeded up things she was quickly converted! the more i thought about the week, the more I think it achieved


  3. sewing40damgate says:

    What a totally excellent project. What more is there to say? I know I am not alone but it worries me how much new and cheap clothing is being traded every day on every high street in every town in every country across the globe – and all of it with disposal at the end of its very short life. As Cate says – I’m sure all the participants enjoyed the workshop and will want to continue sewing and creating. Being able to do and make things is so enabling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      thank you so much – I am beginning to think I learned more from the workshop that the attendees as I began to re-see the value of sewing and enjoying sewing – I think as adults we want to do it faster and now, and at times I am like that myself. I am also rather proud of the old singer machines being well able for the teens too! the modern pfaffs in the community sewing room often get temperamental with newbies but not the singers!

      Liked by 1 person

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