Shirt Blouse Pattern

When I first started this pet project / blog, my mini-ambition was also to develop a set of patterns suitable for upcycling clothes, and it seemed to keep falling by the wayside.  I did up one last year….and its still on rough paper (but I hope to get that drafted and tested in the next month)

Two months ago, I changed jobs – I went back temping –  and wanted to make up some new ‘work’ tops.  When I used temp years ago, I would wear skirts more, whereas this year I have pretty much been wearing cigarette pants all summer, and wanted to make up a few ‘prepier’ looking shirts/tops to go with them.  One was this butterick shirt, which I made from a pale blue linen.  The one think I hadn’t thought of, was to cut the front up-side-down on the men’s shirt as the buttons go the wrong way!

butterick shirt upcycle

Anyway – while it has been a useful addition, I wanted a top with no collar, but still ‘crisp’ looking.  I had a white dress shirt from the sewing room in the cupboard and ran this one up.  I was very pleased with it, as I managed to get the whole top out of the shirt (and still have some usable scraps left – cuffs and collar).  I took off the pique panels and used them for the yokes and incorporated the button holes as a ‘feature’, and did a slash opening at the back.

I was very happy with the construction – its a lined yoke, and slash opening back, and sleeves are sewn in flat, and there are a small amount of gathers at the cuff of the sleeve.

white shirt upcycle

I then wondered how adaptable the pattern would be, and as I had a few stripe shirts in the workroom, so I started to experiment with some mix and match there (I had planned to use these with the teens in the sew summer camp) so started taking them apart and sampled up a few – tweaking as I went along, the main tweak really was adding shoulder darts.  I am rather pleased with the patchwork-ed ones and am now foisting some of the makes on friends, as I got carried away with the making…..

shirt blouse - upcycle shirt


So-with the making of the new Irish Dancing Dress looming I spent last weekend drafting and had it scanned yesterday.  I put it on craftsy and its free, and hope to have an A4 version up by the weekend.  I am hoping the explanations of each step is sufficiently informative without being too simplistic.  I have found in the sewing room – that I tend to assume that ‘everyone’ knows this – but then remember or am reminded that not everyone learned to sew in school etc.  So if you have any comments tips on the instructions and pattern if you wish to download/read/use, I would be delighted to hear them.

Originally I was to grade it also, but I was running out of time, and if my niece (irish dance dress) finds out I am doing extra-curricular activities – I thought it best to finish what I had, and get onto that!


Shirt to Sunbather

Another quick sew, and my summer sewing seems to be taking shape, a lot of the colours I am using co-ordinate well, and I am using up a lot of what was in the ‘press’.  I had seen a few of these tops on WeSewRetro, and I got the pattern from Etsy.

I used a charity shop shirt, harvested the buttons, and cut out the top gathered piece in 2 pieces, as well as having to divide the pattern piece for the back wraps in two.  I made a grain error (ie cut it off grain) in the end wrap pieces but it makes no difference really.  There is enough shirt left over for a button back version of this!  I used about 5m of store bought bias binding (2euro), and lined it with left over sheeting (its a thin sheet/like flour bag fabric).  My lining was cut the same as the fabric, and sewed to the fabric before the top was constructed.

Very quick make….. however the temperatures here have taken a dive so it may not get worn for a while!

vogue 5954 – mans shirt to vogue blouse – (mad about plaid)

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

I was hoping to make this blouse for my sister, but she told me that it wasn’t a style she would go for…. so I graded it down and thought I would try it.  I seem to be going through a bit of a plaid phase, (perhaps anticipating someone might get me the vivienne westwood book for chirstmas ……seeing as I have dropped enough hints), and I didn’t even check if the pattern recommended plaid – and sure enough it didn’t, but I was keen to remake the shirt, and keen to try pattern, and thought it could be handy to try, and if it didnt work out, then I would still have some good panels to rework.  nothing ventured……nothing gained…………

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

The photo shows a rough layout of the pattern – front yoke not placed properly yet.  I was a bit dim when I went to cut the back.  I thought I would be super smart and leave it a back button blouse – and I never checked the centre line, and the former front of shirt is not balanced on the centre plaid line – and the button down plaids didn’t match – I hadn’t noticed they did not line up – I just assumed they did – so I ended up sewing a back seam anyway (centre back seam is not centred technically).   Note- I only matched the plaid one way on yokes – centre line out (I matched the main part of blouse both ways), fabric for yokes was limited and I also thought as there would not be a perfect match either way.

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

The centre front yolk came out even enough, but I had to baste it (which is no bad thing and I should consider doing this more- that is, baste first, then sew, rather than sew, rip, sew, rip, baste, sew….).  I top stitiched the yoke panels, both back and front, and used lining as the facing on the yokes. The shoulder seams were never going to match…. and they don’t There is a side zipper.  The fit is good, and it ends just below waist.  
It has a nice tailored feel to the blouse – and it has a great shape to it, and like a lot of tailored clothes, your posture improves the minute you try them on!

I don’t know about the bow…. I think when the blouse is done in a silk, which I intend to try, the bow may work better then.    I would definitely do a button back from refashioning a shirt the next time.

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

On a completely different project, I am in a dilemma on where to start with this one

I got this plaid skirt some weeks ago.  Its wool, and I like the colours, and now the dilemma what to make.  I could do another plaid overblouse  or jacket, and I could also try a dress…. Hard to know as these plaid squares are big.  I was thinking of another coat as I have a black wool skirt and have black as sleeves and yoke and plaid as body (starting at armpits as opposed to bust in the photo below), and keeping the neckline round – and then I am thinking – o dear – another coat……………………..

The skirt panels measure  120cm x 80cm (80cm is the grainline) x 2