white shirt shibori – simplicity 1364

Two white shirts for a euro.  Absolutely beautiful cotton, and my guess is that they were in a ‘bargain bin’ because they were dress shirts.  I buy mainly from the bargain rail in the charity shops as in someways I think the remakes are a gamble and I am don’t wish to be wasteful.  Shirts are rarely, if ever on the bargain rail, so I got these two as I wanted to see if I could make some summer tops. I had a definite plan for one, which was to make a back button shibori summer top – (and I think I have a plan for the other).

simplicyt 1364 shibori


The Simplicity competition supplied the pattern, its a nice summer top, it has a boat neck and simple shaping.  I even picked up the rit dye for another euro in another charity shop – all good!  I made the pattern some weeks ago to see what the shaping was like, and I had to alter the pattern a small bit to make use of the shirt.  The back was taken in a bit, and the curve at the top of the pattern was eliminated.  The front dart was changed to a simpler dart.  I pretty much did this while marking out – I marked the front and then traced the bust dart on a piece of paper, and reconfigured it by opening the dart further up – I removed the main pattern under and marked out the new traced dart.  The sleeves were cut from the sleeves, and I left the cuff opening in the same place. I was going to put a button to sew it shut, but I like it as it is.  

refashion shirt


upcycle mans shirt shibori


Sewing the pattern was pretty straightforward.  I sewed the darts in front and sleeves, and then sewed shoulder seams.  As it was a shirt style sleeve, I sewed it ‘flat’ as opposed to set in, and then finished sleeve seams, side seams and hems.  I decided to use the cuffs for the facing.  The facing is a little bit too heavy, but I will leave it for the moment (I will wear it for a while and may yet try a small stand up collar).  

I have not done shibori before, but always like the look of it.  I tend to prefer wearing regular patterns like plaid so the ‘mokumo’ stitching seemed to have a nice regularity to it, and the more uneven the stitching the more successful the outcome!.  While I was reading up on some shibori history, it seems that shibori comes from the making of old clothes to look new, so a lot of aptness there.

I stitched the shirt at 1cm intervals or so, across the width of the shirt, and the sleeves were stitched in the round.  I gathered them as tight as I could and knotted the ends.   I was trying an ombre effect, but its hardly noticeable (and I also had a few other pieces in the dye pot).  I had the top of the blouse wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it, and rinsed the dye off at the end.  I wasn’t sure what to do next so I undid the threads (shouldn’t have), I think there was still dye in the creases, and some got on the white (which then had to have some bleach on them).  I should have rinsed the dye in hot water and detergent, dry and then loosen the threads – so I will know for the next time.  I was also a bit impatient to see if it worked!  I didn’t take any photos of the process as I was too busy keeping an eye on splashes in the kitchen and have one blurred one taken on my ‘dumb’ phone below.



 I steamed ironed the shibori which should help fix it.  I have to launder it fully yet, so I intend to hand wash the lower half in detergent, dry and steam again, before laundering it fully, and I am unsure how this will work out.  The shibori is a beautiful effect, and I think I would have been equally as happy if I had just left the whole piece dark blue – my original reason for not doing so, was so I could keep the button-up, and the stitching in white may have looked tatt.  As it is, the buttons took some of the colour and I love the effect.  

rrefashion shirt shibori


The other now big plus is, I am going to shibori my ‘teen age’ smock from last weeks post as I think the repair to the small holes will be concealed better!

simplicity tunic 1364 – unfinished dress to finally finished tunic



A few weeks ago, there was a link on the thrify stitcher blog to a competition run by Simplicity –  they were giving a choice of three patterns to try out.  I had been thinking about drafting a sleeved summer top, but when I saw the retro one –  Simplicity 1364 I liked it for a shirt refashion, and thought I would try my hand at this pattern and sent off my details.

The pattern is really simple.
When I laid it over the shirt I was to remake, I wasn’t sure.  The sleeve was perfect but there is not enough fabric for the front dart so I thought I would try out the sleeveless version first 



I had a half finished dress (vintage butterick 5191 make), there were 2 reasons it was unfinished.  One was there is a flaw which I didn’t notice in the fabric at the time, I bought end roll and only after cutting out some time later, I saw the flaw is at the centre of a centre back panel (typical), and the other is as the dress neared completion, I was less inclined to finish as it had a matron look to it (not in the ‘carry-on’ movie sense which would not be so bad!). So it was ripe for a remake, as I also wanted to make a tunic to go with some silk trousers. 

butterick 5191 to simplicity 1364


I made a few changes to the pattern.  I wasn’t sure about the dropped shoulder in the sleeveless version so I just folded the pattern over.  The pattern was lengthened by 13cm and I put slits at the side.  Originally I didn’t have slits but it looked a bit odd, so I undid the seams and made them into slits using some binding to tidy the edges in case they folded over when wearing.  Also I had a feeling that the neckline was big enough to work without the long zip recommended, so I sewed up the centre back and left 10cm at the top and was able to fit it on so I decided I would do a button and loop closure.

refashion dress to tunic


The pattern cut and sewed up fast enough, and all was going along well.  I had decided to do some cream piping at the neckline and double piping on the pockets – and when I was trimming the facing and neckline…..dee-saster…… I hadn’t noticed some of the front was caught up – and yup – I snipped it.  So now I had a near-finished-twice-made garment with a huge hole in it.

simplicity 1364 dress to tunic


I left it aside for a few days – and then decided to use the facings to the front and cover the hole and just do a bound neckline, and then the pockets I put a strip of binding across each pocket – the two pockets looked a bit ‘overkill’ so I left it with one and prefer it a lot more.


So now I have a tunic for the swanky silk pants bought last year in a Charity shop.  They are most probably the last thing I will ever need but the silk is so so lovely and they were so so cheap (well a few euro cheaper than all the other trousers on the rack – maybe for some the cream silk screams high maintenance? I wasn’t put off and  this silk has such a pile they have to hang on a padded hanger!.)  They also felt just the thing to pack for 1930s cruise, the illusion was soon shattered when I showed them to a friend – her comment was – ‘so very Lucy Ewing!’ 

I will try and post a photo later of the ensemble complete when the weather warms up (once I find photographer and some patience on my part……………….)

and finally………..

the tunic could have been adapted a few ways – the current front facing is a bit odd looking, so I will launder it (I am still not 100% sure of the colour fastness – I don’t generally prewash) and wear it but I am thinking I will try one or two other necklines.  As it was made with the silk pants in mind, I was trying to stick to cream, and I have some ivory silk scrap that could be used for detachable or fixed asymmetric collar, or I could front face in a soft white cotton?