Friday, February 17, 2012

Billowy white shirt

I've made a shirt... and the twist is that this was until recently a pair of trousers.  Yes really!
Before; as wide-legged trousers.  They were very low-rise in the style of about five years ago.   I could literally pull these trousers on and off without undoing the zip.  The last time I wore them was about two years ago (in this top right outfit) and even then I had the zip un-zipped and the sides lapped over and hoinked together with a big safety pin so they wouldn't fall down.
However the linen was such beautiful quality! and I did not want to let it go to waste...
so I did not.  :)
I have been toying with a particular concept for a shirt-from-pants for a while in my head.  I've had a very firm picture of how it was going to go together.  Naturally my nebulous "idea" didn't work out quite the way I had planned and I realised at some point that I needed more fabric, and in very different shapes, to what I actually had.  I had to pin, stitch, unpick, re-pin, re-stitch, re-unpick over several times before I dared to actually cut into any of the leg pieces... and there was a lot of this before I ended up with a design I was happy with.  No, I don't do muslins very often.  I consider them a waste of fabric.
The construction... well, don't ask me to go into great detail...  it was quite complex.  The long extended front bands, starting at the shoulders and extending down the fronts, and continuing around to meet at the centre lower back are from my original shirt plan, the one I had to abandon.  I liked how they looked, hanging in space like that, so I left them there.  To cover the join at the back, which by necessity in the design finished inside out with the seam showing, I made a little decorative button tab.
The shirt has two fronts, and the back has a two pieced yoke extending into the sleeve backs, and two lower backs joined centrally.
The back of the shirt has four corners of fabric joining together at a centre point.  I pressed the vertical seam allowances of the upper and lower backs to either side to reduce bulk in the long horizontal back seam joining them.  This is double top-stitched down.  Actually this shirt contains an eclectic mix of sometimes double top-stitching, sometimes single top-stitching and sometimes no top-stitching.  I applied these at whim.  It seems to work well with the casual and slightly avant-garde Japanese style of the shirt.
My favourite design detail is the sleeves and their closure.  The front sleeve is shorter, and almost a square.  The back yoke/sleeve piece has a distinct curve-and-flare in it, tapering off to one side, this was part of the original shape of the leg back pieces, and after lots of pinning the sleeve seams and trying-on multiple times I situated part of the existing curve to fall at the natural outer elbow. It looks very strange when the sleeve is laid flat, but the flare and curve actually accommodates the curve of the elbow very well.  It took a bit of experimenting, but I'm so happy with how this bit turned out!  It was a very serendipitous discovery!
Both points of the longer back yoke/sleeve piece have a buttonhole, and they both button down over a single button on the centre of the sleeve front hem.  To enable the button to cope with this amount of fabric, I sewed it to have quite a high and a very well reinforced shank.
So I'm super happy with how my shirt turned out!  There was almost zero leftovers, just a few shavings, the zip and the facings, and a few other miscellaneous small bits.  The 6 buttons were leftovers from this shirt.  Beautiful buttons, their only downside is that they are not for individual purchase, but only available on cards of nine.  Luckily I have a lot of use for little white buttons  :)
And I still have my original shirt idea in my head for another time...

Details:
Shirt; my own design, re-fashioned from a pair of wide-legged trousers, fine white linen
Shorts; Burda 7723, hot pink linen, details here, and to see these in 6 different ways go here.  My review of this pattern here

35 comments:

  1. Omigosh, do I love love this shirt. The fabulous sleeve detail, the hem detail. I don't know you come up with these ideas. :D

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  2. Love it! You're so clever! We could learn so much from your creations. I love how you've made the sleeve hems.

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  3. Ingenious , this is fabulous.

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  4. Wow! Amazing and unique! I tried to follow your explanation but still don´t get how a pair of trousers could become such a beautiful shirt.

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  5. It looks perfect on a windy beach, cool, light and fresh.

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  6. Really awesome! The design work and the engineering that went into this creation blow me away :)

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  7. So clever and your photos are lovely too.

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  8. What a cleverly constructed upcycle. The colours in your photo are glorious.

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  9. How on earth did you even get the idea making a shirt of old trousers? It's fantastic

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  10. What a fascinating (and mind boggling) transformation. Love it with the hot pink shorts!

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  11. Love the shirt! I agree, good quality linen should not go to waste. You are amazingly creative and such an inspiration.

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  12. Love the sleeve detail, sew clever:)

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  13. I love the way you can manipulate fabric and thoughts and get something fantastic. I really love those shorts - the colour against the back drop of the ocean is magnificent. What a great place you live near.

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  14. Love your shirt, and your shorts too!

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  15. Your setting is stunning. I am never certain whether your setting does your photos justice or your photos do your setting justice.

    I love linen too, although not to iron. It is one of my favourite fabrics, the way it drapes.

    Your pant shirt is very clever, although I would have to say I had trouble getting my head around how you worked this as well.

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  16. You certainly have an eye for the creative side in sewing. This shirt is just brilliant....

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  17. Quite an interesting and ingenious shirt - I love the elbow billow! :)

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  18. Wow! Very clever and ingenious. I love how the sleeves button. Lovely blouse all round which looks great with your shorts.

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  19. an incredible, unique romantic looking blouse . lovely linen is too good to waste ( although anything white in my house is no good after a couple of years )

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  20. You look effortlessly cool and stylish! I really like those sleeves.

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  21. I have a beautiful antique white table cloth that is too good to throw away and the edges are too worn and ragged to use. I started trying to mend it, but decided instead - when I found three of Bill's grandmothers tablecloths in excellent condition - that it could retire as a tablecloth and be re-born one day as a white shirt or dress. Clicking on all your links to other posts makes me envy your wardrobe - and your weather - all the more. Great shirt!

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  22. What a clever refashion Caroline. Perfect for a day in the sun.

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  23. A beautiful shirt!!! Great upcycle!!!

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  24. Totally original, totally you. "upcycling" great word isn't it?

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  25. It appears by your comment, that I have caused offence in my comment above and I hope that is not the case. Both your photo and your setting are stunning as I said above and one compliments the other.

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  26. the beach is gorgeous and the billowy sleeves are wonderful. Now, you'll have me studying pants and trying to think how you did it...

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  27. Hi........ I love your shirt, your short, and especially your blog!

    Christine

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  28. Its fabulous! And ingenuos! Well done.

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  29. Lovely shirt Carolyn. Brilliant that it was a re-use of fabric.

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  30. Pattern Magic 3 nos. 8 and 13 look perfect for this. Something about great minds...?

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  31. Hi Carolyn, lovely shirt. Making it from a pair of pants seems an amazingly difficult process. Particularly from one who is more adept at hacking something from a piece of wood with a chainsaw. nothing delicate about that. your skills with fabric are just amazing and although I do not understand a lot of the jargon I love reading your Blogs.
    Love Dad

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  32. What an amazing transformation of a pair of pants. You've got me thinking about a pair of linen pants that I made years ago and never wear. Too good to dispose of, but not the right style. Perhaps they are due for an upcycle! I love the inspiration I continually receive from other bloggers. It's a great community.

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