Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Phoenix Shirt - To the Scrap Bin & Back

You know that feeling when you have nothing to wear? I know you do. Well, I was feeling that the other day. It was hot and sticky, and my jersey tanks weren't gonna cut it for the comfort OR the cute. I considered taking on another structured alteration ala my last pinterest shirt project. But I didn't have the time or patience for a long project. That's when I stumbled across an old tattered, too small, rejected button up shirt of mine at the bottom of my scrap bin. 

The primary reason I no longer wore the shirt was some unfixable holes along the neck line. But the other problem areas are slightly more universal. I outgrew the shirt. I mean, I got a bit pudgy for it. Or maybe it shrunk, but let's get real. The sleeves were too tight and puckering. The front buttoned but not well or without gapping. Basically, it wasn't a flattering shirt.

I wore this shirt to tatters sometime around 2007 and then loved it so much I couldn't part with it so I folded it and stored it where all beloved patterns wait to become quilt squares. Thank goodness I never got around to dissecting the shirt for parts. Turns out, it has plenty of life left in it. And the redesign was simple. (SO simple.) And only took about ten minutes from start to wear. (if that)

There are three easy steps to redesign any slightly snug, neck-tattered, button-up shirt into a breezy summer tank. 

1. Cut the sleeves off. Be careful not to cut the seam off. This will keep fraying from happening. I decided against finishing this edge, but you can if you wanna take the time. (Yeah, this step is silly easy.)

2. Sew the shirt up the middle. (Warning: this won't work if your shirt is WAY too small for you, just if it's snug and gapping.) Just turn it inside out and sew the button side to the button hole side- good sides in. I only left a little seam allowance -maybe a 1/4 inch- to make sure the shirt was as loose as possible. 

3. Cut out the neck. I used an old hatbox as a template for cutting out the neckline. A mixing bowl could serve the same purpose. For this project, I just cut the front and back the exact same way. The result is a loose, sometimes over the shoulder, tank. You can leave the back straight across or cut it less deep if you want the neck to retain more structure.

So now I have this great pull-over style cotton shirt for the hot summer weather. I'm happy to have given this old favorite new life. It makes me wonder how many other gems I have waiting to be re-envisioned in my drawers and closet.

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