The First Refashion

I have finished my first “Get Shirty” Refashion.  I really enjoyed making it and there is a real sense of satisfaction to be had from creating something new from something discarded.   This was the shirt I started with, bought from a Chichester charity shop.


As a virgin Refashioner I decided to stick with what I know and adapt this pattern to incorporate the button band at the back.

Simplicity Pattern

Simplicity Pattern

This is what I did ………

  • Cut up the side and sleeve seams and removed the collar to release all the fabric. I also removed the pocket.  The fabric is a really good quality.
  • Traced off new pattern pieces in a size 8 to take account of the fact that I wouldn’t have to pull the top over my head.  I had previously cut out the 10 to allow for wriggle room.
  • Traced the back pattern piece as one piece so I didn’t need to cut the back fabric on the fold (the buttons would have made this tricky).
  • Cut the back facing in two separate pieces and extended the centre edge by ⅝ to allow for turning under when finishing the facing.
  • To make sure I got the top button in the right place I measured up ⅝ plus a fraction from the top of the third button hole down and placed the top of the pattern at this point.  I had to start further down than I had originally planned to ensure that the pattern piece fitted on the fabric.  I then lined up the centre of the back pattern piece with the centre of the buttons.
  • Cut the front from the back of the shirt and the facings from the tails.

I was amazed how little fabric was left at the end.  I had to throw the collar away because it was a bit creepy all on its own – like a severed head!

From here I constructed the top according to the pattern with a bit of fiddling around at the top of the button band when I realised that folding this under to the wrong side would cover up the back of the top button hole making it unusable!  I ended up cutting it off, binding the edge with a zig zag stitch and turning a tiny machine sewn hem. Not perfect and definitely room for improvement but it doesn’t shown when it’s on.

It all came together very nicely after that and I decided to finish the hem and sleeves using a twin needle.  I’ve only used this once before and was halfway round the hem when I realised I was using the stretch version but I couldn’t face re-threading it.  I think the trick is to go slowly because speeding up seems to make the threads tangle.

Here’s the result.  Next time I’ll do the top stitching at the neckline with the twin needle too!  I should have thought of that at the time.  I did think about sewing the existing pocket on the front but I wasn’t sure and now I’m wearing it I’m glad I didn’t.

I went off to buy another shirt for my next Refashion but my purchase (£5) from the St Wilfrid’s Hospice shop was just too nice and W insisted on changing into it before we even got home.  If you were in the Market Avenue car park in Chichester on Saturday morning while the changing process took place I can only apologise!

After bumping into two lots of friends who complimented him on his lovely shirt there was no way I could cut it up so I’m still searching for a new Get Shirty candidate.

16 thoughts on “The First Refashion

  1. Lovely, and even more so in such good quality fabric. The quality of things that get donated to charity shops nowadays seems to have risen dramatically in recent years don’t you think? My husband bought a Harris Tweed jacket in one in Sherborne for £20!


  2. I started one, the shirt came out of the recycling bag and after a couple of days, with work in between, went back into the recycling bag! The problem being, I never wear stripes and never wear cotton or poly/cotton, maybe I think they’re best as shirts? or I think it’s because I usually wear fabrics with more drape! Your creation looked great and the best of it is that your wearing it! I think he was quite right to take the new one and wear it – it’s a fab stripe.


    • I’m a stripes addict I’m afraid. I always gravitate towards anything striped in both fabric and clothing shops so men’s shirts are a great temptation!


    • Thanks Katy. I really enjoyed wearing the top yesterday, it was so comfortable. Slightly tricky doing up buttons at the back if you’re on your own. I made sure I looked in the mirror before I left the house to check I’d done them all up!


  3. Can’t wait to see W’s new shirt. I love your refashioned top. How clever. I may have to start visiting the charity shops when we come home.


  4. Great work. I am refashioning a shirt into… Yeah a bag! And matching pencil case. It was the most beautiful and probably unworn man’s shirt reduced to £2! It was XS so limited risk of it being stolen for anyone’s wardrobe. So much material in a shirt – amazing how much fun I’m having from £2 😀 TTS


    • Thank you! The pocket unpicked really easily on this one and the holes just disappeared. I’m working on a linen shirt at the moment which was more difficult but even then the holes disappeared after a second wash. I’ve probably just been lucky!


  5. Pingback: Refashion #3 | Jane Makes

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