Lately, a lot of the refashions I’ve attempted have failed. I won’t share the sordid details with you here, because finally I have managed to ‘not-fail’! Hooray.

I’ve been wanting some more shirts that are appropriate for work – my workplace is pretty much a warehouse with an office (I’m in the office part!). So most of the people I see during the day are in jeans or shorts and band shirts – it’s hard to get inspired to dress for work. But I’m determined to lift my game a bit (and I swear it has nothing at all to do with the excellent dress sense of one of the other girls in the office. I’m not competitive. Not at all.)

I started out with this men’s dress shirt; op shopped for I think $4.

White shirt 1

It is a stretchy fabric with a sort of stitched detail that I really liked – made it a tiny bit glam!

White shirt 2

The pocket detail wras just a little flap, not a pocket at all, so that was easily removed.

So I’ve been poring over Pinterest and even skimmed over Anthropologie. Gradually I got some ideas of the kinds of shapes I was after. I’m not much of a designer, so I used this blouse pattern from Burda Magazine June 2011 to help me out.

Burda 1220001

The top has a side zipper, but I loathe side zippers so I decided the buttons on the front of the shirt would become the closure for this top, and they would do it from the back of the shirt. I laid out the shirt and found a centre line, pinned my pattern on and chalked around it, then flipped the pattern over and chalked the other half of the back. I positioned it so there would be a button at the top of the back (with enough room for seam allowance). Handily, this also put a button at exactly the right spot at the bottom as well.

front becomes back!

I decided to chalk my patterns on before I decided to cut open the seams, in case I could use the existing side seams; it seemed to me that the shirt fabric would be stretchier than the stretch poplin recommended for the pattern, but because I’ve been having such bad luck with my refashions I was being a bit careful!

Sketching the front pattern on to the back of the shirt came next. Again, found the centre line and positioned the pattern from that.

shirt back, pattern front

I decided to unpick the side seams after all, although later I realised I could have used the existing seams. Not to worry – I’m an expert seam ripper and it only took a couple of minutes. I thought I was going to have to add in a little extra around the hip area, but the fabric was stretchy enough to accommodate my womanly curves.

After I cut out the front and back pieces, I unpicked the existing dart from the old shirt’s back – which is where I came across my first stumbling block.

itty bitty holes

Cutter’s marks! These are used by apparel fabric cutters to mark darts – around the edges they use notches, but obviously that won’t work for darts, so they punch little holes instead. Funnily enough I learned this only a couple of weeks ago at a pattern drafting course! Anyway, although these holes were tiny, they seemed really obvious.  Luckily I was going to be putting darts in myself, although mine were – of course – not going to cover these little holes. So I faffed around with my darts until they did cover the holes. Problem solved.

So then I needed sleeves, which came from the sleeves of course!


Then it was just a matter of sewing it up. There was enough fabric in the yoke of the shirt for the neck facings. I did have to take off the top button and re-sew it once the facing was in position, and stitch over the buttonhole which the facing now covered – I still needed the buttons to be functional.

Because I had buttons to spare, I used a couple on the sleeve edges where the cuff openings still existed – I didn’t want the openings to be flapping about, and a button seemed an appropriate way to make that happen.

white shirt cuff

So there you have it!

Shirt front


Shirt back

Have a happy Easter everyone!