Alice&Olivia Copycat

For the first of my 2014 sewing challenges, here’s a copycat refashion to start off.

I found this longline button-up blouse at the op shop for $6.

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Hey, it’s retro Liz Davenport! That’s some designer style, right there.

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It’s a soft, slightly crinkly polyester, with self-fabric cloth buttons. And the first thing I did was remove those bits of velcro, which were no doubt for attaching some highly attractive shoulder pads.

I decided to have a go at this pretty silk blouse from Alice+Olivia.

I cut the sleeves off at the stitching line, then took the side seams in by about 3cm each side. I also sketched in a new armscye curve and trimmed that down.

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I used my patchwork square (it’s so handy) to take a few inches off the head of the sleeve, while still maintaining the curve. I did have to modify it a little by hand as well, to get the curve nice. Then I trimmed that down, sewed a line of basting stitch around the upper curve to gather in the ease, and re-set the sleeves back into the new armholes.

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Then I used another shirt of my own to get the length and created a lower, curved hemline at the back (I’m not sure if the original shirt had that feature, but I like the effect so I did it), trimmed it, turned it under twice and stitched it down.

Then I cut the collar off. Yep, just chopped it right off. No, I lie, I unpicked it. Had ya going there for a second, huh? 😉

I snipped off the top two buttons, and unpicked the top few inches of the button placket. To my delight it was not interfaced, which made it lots easier to fold under at an angle to create my new v-neckline. I had to trim a wee smidge off the inside edge to make it sit flat.

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The inspiration shirt had a much wider and deeper neck opening, but I didn’t want to go down to the next buttonhole as it would have been a bit scandalous. Also, I did try folding it back at a sharper angle, but it just wouldn’t sit right. I wasn’t unhappy with this so I went with it.

I used the neckline to draft a facing pattern. There wasn’t  big enough shirt offcut to make a self-fabric facing, but I had some white lining left from the skirt I used in this project which worked just fine.

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It’s a bit uneven, I know! Not to worry. I attached the facing in the usual way, and hand-stitched it to the inside of the yoke and the button placket.

Then it was time to tackle the cuffs. Because I’d shortened the sleeves from the top, the cuffs were too small to go around my forearms. I used the stitch ripper to remove the cuffs from the sleeves, and the buttons from the cuffs. Then I was able to open out one end of the cuff and add an extension, made from some of the offcut scraps. The newly- extended cuff got sewn back onto the sleeves (after I let some of the gathers out a bit) and the buttons were sewn back on.

At this point I realised I would have enough offcuts to make the pockets – I’d been leaving them til last as I wasn’t sure if the scraps would stretch. It was pretty easy to cut out two squares for the pockets and two rectangles for the pocket flaps. I even managed to cut the pockets from the lower hem offcuts, using the original hem as the pocket opening hem!

I’ll admit though that I totally eyeballed the pocket placement – no tape measures were used in the placement of these pockets! So they might look a smidge skewiff.

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Then at the last minute I decided to add tabs & buttons for sleeve-rolling. I managed to dig up two tiny pearl buttons, and I made a couple of little tabs and hand-sewed them into the sleeves.

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I believe this sleeve is known as ‘bracelet length’. I learned this from watching the Great British Sewing Bee, which I really wish they would do an Australian version of!

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Although this wasn’t a difficult refashion, it was quite fiddly and took a fair amount of time. However, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I’m rather looking forward to wearing it. 

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