Monday, September 12, 2011

The Refashioners - Dixie (Part I)

Hello Readers! I'm Dixie from and i'm here to share with you my new digs I made from restyling an old blouse and skirt. I'm so glad I got to be a part of The Refashioners, such a talented and skilled group of sewers and designers. Thanks Portia for including me!
Like everyone else I had no idea what to expect when my little package arrived all the way from the UK (I live in Austin, Texas). What was inside turned out to be a button down top and long faux wrap skirt. The fabric was 100% Rayon and had a cool, almost chevron stripe style print to it.

The outfit was way too big but when you are looking for something to refashion, that could be a good thing. The more fabric you can use, the better. Now I don't often shop at thrift stores (or charity shops as some might call them) not because I don't want a good deal but I get easily overwhelmed with the quantity of items. That's ok because sometimes the best restyles can be done with clothes from your own closet that you never wear anymore and need some new life. The one thing that I drew inspration from was the fabric print with the diagonal lines. Rather than deconstruct the garment and start from scratch, I decided to use the pieces of the original and adjust from there.

I used a pattern that I had lying around but never used - version b of an old simplicity pattern from the now discontinued Built By You series - Simplicity 4112. I loved the diagonal and gathered cut on the long sleeves, an interesting design detail that I've always wanted to make but never had the right fabric. I thought the directionality of my print would be perfect!

To start, I cut the sleeves and side seams off the top. The front and back of the top were still attached at the shoulders.
Next I arranged my shirt tolay as flat as possible on my table and pinned my pattern's bodice piece to the fabric. By lining up my pattern piece at the point where the shoulder and the neckline of the shirt met, i could keep the original collar and centre buttons but trim off the sides of the shirt to make it fit better. I remembered to take a mental note that the pattern piece had 5/8 seam allowances, and the shirt already had those seams sewn, and so I pinned the pattern piece accordingly.

I had one small problem. The bottom armhole had to be lowered about an inch to accommodate the shirt's original armhole. i made sure to make this change on the front, back and sleeve pattern pieces so they all matched. in the end this worked out fine beacause I like more room in the armpit area anyway. ;)
I did the same thing to both sides and the back, lining up pieces along the shoulder seam until I had my basic bodice. I stitched uo the sides and was ready for the sleeves!

I was lucky that I had so much fabric in the skirt to use for my sleeves! Even then I still had do do some creative manouvering with pattern placement. when I took off the waistband and spread the skirt out it made one long rectangle, but there were several small darts and seams to contend with. I seam ripped the darts and worked around most of the seams. Luckily with the fabric design it is difficult to tell that there are seams there at all.

I sewed up the sleeves according to the pattern directions and attached them to the shirt bodice. Finally I switched over the old pearly coloured buttons for plain black ones. I would have had to get new buttons anyway beacause I needed two extra for the sleeve cuffs and I didn't have any that matched the originals.

Ta da!! One nice new (fitted) button down shirt appropriate for work or even something more casual. unfortunately I won't get to wear this shirt for a few months because we're currently experiencing global warming to the extreme here in Texas; but I'll wear it often come Winter, I'm sure!

But wait, I'm not finished yet! I still had some fabric left from the skirt. Enough to incorporate into another top....

So lookout for another post from Dixie in the next few days, this time with a FREE PATTERN DOWNLOAD especially for the occasion......! Thanks Dixie. Awesome refashion!


  1. That is one cool shirt. So sophisticated! And a free pattern download coming up? How exciting.

  2. Great restyle, the gathered sleeves are genius :-)

  3. Beautiful job on the blouse! I love how you took something so tent-like and refashioned it into a well fitted and feminine garment. I also love how you preserved the original seams to make the job easier. Lovely work!

  4. Oh wow, what a transformation! Can't wait for your post tomorrow and the free download ;o)

  5. Wow! Good work! When I saw the original outfit I was wondering what on earth you could make from that... but you've done such a good job and the blouse looks awesome. Great start to The Refashioners project - go team!

  6. Gorgeous! I just love how the new (and vastly improved) blouse turned out. The print is fantastic and looks so fresh. Bravo!

  7. Wow, I'm really impressed in the transformation! I hadn't really considered the idea of buying something much too big in order to fashion pieces out of it, so I may have to try that in the future!

  8. Thanks for the nice compliments :) And thanks again Portia! This project was so fun and a great way to get my creative juices going!!

  9. Oh, and I just wanted to state that the odd brown blob under the dress form is my cat. She took to sleeping under there after I hung the outfit up on the form. Just in case anyone was confused or wondering if I just throw old pieces of faux fur around my sewing room. ;)

  10. LOVE this blouse!!!! I really prefer the black buttons to the old ones, they pop more. I would wear this blouse all the time if it were mine. Great remake! Thanks Portia for bringing us this series xxxxxxx


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