Friday, July 8, 2011

Dress Shirt to Summer Halter

Here's a fun summer project you can do to recycle those old dress shirts you (or someone you know) doesn't wear anymore.

I went to the thrift shop in search of a men's large dress shirt, in nice colours, that didn't have a pocket on the front.  This was not as easy as I had hoped it would be.  There were only two men's button down shirts that didn't have a pocket in the front and they were u-g-l-y.  So I headed over to the ladies large sizes and found the perfect top for this project.

Here's what you need:
In case you can't tell from that photo, that's:
-a long sleeved shirt
-lace or other trim
-elastic (1/2" and 3/4")
-bias tape (single fold wide)
-and a sewing machine

1) Lay your top out, buttoned up, and mark where you want to cut it.  It's best to do a bit of an arc in the front and then you can just go straight across in the back. 

I liked this top because it had so much detail and embroidery and patchwork.  Even the snaps down the front are cool.

I marked my line right under the arms in an effort to get as much fabric as possible.

2) Cut out along your lines.  Check to make sure that everything is somewhat symmetrical.

3) To add a little flair and make this top truly mine I decided to add a bit of crocheted lace to the front on either side of the placket.  Just pin it down, remembering to fold a little under on each end to avoid fraying, and sew it in place.  You will most likely need to use your zipper foot for this to get around any snaps or buttons.

4) Once the lace was secured, I snapped the front closed and then sewed down either side of the placket again so that the front is totally closed and won't come open even if a snap comes undone.

5) Now we have to make a casing along the top to insert some elastic.  You could just fold the fabric down but then you'd lose length from the shirt.  I wanted to maintain as much as possible, so I used bias tape instead.  I still got a nice clean seam with a casing but I only lost a fraction of an inch of length.

To attach bias tape, lay it edge to edge along the top of your top, with right sides facing one another.

6) Pin and sew down right in the little ditch of the fold.

You may want to switch to your zipper foot again for this in order avoid hitting any buttons or snaps when you get to the front.

7) Press your seam towards the bias tape.

8) Now we get to do my favourite stitch!  (yes, I am that much of a sewing nerd)  Sew in the hem as close to the edge as you can without hitting it.  This is an edge stitch.  It looks simple, but what it does for your garment is amazing.

Notice all those skipped serger stitches?
It shouldn't look like that, I just need to take my serger
in for a tune-up~

9) That little stitch allows you to make a super clean fold line that holds everything in place.  So cool right???

10) Fold the top down and press.

11) Now you just sew along the bottom of your bias tape, making sure to leave a space open to thread your elastic in.  Make sure your elastic isn't too wide for the casing.  I used 3/4" wide elastic.  This will effectively be a tube top, so make sure you use something with enough strength to hold this baby in place.  Also, watch where your buttons are falling in the front.  You may need to make your casing a little wider to accommodate a button or snap.  I was lucky and mine fell almost perfectly.

12) Once your elastic is in, sew the ends together, and finish of your hem, closing the hole you left for the elastic.

13) You could just leave things there.  The bottom already has a finished hem.  I knew for my body shape though, that I needed to create a waist line.  So I added another narrower casing to the bottom of the top, laced 1/2"elastic through it, closed it up and then called it a day.

Bottom hem: 5/8"wide

Tah Dah!!!

summer top, halter top, tube top, DIY, easy sewing project, hot to make a tube top, deconstructed blouse, how to sew a halter top, sewing, crafting

You could also add straps if you want a bit more security.

Using lace from the front

Use the left over fabric from the sleeves

Funnily enough, being small chested actually makes it easier for a tube top to stay up somehow, so I don't need any straps.

I had to cut my head off.  I only had about 4 hours of sleep last night and I am definitely not picture perfect at the moment.  I think you get the idea even without my head though.

I really wasn't too sure how this project would turn out but I'm quite happy with it and I think I might even wear this top out this weekend.  Let me know what you think.  I'd love to see this in a men's pinstripe number.

Don't forget to check out the linky party tab up top.  That's where I'll be hanging out all week and you'll find loads of other fun projects too!

Have a wonderful week everyone~


Mary Moury said...

This looks wonderful! I love that you kept the pearl snaps, it adds just the right touch.

Emily said...

This is too cute! I love upcycling and that shirt is perfect for this. I never would have thought to use bias tape to make the casing. I'm going to have to add this to my to-do list.

colorchic said...

Super Cute! and since it has ribbon I'd love you to link it up at Color Chic!

colorchic said...

Super Cute! and since it has ribbon I'd love you to link it up at Color Chic!

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

The Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop became the coolest party on the block because of your participation :) Thank you!

Hannah @HannahHandmade said...

Lov it and the blog! :)

Sarah @ Hennessey House said...

wow, if i hadn't seen your step by step tutorial, i wouldn't have believed this is the same shirt :) it turned out so good!

Evan Becky said...

I love the pattern/print/patchwork etc. on this shirt. It turned out very nice!

Visiting from the We did It! Wed blog hop. Better late than never I suppose!

Kirsten @ Mushki Loves said...

I love the style of this shirt! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would stop by and become mine!


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