I went to this charity shop for a men’s shirt. I wanted a shirt to upcycle (I just fancied it as a sewing challenge) and not having any men’s shirts to hand, I gave this charity shop a go. They did have quite a few shirts, but none in a fabric that I liked.Also a cardigan which I got rid off as soon as I got it home because there was a stain I didn't see in the shop, plus the fabric wasn’t all that nice. So off it went to another charity shop. Oh well.
Instead I found this:
Instead I found this:
This blouse looks lovely: I had not worn any ruffles placed like this before and now I think this works really well with my shape ('apple' as they say. Or 'barrel' shape: wide in the middle, tapering off on either side - my waist is my problem area). As a bit of a coincidence, I had decided a short while ago that I do need to add interest to the neckline area and the ruffles here do an admirable job. I want to explore that element further in future in terms of clothes that I would buy or sew.
Unfortunately I don’t love the linen fabric and its thin weight. The wrinkled linen look just doesn't look all that great in this particular linen. Not utterly besotted by the colour either. I don't hate it but I’m not in love with it either. A chalky looking pale blue. It is a bit insipid and puts me off from wearing this blouse.
Then I discovered that the bust dart is in the wrong place: it sits too high, points in the wrong direction and it is too short. All of this is something that cannot be fixed in an existing garment.
But I can easily adapt a pattern to use the design elements of this blouse and position the dart in the right place.
Now that I discovered the dart issue I am more than happy to get rid of the blouse. As in: get it out of my wardrobe to never be worn again (I did wear it once, today, so that's fine: I got some use out of it).
I am thinking of taking this blouse apart: this will give me the shape of the ruffles (I suspect that they are circular, with the lower ones cut out of a slightly bigger circle than the upper ruffle) and the main proportions of the blouse: length, width, neckline shape – and also the sleeve pattern.
The sleeves are definitely something that I have to take apart to see what pattern they are based on.
With all that information I should be able to draft a blouse pattern that’s very close to this one. I know that I’ll want to take the side seams in a touch at the top and make a slight change to the neckline: I would prefer a simple V-shape instead of this neckband type facing which doesn't contribute anything particularly clever to the design. I do like the yoke across the shoulder, I want to keep that.
So its seems that I haven’t so much bought a second-hand blouse as a pattern to use to sew something that I know will fit! It turns out that this purchase was not a waste but a clever way of getting a wearable muslin – it is exceedingly useful in that function too!
Do you shop in charity shops and what kinds of clothes do you look for? Something to upcycle or to wear as it is? Do you ever frankenpattern several old clothes into one new design? I would love to hear and see ideas!