Friday, August 10, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Loose fitting shirt

I did a post not too long ago called 'Comfort Meets Class' where I talked  about my version of comfy and how you don't have to "dress down" to be comfortable. One of the DIY ideas I included was to create a loose fitting shirt. So today that's what I decided to do. I'm not great at sewing, but I'm hoping I've managed to get my idea across.

The "Material" I decided to use to make this shirt was a second hand men's shirt. I bought three shirts at the op-shop the other day all intended for DIY projects. Two of these shirts cost me $6 and one of them cost me $4. I'm hoping to get at least one garment out of each shirt. We don't have a good material shop in our town and even if we did I'd probably still prefer to buy second hand because it's much cheaper.

 What I like about them is that they are made out of a nice thin, soft material and have cool patterns on them. I decided to go with men's shirts rather than women's because the fabric  tended to be softer and the shirts were larger which gave me more room to work with. Women's shirts also tended to cost more than the men's shirts and have darts sewn into them (which didn't work well for the style shirt I want to make). I liked that the shirts were button-up shirts, but this style can be done without buttons too.

^ These are the three shirts I bought on my op-shop trip. I chose to use the one on the left for this project. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find any plain/plainer looking shirts to cut up for this project, because I thought that would suit the style of shirt I want to make.

I got the Idea to make a loose-fitting shirt simply because I have a few of them and I wear them a lot. This is legitimate. The shirt goes into the wash and as soon as it's clean again I'm wearing it. I thought they looked easy enough to make and that seeing as they were a loose fitting style, it wouldn't matter if I made it slightly bigger or smaller than the original.

According to one of the price tags from a shirt I have of this style, these shirts are called 'Boyfriend' shirts. I guess this makes sense because like boyfriend jeans the shirt is a bit baggy and isn't really designed to show off your curves. I have four different variations of the 'Boyfriend shirt' and decided to copy the one that I like best.

^ This is the shirt I decided to copy. It's made of three pieces and it's only fault is that it's a tincy bit short (probably something to do with how tall I am). I got this shirt from my sister who got it free with a magazine. It's one of those one-size-fits-all clothing items, but my sister didn't want it so I adopted it.

-Material of some sort (Preferably with a big enough surface area to cut out one whole piece of your pattern)
-A boyfriend shirt to use as a pattern (you could also use an over sized t shirt or a cropped top)
-Sewing supplies (pins, sewing machine, quick unpick, dressmaking scissors...)

1. Remove things that you can use later or that won't suit your chosen shirt style. For example if you like detachable collars and want to make your own (and if your shirt has stitching up near the collar) you can cut the collar off and save it. I decided to get rid of the pocket because it would have been in an awkward spot when the garment was finished.
^I didn't have a quick unpick so I used a 1.25mm crochet hook (yep I crochet) and a pair of teeny tiny embroidery scissors (you can use nail scissors if you like) to unpick the stitches.

2. Lay the shirt down flat and place your garment on top of it and start cutting out your pattern pieces.
^ I chose to put my shirt upside-down because ladies buttons do-up on the other side to men's ones and because the holes from unpicking the pocket would be less noticeable down the bottom of the shirt.

^I folded bits of the boyfriend shirt underneath so that I would only cut the material to get the pattern piece I needed. I was careful to only cut the top layer of fabric (the shirt was buttoned up) and to leave an inch or so around the grey shirt for seams. I cut the pattern piece a bit longer than the grey shirt on purpose.

^ This is the back piece of the pattern.

^ This is when I was cutting out the thick shoulder bias strips.

3. Lay out the pattern pieces in order and start pinning them together for sewing.
^ The piece on the left is the back, the two pieces in the middle are the bias strips and the piece on the right is the front. In this picture the two bias pieces are actually the wrong way around. Luckily I figured that out before I started pinning and sewing.

^ This is my shirt all pinned up and ready to go. Remember to pin your garment inside-out.

4. Check that you've done it right before you go and stitch it up permanently.
^ For example check that the arm holes are big enough. Remember if you're using a shirt made out of a stretch fabric as your pattern you will have to make allowances for the lack of resilience in other fabrics when cutting and pinning your pattern.

4. Sew. If you've had experience with sewing you'll probably be able to guess what to do next.
I used a straight stitch to stitch the side seams and shoulder seams. After checking that they were correct I used a fine zigzag stitch to stop fraying (don't have an over-locker).
I then doubled over the ends of the sleeves, the neckline and the bottom of the shirt before pinning and sewing (If you have an overlocker you could just overlock and fold under once.

I had issues with the sewing machine toward the end, because the machine doesn't work well with certain types of cotton, I don't have an over-locker, I don't have heaps of sewing experience and I didn't have the needle set up right. So the shirt does look a little bit dodgier than I had hoped. Considering how much went wrong with the shirt towards the end I think it turned out okay.

^ The finished product. I think It will look nice with denim and faux pearls.

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Wall-to-wall books said...

Oh my gosh! Is that what you look like? You are so cute!

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

haha thanks :) everyone thinks I'm younger than I really am.