Another sewing adventure

Before I left Oregon, I went on a bit of a shopping spree at Goodwill. One of the fabulous things I found for under $5 was this great shirt dress. It’s lightweight, the right balance between casual and dressy, and the perfect color of blue. I wore it a lot the first few months I had it, until it got stained and then accidentally washed. If anyone has tips for getting out set-in food stains, please PLEASE share them, but that’s a post for a different day. has been posting all of the entries in this year’s Refashioners series, which features all sorts of clever and gorgeous things that sewists and crafters have done with thrifted men’s dress shirts. I’ve been a little bored with my wardrobe lately, tired of wearing the same things week after week. Despite my internal clock’s nagging to start dressing for crisp fall Oregon weather, it’s still damn hot around here. It’s not time yet for leggings and cozy sweaters and layering, it’s time for MORE sundresses and lightweight tops. All of this, plus the aforementioned shirt dress’ stain situation, generated the perfect storm for this next sewing project.

The idea is very simple: find the largest/longest men’s dress shirt available, cut off the sleeves and tailor it to fit me, then have a tunic dress with the button placket and pocket already there. Also, enough fabric in the right orientation for about $3 certainly beats buying a couple yards of something for at least twice that, and then having to measure it all out and cut it, starting from scratch. I like shortcuts, and I like the challenge and adaptability of starting with a finished product and turning it into a different finished product.

So I bought a 2XL long sleeved chambray shirt. It’s very large.


CIMG0529I set up the favorite dress over top of it and pinned the sides in to where I wanted, which will fit me in a flattering-but-very-casual way. Then I sewed up the sides, ending at just about the same point on the armpits on each side. I’m scared to cut, when I only have one shot at this (with this particular shirt… I do realize that at $3 a pop, I can afford to abandon this and start over), but I’m not scared to pin, sew, and try things on until they work.

Inside out, it fits just right.

Then, I picked out the seams holding the collar and sleeves on. I knew I wanted this to be a sleeveless dress, but I waited until I could determine just where things fell on me to choose how to cut the armholes and trim the excess off the side seams. I decided to keep the edge of the shoulder where it was, and cut at an angle to where I had ended the armpit seams. Then I hemmed (Is it still hemming if it’s around an armhole? I need a sewing vocab lesson.) the armholes, and I was done! I pressed the inner seams and tried the thing on. I’ll likely wear it with leggings, and I think I will remove the collar buttons and possibly add some sort of embellishment.

To my joy, it fits amazingly well and is very cute, but to my great dismay, the previous owner graciously left me a stain in just the same place that my dark blue dress has one. So… anyone have a great stain-remover recipe?


2 thoughts on “Another sewing adventure

  1. Nothing beats dishwashing liquid, undiluted to take out stains. Put it on the stain, rub it in and leave it for an hour or so, then put the article into wash. It’s like miracle liquid.. Good luck with the stain.


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