I found this top crammed into a sales rail at Dorothy Perkins some rainy day back in January or February. At size 18, it was far too big but I decided to restyle it, which for £7 seemed a risk worth taking. I was quite taken by its green beetle shimmer! The original plan was to create something fabulous, inventive even, but during the cold weeks that followed, as I watched it swamping the dummy, the fabric took on an uninspiring sheen. Here’s a picture of it looking like cellophane on me I realised when seeing this picture that no matter what I made, it would be so clingy that I’d only be able to wear it with perfectly fitting bras – of which I don’t have many.So I decided to do away with as much surplus fabric as possible. In no time at all (an hour really) with the help of my Renfrew pattern, and by keeping the original neckline, I turned it into a sleek, sun-loving staple. The colour and texture remind me of Ariel the Mermaid’s tail; in fact, I’m longing for a mane of red hair to set this off!
If you’re considering a project of this nature but are reluctant to start, remember that sewing stretchy jersey is not an exact science. You can get away with some approximation. Similarly, I’ve noticed that a couple of my favourite RTW T-Shirts don’t lie flat properly – the side seams twist around – yet the garments still look good and feel comfortable. In other words, go for it.
A tutorial (of sorts):
- I’ve kept the original neckline as I didn’t think it could be improved.
- I’ve kept the original sleeve hem but the shirt body has been shortened.
- Being without a serger, I used a long, narrow zigzag stitch, then trimmed the seams closely.
- I used my Renfrew, possibly the world’s most boring pattern, which has more than earned its keep: I’ve pirated it a couple of times before (for a Pattern Magic project and on another baggy-to-sleek restyle). But you can use any T-shirt you like (or vest) as your template. If two seams don’t fit, stretch reasonably evenly till they do!
- You can use offcuts for bindings if you like. As my fabric is metallic, I used offcuts under my iron to see if I could press new seams.