Men's T + Tiered Gauze Skirt = Great Top

Updated: Jun 10

I'm back into Upcycle sewing, which I TRULY love. My soul has missed my creative sewing, so I'm trying hard to MAKE time to do at least a little bit every day. My 'rack' to sell has too many dark colors, so I took a dive into my AQUA STASH BOX and found this Russell 2XL Men's T and a kinda worn-looking gauze-tiered skirt. I also decided I wanted to make a top for a larger size lady, so I padded out my dress form (eventually).


Ladie's gauze skirt
'Aged' and blotchy tiered gauze skirt

Men's T-Shirt
Men's 2XL Trainer T

re-cutting neckline of T
Fold T in half at Center Front and Center back to cut an even, symmetrical new lower neckline - which also got rid of that black band at the center back.

My first observation was that the T was really a jersey on the front and a 'hole-type' knit on the back, so I decided to cut a lower neckline and add a ruffle using the 'holey' back fabric hem as a ruffle.

binding technique for ruffle
I gathered the hem edge I'd cut off the back, set it between the raglan front sleeve seams and then bound with a crossgrain strip of the holey fabric as well. Note that I stitched the right side of a doubled binding to the WRONG side of the shirt and the pulled it to the outside to stitch down. I stitched it down using clear monofliament thread in the needle in a very narrow zig zag, but 3 long.

Note I'm putting some of my construction steps into the 'Caption' underneath each picture. Bear with me - I'm still getting used to the editor features here on the Blog portion of my website. I use monofilament thread in the needle - A LOT! I love the YLI Wonder Thread. Find it on my website HERE. This polyester thread comes in clear and smoke. Since this is a lighter color, I used the CLEAR - but I only use it in the needle. I also find I need to LOWER the needle tension a bit so that I don't see any of the bobbin thread peaking to the top.


This 2XL shirt was REALLY big, and even though I padded out my dress form, I knew I wanted to narrow it in under the arms.

I just seamed that extra undearm piece out through the shirt itself (not the sleeve, to a point that I thought would be below the bust, then let it expand.


Here you can see that I took tucks under the bust to make it closer fitting there. This looks easy, but to get them even - takes some doing - measuring! I pressed in a center front and center back line to help.



Next, I decided I would use the gauze skirt as a 'skirt' on the top, and that I wanted a flattering 'line' where they joined, making the end result longer in the back, so this line needed to be angled.


Be assured I have learned that whenever I cut into something, I leave MORE length than I think I might want! The next picture shows me doing this cutting.


To get that 'curve', I grabbed my 'Hip Curve' ruler. It is a Fairgate product, and I think I got it on Amazon. I had also pulled this cotton lawn floral print men's tie that I considered using, so you can see me 'testing' that idea in the above picture. If in doubt - LEAVE IT OUT! - Which is exactly what I did. When I start a project, I'll pull several things together that I might use, but I never ever seem to use them all! The lace on the skirt was not in very good shape, so even though I tried to very carefully rip it from the gauze, that did not prove successful.


Typical Ready-to-Wear (RTW), only the front of the skirt had this chain stitch and sequin embellishment, so of course, I put that in front on my skirt. You can see my wasted effort on trying to rip the gauze from the lace..... Everything doesn't work out as you envision... Just grows brain cells going another direction, is what I say!


NECKLINE CHALLENGES

That durned black 'R' was my nemesis! Too close to the boob point to add a flower of the lace... and I couldn't rip the insertion straight lace well enough to 'meander' it on the bodice, cutting fabric from behind.... I even posted for suggestions on my MeWe Up-Cycle Sewing Group and another on Facebook. I honestly don't have any love for Facebook, so most of y posting goes on our Group at MeWe. You have to apply to join, but let everyone 'in'. This Group is up to 2040 members! Click at this link: https://mewe.com/join/up-cyclesewing



The pictures above show both the challenge and the end result. I also did put a little 'patch' of the fabric over that 'R' underneath the lace edging. Again, using monofilament thread in the needle...


You'll see in the final pictures that I also added lace around the back of the neckline, as it looked 'naked' with all that adornment in the front!


I had it all 'finished', but not enough lace for the sleeves, so I did cut 3" cross-grain strips of the plain gauze. I worked a wide 2 thread rolled hem (left needle) on my serger for the upper edge, and a very skinny (right needle) 2 thread rolled hem on the serger for the lowermost edge. Oh - how some days I yearn for it to be 'shop days' where I could always just go grab the perfect color thread! Alas, those days (1990-2003) are well over (thankful, generally!), but having the right color thread is becoming a challenge. It is really sad how very much thread has come to cost!!!! I far prefer 2 thread rolled hems over 3 thread. I just checked my YouTube Videos, and this one has some good explanation of 2 thread rolled hem. You MUST have a 2/3/4 or more serger. There will be some kind of 'thing' that you put onto the upper looper. For 2 thread, you use just 1 needle + the lower looper. I love 2 thread rolled hem because with 3, the lower looper is so tight, it is just in a straight line on the bottom next to the needle thread anyway, and 2 thread means just that - only TWO threads!


Sew.... here is my end product. The measurements are generous, and it is photo'd on that 'padded out' size 12 dress form of mine. This is the first time I used the pads, and it worked quite well. It is the Fabulous Fit dress form, and I really like it! Especially because I can stick right into it. I have a Duct Tape Double, but I can't stick pins into it, and even if I manage to do so, they are sticky from the tape. I think my Fabulous Fit cost around $300. Worth every penny. I truly don't think this kind of work would be possible without a dress form!





This is way too big for me, so I designed it to sell from the beginning. I did just also put this garment up here on my website. Find it HERE. Honestly, at $85, that definitely does NOT cover my labor hours, but since the 'goods' were in my stash... and it was a fun 'job', I have decided to sell most of my creations at a price roughly equal to what would be found in RTW. The sad thing is that what we pay for clothing in RTW is truly NOT ANYWHERE AS MUCH AS IT SHOULD BE, as clothing is made around the world by slave labor! Just think about a men's tailored shirt with collar on a band, cuffs, front band.... how many hours would that take to make? I'd say at least 6-7!!! What is your labor (which IS skilled!) worth? Is it worth any less than an electrician? I think not! When I had my shop we were charging $25/hour, and if I were to do so today, I'd charge the same I do for private sewing lessons...$35/hour. Hmmm that would make that man's tailored shirt cost - for labor ALONE @ just 6 hours - $210 + materials, and we all know what a nice shirting fabric costs! I do believe I've made my case.....

I used to sell on my Etsy Shop, but they just take too much of my hard-earned profit, so I'm just selling off my website, and if I can ever pull together a large enough 'collection', I'll have a 'SHOWING' here at my studio and invite in my fashion-minded friends. Some day.....



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