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Silk Shirt + Fabrics On Top = NEW TOP/Jacket

Find Your Base Garment

The original silk shirt from Rafaella (size Large) had a large grease spot on it. What to do? Cover it up to create a NEW TOP! The pin at the lower-left right front of the top marks the spot.

Collect Coordinating Fabrics

As I like to say: "I took a dive into my stash of fabrics." In my Taupe Stash Box I found:

1. The legs of a Sewing Workshop Tahoe Pant pattern I'd made in a great textural wool

2. A cupramoniam rayon blouse I'd made - again in a pattern from The Sewing Workshop, and isn't it weird that I remember the pattern name of it as well - The Origami Shirt. I guess I remember those pattern names because I sold the line of patterns from Linda Lee at my retail storefront.

3. A piece of silk jacquard on which I had done some stenciling during a workshop with Diane Ericson at my shop. Just a bit of that stenciling is seen on the left yoke.

Here is my NEW top that could also be worn open as a casual Jacket.

AS you compare the starting shirt with my NEW Top, you can see that only the center front bands and sleeves remain exactly the same. All of the other fabrics have been stitched on OVER, ON TOP as you can see from these inside photos.

Design Process

I always hunt my Pinterest Boards and pattern stash and online pattern catalogs (Vogue being a favorite) for appropriate placement inspiration. If you click on the Line Drawings at one of the pattern sites, you can Screenshot that and 'file' it or print it out. I'm old enough that I prefer to print these out and have them ON PAPER.

As I design and stitch (which is rarely in long lengths of time, as I teach all ages here in my Studio), I find it is a good idea to sketch out ideas I have in order to 'remember' them when I get back to the Studio to work again.

I find that I almost always cut out the sleeves when I do a project like this. It is just easier to add fabric on top of the fronts and back with the sleeves off. Honestly, I was surprised that the CUT off sleeves actually fit right back in to the top. I fully expected to have to take in the armscye at the shoulder or side seam to get it to 'work'. However, it seems that the 'quilting' of the upper fabrics onto the base silk top pulled the base up just enough, that the sleeves re-inserted super easily.

Collar Challenge

This time, the Collar provided the biggest hurdle to finishing the project. A stand-up Mandarin style collar was my first thought, but I also considered a soft, scrunched type of standup collar.

Ultimately it seemed to me that the 'line' of this garment is more blocks and squares. Yes, the light rayon fabric is printed in swirls. Nonetheless, the fabrics as I applied them is all in blocks, so that is what led me to the squared off Mandarin collar.

Here is my 1st try with the collar. I interfaced only the upper collar with a lightweight knit fusible. That was obviously not enough structure. And, the collar stuck out, away from the neck at the back and the front. See all this in the photo below.

It was obvious that I needed to reduce the distance around at the uppermost edge of the collar pattern. It is easy to 'fix' this: just slash in from the top down to the lowermost seamline, and in from the bottom through the seam allowance, leaving a hinge of pattern tissue. Then, lap the cut edges, pin and tape. You can see on the pattern that when you do this, the seam allowance at the lowermost edge MUST expand.

Since I had limited amounts of the silk and rayon fabrics that I wanted to use in the Collar, I decided to cut a quick test collar using the leg 'fabric' from a pair of jeans in my Denim Stash Bin. I liked what I had achieved, and finessed it just a bit by angling off a tad more from the uppermost edge at the center front edge

See in the picture below how very much more length there is at the uppermost edge of they dark silk than there is of the taupe shirt. Since the lowermost edge got 'longer' around with this pattern refinement, it became clear quickly that I would have to stay-stitch and clip the neckline of my shirt to get the Collar to fit the neckline. That was the next step. Sorry - no picture.

Final Photos

Enjoy these final photos of my new Top. I shouldn't say 'my', as I'm adding this piece to my 'A Londa Original' Collection of garments for Sale at https://www.londas-sewing.com/wearable-art-created-by-londa

In the picture above, you can see the tiny bit of stenciling that I simply could not avoid using with the limited fabric that I had. I don't mind it - as I think it adds a bit of 'interest'.

Vents along the side were on the original shirt. The hemline of the back bottom did need to be interfaced and I stitched it in by hand.

That's it - I'd say at least 8-10 hours of creative fun! I hope someone sees it and 'adopts' it for themselves or as a gift for someone. You can find this garment for sale HERE.

Next up: SWEATER up-cycling, as I have a Bin FULL of sweaters! If you want a jump-start, check out this episode I did for It's Sew Easy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdtXL_6_CvQ&t=41s

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