Updated: Nov 1, 2022
This up-cycle project took many twists and turns, but diligence paid off in the end. I started with an Elvis T-shirt and a pair of grey harem-style knit pants from Nike outlet store that turned into the sleeves and lower band + collar.
The first interesting detail I learned was when I ripped off the upper wide waistband. Inside I found it to be totally underlined with an almost girdle-type power net mesh fabric plus of course the elastic. I snapped this picture to try this construction method myself sometime, and carefully ripped out and saved that meshy power net. This wide waistband became the lower finish of my jacket.
That Nike outlet in Memphis was definitely worth the visit! Check out this pricetag. Even considering these pants as 'fabric', this is quite a deal! PLUS, the harem style offered that much MORE fabric.
Below you can see the width of the harem style accommodating the sleeve. There is a double layer there, and an angled seam on the lowermost layer that does show up on the right sleeve on the Back View Photo several pictures down. You can also see that the lower leg bands of the pant then became the cuffs at the bottom of the sleeves.
Note on the cuff above, when I cut it off of the pant, I allowed a seam allowance worth of fabric. I ALWAYS try to remember to cut things apart, leaving them larger than I think I might need.
Below then, you can see a closeup of the upper band of the pant used as the lower finish on the jacket. I serged along the lowermost folded edge VERY carefully, not to trim off anything as I ran the serger. I finished the other (top) edge of the band in the same manner. Since this was crosswise on a rib knit, I definitely knew to engage the differential feed up to '2' meaning that the front dogs feed in faster than the back feed dogs pull it out - negating any stretch of that edge. To attach the band to the jacket, I also serged the lowermost edge of the jacket and just lapped the band on top and topstitched them together. The black snap tape accents on the band serve to cover up seaming and was a 'find' in my 'THIS n THAT' drawer.
If you look closely, you can see the 'quilting' using monofilament thread that attaches the very lightweight T-Shirt to another layer of fabric to give the front more 'substance'.
This back view shows what looks like it is a leather-type fabric, but it really is a lightweight black and silver knit. I did do that center back seam twice, stretching it somewhat in order for it not to 'pull up'. The tucks 'happened' in order that it not only 'fit' the back of my Size 12 Dressform, but also to reduce the circumference the amount needed so that the ribbing I had made would 'fit'.
I guess that's what I like so much about upcycle sewing - that it constantly poses challenges for you to solve. Sometimes those challenges stop me cold for the day. I think - and even dream about the solution, then come back the next sewing session to solve it.
CLOSURES ARE MY NEMESIS
1st picture: You can see here how I used the black/silver knit fabric to bind the upper edge of the collar. I thought the nice covered large hook & eye would work, but you can see in the
2nd picture: that it just fell away and was exposed - YUCK! Another solution was needed - so that was the end of THAT day, I can assure you. The thought of working a machine buttonhole in that collar - even though I had interfaced it - just didn't sound like a good way to go. Dream time. At least, a dive into my Black Button Box yielded this great BIG black button.
3rd picture: Ahhh - that red glass-head button gave me the idea of stitching it on with red thread. SCORE!
The night's thinking came up with a Bound Buttonhole as the solution - even though that meant UN-stitching the inside collar finish. PLUS, it was all executed in a quite tight area, but I DID get it done. That kind of sewing accomplishment gives me the 'Atta-Girl' needed for a day.
This closeup is a bit blurry - but you can still see how it worked out.
I kinda like how the collar 'flops' softy in front.
I now have 7 garments for my Elvis Collection completed, with 2 more started, then I think I'll call it quits and get them up for sale. I'd appreciate your sharing if you have any Elvis crazy friends!
I'm also working on updating my class: Creative Upcycle Sewing with Londa in powerpoint format for an upcoming American Sewing Guild 'class' for a chapter. If you have a sewingn group interested, please contact me at email@example.com for details.
This garment is now available for sale HERE.