When I first started sewing again in 2011, I thought I was going to save SEW. MUCH. MONEY. by refashioning a lot of old clothes or bed sheets or whatever was around the house. Little did I know that I would fall so in love with fabric shopping (and hoarding) that I decided it was “easier” to make all of my clothes from scratch. So much for refashioning.
Every year, DD and I go through our house and donate all the extra “junk” we don’t need. This year, we are on a kick to simplify our life and not have SO. MUCH. STUFF. Well, we still have a lot of stuff but we’re getting better about not buying what we really don’t need. (It was fun while it lasted.)
There are a few items of clothing I refuse to get rid of that just don’t get any wear. Most of those are from Japan, either stuff I bought or was gifted. I kept telling myself I was going to make a t-shirt quilt out of all of the t-shirts I don’t wear that I refuse to donate, but… well… let’s say I’m not much of a quilter. Yet.
On a different note, DD gives me his clothes that either don’t fit him well anymore or that have shown too much wear. Usually I rip them apart for the buttons or zippers and toss the leftovers.
During the last great closet purge, I hesitated on the following items.
- A pair of linen blend trousers from DD that had a hole in the crotch/inner leg (don’t ask me how he always manages to put holes there…):
- An XL Sado Island onidaiko (demon drumming) shirt that was a birthday gift from my lovely friends in Japan:
- And two XL Ranma 1/2 shirts I bought at a local comic book store in high school because it’s my favorite anime of all time and the reason I got into Japanese culture in the first place:
I wasn’t very connected to DD’s pants, but I was in need of comfortable summer shorts. They already fit decently well at the waist, although slightly large, and fit throughout the hip. I decided to do some minor surgery.
- First, I carefully ripped two sections of the back waistband open to insert darts to cinch the waist in more.
- Then, I re-sewed the inner leg seams, including the crotch, to bring it in for a closer fit and prevent saggy crotch syndrome. This also removed the hole DD put in the inner leg/crotch seam.
- Finally, I cut the legs off slightly below the bottom of the front pocket bags and hemmed.
(Note: they’re hemmed evenly, I just have janky uneven hips)
I never thought I would want light-colored shorts for myself (dark colors make the booty look smaller…) but I’m digging these! I also like that they’re breathable and go with pretty much any shirt I own.
Then my attention turned toward my XL shirts and inspiration struck – I had good luck with the Grainline Studio Lark Tee so I could transform these too-large shirts into too-perfect t-shirts!
First, I cut open the side seams on the t-shirts and cut the sleeves off. I left where the front and back meet at the shoulders alone because it wouldn’t make sense to cut this seam just to re-sew it later.
I laid the pattern pieces out and traced around them, making sure the front and back met at the shoulder seams.
The sleeves presented a small challenge on my Ranma 1/2 shirts since the sleeves didn’t quite fit into the Lark pattern pieces.
See how the sleeve bottom curves up instead of down? I was scratching my head for a few minutes, then decided to see if rocking the pattern side to side and tracing it would work…
If you keep the center top point fixed and just rock the sleeve pattern to the left and trace, then to the right and trace, you’re able to have the bottom of the sleeves match up with the pattern.
I took these pictures after I made my final decision and cut the sleeve after tracing. You’ll see I tried out a few shapes with all those pencil marks!
I hoped the sleeves would come out OK since I didn’t know what kind of shape it would make with the “rocking” changes I made to the pattern.
Once I sewed the shirt back together, the sleeves belled out a little too much. It was an easy fix, though, as all I did to make them stick out less was to straighten the bottom sleeve piece in line with the side seam. This took out a triangle of fabric from the inner sleeve seam and it magically made the sleeves pull in a little more!
Not too shabby, huh? I used the Lark scoop neck pattern pieces for the Ranma 1/2 shirts.
And I used the v-neck pattern pieces with the short sleeve piece for the onidaiko shirt.
I forgot to show you the cool graphic on the back!
I am so happy these shirts, which didn’t get worn before (minus those high-school days in my Ranma 1/2 shirts), have a new life! Since I love the Lark Tee pattern so much, these are definitely in normal rotation now and I get to show off my otaku/Sado pride!
Have you made any successful refashions lately? Share in the comments!
‘Til next time…