Lace: From stash
Ribbon: From stash
Skirt: Me-made in 1998 or 1999 to wear for concert band performances
Snap: From stash
Thread: From stash
I'm always a little nervous when I begin a reconstruction project because once something is cut, it can't go back. I don't have a clear vision in my head when I begin because visualization isn't my highest skill, so I have to experiment and see how something looks before I decide what to do next.
The seam ripper is not my friend, but I do spend significant amounts of time with it. Oh, well. The most valued benefits come because of some hardship, right?
I will now take this moment to say that I do not know how to cut a straight line across a skirt. Drawing the line with a ruler does not work. Maybe it would if I had a carpenter's square, but the side of the skirt isn't straight so maybe not. Measuring from the top produces a series of short lines that do not match up by several inches. What am I doing? How does one cut straight across? Out of necessity, I settled for close enough and moved on.
I will now take this moment to say that I do not know how to measure how much elastic to use. Nor do I know how to match the length of the elastic onto the length of the skirt; even gathering doesn't make the gathers even. I guess and often it more or less works out. If it doesn't, I make it work.
After using the elastic to finish the raw top edge, I tried it on. It was very full, shapeless, and not at all flattering. I used pins and pleated folds to try various ways of shortening the hem without cutting it, but nothing struck my fancy.
I let the project sit for several days.
After some time, I decide to try this transformation again. I measured from where the shirt sits around the top of my bust to my natural waistline. I measured this on the skirt, saw that it hit a point lower than the most curved part of the side seam and moved my marking up to that curved point.
Then I thought about what I wanted to do and with a sigh, picked up the seam ripper. I ripped out those curved side seams and put the shirt back to it's A-line shape.
Next I sewed elastic in as straight a line as possible across the waistline. I tried using gathers to get the tucks even, but the thread broke and the parts that were gathered didn't seem to be any easier to work with than the ungathered parts, so I let the fabric and elastic do what it wanted and it came out fine.
I ended by folding up the hem almost two inches and machine blind-stitching it. That got it to the correct length, but it was very stiff and heavy. It did not look good as the hem of a shirt.
I took in some extra volume from the waist to the hem and top stitched it flat. Now the shirt looked more flattering.
I used the ribbon and lace to make casings, put in the elastic, and saw that the ugly aqua ribbon was now beautiful. If it weren't for the visible seam allowances, this would be a reversible shirt.
You can see the elastic through the lace, but I don't think this matters. The elastic also can twist, but I'm willing to put up with that for a better fitting shirt.
After trying on the shirt, I realized how much more wearable it is with the elastic free from the fabric. At this time, I also realized how much easier it would have been to make the old skirt a shorter, more flattering length with an elastic waist. Too late now. I've put too much work into making this a shirt.
In some places, the white lace casing peeks out over the top, but it's not enough to bother me. You can see one of the tiny spots in the above picture.
Once the elastic was in casings, I thought the shirt was ready to wear, but I had this lovely pink ribbon I've been saving for years for the perfect project.
I wanted to use the ribbon to make a sleek sash for this shirt. I measured the ribbon around my body, used chalk to mark the correct spot, and sewed on a snap. The ribbon doesn't sit exactly on the elastic all the way around my body and one end flips over to the wrong side, but I still think it is wearable. I'm tired of working on this and want to wear it. I don't have any ideas right now on how to make the sash better. Maybe after I wear it for a while, I will have some inspiration.
This refashion was difficult for me, but I'm pleased with the results. It isn't perfect, but it is wearable. I'm happy to be wearing my spider web fabric again, but don't think I'll attempt another skirt to shirt refashion any time soon.
I am waiting for the day when I have a fully functional camera that will allow me to set the timer and take pictures of myself wearing my creations. This dress form isn't proportioned like me and the clothes don't hang the same way. Ahh, dreams...