My closet has been in a sad state of late! Since Rosa's birth last fall, I've been giving my wardrobe a makeover. Perhaps it's due to my new status as mom of two littles, or perhaps it was just time for a change. Either way, I've been doing really well at "out with old" -- but not so well at "in with the new." Yes, I could spend a fortune and buy exactly what I want right now. But sadly, I haven't found any fortunes lying around lately. I've also been trying to minimalize my closet, and only buy/make garments that fit my needs and my lifestyle.
In the meantime, my summer "closet crisis" has become acute. When I say "I have nothing to wear," it's almost true -- about seven skirts, a pretty good collection of sleeveless tops and tanks sans necessary layering shirts/shrugs/cardigans, and a few sleeveless and short-sleeve tops I can actually wear by themselves (that don't really go with my current skirt selection). Hmm.
I'm now very interested in sewing my own knits. I've finally gotten over my terror of stretchy fabrics, to the point that I'm ready to tackle simple projects like tops, shrugs, and cardis. However, I'm nervous about experimenting when it's difficult to find nice knits inexpensively. I also love the idea of refashioning women's knit t-shirts, but don't love that most of the tutorials I see involve buying two brand-new shirts (so that you have extra fabric for embellishment).
With that in mind, I decided to shop the XL women's section at my favorite local thrift shop.
I found three identical sleeveless tops in teal, chocolate, and fuchsia. The knit is super nice, and they looked easy to modify. And they were a dollar each.
Here's one of the original tops on "Yvonne," along with the line I marked after pinning the top on myself "inside out." By the way, it's extremely painful to remove a fitted top when you've lined the edges in pins. In case you were wondering.
After sewing along my line, I fine-tuned the fit and also took about an inch off the shoulders. I removed the excess side fabric with my serger (though finishing the edges isn't really necessary with knit). Excess fabric? Sounds like an excuse for some embellishment! Besides, three of the same top is kind of boring, right?
So here's the new version of my top, three ways:
1. Teal banded shoulder top
The shoulders are quite wide, and for some reason this top seemed more "binding" than the others. Problem solved by two self-fabric tubes and some gathering stitched on the shirt.
2. Fuchsia Shirred Top
This one is pretty simple. Four 1-inch bands cut from my excess fabric, ruffled with elastic thread in the bobbin (I find this faster and easier than regular gathering). They're topstiched on with a medium zig-zag -- medium width, medium length.
3. Chocolate Ruffles and Roses
Perhaps my favorite (and currently being worn), I used my elastic bobbin thread again to gather the top edges of the ruffles and the roses. I got the techniques from this wonderful tutorial: Tea Rose Home -- Ruffle Shirt Tutorial.
I found a few other re-fashion candidates at the thrift store, so now to figure out how to create more functional pieces for my wardrobe! With a handful of new tops and some skirt fabric on the way, my closet situation is finally looking up.