not-so-tiny pocket tank

Here’s another button-down shirt refashion using the tiny pocket tank pattern. I wanted a funky print, and I found it in this thrifted button-down shirt. It was a serious funky shirt, and I should have taken a before picture. Despite it being a women’s shirt, it looked more like a men’s shirt. There were two pockets on the front, the cut was very boxy and it had chunky navy buttons. In spite of this, the curved hem went up several inches on the sides in a definite feminine touch.

To get started, I cut the shirt apart (I’ve realized that 1/4-1/2″ of fabric isn’t worth the trouble of ripping) but I kept the hem on the bottom. I removed the pockets and used the front as the back, replacing the buttons with the mother-of-pearl like buttons from my other tiny pocket remake.

Here’s a hint: if only one of your darts looks good and the other dart is a bit funky at the point, just put your pocket over that dart! As long as it’s just a small issue, it will cover it right up.

The pocket is from the original shirt, and a little hard to see, but it’s right there.

Since this version didn’t have a lining I did use the bias binding. I just bought some navy fabric long enough to accomodate the piece on the diagonal. (I measured it out on a scrap piece of fabric first.) The binding worked out pretty darn well for me, and it looks so nice and finished.

Since I’d taken a couple inches out of the straps, I wasn’t sure if the binding would fit. I left the back able to be buttoned up so I had the extra part of the placket to cover as well. It fit exactly, so I’m not sure how that worked out. I sewed a snap at the top corner of the placket after attaching the bias binding so it would lie flat, and voila! A new summer top.

I don’t think I’ve cut one of these tanks out as wide as they were supposed to be since there’s been limited fabric in cutting the shirts. I might be trying this again soon, maybe with the scout tee pattern, since I picked up four funky men’s button downs for a buck a pop at a yard sale a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure how the lack of darts will work on that pattern, but I’ve still got new fabric and patterns for three more fitted blouses ready to be cut out and sewn up.


upcycled plaid shirt

A few weeks ago, I looked through my summer clothes and realized the vast majority of the tops in my summer work wardrobe were knit v-neck t-shirts in a variety of solid colors. Knits are comfy, sure, but they also stick to you after you get sweaty, which is about 30 seconds after you walk out of the house here.

I was looking for some lightweight wovens and prints to liven up my wardrobe. My next trip to the thrift store netted me several oversized bright printed shirts that I wanted to cut down into wearable summer shirts for me. (If anyone has tips on how to remake a silk lime-printed shirt with a high neckline, lining and sheer sleeves, let me know!)

I knew that that even though Cirque du Bebe, and many other bloggers I saw, could pull off the Wiksten Tank I would need something with more structure up top. I hacked my first top (not photographed yet) and trying to make matching darts from nothing was a lot of work. It turned out okay, but I was looking for an easier way since I wanted to make several tanks.

Enter the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank. There were darts, already marked! (And the price was right.)

I started tearing this shirt up as soon as I got it in the door, so there isn’t a before picture, but this one on ebay is pretty close. I left the buttons in the front of the shirt, after replacing them with pale yellow ones instead of the mother of pearl that were on there. I sewed the placket closed on both sides since the sheer fabric was going to need a lining and I wanted it to hang right.

I cut two layers, one of shirt, one of pale yellow thrifted sheet, both very lightweight. It saved me from making armhole and neck facings on this version, always a bonus. I kept the hem on the shirt and hacked them hem on the lining because it kept sticking out the bottom.

It was very comfortable to wear around and didn’t cling to me the way knits do. I made a muslin first and took an inch or two out of the straps on this version. Even with those adjustments I’m still going to raise the neckline a smidge on my next tank.

The pattern was great, as was having darts built in. I didn’t get the tent look I’d feared if I had gone the Wiksten route. I had to make a few adjustments cutting the shirt based on the pieces of the original shirt I was working with, but there’s room in this pattern to lose some width on the sides if you are working with a limited amount of fabric.

I’ve made one other version of this tank so far (also yet to be photographed) and with the neckline adjustments more of these might be coming out of my craft room soon.

Though I’m not close to being able to participate in Me Made May, I did realize over the weekend I’d used/worn three items that I’ve sewn recently. A year ago I only had one skirt I’d sewn in my closet, so it’s pretty cool to realize some of the things I’ve made are becoming staples in my wardrobe.