Friday, May 9, 2008

Tents Are for Camping



This is the white shirt I bought at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. I liked the fabric, the fit not so much. But it's actually pretty well made for a Walmart shirt so I brought it home to think about.

I never buy clothes thinking I can "fix" them, but I decided to just go ahead and fix this one today so I would actually wear it. I need a plain white shirt. Yes, I could make it myself but I don't have any white shirt fabric in the stash (really!) and, like I mentioned, I like *this* fabric. It's a very soft stretch cotton with a subtle woven-in stripe. It took a couple of hours, but that's still faster than making one from scratch. It turned out pretty well, so I'm glad I broke my own rule.

I put the shirt on and evaluated the changes I'd need. When I first brought it home I thought it fit (not great, but OK) in the shoulders and all I'd have to do was shorten sleeves and hem. I should've known better. No RTW fitted shirt ever fits me in the shoulder if it fits across my bust and butt. And the armhole is always too low. This one was no exception. Why I didn't see that at first, I don't know. But I'm stubborn so I couldn't let that stop me. ;-)

I started pinning. I made a tuck at the shoulder seam on the shoulder side, making no changes to the sleeve. I ripped out the top part of the armhole seam and pinned the sleeve further into the armhole to see how it was going to fit. It seemed like it was going to work great. So I basted it and tried it on again. The shoulders were still too wide. I ripped the first basting and tried it again deeper. This time, it looked good so I went ahead and marked a cutting line and then cut a big wedge out of the armhole.



This is what was cut out of the top 2/3 of the armhole. I could start ranting about RTW and pattern manufacturers and linebacker shoulders for women whose bones have not grown since high school. But I'll save that since I know I'd be preaching to the choir.



This is the sleeve pinned into the new armhole. I made no changes to the sleeve cap and sewed on its original stitching line. I pinned starting at each end and working my way to the middle in case I ended up with extra fabric to ease in, but I didn't.



Next it was time to deal with the droopy armhole. The sleeve circumference was also too big so I just sewed a deeper underarm and side seam, tapering to nothing at waist level. Doing this was like sewing the sleeve in flat and then sewing up the sideseam last, which is how the shirt was originally constructed. If it had been a set-in sleeve, I might have re-set it properly. Or maybe not. This is a Walmart shirt after all. ;-)



After serging the armhole and sideseams, I hemmed the sleeves shorter. If you look carefully at the photo above, you should be able to see that the original hem is not really a hem. It's a facing, topstitched and edgestitched. I didn't want to rip all that stitching so I was lazy and just turned the facing up once and then edgestitched and topstitched that.

Then the bottom hem. I cut off 1-1/2" and then pressed up a narrow double fold hem and topstitched that.

The last thing was to sew two more waist darts in the back. I figured I might as well do all the tweaks at this point, since I was on a roll. They look horrible here but Zillie has no butt. I do. The back fits me so much better with the darts. What you can't see are the original two waist darts. They are set very close to the sideseam. Why they are there, I have no idea. But I left them. With all the seaming and darts (there are 2 waist darts in the front too), what's another couple of darts.



So here it is again, Before …



… and After.



ETA: I forgot the best part. This sticker was on the front of the shirt when it was hanging on the rack.



Um, I think not. Unless you have a sewing machine. ;-)

23 comments:

  1. LOVE the after!!!!! Great job!

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  2. WOW!! What a GREAT job, Debbie!! Your new wardrobe is really nice--something to be very proud of, eh!!
    Warm greetings,
    Rhonda in Montreal (PR)

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  3. That looks great! This is the reason I finally decided to return to sewing and quit playing with my embroidery machines all the time. I always say I will buy a piece of clothing and then proceed to take it apart because of all the areas that do not fit or look awful on me. I finally decided if I had to pick out bar tacked stitches,take off cuffs,etc., cut the thing off I needed to just give up on rtw. That is inspiring that you narrowed the shoulders as they are always wayy too wide in rtw. Maybe I'll look for one of those wmt white shirts and doctor it. mssewcrazy

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  4. You just amaze me. The shirt looks so polished now.

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  5. Great results - great fit!
    Job well done :)

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  6. Debbie ~ what a great refashion!!! And having a white blouse will be great for your work wardrobe!

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  7. Oh my!! It's not just slimming, it is INSTANT slimming.

    Fab work Debbie!

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  8. You worked your magic again, Debbie. That sticker is what appears in the encyclopedia next to "truth in marketing". (Just kidding.)

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  9. Well there is the possibility that if the shirt actually fit someone properly off the rack, it would be "instantly slimming." Seriously what are they thinking when they make clothes with shoulders that wide? Anyway, it looks great now. Well done!

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  10. Amy M in Indiana9:15 PM, May 09, 2008

    Awesome --great job!!

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  11. In a million years I would not have the patience or skill to do that. GREAT job.

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  12. LOL about the sticker!

    Great job! It's such a big improvement! I alter a lot of my RTW clothes and while I hate alterations, it really is worth the few hours it takes. At least that's what I repeat to myself as I'm frogstitching. :)

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  13. Wow. I have the same fitting issues with sleeves and shoulders. I never thought to leave the sleeve on like that. I'm going to try that with my next alteration, which has been hanging in the sewing room looking at me wistfully for a while now!

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  14. That sticker shot made me LOL. Great conversion!

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  15. That's an awesome transformation! You took a so-so shirt and made it into a well-fitting one. I love the After picture! I think the manufacturer should take a look at your pictures and learn from them.

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  16. Debbie, wonderful job! You are an inspiration to us all. I have fixed quite a bit of RTW clothes. THank you for showing us your work.

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  17. Enormous improvement! The After shot is great. The before shot - well not so much, lol.It's making me think about some of the things I've tried on lately.....

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  18. The shirt looked okay to me until I saw your changes. Tremendous improvement. You may have changed my mind about altering RTW.

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  19. MUCH better. You're a patient soul. That was a lot of work, but you did a great job.

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  20. It is amazing what a difference that makes.

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  21. Your patience to rework the blouse was certainly rewarded as it looks terrific on you after you've worked your magic. J

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  22. lol, that last bit is funny. Your improvements really make such a difference.

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Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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