Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Completed: Take two men's poloshirts...

...and create two loose-fitting woman's tees!

My friends, and some of you, are expressing surprise that I am still sewing. To tell you the truth, I feel like I'm doing less and less, but I've been due some time off work recently and have chosen to dedicate that time to sewing. Rather than, say, hoovering, or you know, getting organised for the baby coming.

So here are a couple of refashions that I rustled up yesterday afternoon. Each one took probably about an hour and half to complete, and most of that was trying on, adjusting, trying on adjusting, trying on, adjusting. Sorry, I forgot to take "before" pictures, so you'll just have to use your imagination on those.

I've had this tutorial from Cotton and Curls pinned for ages, and I've also had 2 of my husband's polo shirts in my refashion pile for nearly as long. I think I put these off because I was scared of getting them wrong and therefore "wasting" the polos, but then it dawned on me that they would just be going in the bin anyway, so what did it matter.

I made this one first using a Gap polo shirt, in a lovely stable cotton with very little stretch. I particularly love the colours. I'm really really happy with it! I don't know how much longer it will last me, as it's already a little tight over the bump (what can I say, I have a thin husband, so his shirts are not particularly oversized...), but it will work well post-pregnancy. I think my only change was that I didn't curve the bottom. I wanted to, as I think that would be more flattering, but the polo suffers from having twisted side seams as a result of having been cut off-grain. I figured any shaping would make this even more obvious, so I opted to leave the finished hem of the polo. Once less thing to do! I'm not convinced it looks right, but I'm unsure what else to do with it. Any suggestions?

As per Liz's suggestion, I changed the original buttons, which were grey, for something brighter. I had 3 turquoise buttons in my stash and they match perfectly, picking out the smaller turquoise stripe.

Some notes on construction
I love Liz's makes but I don't always find her tutorials all that clear. I think she assumes a certain knowledge, and it's probably just her style of writing versus my style of learning. I do know she puts a lot of work into her tutorials, so I don't want to take away from that, however if you are thinking of making this, here are my observations:
  • When cutting the neckline, it's actually easier to first sew up the button placket. Even if you don't plan on adding more buttons, I'd still do this, as it just keeps the neckline more stable.
  • If you plan to change the buttons, remove the old ones before you sew up the placket. It just makes it easier. No pesky buttons in the way of the presser foot!
  • I top stitched the front of the placket closed, and then slip stitched the inside part closed.
  • When top stitching the placket, start from the bottom and work towards the neckline (ensures it all matches up correctly - same principal as when inserting a zip!).
  • It would probably be helpful if you could copy the desired neckline from an existing tee, but if you do, remember to add 1/2 or so seam allowance. If you don't want to copy from an existing tee, start with a small amendment and keep trying it on and trimming a little at a time until you get your desired neckline. Again, remember seam allowance!
  • Similarly if you plan on taking in the sleeves and sides, either copy from an existing garment, adding seam allowance, or do small increments until you are happy. Trying on inside out and pinning helps, although is quite tricky to do under your own arms, and can result in some injuries*
  • When sewing the sleeves, start from the cuff and work towards the "bodice". This ensures your cuffs match up nicely.
  • When sewing the neckline, there will be a LOT of bulk at the placket. Where possible, I trimmed some of this away and my machine still struggled.
  • Liz added additional buttons but didn't say what to do about the lack of buttonholes. I considered making a third buttonhole, even if it was non-functioning, because my buttonholes had contrasting thread, but in the end didn't bother. As I sewed the buttons on with contrasting thread, I don't think it matters too much.
  • My polo had a pocket. I decided to leave this in place, but top stitched the top closed. Having a functional pocket on the back seemed slightly weird.

I loved this so much, I had to make a second, straight away! Talk about instant gratification!

I didn't want 2 tees that were identical in shape, so I drew inspiration from Miss P's recent tutorial, and cut the sleeves off, to make a kimono style sleeve. For this, Portia's tutorial is really comprehensive so I have nothing to add. My drop sleeve isn't quite long enough (again, the curse of the narrow husband), so it kind of sticks out, but you get the idea. I decided to keep the neckline higher on this one. In fact, after removing the collar, I didn't alter the back (original front) neckline at all, and cut the front (original back) neckline to match, widening the neckline as I went to give a kind of bateau neck look.

No buttons yet!
This one is an Old Navy polo, again in 100% cotton, this time with zero stretch. I don't like this one quite as much. The fabric is a bit stiffer, which doesn't work so well with a pregnant tum, and it makes the sleeves stick out. Plus it's mostly white which is a colour I usually avoid like the plague! I will still wear it though, and again it will serve me well post-pregnancy (assuming it doesn't show the baby puke too much!). I don't yet have buttons for this. I did consider some gold anchor buttons from my stash but they didn't look quite right. I think I want a real contrast - mustard or orange - as per Liz's original tee, and I don't have anything like that in my stash, so will need to buy some when I next get a chance.

Pregnant or not, this is a refashion that is really quick and easy and looks great! If not pregnant, you can just take the sides in more, to make it as loose or tight fitting as you prefer. Definitely worth a try!

*Injuries sustained whilst sewing: 1 giant scratch to right arm!



  1. These look great, love the buttons on the back! Must add polos hirts to my list of things to look for in the charity shops!

  2. Such a clever idea! And they look so flattering! What a great Instant Gratification Project :) Incidentally, I'm no doctor but I think that scratch requires chocolate... ;)

    1. ha ha! Yes, I agree and have been self-medicating accordingly!

  3. What a great idea! Quick projects like this sound perfect for pre and post baby sewing!

  4. Very clever idea, I hope they last through the last few weeks of your pregnancy. I felt the same towards the end of pregnancy - so BORED with all my stuff but my late pregnancy makes were so shoddily made that I didn't even blog them!

    1. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one for whom quality dropped considerably! :)

  5. Wow, what a fabulous idea! I love the 'front' on the 'back' idea, such a neat way to breath new life into old garments while also extending your pregnancy wardrobe a little :)


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