Monday, 22 September 2014

Waste Less Live More

Today is the first day of 'Waste Less Live More' week. An initiative by 'Keep Britain Tidy' to raise awareness that environmental and social issues are interlinked and tackling these issues together is a far more effective solution. This year's theme is 'Be Resourceful', which is right up Fabrications street!

 I was approached by the 'Love your Clothes Campaign' to share one of my garment upcycling ideas as part of their 'Waste Less Live More' daily updates in collaboration with the 'Centre for Sustainable Fashion' . Between the two of them they will be streaming lots of tips and advise on how to get the most out of your old clothes in fun, practical and stylish ways. So make sure you tune in to their daily updates this week!

So here is my tutorial on how to transform a man's shirt into a stylish summer top. Time to raid your Father's, Brother's, Boyfriend's wardrobes! Thankyou Ali from Love your Clothes (London's arm) for taking such great pictures to illustrate how it's done. 

Step 1 -  Iron out any wrinkles to prepare for ....
Step 2 - Cut off the arms and cut through front and back of shirt in an even , straight line. Avoid accidentally cutting through a button! (which your scissors won't be very pleased about)

Step 3 - undo the buttons down the shirt front to reveal the inside back panel where you want to measure down 2" from the cut edge, put in a row of pins or mark with tailor's chalk.  
Step 4 - Folding under at the beginning and end (to hide raw edge), pin cotton tape (1" wide) along the row of pins / chalked line from side seam to side seam.  
Step 5 - Measure down 1.5" to add a second row of tape as per Step 4.  
Step 6 - Attach cotton tape to the inside (back panel) of the shirt by stitching along each edge, creating a decent sized channel for threading elastic through.

Step 7 - Attach a safety pin to your elastic (I used 6mm elastic) and thread through each channel, using the safety pin to secure the elastic at each end while you determine how gathered the back panel needs to be to fit your body. This can be done roughly at this stage and tweaked later to get a better fit.

Step 8 - Now it's time to play with the sleeves to make straps. Find 'Centre Back' and mark with a pin. Temporarily pin the sleeve cuffs on the front and lift sleeves over your shoulders towards the Centre Back pin mark. Now you know how much of the sleeves to cut down!
Step 9 - Set the machine to the longest straight stitch and run along the newly cut edge through both sides of sleeves (opposite end to cuffs) Pull on either top or bottom thread to gather.the fabric.

Step 10  - Pin both cuff ends facing down on top of outside of shirt fronts ('Right Sides Together') either side of the button opening and 'Stay Stitch' in position (stitch as close to the edge as you can, this stitching is just to help you for the next step.
Step 11 - Pin the cotton tape along the stay stitch line and just along each shirt fronts (not the back panel yet!) This time fold raw edges on each end of the cotton tape towards you (as this will get folded over as a hem later)  

Step 12 - Position the other end of the sleeve straps either side of your 'Centre Back' pin. Repeat same actions as Step 10 - pin 'Right Sides Together' and 'Stay Stitch' in position.
Step 13 - Attach cotton tape to the back panel, following the same method as Step 11

Step 14 - Fold the cotton tape over creating a hem in 3 parts (Front/Back/Front) on the inside. You can use an iron to help press into position neatly. The sleeve straps and any raw edges should be sandwiched and hidden behind the cotton tape.
Step 15 - Pin into position and stitch down the remaining cotton edge along the 3 sections of the shirt. 
Step 16 - As you've stitched the tape in 3 sections, you should have a neat opening on the back panel to thread elastic through to add a third level of elastication on the back.
Step 17 - Final touches! Pull elastic in all 3 channels to fit your body or ruched how you like it! Once happy cut back any excess elastic and hand stitch to anchor on the inside of each end the cotton tape channel.

As with many upcycling projects you will be led by the size and style of the shirt to create many variations on a theme. The blue shirt was an XL so needed more gathering on the back panel. On the purple gingham I also gathered the middle section of the sleeve straps to create a different finish. The possibilities are endless! Happy Upcycling! I'd love to see what you create! Please post your pictures on my Facebook or Twitter pages with the #wllm14

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