Monday, July 20, 2015

A top-down T-shirt trim

In 2013, I went well out of my price comfort zone to purchase this T-shirt dress. It had all the elements I love—flowy, organic shapes, fancy goldfish, and, most importantly, a bicycle, my transportation mode of choice!

The first time I saw the dress, at Artscape in Baltimore, I didn't buy it...and then I regretted my decision for weeks. Finally I discovered the company that made it online, and they told me I could find them at Adams Morgan Festival. After investing so much effort into finding the top, I pretty much had no choice but to buy it—even though it was 30 dollars, plus tax!

Imagine my disappointment when I tried it on at home (for some reason, I just trusted it would fit when I bought it) and found it entirely unsuitable. I had imagined it would be a sort of long T-shirt, but it was definitely more of a minidress. It had no tailoring, so it made me look dumpy, and it was too tight around the hips.

I tried taking in the waist and stretching the bottom portion out a bit, and wore it once or twice, but a T-shirt minidress really has no place in my life (too short for comfort, too casual for dressing up), so I knew it had to change.

If I could, I would have just shortened the bottom hem, but the focal point of the shirt happened to be right there, so I was going to have to do things an odd way, and shorten it from the top down.

Fortunately, the original construction was what I would call "minimal" – raw sleeves and collar, and, as I mentioned, no tailoring – so it wouldn't require a lot of re-hemming.

I started by opening up the bottoms of the armholes so I could try it on and pull it a little higher.

When I had determined the perfect length, I marked lines that paralleled the original shoulder seams, which would become my new shoulder seams.

Then I sewed the new shoulder seams and cut off the top.

I cut a new neck opening, using the original one as a guide.

Finally, I tried the shirt on a bajillion times, cutting tiny slivers off the arm openings until I was satisfied that they looked OK.

Then I was done! The whole process was not nearly as painful as I had imagined. I think I would prefer it if the lady's hair were not flowing dramatically into my armpit, but I guess I'll have to be content with having a biking-themed shirt that I can actually now ride my bike in!

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