Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "Yes it's another open-shoulder top" top

Short-sleeved tops are probably the least-worn type of "basic item" in my clothing collection. When it's cold or just cool, I gravitate towards full sleeves (or at least 3/4!), and when it's hot, I shun any type of sleeves and head straight for the tank tops. But when the temperatures hover between, oh, 74 and 83, those are the days that short sleeves are my friends! Those days are only a few out of our total 365, but today happened to be one of them. So I took the opportunity to wear a short-sleeved shirt that I had refashioned in the past month. 

Here's how I DIYed an all-around-poofy blouse into a sleeker shirt I can feel comfortable in!

Originally it had an elasticized bottom hem. Nothing that bubbles out around my waistline has any place in my wardrobe, so I picked out all the elastic shirring with a seam ripper. I thought this was going to be a quick fix unworthy of a blog post, so I never bothered with a "before" picture.

I thought this alteration would be enough to make the shirt wearable, but nope! I was still unhappy with the very loose fit. And the fact that the front skewed inexplicably sideways. Besides that, the loops that held the buttons left a big old gap running right down the middle of my chest. I decided to solve three problems at once by converting the standard button front into a snug-fitting wrap-around front.

I picked off all the buttons and saved them for later. 

Then, in the mirror, I wrapped the two layers around my body and pinned the fabric in place. Shimmying out of this pin-laden straitjacket was a challenge, but all in the name of fashion!

I reattached the buttons in their new angled line using my sewing machine.

I had fixed the fit and the see-through button placket, but there was still the matter of the sleeves. They were puffed, in direct contradiction to every sensibility I have. I had to do something about them—and that something ended up being slicing them open for the cold-shoulder look I am loving so much!

First I just cut a slit down the center of each, from the shoulder seam to the cuff at the bottom, but that wasn't a dramatic enough hole. 

I then began paring off tiny slices of fabric from each shoulder hole until I had just the size opening I wanted!

At this point, I was unsure how to finish the openings I had created, knowing that the delicate woven fabric was going to unravel at lightning speed. Last time, I had just melted the raw edges to seal them, to disastrously itchy effect. This time, I was going to have to do better. I thought about trying to overlock them, but I knew that, at least in my machine, that would just make the edges frilly, which is not an effect I desired. Ultimately I decided to simply fold the raw edges under and then sew over them with a zigzag stitch to mitigate the inevitable fraying.

That's all there was to it. You wouldn't think that the difference between an open-shoulder and sleeveless top is so great that they would fall into entirely different temperature brackets, but somehow I am more or less comfortable in my cold-shoulder tops even when I'd be cold in a sleeveless one. Will wonders never cease?

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