Getting the size of my wardrobe in check has always been a challenge for me. Month after month, there’s always bound to be a couple of pieces of clothing that I no longer fancy. And once every few months, I impulsively shop for mass-produced clothes from online shops because of the silly hankering for something rather new and fancy to become part of my daily ensemble. Sadly, love at first sight often only lasts for up to 6 months.
However, I must say that my shopping habits have improved markedly from my reckless days as a uni student. As part of my personal pilgrimage to achieving sainthood in being a conscious citizen of fashion, I often turn to the good ol’ make-do-and-mend. In other words, I put my amateur sewing skills into good use and turn something old into something new.
I have had a couple of projects in the past such as turning an XL denim shirt into a skirt and adding strips of jersey for a military inspired tank. But for the remainder of this year, I have resolved to make more radical alterations (and buy less mass-produced clothing items).
Behold! My first make-do-and-mend project of the year. This is a 1950s style kimono blouse that was inspired by the vintage sewing pattern Simplicity 4538.
I was struck by the ingenuity of this pattern when I chanced upon it on Pinterest and had to do a lot of thinking before embarking on this project (since I don’t have the original pattern). My fabric stash contains no jersey material because I have no serger (yet), so re-using a preloved T-shirt was an obvious choice. Lucky for me, my boyfriend has lost quite a bit of weight recently and has a few T-shirts that no longer fit him *insert devilish smile and shiny scissors here*.
1 old large T-shirt
A pair of sharp scissors
The ability to sew a straight line on the machine
The steps are as easy… (no serger required).
Step 1: Cut the top of an old XL tee off, leaving only the rectangular piece of fabric
Step 2: Sew the top of the rectangular piece of fabric, bearing in mind to leave about 6 inches of opening at each end. These openings are the armholes, so you might want to adjust the opening according to the width of your upper arm.
Step 3: Cut a vertical slit from the bottom of the shirt to just about the middle of the fabric.
Step 4: Fold a small 0.5 cm edge towards the wrong side of the fabric/old tee and sew as marked in the picture.
Step 5: Wear it with pride! Put your arms into the armholes, making sure that the vertical slit is at the bottom (i.e. it will end up being on your back and just above the butt). Be sure to check out this link to see how it is worn!
Please bear in mind that I am quite petite and my bust is non-existent, so the fabric from a super large T-shirt is sufficient to maintain my modesty. Busty and larger girls might not be able to recreate this from just an old tee. But hey, combining more than 1 T-shirt or using your own roll of jersey fabric works too!
Are you thinking about making a similar one? Let me know because I’d love to see your version! I have another large T-shirt with wide stripes in my stash.. and I might just make a striped version like the one on the cover of the sewing pattern!