Posts Tagged ‘altered clothes’

I’ve loved the few men’s plaid shirts that I’ve altered to fit my plus-sized self, and could always use more as tops during the colder months, so here is another that didn’t become a dress!


The base shirt was pretty plain, so it got hit with a bleach ombre. In this case, it reacted strongly to the bleach so the fade is not very gradual and there isn’t much of a different colour showing up on the bleach edge.

The pale cream tones of the faded sections tied nicely to some of the Stratford Festival scraps that had a soft linen look with a matching blue. For simplicity, the sleeves were cut off at the elbows and strips of the scraps were attached as cuffs. The upper arms and top of the shirt were a good fit, so the side seams were only opened to below the arms and large, long triangles added in to widen the bottom.


The only other thing was that the buttons were replaced with slightly more interesting black and cream ones. That’s it! a simple few alters and it was ready to go.

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This was one of my more fun shirt alters. The base was a men’s green plaid shirt. Not having much of an overall plan for it, I started with the basic bleach ombre fade on it and it turned out to go very orange along the fade edges. I’ve found that I prefer to get the bleaching done before investing too much time on the rest of the design since I’m not so good at predicting what colour the fades will be. It works better for me to wait to choose accent fabrics until I see the bleach results.


This was a fairly small shirt so the sleeves were cut to elbow length and the side seams fully cut out, all the way along the bottom of the remaining sleeves. As my usual, the cut-off forearms were salvaged and used to widen the tops of the kept sleeves.

A while ago, the Stratford Festival cleared out a ton of their fabric scraps by donating to our local thrift store. They sold them in random mixed bags and we brought a bunch home. These were true scraps so in most cases there is very little of each one. Not enough for making anything like a full blouse or anything, but many are workable sizes for use in altered pieces and are beautiful, high quality materials. From this collection, I pulled an assortment of the orange fabrics and narrowed it down to a coordinating plaid and a slightly stretchy synthetic velvet. The plaid had both some small scraps and a good length of bias cut strip. The strips were perfect for edging the sleeves so I went with that instead of putting the cuffs back on like usual.


The velvet had pieces that were not only big enough to work as inserts in the sides but I could also cut them so the selvage edge was along the bottom. I liked the look, and it saved me a ton of fussing with hemming but I know it doesn’t work for everyone.



The pops of bright orange reminded me of the Star Wars rebel clothing so I decided to run with it. A rectangular plaid panel was added to the back with “Rebel” roughly written on it. (I didn’t have enough space for “Rebel Scum”, which would have been better) I also cut out a rebel symbol out of the the same fabric and hand appliqued it to the right pocket. The last detail was to swap the buttons to a set with a silver-toned metal center in a clouded acrylic circle. They really stepped up the custom “sci-fi” feel of the shirt.


This is one of my personal favorites so far. It’s very comfortable and the high quality of the fabrics means it has held up perfectly through all sorts of wash and wear. I also really like having a casual way to wear one of my big fandoms!


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This was another of the more experimental pieces. I’ve seen a number of reclaimed designs that used panels from different shirts, typically with a straight fall from below the bust-line, and I wanted to see how I liked that style.

I started with a trio of blue men’s shirts. All were on the smaller side and pretty boring so a co-coordinating scarf was added into the mix to give some contrast. The one I chose to use as the central point was still a bit small so the sleeves were cut out and it was fully opened up the sides. It’s front was cut off, just down from my bust-line and the backs of the other 2 shirts were cut out and then slightly gathered to make a new bottom to the front. They were both cut a bit more than half-way across, just as the hemlines started to curve back up. This meant that I ended up with a generous amount of each fabric and was able to use the existing bottom hems. A stripe of the dark scarf was added down the sides and it’s bottom hem curved so it bridged the gap between the shorter back hem and the lower start of the front curve.


Roomy, half-length sleeves were made from the old fronts of the shirts that provided the front. I went with one of each, but you could make a matching pair. They were edged with more of the accent scarf fabric. (I found it much easier to put the trim on the sleeves when they were still flat)


To finish things off, the top of the collar was also replaced with the accent fabric. Again, the easiest way to do this is to remove the old collar and use it as the pattern for the new one. Unfortunately, ironing is necessary but it does pay off in the how much more finished the final product looks!


I found this to be a good way to use some the duller shirts that were, luckily, in a similar colour group. The finished piece was very comfortable and it’s a style that makes it easy to control and personalize the new fit, even if I don’t think the drop style of the front flatters me personally. Unfortunately, the scarf fabric turned out to be extremely unstable and it didn’t hold up to repeated washing so it didn’t survive many wearings. I should have clued into the potential problem when I saw how loose the weave was but I was seduced by how perfectly it tied all the colours together. Lesson learned!

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