Here I am modelling two XL men’s shirts. Why ?, you may ask ( a question I asked myself on more than one occasion during the following couple of days).
I belong to a local WI and for the first time our craft group decided to enter the local South of England show WI Craft & cookery competition. We entered a number of classes, one of which was a challenge to refashion 2 men’s shirts into something / anything without using any additional fabric other than interfacing and minor accessories. Unfortunately the lady who was going to do this challenge had to withdraw at the last minute , so as we had paid an entry fee I rashly volunteered to step in and produce something.
I was on holiday at the time in Manchester ( yes, I did visit Abakhans and Leon & Barry’s) so went searching in charity shops for 2 shirts I thought might work together. When did charity shops get so expensive? I swear it would have been cheaper to buy fabric in Abakhans. However, rules are rules and these were found in the RSPCA shop at a more reasonable price of £4 each.
I decided to make a dress for myself using colour blocking on a Burda pattern ( not sure this was a good idea having never traced off and made a Burda style magazine pattern before but I started on the Wednesday afternoon with a deadline of 9.30 pm on the Friday.
Due to the large number of pattern pieces, and the two different fabrics, I first drew out the plan of what I planned to cut. Tracing off the pattern wasn’t too bad and then it was down to creative placement / use of the existing elements of the shirt. Luckily I am petite so just about squeezed a dress out of the shirts.
So here are the shirt design / construction elements reused( as opposed to fabric only)
Front with buttons from both shirts to make front of shirt dress
Sleeve plackets with buttons from all shirts as design element on back of dress
Contrast triangle insets from pink shirt to make design feature on split hem
Shirt tails from both shirts to create curved hemline
And , yes , it even fits!
I completed the dress at 9.25 pm ready for collection and submission at 9.30 pm fitting in as much time sewing as I could spare over the 2 days I had to complete the challenge when I got back from holiday.
It has confirmed one thing – I would never enter for the Great British Sewing Bee! I hated the time pressure and the need to get it right because this is going to be judged. I actually didn’t even go near my sewing machine for about 3 days after.
And the results were…..
I waited for the judging before publishing this . Afraid I didn’t get placed! The standard was high, and a lot of entries. The winner was actually a miniature dress mannequin doll – pretty off the wall for a shirt refashioning. Second prize was a lovely little toddler’s romper dress which I am told is reversible. 3rd place went to a tote bag. I’m told ( although I haven’t seen the judges comments on my item yet) that it was well received but no credit / points are given for utilising elements from the shirt.
So that was a new experience! At least I will know what to expect if I enter next year…..