Staying organized is hard to do sometimes when you’re a buyer and seller of vintage and resale items. I have racks and racks of clothing from different eras
taking up quite a bit of space at my home studio. In addition, I’ve always been drawn to sewing patterns from different eras as well. The original DIY fashions, I guess you could say! Sometimes these fashions can serve as inspiration or reference, or in the case of this week’s blog, both! While out shopping at the Goodwill near my house for some summer items for an upcoming photo shoot, I came across this lovely floral sleeveless top by Ralph Lauren in a rich cotton. As is, it’s a great summer staple for sure, but with a few tweaks I knew I could take it to a new level of sophistication and fun! This project is so simple that literally anyone can do it. It doesn’t require major sewing skills, but being able to run a simple straight stitch on a sewing machine could help. You might also take this to a friend who could help you with it, in exchange for something you could do for him or her! Bartering is a great way to accomplish things, and it doesn’t cost you a thing!
Mark the center back of the blouse on a friend (or if you’re an octopus on yourself), where the natural waistline is. I used dressmakers chalk.
Laying it flat and folding it in half lengthwise, you’ll be able to see your chalk mark, then draw a line like I did in this picture, which curves down in the front to create the tie for the blouse.
Cut away excess fabric using a pinking shear. FYI, a pinking shear is one that creates a stable finish for the edge that will not unravel, and it also gives a little on the curved area when we create a hem. (A pinking shear is a great investment for the person who wants to do more clothing recycling!)
Press the hem up with hot iron and spray starch. This works so well with cotton, and makes it so much easier to have a clean and finished hem on the blouse.
Using a simple straight stitch on the sewing machine, sew the hem down locking stitches at the beginning and end of the stitch by using the back stitch feature on the machine. (Run the stitch back and forth.)
I paired this cool, retro-looking top with a jean skirt in my studio just to illustrate how great it would look with almost any bottom this summer. I could also see this with a maxi skirt, shorts, or jeans. The key is finding a blouse that fits well, and has a good amount of fabric for creating the tie part. You may already have a blouse that might work for this project in your closet! If not, you should definitely head to your local Goodwill and pick up a few blouses to do over. This technique works well with long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or sleeveless blouses, like the one I did here! No matter what, our stores are a great place to find items to make your summer more special in every way. When you support our stores with your donations or purchases, you’re making a commitment to help someone feel more special about their lives too!