Friday, July 12, 2013

Done and Undone

And done again. But it still might evolve after I wear it a bit.

This shirt was a gift from a friend. (Thanks, Ginny!) She gave me permission to take it with me to DOL where Diane Ericson gave me some excellent ideas to try out on it.

It started out as a nice 100% linen shirt. A classic big shirt, or at least that's the way it fit me. Very long, dropped shoulder. Sleeves finished with conventional placket and cuff.

Here is what I've done (so far):

  • Removed the collar, left the collar stand, inserted a brown and white linen bias strip where the collar had been.
  • Added a raw-edge circle to the back yoke.
  • Removed the sleeves and moved the shoulder line up even with my shoulder blades.
  • Opened the side seam, added linen bias binding to armscye and side seams. Lapped the front side seam over the back. Top-stitched in place, leaving a vent at the bottom.
  • Removed the two pleats in the back in hopes of gaining some of the inches I lost with the previous step.
  • When that didn't work I removed the buttons, covered button holes with new buttons, inserted a strip down the front with new buttonholes. It now buttons the other way.
  • Removed the breast pocket and created a second one from one of the sleeves. Placed the two pockets low on the front.
  • Added gusset-type inserts so my bra won't show. It may become a vest but it's too hot for a vest right now.
  • Added and removed sashiko circles all over it.

Here is what I haven't done (yet):

  • Dye
  • Paint
  • Stamp
  • Stencil
  • Screen print
And it needs some kind of sashiko or hand-stitch. Still thinking. Hoping I don't take it past the point of wear-ability, veering into clown wear.

Original shirt


  1. the transformation is beautiful!

  2. Hi Martha, sorry to ask such a newbie question, but when you took the sleeves/collar off did you just whack them off? Did you unpick the previous stitching? I have a white linen blouse that might benefit from a treatment like this (it's definitely not benefiting from hanging in the closet).... thx very much

  3. Martha, you are truly amazing - an artist in every sense. It is unique and lovely.

  4. Martha, I am enjoying your journey here. I always struggles to be a little more bold, but do not get there. In my humble (and plain-Jane) opinion, it is quite beautiful right now.

  5. I like what you've done so far. You have a lovely sense of style, so no worry about going too far.

  6. The "after" is so much more interesting and lovely than the "before."

  7. What a transformation Martha. I really admire what you sew and create.

  8. Love what you've done, and the detailed description of how you got there - thank you for a very inspiring post!