Saturday, July 21, 2007

Red Shirt Recon

I love men's "camp" shirts -- camp as in canoing and toasted marshmallows, I guess, rather than camp as in John Waters -- and have a closet full of them. I love how colorful they are, and they always seem to be made of these great flowy rayons. However, when I wear them I tend to look as though I am a giant rectangle. Not my preferred shape.

One of my vague goals in learning how to sew is to be able to refit some of these awesome shirts (which I usually get resale for $2-$6). Last weekend, I finally just took matters into hand and hacked at one.

I picked this shirt because I love the colors and because of that great soft fabric. If you look closely, that print is not abstract... there are little skulls in there! But, typically, it was shapeless on me -- fit me okay in the chest, but the "short" sleeves came over my elbows and the hem made most of the trip down to my knees. I wasn't crazy about that tiki border down at the bottom either.

After some experimenting, the entirety of the modifications came down to this: Curve and take in side seams, remove sleeves and recut (using a flutter sleeve from a commercial pattern as reference), add side bust darts, shorten and reshape lower hem, remove collar but leave collar band.

A relative success, but not entirely. I wound up taking a little more in at the side when I reattached the sleeves (for them to fit) which made it just a teench to small for me to fully button across my chest. Ah well, I usually wear undershirts with button-downs anyway. It was definitely good enough that I wore it for a nice long motorcycle ride with a friend that same weekend, and I'm sure I'll be using the same tactics on some other obnoxious shirt before too long.

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