Repurposing a shirt

I picked up this shirt for free on the last day of the garage sale at the Fibres West retreat – and yes, that garage sale is the gift that keeps on giving! The shirt is by Perri Cutten, a well-known Australian fashion designer, and is a lovely white linen, and bonus, it was made in Australia. The only issue is that it’s a size 18, and I grabbed it because I thought I might cut it up, dye the linen, and then remake it into something completely different. It was a plan!

Surprisingly the shoulders pretty much fitted, and I liked the shape of the collar, so I felt I was in the ball park to perhaps just modify it a bit.


Here it is displayed on my dummy pre-alterations, a little rumpled, but you get the idea. It’s quite a matronly style of shirt!


Really the only distinguishing feature was the topstitching at the edges of the collar and following the dart lines. IMG_5349

It’s no secret that I am not a very inspired refashioner and I looked at this shirt a few times, considering what to do with it. The linen was pristine white and the shirt looked brand new, so I didn’t really want to risk wrecking it with my dyeing practice. However, it was much too big for me, so something had to be done.

Once again I found the solution in a local designer boutique, where there were tops with lacing up the front, sides or back. I thought this might resolve a few of the fit issues and chose to do my lacing at the back. Such a simple solution: all I did was to open up the back darts, insert some doubled over grosgrain into which I sewed some eyelet buttonholes and through which I threaded some ribbon. I pressed the resultant pleat and voila!



The fit at the front is pretty good. When I was planning this alteration I was concerned that pulling the back in so much would pull the side seams too far round the back but this hasn’t been a problem, and the darts are in the right place, so that was a win!



The sleeves were too big and stuck out at a strange angle, so I folded them into a little pleat and stitched them down. Not perfect, but better.


I managed to get a couple of wears from this top before spring disappeared on us. I teamed it with my denim Éléonore pull on jeans and my pink vogue 8859 trousers and I look forward to seeing what it looks like with skirts.



18 thoughts on “Repurposing a shirt

  1. What a clever way to pull this shirt in to give you a proper ‘fit’! But the little pleat in the sleeves really change the overall look of this cute top! 🙂

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