Many months ago my friend Suzanne gave me one of her old linen shirts with the comment that I might like to repurpose the embroidery on the front. I put it in my refashioning drawer and looked at it from time to time before taking it to the Fibres West retreat with a view to perhaps cutting it up. Whilst there I tried it on and we all decided that the shirt was a lovely shape and I wasn’t to cut it up.
I think the shirt is circa 1990s and has a distinct Issey Miyake vibe with deep raglans and shaped front. Of course it would have had shoulder pads, but it doesn’t really need them.
The shirt had been white, but yellowed a bit in my care. Suzanne had cut the buttons off (a woman after my own heart), and there were a few worn areas.
I scoured the shirt and got it back to being white, but this caused a little bit more damage. Some of the embroidery was beginning to unravel, so where I could, I stitched it back down and used fray stop subtly underneath to bind it together. I wanted to dye the shirt pink but worried that all the embroidery would have been sewn with polyester thread, which would have stayed white. I decided to take a risk, mordanted the shirt in soy milk and then dyed it with avocado pits.
I am thrilled with the results, and even better, the embroidery dyed well too!
I added some little crystal buttons from my stash
and did some visible mending/boro style stitching on the worn areas. I did dye a linen handkerchief to cut up for the repairs, but couldn’t bear to cut it up, so used some bias binding that I had also dyed.
I really like the way the raglan sleeves are put into the shirt. I’m not sure what the technique is called, but the sleeves are attached to the body, and then stitched down about 1.5cms away from the edge, creating a tuck. The sleeves are also very deep, a bit like dolman sleeves, but with a raglan twist.
I’ve worn this shirt a couple of times now as the weather warms up, and I’ve paired it with my pink Vogue 8859 pants, and my Jalie Eléonore pull on jeans, which appeared in another shirt refashion post. This shirt is the perfect weight for warmer weather and I adore the colour. The next time I have a pot of avocado dye going though, I will give it another dip.
I love the fact that between us, Suzanne and I have managed to save another shirt from landfill and give it a whole new life!