Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Cheap And Nasty Remake - Stripey Top.

Being able to sew is like having super powers.

I found this hideous top today.

Isn't it nasty? It's a big rectangle with a hole cut in for the head.

One size fits nobody. But don't worry - It may not have any shape but I'm sure this tie thingy will help.
Now it's heaps sexy!

Here's a close up of some quality construction:

That tie thingy goes through an unfinished hole someone has thoughtfully stabbed through the side. Not even a buttonhole! Obviously a lot of care went into this. 

So, as a service to the world, I took it upon myself to make something respectable out of it. In part because despite its obvious and numerous flaws, I kinda liked the stripes.

I chopped it up, and faffed about trying to figure out whether it was possible to match up the stripes. Originally, the stripes went up the front in one direction, and down the back in the other. That was bugging me a bit. It was quite a challenge and really limited the amount of usable fabric.

See, I had this idea.

I'd seen this top in East a while ago. And I wanted it. But I didn't even try it on. I rarely do. Because their sizes look a bit crazy big for my pint sized body. But I thought I could create something a bit similar. 

Obviously not enough fabric for long sleeves, but I think I can still get the same effect.
I started by tacking where the hems would go, and putting the back together.

And then cutting the top of the back level.

Then I hemmed the inner edge, and folded the strips at right angles. I had to make sure they were even. I also slipped it over my hear to make sure it was long enough for front and back. 

I tacked the cross-over at the front:
And trimmed the edge.
This wasn't perfectly level, I pinned it on and found that it actually needed a bit of a curve.

For the bottom half, I cut out the tank top pattern from below the bustline. I then brought them in by several centimetres, because it was very stretchy and I wanted it to fit closely. I had to put a centre back seam in, because the neckline scooped too low, and made a big chunk of the front piece unusable. Fortunately, the top of the front piece was wide enough to use the pieces on either side of the neckline. I sewed them together first, and then cut the back out, lining up the centre back with the seam.

I basted everything and tried it on, fiddled with the front a bit, and then sewed it together properly.

Ta Da!! 

Now it feels like something I would actually be willing to wear in public. Yay!
Quick before and after:

Umm. Yeah, that's an improvement.

There's a whole bunch of issues behind cheap clothing. Working conditions of those making them, the environmental impact of the waste, the poor quality results. It's so crazy to be making things like this. The quality of fabrics themselves are poor too, so it will have a more limited lifespan than an item of clothing made from better quality fabric. Arguably, in purchasing this item, I have contributed to that cycle.

I will also tell you remaking this simple shirt took 6 hours. Granted, efficiency of mass production should reduce that time frame somewhat, and if it were made from scratch it would require less fiddling around to make the most of the fabric. But it still doesn't make sense that you can buy a shirt for £4.00, between producing materials, labour, transport, storefront running costs and everything else that goes into the process. Something in this equation has gone wrong.

 But I hope if nothing else, this shirt's journey to landfill will be a bit slower now.


  1. Vast improvement.
    And yes the cost factor of those cheap garments just can't add up.

  2. Great post! Great finished top! Cheap clothing is a real bugbear of mine. I read this book a couple of years ago when it came out, Lucy Siegle - To die for, is fashion wearing out the world. It gives a real insight into what goes on. There will always be somebody at the other end of the supply chain suffering.

    1. Thanks Helen,
      Since my local library doesn't have it, I'll have a parcel in the post soon. It's all very interesting stuff.

  3. Nicely done! Woman, you have got to send this to the Refashionista. It's totally up her street!