mama’s first re-fashion (and more shorts)

refashioning is not something i’ve gotten into. there are lovely peeps out there who do it almost exclusively—and i think they are amazing!—but i just haven’t gone there myself. however, in an effort to use some of my old clothes that i no longer wear but just can’t give away, i decided to give it a try. and ya know… it wasn’t half bad!

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i’ve had this button up shirt since college, and i loved it and wore it a lot. nowadays the fit bothered me: sleeves too wide, main body too wide, shirt too short… hasn’t been worn in years. so i cut it up, made it small and gave it to anastasia. she’s very much not a girly girl so it was a risk giving her a ruffled collar, but it’s small and subtle enough that she’s okay with it.

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i had plenty of fabric to work with, so i cut the collar stand on the bias to break up the plaid a bit. for the ruffle, i went with a scant 2:1 ratio and used my serger to finish the upper edge. even though i had plenty of fabric, i made the inner collar stand out of a contrast fabric that just happened to go well with the plaid. i really like this feature on shirts, though i’ve never used it for myself. that may change.

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and hey, check out those cute shorts! i used mccalls 6391 again with all the same pattern mods as before. the fabric is a lightweight denim (6-6.5 oz) that was leftover from an older project. actually, this is the second thing i’ve made with the leftovers now that i think of it… i wanted to keep a trouser look so i used black topstitching thread, but to keep it casual i simply hemmed the legs and rolled them up twice, strategically tacking the side seams so they stay put. as you can see, in a size 7 they’re quite roomy. however i expect that she’ll get two summers out of these—our summers are fairly short so that’s a good thing. i also put an adjustable waist on the inside so she wouldn’t have to bother with a belt.

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as i constructed the shorts i took many pictures of my fly construction method, but writing up a good tutorial is very time consuming. i should have it up in a day or two (or four…) so watch this space!

—lisa g.

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plaid shorts [mccalls 6391]

i bought mccalls 6391 years ago because i thought the shorts were cute and had lots of potential. a couple weeks ago i set out to make these shorts for my nine year old, anastasia. there are precious few not super helpful reviews of this pattern, so i went into it armed only with my instinct. the pattern is designed to sit at the waist. i can’t speak for you, but i’m pretty sure i don’t know a single kid who wants to wear at waist anything. off the bat i lopped 1″ off the top, and also removed 1″ from the length.

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i drafted all the not included pieces (fly facing, fly shield, pocket facings, etc) and went to work. i had less than a yard of shirting fabric (from this make) but managed to fit it all in and match my plaids pretty well. since this was a shirting fabric, i underlined it in muslin to make sure the shorts didn’t end up see-through.

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the pattern has a box pleat at the waist, which i thought looked strange, so i split the pleat into two regular pleats. i could have eliminated the pleats altogether, but aren’t pleats trendy at the moment? i don’t pretend to know, i just thought it was cute. i ended up cutting the waistband one size larger (since i lowered where the waistband was going to sit) and trimmed it down to fit. also, i added back patch pockets and belt loops. i had made a sash from leftover chambray scraps which she can use as a belt since the shorts are pretty roomy and would likely fall off otherwise.

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i made her a size 7 and they’re plenty big. i really like how these shorts came out and i already have another pair cut out in a lightweight denim, which hopefully i’ll get to next week. i have received a few questions about how i construct the zip fly, so i plan to detail my process in an upcoming post, as well as how to draft those mystery pieces that most patterns don’t bother to include. i have a few other things to post first, but i’ll get to it!

—lisa g.