This old favorite, an over-sized tunic top of mine, was really close to being moved into the donation bag until it’s transformation earlier today.
I believe I’ve held on to it for so long because I loved the loose weave fabric and the color. Even though it’s technically a size “small”, my 5’3 frame was and always has been “swimming” in it.
As I pondered the fate of this particular article of clothing, I remembered something I saw Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns demonstrate not long ago, treating an over-sized garment as “yardage”. She shared an effective method of how to create a new top into a smaller size. Brilliant.
Using Peggy’s inspiration as a guide, here’s how I did mine:
First, I bravely got out my super sharp Kai scissors and cut the side seams open up to the shoulders, also cutting off the sleeves in the process and leaving both the shoulder and sleeve side seams in tact. Oddly liberating…..
Next, I opened out the front and back sections and folded them in half at center front and back. I laid down corresponding front and back pieces from a pattern I like directly on top of the folded sections, extending each pattern a bit beyond the shoulder seams to allow for the already sewn seam allowances. I then cut out my front and back pattern pieces as usual.
As you can see, since I wanted to preserve the length, circumference and knitted hem of my original garment, I used my French Curve ruler to blend the side seams of the pattern to those on my tunic. I then folded my sleeves in half the same way as I did with the tunic body sections and cut these following the lines of the pattern sleeve. Since my tunic sleeve side seams were already sewn, I first stitched the side seams of tunic body and then set in the sleeves following with a serged finish for both.
Without really planning it, my new sleeves ended up being exactly 3/4 in length whereas previously I had to triple-roll them up to be above my wrists.
All in all, this remake took me less than an hour to accomplish. I was able to preserve the woven neckline treatment, shoulder seams, knitted sleeve and tunic hems and now have a much more flattering “go-to” piece that I dare say will be worn much more often than the original.
This entire process was ultimately satisfying on many levels. Whatever one might want to call the process, “upcycling”, “repurposing” or simply a “remake”, it feels great to know I’ll continue to get use out of this newly-fashioned piece for some time to come.