Leftovers… how about some upcycling!

Despite having cut the most enormous trousers ever from my beautiful batik fabric, I have some left over.

Let’s get upcycling!


Just a matter of removing that elastic... oh what?... it's stitched into the rolled hem?... ugh!
Just a matter of removing that elastic… oh what?… it’s stitched into the rolled hem?… ugh!


I have three of these milkmaid blouse/t-shirts hanging about in my cupboard and I NEVER wear them because I HATE elasticated puff waists.  The ‘muffin-top’ silhouette is not something I am trying to cultivate.  And the capped sleeves are cute but I can’t stand elastic digging into my skin anywhere – it’s the soggy anorak cuff association and it just makes my skin crawl.  But I managed to buy three of them because I like the woven spotted bib so much – there’s enough pretty and smart in there to give the tailored blouse effect but basically you’re just wearing a t-shirt.


milkmaid t-shirt planning


So after fighting the blouse with a seam ripper for most of an evening and some of the next day, I have a blank canvas to work with.  It would have been faster to just cut off the edges but I wanted to preserve as much length as possible in the body.  And I managed to obtain some usable elastic to stick in the useful box!


Elastic finally out!
Elastic finally out!


I didn’t have much fabric to play with so I cut two bands on the grain (rather than on the bias) for the armholes.  They are 4cm wide making for 1cm cuffs once they are folded once into the center and then in half to grab the edge of the stretch fabric on the sleeves.  The cap sleeves have quite a curve to them so grain cut bands are a little awkward and angular but the gathers which were already built into the garment are still here and look really cute – and much neater than elastic!


I used straight cut banding which makes for rather a rigid edge on the cap sleeves.
I used straight cut banding which makes for rather a rigid edge on the cap sleeves.


For the main edging, I made myself a pattern piece on brown paper by laying the bottom edge out flat and continuing the a-line of the top on down for 5cms + seam allowance and up (underneath the top) for another 1.5cm seam allowance.  I would like to have made this piece much longer but I was restricted by the odds and ends left over from my trousers.


I cut the edging in two pieces with a slight curve and A-line seams.
I cut the edging in two pieces with a slight curve and A-line seams.


To join this to the main t-shirt I first joined the two pieces into a loop and then joined this as one piece to the t-shirt.  I used french seams so that the edge of the knitted cotton t-shirt fabric would be encased inside the seam and wouldn’t fray.  I don’t have a serger and even though I’m using a ball-point needle like a good little seamstress my machine seemed to want to eat this material when I neatened up the side seams after ripping out the elastic.


Not too shabby!   - 'Oi!,  Frenchy!  You ate all my batik!'
Not too shabby.
– ‘Oi!, Frenchy! You ate all my batik!’


First you sew a very small seam with the right sides outermost and then flip these to face eachother and press before sewing along your final seam line.  I’m happy with these seams, they came out well but it uses a lot of fabric and I didn’t have much to spare.   To compensate I tried for the tiniest hem I dared – I sewed it on the wrong side so I wouldn’t fall off the edge: nerve wracking!


A job well done!
A job well done!


I am rather chuffed with the result!  So much so that I went out and picked up some more bits and pieces to alter the other two t-shirts.


Just a little bit more batik fabric...
Just a little bit more batik fabric…


All the batik!


2 thoughts on “Leftovers… how about some upcycling!

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

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