Upcycled Cap-sleeve Tee

Now, before you read any further, guess what this tip is made from. I want honest opinions now. : )

9 Great Things About this Project
  1. Quick to make
  2. Easy to fold into a drawer or suitcase. The two-piece Peter Pan collar and squarish shape of the tee mean that you can easily fold the top into quarters and put it neatly away.
  3. Super-comfy. This one is made from a nightie and is so comfortable it’s amazing!
  4. Stylish and fashionable. The simple vintage look is very much in vogue.
  5. Adaptable. Its simple styling means it can be make up in various prints or plain fabrics, and extra seams can be added as style-lines.
  6. Versatile wardrobe staple. Depending on the fabric choice, this style can be worn to just about any occasion.
  7. Minimal fitting. If you have a pattern that fits your shoulders and neckline
  8. Little fabric (mine was made from a nightie that had worn out at the seams and edges).
  9. Good for beginners. The most complicated thing in this project is the collar, which can be omitted if you would like a plainer tee, or mastered with careful attention.

7 Upcycling Thoughts:
  1. The new product must not look upcycled (unless that’s your point)
  2. Co-ordinate you colours. If you’re combining fabrics, the easiest way to make the new product look shop-bought is to use fabrics that harmonise. How often do you see a RTW garment made from just one colour?
  3. It really helps to use a well-drafted sewing pattern, unless you’re one of those lucky people who can just fluke all your sewing projects. : ) I altered my close-fitting block to make a dartless t-shirt pattern. I don't know if the same method that I used would work for someone over an A-cup, but it seems to work fine for me. If anyone asks in the comments, I'll do a tutorial on how I did it, but one thing I noticed is that because t-shirts drape and stretch, they will look really loose if you use the "close-fitting dress block" that is meant for wovens. It's surprising how much looser the look. I also did a cap-sleeve adaptation as shown in Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear, and a Peter Pan collar as shown in the same book.
  4. Treat your project as if you were using expensive fabric. Take all the care to sew and press properly and neatly that you would were you using expensive fabric. The point of upcycling is to give an old thing a new lease of life, but that life will be dreadfully short if you are embarrassed to wear the garment out of the house.
  5. On the other hand, upcycling can be a good opportunity to make a toile. You can even toile the upcycling project if you have two identical worn-out things. For instance, my top was the second attempt because the first one didn’t work out (learning curve), and I had two nighties that had worn out at the seams and edges.
  6. You can easily knock-off RTW clothes, and this way you’ll be doing so ethically:
      • no sweatshops
      • made in England
      • New-from-old = not going to the tip.
  7. Upcycling is also a good opportunity to practise working with unfamiliar fabrics and techniques. I am not very experienced with knit fabrics, and even less so with combining them with wovens. I learned a few things by making upcycled t-shirts.

10 Things I’ve Learned With this Project

  1. For vertical seams on not-too-tight tees you can use a plain old straight stitch, but maybe a bit longer than usual (3-3.5mm)
  2. Shoulder seams need to be stayed by having non-stretch tape stitched with them.
  3. Hems should always be pressed before stitching.
  4. A walking foot (or something similar) should be used on stretchy bits like hems to prevent an unwanted lettuce leaf effect.
  5. Facings should always be used when you sew a collar on because it makes it easier to sew, and gives a neater end result, plus you can add a label to the facing and make it look really professional.
  6. Pressing is even more important when using stretch fabrics than when sewing just wovens. It makes your garments look so much neater.
  7. You will probably need to hem the collar and facing down because the fabrics are so different.
  8. When drafting the neck facing, use the shoulder seams from your block, not from the cap-sleeve pattern, or you’ll have to dart out the extra fullness afterwards.
  9. The hem-allowance should be 0.5cm deeper than the stitching’s distance from the fold even when you’re using a twin-needle hem. The extra can be trimmed after if you like, but as jersey doesn’t fray, you don’t have to.
  10. You should measure the new neckline and make sure that you can get your head through. I can just get my head through this neckline, but another centimetre’s neckline width at each shoulder seam would have been nice.

Popular Posts