Wearable Wednesday – The Ugly Shirt Conundrum

A couple months ago, my brother-in-law brought me a request – could I take some of his old shirts and turn them into dresses for his daughter. As you know by now, this little girl is basically my living dress mannequin. I make her dresses and get her to size check new patterns and what not. So, I was like, yeah, sure, probably. Then my sister gave me the shirts. She could not wait to get rid of them. These things are not attractive. Not at all. They scream the early 2000’s. It’s hard not to look at them and think about spikey hair and puka shell necklaces. But my b-i-l loves these shirts. Loves them. If he could, I’m sure he would still try to wear them. My sister would probably have something to say about that.

But a couple other guys I know have seen these shirts and they don’t get my dislike for them. They all think they’re not so bad. They’d wear them… Ladies tend to agree with me. Ladies are in the know. But I said I would do it. I could probably do something with these things – even if they are made from fifteen year old rayon. So, for months they sat on the edge of my sewing table. I even sat down and started taking them apart one day in late April. Carefully opening each seam so I could get the most available fabric. One sleeve and side seam and I tossed them back on the table. That was annoying. I’d get back to it later. And they sat for a few more weeks. Then my sister gave me a little prod and asked if I could something done before father’s day. Sure, I said. Totally… Crap. The mad rush begins.

I decided I didn’t need to be so careful about the seams. If I needed those bits of fabric that badly, I’d use a different pattern. So snip and rip and I’ve got two deconstructed shirts in a bunch of strange shapes, and a pile of patterns. I pieced a few together and finally came up with something that worked. And I was even able to maintain the original collar from one of the shirts and incorporate it into the pattern. The dress was mostly a success and I’m pretty sure all parties are mostly pleased with the results.

Here are the terrible shirts. The one thing they have going for them is the colour inversion. There’s a third shirt… it’s different, and worse, and microsuede… I haven’t touched that one yet.

shirt1 shirt2

Now we’ve got a pretty cute little dress, and a little girl and her dad who like it.


inshirtdress1 inshirtdress2


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