Flosstyle are currently running a sewing bee challenge via the Facebook group Flossyle Fair.  The second of the three challenges is to upcycle an item of clothing (or something else made from fabric), turning it into a new garment (ie no t-shirts to t-shirts), and using one or more of the features of the original item.

Well it just so happened that I was cleaning out my t-shirt drawer the other day.  I struggle to do that, because there are some shirts in there that I don't really wear (either the style, length, or even size), but struggle to let go. Why? Because there's something special about them ... they were bought for me by someone else, or are from a time that was important etc etc.

Here are a few of those shirts. A Colorado University tee bought for me by my brother while he was studying there. A Spamalot shirt that I bought when I surprised my husband with the show for Christmas one year. And a Whistler Blackcomb tee that my parents bought for me one visit.

Well it just so happens that I have a relatively new niece (living all the way over in Europe), and what better chance to use these shirts than to make some clothes for her. They're extra special because the shirts remind me of her dad (my brother). He bought me the CU shirt, and we've grown up watching Monty Python.

First to get the upcycle treatment was the CU t-shirt. I unpicked the side and armscye seams, giving me two small sleeves, and a front-back piece attached at the shoulders.  I cut the sleeves keeping the black binding. The front and back of the dress were cut preserving the bottom hem line.  And I unpicked the neckband to reuse for the (now smaller) neckband of the dress.

All up, I'm pretty sure I meant more time unpicking the original tee than sewing up the dress!

Then on to the Spamalot tee.  This was a little tricky as the print on the front and back was wider than the piece for the onesie. And with a straight up placement of the main pattern piece, would have cut off the top of the grail.  I had the same issue on the back, trying to incorporate all of the image.  So I re-positioned the pattern pieces, angling the top neckline away from the fold, so I could bring the pattern up as high as possible, and catch all the logo.  To restore the fabric to the right kind of size for the neckband, I ran a row of gathering stitches across the front and back neclines, and pulled until it matched back up to the pattern piece. I then knotted the ends of the gathering thread, to hold it in place while I attached the neckband.

The rest of the sew was as per usual. Using the existing sleeve hems on the cap sleeves.  The neck and leg binding is some cotton lycra I had on hand (which is allowable under the rules).

It was really lovely sewing these items up. Thinking of my brother, my niece and all the memories associated with the clothes I was using.  They may be a long way away, but they are in my thoughts often.

So what of the Whistler Blackcomb tee? Well that's probably going to end up as a tee for my nephew (so he doesn't miss out). That's not yet done, but it will be another quick sew (and not eligible for the challenge as it won't change garment type).  As I was sewing, my head was filled with the other clothes in my (and my husband's) drawer that don't get worn often, and what they could be refashioned as .... A pair of Tooshies, a pair of Twigs or Twiggies - so many possibilities, I can't wait.


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