Thrift stores are treasure troves of raw materials for the creative. When thrifting, I’m not generally looking for items to use “as-is,” although that is often a happy result. No – I am usually looking for potential. What a thing can be. And, with years of thrift store shopping now under my belt, I’ve become fairly adept at scanning the racks for certain choice fibers…merino wool, linen, silk, and corduroy. What…Corduroy? you ask? Yes…corduroy. Luscious, fine-wale, buttery-soft corduroy. Is there anything more pleasantly tactile? More cozy? More manifesting of autumn comfort than corduroy?
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wearing long corduroy dresses and sweater-knit tights. (Although I miss the days when this was actually stylish.)
So, when I spied this floral fine-wale “blouse” in the women’s aisle of our local Goodwill, I was thrilled!
Loved the print! So pretty and feminine. My first thought was to just keep it and wear it as is. I checked the tag…
Hmmm…Gitman Vintage. I knew the Gitman label from time spent altering fine menswear. Was this really a women’s shirt? Checked the front button band…left over right…it’s MENSWEAR! How interesting! Into the cart it went!
Once home, a quick internet search yielded a listing on Polyvore for an original selling price of a whopping $185!!! I also discovered that the print is Liberty of London (coveted by sewing enthusiasts worldwide). No wonder it caught my eye!
As lovely as the shirt was, it was, sadly, unflattering on me. Time for Plan B. Maybe something for my daughter?
Well…it’s pretty large.
But, there is a lot of fabric to work with…
Maybe I could make her a skirt?
Let’s give it a try!
I began by cutting off the sleeves. (I’ll use one of them later…)
I made a horizontal cut to remove the collar and back facing:
Next I created an a-line skirt shape by sewing new side seams where the sleeves used to be. My daughter wanted to keep the shirttail hem as a design feature, so I had to blend my new seam at the top edge into the existing seam towards the bottom of the skirt. Removing some top-stitching was necessary and a bit fiddly, but it worked out just fine.
I cut a long rectangle from one of the sleeves to use as the casing for the elastic waistband:
And, before long, my daughter had a lovely new autumn skirt for about 98% less than this shirt cost new!
She already had a sweater that was a perfect complement, combining the exact shades of red and pink in the print!
One fun feature is that I kept the breast pocket on the shirt to serve as a patch pocket on the skirt front:
We’re both really pleased with how this skirt turned out! It is long enough that it should see more than one season of wear. The sweet fabric design appealed to me originally, and I would have purchased the shirt regardless of the label. But I will always get a kick out of the fact that I found this expensive men’s floral corduroy shirt on the women’s rack in the thrift store and turned it into a skirt for my daughter. So strangely satisfying.
Here’s a side-by-side to re-cap the shirt-to-skirt transformation:
And, you can bet that I saved the remaining sleeve, collar, and back facing pieces for another project. I think I might like to quilt it for a small zippered bag. Quilted corduroy is so luxurious!
Have you done any refashions for yourself or your loved ones?
Tell me about it in the comments!
And, thanks for stopping by the hollow…