I have been hanging on to these t-shirts for such a long time, waiting for the perfect refashion inspiration. Both t-shirts are lovely fabric, being from Metalicus, but both were too tight and showed off too many lumps and bumps for my liking. I've come across a few ways to loosen a tight t-shirt in blogland, but none that felt quite right for these tops. Then, the other day while I was browsing in the Metalicus shop, I came across this and the creative lightbulb went on!
The dress had diamond-shaped inserts at the sides with pockets set in to widen the bottom of the, otherwise straight, dress. Genius.
After examining the technique closely in the shop, I raced home and drew a diagram of the construction and then set to work drawing up a pattern. My basic pattern for the inset piece is available for download below, although you may need to tweak it depending on the length and size of your t-shirt. Mine is for approx. Aus/UK size 10. I'll explain more in a minute.
(This is my first download so please let me know if it doesn't work)
If you have trouble with the above download, please try this one
So, do you want to make one? Of course you do!
You will need:
Two t-shirts, or one t-shirt and some extra fabric for the insert. The main t-shirt can be tight-fitting,
A sewing machine, scissors.
To begin, cut or unpick the side seam of your main t-shirt to a few centimetres below the armhole. I unpicked mine for neatness. Measure from the armpit to the hem and make sure the side of the pattern marked 'join to t-shirt' is at least this length (and a bit longer if you are going to add a hem, I added a band to my insert to match the t-shirt so didn't need to add a hem). Adjust the rest of your triangular pattern if necessary to add/remove width or length. Set main t-shirt aside.
Now we are going to work on the inserts. My tank (below) was made with a double layer of fabric so I had more fabric than it looks like here. Make sure you have enough to cut four triangles and two pockets (if adding pockets). Also remember that the greatest stretch needs to go around the body when working with stretch fabrics, so the longest side of the triangle should go straight up and down, as pictured below.
Here are my four triangles.
Then use the bottom part of your pattern to cut out two pockets. remember to add an extra 3-5cm to fold over for the top of the pocket. Cut outwards from the triangle here so it doesn't get smaller as it's folded over.
Here are my two pockets showing the folded over cuff (right) and the shape of the cuff cut outwards for the fold-over (left). Make sure you cut them out as mirror images of each other. Stitch the cuff down to create a cuff of about 2-3cm. My pocket already had a seam from the t-shirt so I sewed the cuff to this seam. If not, just sew a nice flat hem on the upper edge of the pocket.
Fold the other triangle over to sandwich to pocket between the two triangles, right sides together. Pin the longest seam and stitch with a stretch stitch - zig zag or serged. When you open it out, the point will be the new side seam and the other long sides will be attached to the main t-shirt. If you are doing a fold-over hem, do that now. If you are attaching a band for the hem (like I did), read on...
Open out the inset piece and cut a strip of t-shirt fabric long enough to sew along the whole bottom edge with a bit left over. My band was approximately 5cm wide to result in a hem band of 2cm (with seam allowance).
Fold the band in half lengthwise and cut it in half. Then trim the ends at an angle as shown so it will fit around the triangle hem.
Opened out, the hem band pieces will look like this.
Sew the pointed edges of the hem band together with right sides facing each other.
With right sides together, sew the hem band to the lower edge of your inset piece. Now the inset is ready to attach to the t-shirt! Phew, nearly there.
With right sides together, match the lower hem of your inset piece with the lower hem of your t-shirt. Make sure the pocket is at the front of the t-shirt. If it isn't, use your other inset piece! Pin the side of the inset piece along the opened-out side seam of the t-shirt. If necessary, cut or unpick the t-shirt side seam a bit more so the inset piece fits.
Sew and repeat for the other side seam. Then for the other side of the t-shirt. Each side should now look like this.
And, just when you thought you were never going to finish, it's done!!
So worth the effort!!
I would love to hear about if if you make one :)