A month or so ago (yes, I am that far behind with blogging again) The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe popped up on Instagram telling us that Alfia Galimova was going to take a class to refashion men’s shirts (into something for women). I don’t think that I’ve even been as fast to sign up for a class! I have been following Alfia on Instagram (you can find her at @alfia_designs and @alfia_galimova) and at other places around the internet (such as here). She’s incredibly talented – her illustrations are as amazing as her clothes – and she definitely has her own unconventional style, which really appeals to me. She sees details and manipulates fabric in a way that I could never come up with myself.
Alfia brought along a rack of refashioned clothing from her own wardrobe. It was fascinating to examine each piece, seeing how she’d reworked and combined things. Sometimes it was a simple as turning things around and adding a seam or two. (That’s Kim of The Cloth Shop peeking out from behind the rack). Our list of what to bring to class included a large men’s shirt, which was what we’d be refashioning. Clare and I had fun at Vinnies choosing shirts that we thought might work!
Essentially, we were doing to turn the shirt around so that the collar became an armhole. We sliced off the sleeves, used a template for the neckline opening and sleeve placement, cut accordingly, then used one sleeve to add length to the body and the other sleeve to fashion a collar.
Most of the attendees commented on how handy those buttons across the front would be for a breast-feeding mother! However, most of us did not want to risk the potential of a wardrobe malfunction, so sewed the button placket closed.
I was so excited by my refashioned shirt that I decided to grab a second Vinnies shirt that I’d taken to the class and start turning it into a dress! This time I used a large chambray men’s shirt, and didn’t use the sleeves as I was instead adding some stash fabric for the skirt. I used bias binding to finish the neckline.
I unpicked and moved the front pocket to a more appropriate (and potentially useable) location. The hem of the shirt was utilised along the edge of one armhole, with the collar as the other armhole.
This dress was actually super fast to make! It probably took me longer to decide what fabric to use for the skirt than it did to alter the shirt. On the skirt I utilised the selvage as the hem. So there you go – some fun refashioning, that is very wearable and definitely a little bit quirky! Bring on summer!
Alfia opened our eyes to the potential of using garments differently to the ways that we are used to. To reimagining, reshaping, and generally to experimenting and just seeing how it goes! What a wonderful class – it definitely took me well out of my comfort zone, but in a very welcome way.