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Upcycling September: Ruffle Appliqué Blouse
Hi again! Ilana here to report on my second ever creation with Anastasia. I’m so excited! I had a similar task here- to take a thrifted collared shirt and transform it into something new. I believe the shirt was a pajama top in its past life. Let’s just say I loved gathering the ruffle sleeves on the last blouse I upcycled, so I wanted to make something even more ruffly and fantastic.
This time, however, I wanted to figure out a way to keep the integrity of the long sleeves alive. I came up with three ideas.
- Sew on heart patches to the boobs: flirty and playful.
- Add ruffles to the shoulder and sleeve: asymmetrical and funky.
- Crop the shirt and add a large ruffle at the waist: exaggerated and fun.
One of the reasons I love working with Anastasia is because her response to my sketches was “Why not do it all? Let’s make it really crazy!”
Ruffles, hearts, and lace.. Oh my! Where to begin? I needed to decide on my fabrics. Luckily, I had the correct amount of leftover fabric from previous upcycles that would match the navy perfectly. We really are creating no waste! I seam ripped white lace sleeves to use for the shoulder and cuff ruffles, sewed together strips of floral fabric from an upcycled dress for the waist ruffle, and cut up a pink lace vest for the heart patches. Because the ruffles were going to be used for embellishment, I used a rolled hem machine rather than a serger to finish the edges. I even used pink thread for the rolled hem on the white lace to bring everything together!
Before gathering the ruffles, I seam ripped the side seams, arm seams, and cuffs of the shirt to take in the sides to create a more tailored look. Rather than sewing back up the arms right away, I kept them open to be able to attach the ruffles on a flat surface. This ensured that the ruffles were straight and I didn’t accidentally sew the arm hole shut.
Anastasia’s easy zig zag stitch gathering technique saved me during this project because the ruffles needed to be adjusted and evened out a lot when being attached to the blouse.
If you haven’t watched already- check it out!
Something I paid close attention to this time around was making sure to measure every appliqué from multiple points to keep everything even and equidistant from each other.
I didn’t even need to create another heart pattern piece because Anastasia previously cut out a heart pattern for her patched jeans. It would have only been 1 piece of paper, but that’s 1 piece of paper saved! Woohoo!
Unfortunately, while cutting out the patches, I accidentally sliced a small hole in the shirt fabric, so I needed to come up with a solution. I used the leftover white lace fabric to create a smaller heart patch to cover up the hole. This happy little mistake brought the white lace to the bodice, thus creating a more cohesive look.
While sewing the white patch on, Anastasia's studio cat, Iris, paid me a visit!
I am new to much of this and didn’t realize how important interfacing is when sewing on appliqué patches. Although I was able to create a smooth satin stitch around the heart, without using interfacing, the knit fabric easily stretched and created bubbles. Nothing a little seam ripping can’t fix! Although, I don’t want to rely on seam ripping and will now always remember interfacing.
Now that all the embellishment was secured, I could sew the side seams and cuffs back on, making sure to smooth out the ruffles into the seams.
It was time for the most nerve wracking step... cutting the bottom of the shirt. This was one of the only non-reversible aspects to the project. I cut it evenly, surged the edge and sewed the hem. All that remained was to sew on the waist ruffle, and our take on a funky pirate shirt was complete!