Upcycling September: Ruffly, Ruched Blouse
Hello everyone! My name is Ilana and on my first day interning with Anastasia Chatzka, I was able to jump right into Upcycling September by taking a thrifted men’s dress shirt and adding ruffles and sparkle to transform it into a cute women’s cropped blouse. My overall idea for the blouse was to sew trim from above and below the front buttons to wrap around the shirt and tie into bows in the back.
First thing was first, I needed to tailor it to make it not as wide and boxy. Even though Anastasia and I would later decide to add lingerie elastic trim that would create shape, there was too much fabric. I seam ripped out the sleeves and took it in 5 inches on each side.
Next, I needed to decide on the trim. Let’s just say there was a lot to choose from! Initially, I was thinking of using lace trim, but I sifted through two huge bins, and came across sparkly and ruffle elastic trim and Anastasia loved the idea of using it to create a ruched blouse. Prior to sewing the trim on, I sewed two pleats on the center back to create a center point where the trim would end and the bows could be tied.
This was my first time sewing elastic onto a garment, and I realized that I needed to focus on a lot at one time. I ensured that the elastic was lined up straight on the plaid grain, stretched out while being fed into the sewing machine and that the zig zag stitch remained in the center of the elastic. I have to admit that the seam ripper was utilized a few times during this step.
While sewing on the bottom row of trim, I realized that I initially hemmed the bottom of the shirt slightly off, and that four rows of trim wouldn’t fit properly.
However, it was a blessing in disguise because once the ruffle sleeves were added, I realized there was already so much going on, that three rows of trim was just right. I initially wanted to keep the sleeves as is, but Anastasia suggested we add the ruffles, so there wasn’t too much of a contrast between the large, masculine sleeves and the dainty lingerie elastic bodice. To create the ruffles, I watched Anastasia’s video on easily creating ruffles using a zig zag stitch, rather than a basting stitch to make sure the thread didn’t snap while gathering the fabric.
I thought the shirt was complete, but realized I needed to add three snaps to connect the center front of the shirt because the elastic pulled the fabric away from each other, creating gaps in the front. Once the snaps were secured, ruches ruched and ruffles ruffly, our sparkly blouse was ready to be worn!