Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Boy's Tops

I'm waiting to get some decent light (COO-EEE - Summer, where are you?) to take some photos of my latest little Chloe top (V2465, OOP) and Anne Klein jacket (V1325, OOP).  For now here are two easy tops whipped up for my son:

1. A cool t-shirt refashion

I found a t-shirt in great condition at my local second hand shop. It fitted me snugly but it looked like a small man's top (maybe it had shrunk in the dryer?), and when I asked my son if he'd like me to turn it into his size he was thrilled with the idea. I have to say I get a bit depressed when I look at the grim t-shirt offerings for boys who are 7 or older, so it was fantastic to be able to make my son such an bright, cool t-shirt.

To do this refashion this I cut the original t-shirt carefully inside all the seam lines and cut off the neckband.

I then fit size 8 length /size 6 width pattern pieces from Burda pattern #9614 onto the cut pieces, taking care to align the existing cover-stitched hems with sleeve and back hemlines, and also to get as much as possible of the graphic onto the t-shirt front. I also ignored the pattern's neckline and cut mine close to horizontal so I could adjust it later. The t-shirt front was too long when I fit the graphic where I wanted it so I cut a band out of the length near the bottom and made an extra seam that's parallel to the existing front hem - it's not noticeable but I guess it could be a cool t-shirt feature anyway.

I got my son to try the t-shirt on before finishing the shape of the neckband as I wanted it to be big enough to get on but not too loose looking. I stretched the old neckband a little as I sewed it to the neck hole and it has worked well.

Cost: $6.50
     $4 t-shirt + $2.50 notions (thread)

Time: 90 minutes or less all up

Conclusion: Yay! This was easy but very satisfying - and cheap! 

2. A new rash top

- since every year his size seems to sell out before I get to the shops. Also rash tops looked easy to make (and they are, so long as you're OK with the plain look - my son would have preferred a fancy surf picture on the front but I have no idea how they are applied):

I should have checked my son's dimensions but instead I used a straight size 8 from the same pattern as for the t-shirt refashion, with a bit of extra length in the sleeves. I'm not sure why I didn't add to the length of the top itself, and I don't understand why I didn't use the size 6 width as for the t-shirt refashion... mistakes, I guess. I'm not hemming the body because we need all the length that's there - in fact, I can't see how this can really represent a size 8 length so perhaps I accidentally cut out the size 6 length. I can't be bothered to narrow this or add a band to lengthen it - but it'll be useful and my next version will be better.  Interestingly, sewing this fabric wasn't too tough, so there will no doubt be more swimwear coming up.

Just for fun, here's how the sizing of this homemade rash top (size 8 t-shirt pattern) compares to a stretched out size 6 RTW rash top - mine is too wide and too short but the sleeve length seems good.

Cost: $16.80
      $16.80 on fabric, with heaps left over
   + $0 on notions (an already started roll of thread and box of medium weight stretch needles)
Time: 90 minutes or less all up

Conclusion: Luckily my son isn't fussy and sees this purely as a functional top. If anyone knows how to print / iron on / stencil / ?? cool pictures onto swimwear fabric I'd love to learn about it so I can make my next rash top more interesting as well as better fitting. 


  1. The tshirt refit is very clever. I'm glad your son likes his new gear.

  2. Clever refashion - if it's any consolation I'm finding it difficult to find great stuff for girls over 7 as well. Glad to hear that sewing swimwear isn't too difficult because I want to give it a try too.


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