The 2010 fall collection season featured a variety of military influences in women's wear. Recycle an old button-front shirt and transform it into a military shirt for the fall season. Colours such as army green, neutrals, navy blue and browns along with shank buttons automatically transform a basic shirt into one with a military-driven theme. By making a sketch of the existing shirt and adding military inspired details such as epaulettes (ornamental shoulder pieces) and pocket flaps, the existing shirt will turn into a military fall fashion sensation. Military inspired embroidery patches such as stars, eagles or wings will also enhance the shirt.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Flexible tape measure
- Pattern paper
- Drafting pencils
- French curve ruler
- Dark felt-tip marker
- Fabric (1/2 yard: your choice)
- Pantone colour wheel
- Straight pins
- Fabric scissors
- Fusible web
- Tailor's chalk
- Sewing machine
- Buttonhole machine attachment
- Dress form
- Hand sewing needle
- Gold- or silver- tone buttons
- Military embroidered iron-on patches (optional)
Measure the width and length for your epaulettes with a flexible tape measure. Epaulettes are separate straplike extensions placed on both shoulders. A 2-inch width by 5 ½-inch length dimension generally covers the entire shoulder area. Look through fashion magazines for inspiration, as well as different versions.
Draft the pattern for the epaulettes on pattern paper with your drafting pencils using the dimensions taken in step 1. Use a ruler to make the pattern to ensure sharp lines. Add ½-inch seam allowance for stitching.
Measure the width and length of your front pocket flaps. If your design includes chest patch pockets, you will need to take a separate measurement.
Draft the pocket flap, as well as patch pocket pattern, using the dimensions from step 3. Add ½-inch seam allowance for stitching.
If your design includes rounded pocket corners, use a French curve ruler. Another option is to add an inverted centre pleat detail on the patch pocket.
Mark your epaulette and pocket flap patterns for your button placement with a dark felt-tip marker.
Cut out your patterns with your scissors.You will have two pieces of fabric for each epaulette for a total of four pieces and two pieces of fabric for each pocket flap for a total of four pieces. Keep in mind that you will be facing each epaulette and pocket flap. Facing is a term referring to a second layer of fabric stitched to the top layer that gives a clean finish on both sides.
If your design includes patch pockets, you will have two pieces of fabric.
Pick your fabric and colours for your shirt. For instance, if your shirt is 100% cotton twill or canvas, duplicate the fabric as well as colour. If you are unable to locate the same colour fabric, pick a complementary colour from your Pantone colour wheel. For example, if your shirt is an army green tone such as Calia Green #18-0435, select khaki or brown tones like Warm Taupe #16-1318, Camel #17-1224, Tobacco Brown #17-1327 or Monk's Robe #18-1048.
Pin the patterns on your fabric with your straight pins. Cut out with your fabric scissors. Make sure you cut two parts for each epaulette and two parts for each pocket flap for your facing.
Pin the patterns to fusible web and cut out. This does not apply to patch pockets.
Mark your buttonhole placement on your fabric with tailor's chalk.
Apply your fusible web to one side of your epaulette. Repeat this with your second epaulette. Apply fusible web to one side of your pocket flap. Repeat this with your second pocket flap. Set your iron on your brand's recommended setting. Glide the iron in a back and forth motion until it is fused to the fabric.
Pin two pieces of fabric together to make one epaulette with the fusible side facing out. Repeat this for your second epaulette. Pin two pieces of fabric together to make one pocket flap with the fusible side facing out. Repeat this for your second pocket flap.
Machine stitch each epaulette separately, leaving one corner open. Machine stitch each pocket flap separately, leaving one corner open. Turn the epaulettes and pocket flaps inside out. You will have two epaulettes and two pocket flaps.
Turn the raw seam edge of the open corner inward on your epaulettes and pocket flaps. Iron the seam and top stitch it closed for a crisp finish. If your design includes patch pockets, you will need to turn in the seam allowance and iron. The raw seams will be unexposed.
Change your machine's straight stitch foot attachment to the buttonhole attachment. Make your buttonholes and slit the centre with your scissors for the button opening.
Pin your epaulettes, patch pockets and flaps to your shirt. Try on the shirt carefully or place it on your dress form. Make sure both sides of the pinned shirt are even.
Topstitch or double needle topstitch the epaulettes, patch pockets and flaps to the shirt. Cut away all loose threads.
Thread your hand sewing needle with a complementary thread colour. Hand sew gold- or silver- tone shank buttons to complete your recycled military shirt. Add military inspired embroidery iron-on patches as an decorative option.
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