Over the years of continuous repurposing, I've found that there are specific ways I cut out a pattern from a repurpose of an existing garment. Lots of times, you can save a whole lot of time if you make sure to save and utilize parts that are already sewn. Especially collars, collar stands, and button plackets.
In this post and video tutorial, I'll show you how I took the shirt from this blog post and cut it down to make a Deer and Doe Melilot shirt. This shirt is a piece in my wardrobe that I'm always wearing and knew would be the best use of my fabric. The video will show you how I deconstruct a shirt for repurpose, and you can watch and learn how to deconstruct your own me mades or thrift store finds from fabulous fabric.
In this video, I show you how I cut out the new shirt from the existing shirt pieces. One of the critical ways that I save time and energy with repurpose is by using elements of the garment that are already sewn so that I can speed up my sewing time.
I always preserve the plackets and button work if it is also needed in the new design. I am very strategic about how I line up the pattern pieces in order to ensure that they button up nicely and I don't have any re sewing work to do. I show you how I line up the pattern piece in the video.
I will reuse collars and cuffs as well, as long as the neck of the pattern will line up with the neck of the shirt. It can be hard to do this if you are trying to make menswear work for women's wear, but if the collar is small enough you can make it happen. I've also altered necklines slightly in order to make the collar fit by cutting the neckline just a little bit in order to properly place the collar.
The process from the video
Press all of the pieces.
I ended up breaking down the sleeves for extra fabric.
Place cuff and pocket pattern on the 2 sleeve pieces - cut.
Preserve your placket and button work that's already sewn and cut out the shirt front pieces as demonstrated. Cut out your shirt fronts.
Cut out your shirt back from the previous shirt back.
Use this same approach in the video to repurpose old shirts into new shirt dresses. And always keep an eye out not for just material you can re use, but sewing labor that has already been completed that you can re use and speed up the process.
If you want to create your own custom self sewn clothes and like this way of learning, I want to invite you to check out my signature online courses, the Fair Fit Method. It is a series of online sewing and fashion design courses that will teach you how to create custom clothing for yourself that adapts to your personal shape and style. Using the Fair Fit pattern and the 6 core areas of focus - design, pattern, draping, check fit, sewing, and customization, you can create your own artistically and intentionally designed wardrobe using the step by step videos in each course. To learn more and read the full course descriptions visit the full website here: