White linen refashion (plus some cheeky last-minute embroidery)

So The Refashioners 2015 closed last Sunday, the day I flew back from the west coast of the US, and, because I am all about lastminute.com, I just managed to squeeze in a final entry at about 11.45pm. Unfortunately (spoiler alert!) I didn’t actually win, which was a little bit sad face because the prize was EPIC, but not too sad face because – IMO so are these new refashioned clothes!

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And last but by no means least, my refashion of a smart white linen Reiss man’s shirt into a rustic-chic hot-weather sleeveless vest:

 This was a dream find in a Balham charity shop (seriously, the ‘hams of South London are just full of gems!). I knew at once what it ‘wanted’ to be. With plenty of fabric to play with I cut the front from the back, and the back from the front. The original shirt had a pleasingly curved hem which I kept (#lazybones) and I used a mash-up of a couple of different patterns to make sure I had my armholes and darts correct – with the linen being so simply gorgeous I didn’t want to make a hash of the fitting. I finished the neckline and armholes with bias binding.

On the back I replaced the ‘man buttons’ with some wooden ones that felt more in keeping. Then, because I can’t resist meddling, and because the channels between the pleats were crying out to me for attention, I added the embroidery.

Now, I’m never going to say this is my best embroidery. But then I don’t think I’ve done a chain stitch in 15 years. And I was ‘fresh’ off a 10-hour flight from San Francisco. I’d constructed the vest before going away and taken it with me with the intention of embroidering by the pool, and in the middle of the night when the jetlag took me. It actually emerged to be one of the most exhausting (but also amazing) holidays of my life and every still moment I had was spent in an essentially vegetative state. So no embroidery happened stateside, ergo I found myself like some kind of nutter whizzing through passport control, dashing home, blitz-showering and then sitting down to stitch. Heck, I think I am a nutter.

But by some miracle my madness paid off, and I have as a result a vest that feels to me so simple, so sweet and so – ready for next summer. I also have an order from my mother if I should happen to find another white linen shirt… The challenge may be over, but it appears my addiction to charity shops is not!


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