Friday 5 October 2012

Guest Post: Portia....Ideas for Conquering Winter Layering

Hellooooo to those that know me! To those that don't, my name is Portia and I blog over at Miss P. I'm a big fan of Zoe's so was super flattered to be asked to contribute a guest post whilst she's off in NYC being all romantic and newlywed! (Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs So Zo ;)
So, while they're off being all lovey dovey Stateside, we here in Blighty have been experiencing a rather pleasant early Autumn. But with the days getting undeniably chillier, Like most, I've been giving my Winter wardrobe some thought. 

Now, I had a couple of problems.

1) I'm a big fan of layering, but not a big fan of the bulk that this can add. I like the contrast of different fabrics layered one on top the other, but not the way that shirt sleeves bunch up uncomfortably under the arms when I wear a cardigan over the top.

2) Add to that the fact that I had this vintage blouse that I loved but was 2 sizes to small for me. (The button plackets wouldn't even meet let alone do up!)

So how is it  that I am managing to wear said vintage blouse, layered with a cardigan without a bunched up underarm bulge in sight?

This is the vintage blouse in question. Cute huh? Pity it doesn't even come close to fitting me AND puff sleeves don't suit me at all. The key bits I love about this blouse are the cute embroidery on the placket, the shape of the neckline (and the cute button) and the horizontal pleats at the bust. So I devised a refashion that allowed me to keep those elements, adjust it to fit me and use it as a basic for layering under my multitude of cardigans. (I do love a cardi!)

Very quick and simple this. My favourite kind of refashion! . I simply cut the sides of the shirt off so I was left with a kind of bib. Then I finished the raw edges with bias tape from my stash....

Using the fabric I removed from the sides I made two wide straps and sewed them on to join the front and back of the shirt at the sides. So the finished arrangement is rather like a tabbard apron.....

Add a cardigan, et voila! I must admit, at first it felt a bit odd putting this on. ( I kept one button of my cardigan buttoned up btw, for security purposes!) It doesn't really resemble any conventional garment I suppose, and it's probably one of my more "off the wall" refashions! What would you call it? A "layering accessory"? But I soon got used to it, and it was great to layer up without all that twisting and bunching that occurs with sleeves. Didn't flash a bit of flesh all day, didn't get too hot, and no-one was any the wiser as to what I was hiding under my cardi!

This particular refashion is designed to wear with a cardigan, really because it's what the decorative panel at the front dictated. But it's kind of a spin off of my original idea. I was on the lookout for the perfect white shirt to create a collar accessory that I could slip under my jumpers/sweaters to achieve that layered look without the bulk. A bit like this combo from Modcloth. Because a jumper is not open down the front, I'm picturing a much shorter simple bib shape that would literally just tuck under the neckline.

So in summary, here are my top tips for for refashioning your way to winter layering with shirts, but without the bulk:

1) If the shirt fits, just remove the sleeves. That way you can avoid bulk under a cardigan/sweater AND wear your shirt in the summer too.
2) If you have a shirt that is too small but you still want to layer it, then this refashion could be an option for you. It solves the fitting AND bulk problems in one go.
3) If like me you like the layered look but tend to get a bit hot with too many layers; grab yourself a shirt with a cute collar and make yourself a little collar accessory that you can tuck into your jumpers/sweaters

I'm still on the lookout for just the right little white shirt with a peter pan collar!


Scruffybadger said...

Hi miss p, that is so ingenious! I guess it's like a modern day "dickey" , and what a great way to keep the details you love about the shirt and to get it to do what you need it to, nice and simply. A great cardigan under-layer!

Joanne said...

Blimey that is super clever. Also puts an end to I-love-it-and-it-super-cheap-vintage-but-it's-three-sizes-too-small moments in charity shops. Hooray!

Roobeedoo said...

It looks fab, but I am afraid I would freeze! I layer for reasons of warmth rather than fashion :(

Anonymous said...

Hi Portia, I would call this a dickey. It looks cute with your cardigan.
As an alternative idea, I would have removed the sleeves, cut up the side seams and added a white panel at the underarm where it is least likely to be seen. Then you could have worn it as a sleeveless blouse even without the jumper.
I agree though, it's really hard to make something bigger instead of smaller! :)

Merche Martinez said...

Hello Portia! This is really clever!

Anonymous said...

Love this refashion!

My BFF's daughter did this in the mid-80s at age 15 or so when she developed beyond the dimensions of a blouse I had given her when she was 11! *eek* She loved the style, so she converted it to a dickey. :) She did not finish it nearly as nicely as you did yours, but it survived another 3 years until she graduated from high school. *LOL*

I layer clothing throughout the year. Although I live in the low desert where summer temperatures can be 110F+ degrees--plus humidity for 6 weeks or so--I work in an office where no one has control of the temperature. It can be warm and stuffy or freezing cold--at any time of the year! In the summer, I slip off the jacket when I go outside the office and I'm as comfortable as possible.

I tend to wear slacks most of the time--I'm usually the person crawling under desks to deal with computer issues--and my summer tops/blouses tend to be sleeveless shells with scooped or v-necklines. In cooler weather, I'll interchange short-sleeved blouses with the occasional long-sleeved blouse/shirt, as well as sleeveless shells. Sometimes the office HVAC can be set at too high a temperature, as well as too low. *sigh*


Tilly said...

Brilliant! Debi made a bunch of dickeys (urgh! Just typing the word gives me the willies...!) from vintage patterns a couple of years back if I recall. They're such a great idea for those days when you know you want to wear your cardi all day.

Unknown said...

This is a couture solution. I'm pretty sure that Chanel do/did this with their dresses...sleeveless dress and cuffs that button onto the jacket cuff.

Helmi said...

Nice blog, thanks for sharing.

Sandy said...

Just discovered this blog through Refashion Co-op. I am not sure this will go to Portia, but just wanted to comment.
when I did my C+G fashion, I did my suit project based on WWII make do and Mend. I developed something like this as well, to make an 'office blouse' into something more special for other events. you would wear the 'faux blouse' as I called it, over the other blouse, which was a little more plain.
Then, later I was looking through a vintage sewing book and found something almost exactly like mine (the straps for mine were at the waist). They were using it to extend the life of a blouse that may have developed under arm stains, etc. I am sure it also was used like yours, to make a smaller blouse fit that had been passed on to you.

So, well done! isn't is cool to discover you are really walking in the shoes of the admirable ladies of those times?
Sandy in Bracknell

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