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Gemma’s Tie-Front Shirt Hack

Lately I’ve been looking at my me-made wardrobe and thinking about what I make in comparison to what I wear on a regular basis, identifying gaps that can be filled with more practical garments as well as the beautiful dresses. I tend to like one-piece outfits such as jumpsuits for ease of styling, knowing that I can throw on one garment and that is pretty much my outfit sorted, however one of the gaps I identified is separates. With the constantly changing weather we have had lately, finding something that can be layered up in the chiller mornings but not be too hot when the temperatures rise is challenging, so for my latest SewHayleyJane make I decided to create something to help fill this gap!

When considering what garment to make to fit my brief I thought a shirt would be a great idea – depending on the fabric they are light, can be smart or casual and are an ideal layering piece.  I love a good pattern hack, and inspired by a post I saw on the Grainline Studio where they had hacked the Alder Shirt to have a tie front, I decided I wanted to give this a go for myself.

Septembers fabric was a lovely crepe, light and drapey, and would be ideal for creating a garment to fill that cold/hot weather quandary, especially making something like a shirt. It’s not too heavy, and I love the subtle flower print against the gingham.

I used a shirt pattern I already had so I wouldn’t have to worry about fit (I used the bodice from a simplicity shirt dress, which you can see in one of my previous SHJ makes). In order to make the tie fronts I extended the front bodice at the facing edge, curving it from the side seam into a long piece. I sewed the shirt in the same way as usual, until hemming the bottom. I attached the shirt facing as per the instructions, then created a folded hem starting from the bottom of the facing, along the ties and carried on around the shirt. On reflection I should have made the ties a lot wider, as it got very fiddly on the edges and I would have liked a slightly bigger tie. I also wish I had had the foresight to lengthen the bodice – forgetting that it was designed to attach to a skirt means that it is slightly on the cropped size! But luckily it works well with high waisted jeans, and as that’s what I plan to wear it with then all good!

I left the sleeves off, in order to be cool should it get warmer whilst wearing it, but other than that, a pretty simple little hack that added a new variation to an existing pattern and a new addition to fill one of the gaps in my wardrobe!

As if one make wasn’t enough, I also created something else to fill a gap in my me-mades – accessories! Really wanting to make things I can wear/use on a regular basis, and having a (slight!) bag obsession means I’m constantly changing handbags, so why not try making my own? I love receiving the fat quarters in my boxes and there’s been some brilliant prints lately! But as I’m not a quilter I’ve been looking for a good way to use them. Helen’s Closet released a free tote pattern and I knew this would be an amazing way to use those fat quarters! 

Called ‘Costa Tote’, it’s a simple lined tote bag which can have sectioned pockets on the outside if you wish, and doesn’t take too much fabric – I used a mixture of 7 different fat quarters for mine. I did have to get very good at pattern Tetris to create this tote – I went with outside pockets and cut these from 2 fat quarters, and used the leftover fabric to also create the bag handles. I cut the outside from 2 fat quarters and joined to create the one piece, and did the same with the lining. However here is where it got a little tricky: as the fabric I picked for the outside wasn’t an obvious directional print I cut the whole side piece on one fat quarter, but the fabrics I picked for inside did have a directional design, and this meant they were a little short, so I used another fat quarter sewed along the bottom to make it longer in order to fit – so the bottom lining is yet another fat quarter design! I told you I like to make things complicated!

Once that was all sorted and cut the pattern is simple to make – great, clear instructions, and super speedy! I love how many different prints I’ve used with this bag, it really suits my personality and love of prints! Such a good way to use fabric that might not be enough for garments and its another item fitting my brief of making practical items that will get a lot of use – I will definitely be using this tote a lot!