The magic of Value Village and Saturday Make-Along

Last week­end we went to Val­ue Vil­lage, which is some­thing that I haven’t done for ages, and I have for­got­ten how much fun it is to find hid­den trea­sures and delight­ful sur­pris­es, like the­se shirts here I bought for sum­mer, with love­ly retro-look­ing pat­terns. Espe­cial­ly the pink flo­ral shirt — I’ve always want­ed a pink flo­ral shirt! Bonus: the­se shirts are pre-shrunk so I won’t have to wor­ry about throw­ing them into the wash­ing machine and mis­shap­ing them! :D

Any­ways, I real­ly like the pink flo­ral shirt, except when I tried it on at home I thought it looked kind of blah on me… (that’s me in my dusty mir­ror, feel­ing kind of blah in this shirt.)

May­be it’s the sleeves? May­be it’s the boxy shape? I don’t know. I do real­ly love the pleat­ing on the front and the ruf­fled col­lar though. And then I remem­ber that recent­ly I stum­bled upon this announce­ment about a Sat­ur­day Make-along, host­ed by Lee Mered­ith. The idea is to spend the Sat­ur­day (April 10) mak­ing some­thing you wouldn’t nor­mal­ly make and, in Lee’s words, “to real­ly spend some qual­i­ty time with things that don’t nor­mal­ly get your time.”

Well, I don’t usu­al­ly sew. And I’m usu­al­ly hes­i­tant about recon­struct­ing cloth­ing, because I’m afraid that I would cut too much off or some­thing and ruin a per­fect­ly wear­able piece of cloth­ing. But I mean, it’s per­fect­ly wear­able but it would prob­a­bly stay in my clos­et for months and years because I think I look blah in it. So then what’s the point of hav­ing a sweet pink flo­ral shirt if I can’t wear it? Take a risk, Trish, take a risk!

So then, on Sat­ur­day, after hav­ing some pan­cakes and some time for con­tem­pla­tion, I decid­ed to join the make-along and embark on this shirt-recon­struc­tion adven­ture. I want­ed to short­ened the sleeves (it is for the sum­mer, after all) and per­haps put some darts around the waist area. So here’s a record of the day…


11:30 am — Cut sleeves to quar­ter-sleeve length, care­ful­ly removed ruf­fles from cuffs (because I want­ed to reat­tach the ruf­fles on to the short­en sleeves). Real­ized that ruf­fles at cuff was prob­a­bly too short, so I un-gath­ered the ruf­fles and added 4 inch­es of extra fab­ric from the cut-off sleeves and sewed it into a ring and then re-gath­ered the ruf­fles and evened it all out and then… there was still not enough ruf­fles to go around!! (see left side of pho­to) BAHHH! Good thing there’s still enough fab­ric from the cut-off sleeves to make more ruf­fles from scratch (the pieces on the right of pho­to) — should have done that in the first place!

2:30 pm — Real­ized that we need­ed to get gro­ceries and we have com­pa­ny the next day and I was going to make some chili ahead of time. Was con­tem­plat­ing giv­ing up because the project was tak­ing longer than I expect­ed, and I might even ruin the whole thing and it would be a total waste of time and I won’t even get the chili made. But Mike vol­un­teered to make the chili and point­ed out that I already have the sewing machine and iron­ing board set up so I might as well stick with it. So, we ran out to get gro­ceries and some pink thread (because I only have white, black, grey and beige; like I said, I don’t sew a lot), and had some lunch, and then tack­led the ruf­fles again.

While walk­ing around at the gro­cery store, I came up with a way to attach the ruf­fles onto the sleeves (and bumped into a few fel­low shop­pers’ gro­cery charts and bins of veg­eta­bles in the process). I’d real­ly like to tuck in the raw edges so they don’t fray, even on the inside of the sleeves, and I don’t have a serg­er, so here’s what I did:

1. With right side fac­ing, I fold­ed the sleeve edge 1/4 inch up all around. Ironed fold.

2. With right side fac­ing, I pinned ruf­fles (which was made with a nar­row strip of fab­ric fold­ed in half length-wise and gath­ered along the long side) around the fold­ed edge, align­ing the raw edges of the fold­ed edge and the ruf­fles, stitch­ing 1/8 inch from the raw edges.

3. Then, with the right side fac­ing still, I fold­ed the now ruf­fled edge up along the raw edges, and ironed the fold.

4. I then stitched just below the fold­ed sleeve edge all around. (Sor­ry that the pho­to isn’t that clear in terms of where I’m stitch­ing… I hope you get the idea.)

5. Final­ly, I flipped the ruf­fled edge down, the stitch­es made in step 4 held the fab­ric in place, and I top-stitched near the edge all around.

6. The far left of the image shows the out­side of the sleeve, and the right shows the inside of the sleeve. (I know the steps are not that clear… it’s kind of hard to explain in words… but please feel free to leave a com­ment if you’d like some clar­i­fi­ca­tion. I’ve nev­er done this before but per­haps many peo­ple are already doing this or doing it in bet­ter ways…)

4–7 pm — Here’s me sewing as the sun goes down… with mugs of tea. It’s real­ly not a lot of sewing, I was just sewing very slow­ly, and iron­ing in between steps. Def­i­nite­ly tak­ing longer than expect­ed.

So here it is — DONE! :D

The sleeves end­ed up being kind of wide, so I think it looks alright with­out putting in the darts in the body. And if I want­ed to put in darts then I’ll have to rip out the hem… so it’s bet­ter to just leave it. Doesn’t it look more styl­ish with the quar­ter-sleeves? I’m rather hap­py about this. Now I would total­ly wear it in the sum­mer. Yay, I final­ly have a pink flo­ral shirt! *grin*

So, I’m real­ly thank­ful for this make-along. I wouldn’t have fin­ished this project oth­er­wise, it would just stay in my clos­et for months and years and I would just be think­ing about what I could do with it every time I look at it and then close the clos­et door — I know, sad. Yes, thank­ful and hap­py that I did it. And thank­ful for Mike’s chili. :)

Hope you’ve had a love­ly week­end, and have a great week ahead!

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