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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Popover Rugby Shirt

Season 8 of Project Run & Play started this week and the first theme is remix which is always my favorite.  The pattern to remix is the Popover Sundress from Oliver & S.  It's a free pattern, but just as well written as any of their patterns for purchase.  I sewed my first Oliver & S pattern back in July and I can't believe I waited as long as I did.

via Oliver & S

The Popover Sundress has a nice square shape at the neckline with bias tape ties as straps.  Since it'll be cold here any minute now I wanted to make a fall shirt that Bean could wear instead of a dress.  I found an old striped shirt that I don't really wear anymore and once paired with a navy solid from my stash it worked perfectly.  The bodice lines of the original dress really shine through.

The idea was for something a little looser and more casual at the sides and sleeves than I normally make for her.  I pictured a rugby shirt with a more girly neckline.  Wanting to keep the cute bias ties, I decided to use the "ties" to shape the shoulder.  I was worried that having two bias ties on a long sleeved shirt might be a little busy at Bean's neckline, so I did one shoulder without the actual ties and just used a continuous bias strip.

Instead of modifying the bodice to have a shoulder strap, I used the curve of the bias tape to draft a sleeve.  Let me tell you, it's not a simple thing to draft a sleeve that fits properly.  I won't go into all the math details, but I used the shape of the bodice and yoke when sewn together sketched with where the bias ties should land on the shoulder to draft the correct shape.  I didn't want the shoulder to fall from the weight of the bias tape, but wanted the sleeve cap to be full and not too snug either.  It was a real hold-your-breath moment when I put the finished shirt on Bean, but I was so pleased to see it fit exactly as I wanted. 

These are the pieces I used to remix the pattern: 
front and back piece shortened to tunic length
bias tie strips - one sized as the pattern suggests and one about an inch shorter than half the length
drafted sleeve (and sleeve bands)
front yoke of original pattern
back yoke drafted to increase the height
bias strip for keyhole opening

Once all the pieces are cut out sew the front and back pieces to their corresponding yokes according to the pattern instructions.

Next start with the sleeve that will have the continuous bias strip around the shoulder.  Pin the bias strip onto the sleeve right sides together.  Then pin the front bodice right side down to the right side edge of the shoulder, sandwiching the bias tape.

Moving aside the loose edge of the front bodice, pin the back bodice right side down to the left edge of the shoulder.  Once everything is properly pinned, sew the entire upper arm seam through all the layers, from the back bodice edge up around the shoulder and through the front bodice edge.

After that seam is sewn the underside will look like the left hand picture above and the bias tape will be loose on the top side of the shirt.  Simply fold the bias tape down (along the original iron creases) and pin the strip to the front and back bodices and to itself along the shoulder.

Sew along the top of both sides of the bias strip to tack it down completely.  Then sew the side seam from the wrist edge of the sleeve all the way to the hemline of the shirt.  At the same time sew the other side seam of the front and back bodice since the second sleeve is attached differently.

Now to the other sleeve which will have the ties and keyhole opening.  First cut a little keyhole shape in the top of the sleeve and then attach the small bias strip to the opening, trimming any excess.

Sew the seam of the sleeve and then attach the longest strip of bias tape right sides together to the edge stopping at the keyhole edges.

With the sleeve (and binding pinned on) right side out and the shirt inside out place the sleeve inside the shirt and pin.  Start pinning at the underarm seam to ensure the front and back bodice pieces will be positioned properly along the arm since the top of the sleeve will not be attached to anything except the bias tape.  Sew through all layers, starting and ending at the keyhole opening.

Once the seam is complete the bias tape will be loose on the right side of the shirt.  Fold the bias strip along the original iron creases and then sew both sides of the strip to itself and the shirt to tack it down.  Make sure to contain the edges of the keyhole so it will look nice when the shirt is finished.  I usually hand sew the very ends of my bias strips because I like a nice clean look at the end.  That is why I leave the thread tails as you can see on the right hand side above.  It's a personal preference and could certainly be sewn along that edge when sewing the rest of the strip.

As I mentioned before, the toughest part of the flip was drafting the correct shoulder.  The fabric is so lightweight that it doesn't look as nice on the hanger since it is looking for a shoulder to drape, but I'm super proud of how perfectly it rests on the shoulder line (without slipping off) when worn.  I used a 3T length and in between 2 and 3T width for the shirt so there is room to grow, but on Bean it's exactly as I wanted it to fit. 

I added the sleeve bands from the original shirt to give even a little extra room to grow, but I used the original shirt hem to make my life easier.  Oh, you'd like to see what the original shirt looked like?

Well I forgot to take a picture before slicing and dicing, but here is my husband and I a few days before our wedding.  We look ridiculous, but they were putting up the tent and I'm pretty sure we were demonstrating that the tent stakes were as tall as me.  I also think that's the last time I even wore the shirt, hehe.  (also, behind those guys without their shirts on you can spy my sister's house)  Anyway, back to Bean.

This is the best picture I was able to take of the front of the shirt.  She has a flair for the dramatic, but I swear she wasn't as upset as she looks. 

In fact, this picture was taken within seconds.  You just can't see the straps in it, so I had to throw the other one in.

It's been a fun start to this season of Project Run & Play - you can see what the designers came up with and vote for one of their looks here - and I even started sewing before Wednesday!  Next week's theme is a tricky one, but for now you should head over to see what everyone else in the sew-along made.

As usual, linking up to:

The Chicken Chick Shaffer Sisters encourage. inspire. uplift. create. Photobucket Get Your Crap Together Happy Hour Projects Photobucket


  1. Love this! Love that the dress is still there but the sleeves are added! So nice for the weather change! And yes, I have a few girls that have a flair for dramatic too! ;)

  2. This is awesome. I love that the straps are useable and it is long sleeve.

  3. This is so inventive! I don't know how you even came up with such a cool idea but it really looks great. I love the pic of her being dramatic :)

  4. Love that you used an old shirt! :) Great idea keeping the original bones of the dress.

  5. This idea (and the execution) is great! I may have to try making something similar before winter comes :)

  6. Glad to know we aren't the only one who deals with someone with a flair for the dramatics!! Cute remix....very practical!

  7. How you kept the detail of the bias tape and added the sleeves is totally amazing!!!! You are awesome!

  8. Great idea, ajaire! I love that the bias tape is visable and the contrast it adds. What a cutie she is! And(having three girls close together in age) drama is a perpetual thing at our house:)

  9. Totally cracking up because I can't even remember you in that shirt before the wedding but I can remember him in those orange shorts! And I definitely don't remember you being there when they put the tent up. I feel like that happened before you even got here! I do remember the boys with no shirts though...

  10. Always a fan of your remixes! This is great too!

  11. Wow beautiful remix! I love how you can see the original dress design!

  12. Very cute! You did such a beautiful job on this! Thanks for sharing @ Dolly Creates!!


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