The “Miramar” shirt

You may or may not have picked up on this, from various outfit posts, but I’m a bit of a fan of op shops. (Charity shops, thrift stores, second hand shops, whatever you want to call them.) I always try to go into them, veering towards them almost unconsciously. My other half, who doesn’t like them at all, always attempts to drag me back onto the path to wherever we’re going at that point in time.

But occasionally, he lets me indulge for a short while.

The other month we were at a baby event in Miramar (a Wellington suburb) and, since we’re hardly ever out that way, he indulged me and we wandered into a couple of the op shops there. And in one of them, hanging out on the “sale” rack, I found a shirt. Partially made – interfaced, side seams sewn up, and pins for darts. It was about my size, and only $3. And I’m a bit of a sucker for unwanted things – I always find myself wanting to “adopt” them, take them home and look after them.

So yes, the shirt came home with me. Old pins sticking in it and all.

It’s a shorter style, with short kimono sleeves, and a little collar. No darts to speak of – the pattern may have called for them, but they hadn’t been sewn up and there were no good markings of where they should have been. (Random pins notwithstanding.) It was also a bit boxy and shapeless. Here’s where it started (please ‘scuse the pj pants):


When my mother was up visiting, I got her help to pin on some alterations. I took in the side seams, added released tucks at the back (still not 100% sure on these – they make the top half of the back quite blousy. I’m considering changing them to standard darts instead. What do you think? Leave them like this, or taper into standard darts?), hemmed sleeves and base, and put on snap fasteners. (Yep, I’m still on my sewing-with-hammers buzz. Gotta love that superman feeling!) And here’s where it ended up:


Much better no?

So that poor, unloved and unfinished shirt, it’s now been worn twice. And will get worn again. Rescue mission: complete.

(Ok, so tell me true here, folks. Am I the only one who does this, rescues unfinished projects and finishes them? Second time I’ve done it (the first being the Strangers UFO jacket), and it’s likely to not be the last….)

6 responses to “The “Miramar” shirt

  1. Mmmm. Pretty blouse is pretty!

    I’ve seen stuff with old pins in it that have rusted then stained the fabric. WAGH!!!! I never leave pins in for long if I’m taking a break from sewing something, because of that. Maybe the climate is different that that didn’t happen to this shirt. Lucky!

    I dunno, I quite like the back, it suits the pretty fabric to be a bit less severely fitted. I don’t think I’d bother changing it if it was me.

    Yep I fix up old things. This was my most fave.

    It hung in the op-shop with a half-done waist-band, and a ripped black ruffle. It looked very much like a costume skirt for a school show that had been sewn with just enough care to get it to look ok on a stage.

    I took it home and gave it some love, new elastic, better seams, and a new ruffle in two layers, black and red, and some simple machine embroidery along the top of the ruffle. LOVED wearing it 🙂

  2. Good save Kat! It looks great now, I always wonder how someone could get so far with a project then just donate it to the oppie – but then there have been projects I have gotten so far with and then I can’t stand to look at anymore as they have become “too hard” so I guess that’s maybe why? Anyways it looks fab – yah for saving cute clothes from landfill 😀

  3. Have you heard of the Refashion Runway challenge that the Renegade Seamstress is doing? Barbara, our friend from Sew Weekly, is a contestant! Check out the details and links on her blog:
    I think this is right up your alley : ) VERY cute shirt too!!

  4. A much better fit, I don’t mind the release tucks at the back, they look more comfortable and the print hides any blouseyness.

    I haven’t rescued any clothing (or half finished project) yet but I do have this problem where I can’t walk past a reduced plant table. You know how in the garden shops/Bunnings etc sometimes they have a whole pile of marked down plants (for $2 or something) that all look half dead cos no ones watered/re-potted them? Yeah, I have to bring at least one of those ugly things home and try to save it. Husband is never impressed and if we are walking and he spots the table before me his grip tightens on my hand but I’ll still manage to drag us past 😉 Haha, I’m quite successful though.

  5. I rescue things … the last thing was a bag of hemmed patchwork pieces, ready for sewing together. (It’s funny but all the paper templates are still in the pieces and they are all lids from catfood! Some cat lady got fed up with patchwork)! I’m going to turn them into a bag of some sort. I travel by train a lot and projects like that are perfect for travelling.

  6. I like it as is with the release tucks. What a lovely shirt it’s become!

    I’ve never rescued anything like that before. My only ever project where I finished somebody else’s project was when the mum of a friend of mine got sick and asked me to teach her to cross stitch to pass the time. I sourced pattern and equipment for her and she got started. What she hadn’t told us at the time was that it was cancer and she was hoping to beat it. But it spread quickly and she passed away. My friend and his dad gave the uncompleted piece back to me so I finished it, framed it and gave it back to them so they’d have her handwork to keep.

    I don’t op shop often enough to find gems like this to complete!

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