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Desperate Measures t-shirt shift

Added Aug 20, 2009

by nehmah

Spring Hill, Uni...




  • 2009-08-20-09_020_grid


Use a t-shirt to make a loose shift, any length, in about one hour. Fold a length of fabric two (2) times the length of your body, from neck to calf. Make the fold across the material, from selvedge to selvedge. Lay flat on cutting surface. Lay out a t-shirt on top of the fabric, with the neckline, shoulders and sleeves at the fold. Mark the following: right and left sides of the neck opening, and the lowest point of the front neck. Cut out the shift, starting at the top of the right (or left) sleeve, cut down and around the side, across the bottom, and up to the top of the other sleeve. To cut the neck opening, make a cut at the center front down to the bottom mark or pin (whatever you used); fold the sides back and trim away. To finish, follow this order to serge: neckline; right side; left side, bottom hem; right sleeve hem, left sleeve hem. If you serge wrong sides together, using a dense/close thread stitch you will have a finished garment in about one hour. If you sew and top stitch, it may take an hour and a half. Cordially, Nehmah BTW, Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The order on this is slightly different that the one I posted in Discussions. N

Material Notes

t-shirt in 3X long; lightweight cotton knit, thread, serger




Garment Type

4 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Aug 23, 2009, 04.42 PMby lottatroublemaker

    Hi again Nehmah,

    Thanks a lot! LOL, my nickname is from a children’s book, Lotta on Troublemaker Street by wonderful (now deceased) Swedish author Astrid Lindgren – “mom” of Pippi Longstocking, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, Karlsen on the Roof, Emil etc. She was a fantastic author, nobody like her (and her charming and mischievous characters, which is why I chose that nick!), that is for sure! This summer they broadcasted Pippi Longstocking on TV again here, it’s as fun today as it was 30-40 years ago… Oh well, anyway, I think so, but I’m probably a bit old to have the biggest say in the question now… ;P

    I have had a window with an eBay.ca search of vintage patterns sitting open in my browser for a couple of weeks, have gone back to it over and over again, it’s just so fun to look at all these patterns and some i just have to have. And it was real funny, because the first time I went back to it after reading this post of yours, the first thing I see, is a pattern for a shift dress, pattern is from 1965! Talk about timing! ;P Take a look: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310162133294 – look how 2 of the models in the pattern envelope can be made from purchased towels! Actually a neat idea for an alternative to a bathrobe, if only today’s standard sizes fit quite nicely – the model with sleeves must e.g. be a great item for kids to toss on after swimming, coming out of the water almost blue as they often do after being in too long… Especially nice and cuddly if a big hood with drawstring is added… Shouldn’t be necessary with a pattern though, looking at the picture, most of us should be able to wing it, I’m sure. I really like the design of the long one, looks neat as well as super comfy! :)

    Great to hear about the washers, since they are exactly the type and size I just bought! They’re galvanized and 2" diameter! Obviously prices here are way higher than in the US! I got a bit of a shock when the ones that were a bit more like your yellow weights, were $80 for 10 which I thought was too much to use for that (and the store sales person said quite snidely to me “Heck, you’ll have to be willing to pay $80 for a tool for your hobby, that’s nothing!” – I should have learnt my lesson to avoid that person when I enter that store, he is always grumpy and snide and knows better what I need than I do, even if he has no idea of what it will be used for and I know that he is wrong – he’s just out to quarrel with customers, or maybe he just hates women… :( ). Had I not got the cheaper ones, I would have considered making some balls filled with sand, similar to some I saw someone here or on an other site show as an example of pattern weights (from Nancy’s Notions, they are filled with buckshot though and cost $21.98 for 12!). My washers ended out at around $22 for 10, sure a lot cheaper than the first option! Takes less space in my sewing box than the balls would have and somehow I think these flat ones seem nicer for the use than those balls, but… I hate using pins on patterns, so this will be a helpful items while sewing, that is for sure!

    Look forward to seeing your picture when you get there! Shoot, I forgot to reload the page, so maybe it’s there already? Will go back to check…. :)

    Thanks a lot for your advice! I might just make something like this dress too, have a lot of a chenille knit, which is so comfy to lounge in. I have a 70’s robe pattern too though which might be nice for that fabric, it’s like a traditional hoodie (much like those we often use now, a bit more fitted like those some years back, but still with the same pockets on the outside etc), only full length… With a full length plastic zipper (metal ones are so cold!), it might be one of the most comfy garments of all times for those cold mornings…

    Good luck on your dress!

  • Missing

    Aug 21, 2009, 07.35 PMby lottatroublemaker

    Oh, and BTW, the weights you are using, are those special pattern weights, or? Are they very heavy? Just curious. I just went to the hardware store to get some big washers to use, but the thicker/heavier ones (that looked more like those you have, only natural metal, not painted), cost around $8 a piece! Ended out getting 10 lighter ones, but haven’t got to trying them out yet, so I don’t know if they’ll do the job…

    1 Reply
    • 990745-073_large

      Aug 21, 2009, 08.18 PMby nehmah

      Hello Lottatroublemaker, (I love the name!) First, yes a shift is much like a kaftan for fit and comfort. Second, these, yellow fellows are weights. They were a gift from a friend some years ago. They have sharp points and tend to make tiny holes in knits, so I use them up-side-down. Third, I also use regular, galvanized washers which are about 2.5 inches/3.5cm across. I will post a photo if they come out. The galvanized/coated washers can be found in hardware stores. Here (in the US, Tennessee) they were 8 for $1.50 + tax, I think, but might be wrong. However they are not expensive. The shiny coating keeps the base metal from discoloring fabrics. Last, I will try the mirror idea if the Lord and Master is busy watching sports tonight. ;) Cordially, Nehmah

  • Missing

    Aug 21, 2009, 07.32 PMby lottatroublemaker

    Hi, You taught me something new, gave me a new word for my English vocabulary! :) I never heard the word “shift” being used about a garment before, so I had to look it up and found out that it is a simple dress, hanging loose from the shoulders (according to the Cambridge Dictionary). Does that mean that it is much like a kaftan?

    Will be great to see your project photo! If you have a large mirror, just take the picture of yourself into the mirror. Just aim below your face, if you don’t want to include it, or crop it afterwards in your software. Works great if you don’t want to use a remote trigger (with a cord or cordless) or the time delay feature which your camera might have built-in.

  • 990745-073_large

    Aug 20, 2009, 11.22 PMby nehmah

    next time I will post a proper instruction page. But, for now this is it. I will post a photo of the finished garment when someone else can take teh picture;( I can only be in one place at a time. Cordially, Nehmah

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