When life hands you a random silk dress with the imprint of fishermen what do you do? Refashion yourself an off-shoulder blouse of course!
I’m trying to make a concerted effort to show you all more refashions, and I’m super excited about this one because it literally made no scraps. I love a refashion without scraps because as you’ll see on Thursday fabric scraps are my nemesis! So today, we’re making the easiest off-shoulder blouse ever. All you need is a dress with a ruffled hem, scissors, and a little sewing.
I saw this silk shift dress at my last clothing swap and instantly felt like it had potential. I actually hate shift dresses, shapeless frocks don’t do much for my body type. But this one spoke to me. I felt like it might make a nice refashion.
I won’t lie to you- the pattern is odd. If you look really closely you’ll see it’s a repeat of two men fishing. Why? Who knows. I finally decided I don’t mind it, but definitely not in dress form. I think the act of men fishing together should be reserved for blouses.
So I took the fishing silk shift dress (so many things going on here) and hung it in my workspace, hoping inspiration would hit. And hit it did. I quickly realized that the ruffled bottom could be moved up, transforming the dress into a blouse and offering some off-shoulder action.
I love how it turned out, and I was happy I could rescue some silk from the landfill. Speaking of silk and landfills, let’s go there.
What You MUST Know About Silk
When I was growing up, my mom had silk blouses and dresses that were VERY special. She still has many of them. We viewed silk as a precious material. Fast forward 20+ years and you can find silk blouses on sale at Banana Republic for $19.99. How did this happen? Silk, at some point during the 2000s, became a fast fashion commodity.
What plagues me about this, however, is that silk production requires a lot of resources. Silk comes from silkworms, which are boiled alive to extract the silky threads to weave this precious material. You did just read that correctly. Boiled alive. Sad and gross.
I no longer purchase much new silk for sewing, but when I find a silk fast-fashion item in distress it’s hard for me to turn it down. I mean, sure it’s soft and comfortable to wear, but also a precious natural fiber that should not be wasted.
Despite the horrible way in which silk is made, silk is one of the best fibers you can wear if you’re chemically sensitive or don’t want to wear synthetics. It keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you don’t want to support the silk industry, buy used silk garments and care for them well.
If you’re afraid to wash your silk, but don’t go to the dry-cleaners (which you shouldn’t do, post coming in April!) I would highly recommend investing in a vegetable-based soaking solution. I like this one, conveniently called Soak. They sell this stuff all over the world, so even if you don’t live in North America, you can probably find it. I very much stand by this stuff, it’s even removed odors from thrifted synthetic clothing. Plus, you don’t have to wash it out of your clothes, you literally just let your clothes “soak” and then hang them up to dry. If you can’t find it, you can also use vodka in a pinch.
How To Make Your Own Off-Shoulder Blouse
If you want to make your own off-shoulder blouse, it’s very easy.
1. Cut the ruffle from your dress, leaving about 1.5 inches of fabric at the top. I did a horrible job cutting mine!
2. Pin the ruffle to the blouse, front and back, leaving an equal amount of excess material at the sides for a drape-effect. I pinned mine flat (in the picture) just to get an idea of where I wanted the ruffle, and then took those pins out and re-pinned it so the raw edge was tucked away.
3. Flip your ruffle up and sew along the excess material from the bottom of the dress. I left about a centimeter at the top so I could hem the ruffle that went along the shoulder-piece. Repeat on the other side.
4. Pin and sew down the excess material on the s shoulder piece. Cut any off if it sticks out weird.
5. Hem your blouse. I did a wide rolled-hem, completely enclosing the lining into the shell material. Press, and wear.
So that’s how you make the super easy off-shoulder blouse! I’ve made a few of these over the last couple of years from dresses with ruffles on the bottom, and I really like them. They all turn out differently.
What refashions are most excited about for spring?