Dear Friend,

How often do you find things in a thrift store or market that have the makings of greatness…they have a great colour and quality fabric but have the wrong shape, or are too big or too small?

If you are like me, the answer is all the time.

I have found many a skirt that was exactly the right colour I had been looking for, but was a tiny bit small in the waist, or too boxy through the legs. These problems can generally be remedied quite easily with a bit of investigation and simple sewing and often be turned into great wardrobe staples. I will only do this with garments of good quality fabric like wool, heavy gaberdine, silk and fine cotton.

I am going to share some of these successful thrifty sewing projects in this ‘Make Do and Mend’ series.

A couple of weeks ago, whilst perusing my favourite thrift store, I spotted this silk blouse;


I adore novelty fabrics. They are not easy to come by, especially in such wonderful colours, in near new condition, in silk and for $5.


Unfortunately, it was way too big for me in the body and the shoulders, the blouse had no shape through the middle and bad shoulder pads. I was in two minds about buying it as I didn’t need to take on yet another sewing project before Christmas. After a few minutes consideration I decided to leave it up to the ‘thrift fairies’… if it was there when I went back the next week I would buy it.

I’m so glad it was because when I saw it on my second visit I couldn’t believe that I had left it there! Despite dubious looks from the Darling Girl I bought it straight away. (she thought it was the type of blouse the ‘Matron’ would have worn in her Enid Blyton books Naughtiest Girl in School series).

Ok..maybe it is a bit matronly…but it won’t be for long…I swear.


When I am re-styling any garment I decide what era I am trying to recreate and what clothes in my wardrobe I am going to wear this blouse with. This will affect the shape and style and how loose or firm fitting the garment needs to be.

 I decided that I wanted to give this blouse a 1940’s feel.

 First things first…I removed those unattractive shoulder pads, they weren’t giving any shape to my shoulders and they just added bulk.


Then I removed the sleeves so that I could resize and shape them. Remove excess fabric from the shoulder seams, notice that I am taking slightly more from the neckline than the shoulder, this will lift the bust area.


 To reshape the sleeves I added three darts at the shoulder and two at the base of the sleeve.


This makes the sleeves soft, fluffy and young-looking.


To re-shape the body I started by running the side seams in 3/4 inch.


Then I pinned darts up the back and front of bodice;


When I reached the bust-line I curved the dart round to the side seam. This was create a nice shape to the bust, giving it lift and definition.


At this point try the blouse on and check your happy with the fit. If your happy stitch your darts in place and re-attach the sleeves and you are done.

One super cute silk novelty print blouse for only $5!




I am really happy with the result and glad I rolled the dice and took a gamble on this little blouse (pun intended) and I will share some more photos of it in my next post.


Princess Pin Curls