Tag Archives: blouse

Mexican Top Makeover

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I’m enjoying the first of three one-week vacations I have over the next four months. I wasn’t really paying attention to the PTO I had built up and now I am in a use-it-or-lose-it scenario, hence the three weeks of free time.

I do have travel plans for the later ones but this week I am focusing on some projects like upgrading my summer wardrobe. All I had was tanks and T’s. I wanted a bit more color and personality as well as something that would keep me cool (t-shirts aren’t always the coolest options for triple digit temperatures like we get in Austin). If my t-shirts were vintage concert T’s, that would be one thing, but even they were all just plain.

Now that I’m fully vaccinated and feel more comfortable taking non-essential trips, I made my way to the thrift store. Not only do I love thrift stores, but I’ve also made it a goal to buy as much as possible second hand for sustainability reasons. I’m not a big shopper, I mostly go when I actually need something as opposed to using it for entertainment but having been cooped up in my apartment the last 18 months, it was a treat to just roam the store and have some different scenery.

On this trip I was specifically looking for sleeveless or short sleeve tops to wear with shorts. I found some really cute ones (it’s interesting to note that most of them have some sort of embroidery on them… I have a definite affinity for the peasant blouse/hippie/Indian aesthetic). Even though I wasn’t able to try anything on, I have a pretty good idea of what looks good on me but I did have to make some repairs and modifications to a couple of them, mostly making them shorter as I am short waisted. After mending, shortening and washing my new tops, I ironed them and hung them up in my closet. It’s nice to see all the color in there now but things were getting kind of crowded so I did some reorganizing and came across this Mexican top that was given to me by a friend.

I like this top as I am partial to embroidery but it wasn’t cutting it. First, it is too long. Second, the fabric is a cotton and doesn’t drape well. Third, it is slightly too big on me so I decided to give it a makeover.

Since the top was put together so shoddily, I decided to just take it apart, which wasn’t much of an effort since the seams weren’t finished and it was sewn with what appears to be a basting stitch. I decided to get rid of the sleeves and shorten it.

But before I made any changes, I had to make a decision. Do I remake it using the original fabric or do I use a different fabric? I have some navy blue fabric in my stash I can use. The color isn’t a perfect match but it has the drape I am looking for. I decided to give it a try.

As you can see from the center photo above, this top was basically constructed from rectangles, very little shaping. I wanted to add a bit of armhole shaping (not much as I didn’t have a lot of room to play with if I didn’t want to cut into the embroidery). This would also help with give it a better fit.

With the new fabric I cut out a new rectangle that was twice the width of the yoke and an inch longer than I wanted it. Instead of a few pleats like the original had, I wanted it totally gathered.

I did take care to finish off my seams by serging them. I used bias binding aroud the armholes so now this top will hold up better to many more washings. I also like how the embroidery on the yoke pops more – it’s taking center stage.

What do you think? Should I have left it alone or do you like it better in it’s new form?