Saturday, January 25, 2020

Refashion Runway 2020, Week 1: Statement Sleeves by Michelle Paganini / Pattern Hack for Paganoonoo "Patti"

Every SATURDAY during the contest, starting January 25, 2020, a new challenge week will begin. There will be a winner each week, based on votes (like yours) 50%, and 50% judges choice.  You can vote for your favorites 
Hello, I am Michelle Paganini.  You may already know me from Paganoonoo, or appearances on the syndicated PBS TV show It's Sew Easy, or my upcycle sewing YouTube tips.

Lucky me! I juried into Refashion Runway hosted by Beth Huntington. It is an online 6 week challenge to refashion with the emphasis for each week selected in advance, much like Project Runway. Week one's challenge is "Statement Sleeves".

One of the things I am really enjoying about participating in this challenge is that it has me focus on projects that I would not normally have selected.

My initial thought for the sleeve challenge was to be literal (given that I am a nerd engineering type with lipstick) and stamp an actual statement on a sleeve.  I pulled out my turn-of-the-last-century alphabet stamp set and tested it with a fabric ink pad.  I even looked up some quotes to consider. Decided to save that approach for another day.

To find out what I did watch this video and/or read below:

Next I turned to my ever growing collection of vintage linens.  What if I used some lace and beautiful pieces to embellish a sleeve?  A classic men's dress shirt is one of my favorite mediums to upcycle. I selected a thrifted solid-color light-gray shirt so the color play between the shirt and the embellishments would be subtle, and the lace/linens details noticeable without competition from a print. (Click here for my video tip on color and pattern selection.)

My experience with men's shirts is that when I remove the cuff, the sleeve length is just shy of full length.  Also because the pleat is released from the cuff, the sleeve bottom becomes a bit wider.  After removing the cuff and looking at the result, I wanted even more flare.  Solution?  Add a godet in the sleeve placket using the cuff corner, as seen in the picture above.  Space for a second godet was created by making a pinked cut along the underarm seam and inserting the other cuff corner as seen in the picture below.

With the addition of the godets the ends of the sleeves now had a bell shape with a raw pinked edge.  I underlined the cuff with vintage lace, making the length a perfect long sleeve. Using what was left of the lace, I edged the collar, creating balance with the sleeves.

To finish the "statement" part of the embellishment, I selected two identically styled but different shaped doilies, a rectangle and an oval. They were too delicate to look nice with machine stitching (and difficult to access with a machine), so I hand stitched them in place.
The shirt fit my bust, but would not button across my hips/belly, a typical problem for my pear shaped figure.  I now had a button down shirt with a feminine sleeves and collar but not a very feminine bodice 

Solution? I turned to my favorite upcycle sewing design, the Paganoonoo Patti, and added a swing back to the garment. A thrifted pajama top of soft lightweight cotton provided the perfect fabric to create the back panel, with the bonus of an existing hem!  The bottom of the shirt now flared out for a much more feminine silhouette.

The front of the shirt now had the right silhouette, but was out of balance with the embellished sleeves and collar, needing a more feminine touch. It had been silkscreened with a few white overlapping circles in a workshop I took with Holly Badgley at PenWAG (Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild, Campbell, CA), but that was not quite enough.  I added a collection of mis-matched non-functional buttons on the placket.  Perfection!

The Paganoonoo Patti design is my favorite, simple and elegant, with plenty of hip and belly room.  I am in love with with this sweetly feminine "Statement Sleeve" version.  

I hope you love it too and vote for my entry!
What's coming in the next weeks?  

2) 1970’s - A tough one even though I lived through them, lol, then...

3) Faux Fur,  4) Small to Large, 5) Southwest, and 6) Kentucky Derby Hats.

P.P.S.  Find out more about Michelle and shop Paganoonoo upcycle sewing designs at 

P.P.S.  Create simple upcycle sewing projects with free video tips!  I show you how to add a double color to a dress shirt, combine color and pattern with confidence, shorten sleeves to ¾ and add a decorative cuff, and more!  Register for free today!

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