Colour & crochet

A little while ago (well, fine, if you want to be picky, it was more than a year ago) I bought yet another not-quite-right garment at an op shop.

Like a simple-minded bird, I’m drawn by bright colours, so ka-ching! went the sales till, to the tune of $5.
The top then sat in my “to do” pile while I tried to work out how to reconfigure it so I would actually wear it. Shawl collars are probably my least favourite neck arrangement, so I took that off, but I was stuck for what to do with the rest of the garment. Then I put it on back to front, and things became a bit clearer.

This was the front, although you can hardly tell now! Apart from removing the shawl collar and the buttons from the front section, I made a seam up the centre and reshaped the hemline so that instead of going straight across my hips, it curves up on each side (there must be a name for that kind of hemline but I don’t know it. Do you?)


I also chopped off the sleeves and made casings for elastic to give them a slight puff.


Then I thought for a little while about what to do with the neckline…


Well, actually, it’s obvious that I’d already finished the neckline, but it looks like I’m thinking, doesn’t it. Yes, that’s my thinking face. Anyway, what I ended up doing was cutting a little bit more off the neckline after removing the collar, then making a double-crochet strip from some nylon ribbon (also from an op shop and used previously to decorate my Spring Racing Carnival outfit) and attaching it with big colourful embroidery thread stitches across the front (ie, what used to be the back).

As the back is very open, the crochet strip also serves the purpose of keeping the top up! I put two press-studs on the strip at the back so that the top doesn’t slip off my shoulders every five seconds.

As it’s not that easy to find shawl-collared colourful tops in every op shop, I didn’t bother doing this re-fashion post as a step-by-step tutorial, but I think there are some ideas in here which you could use easily in other projects – like the crochet trim (it’s easy to make a braid if you can’t crochet), the open back and hemline that rises at the sides (you could cut a T-shirt top to achieve a similar look), puff sleeves (doable with just about any top that has loose sleeves) and (with a bit of inspiration from Kris Kross) – wearing things back to front!

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