Upcycling purple parrots...mindfulness and vintage sewing patterns

June 7, 2018

 

I got so excited about this shirt when I saw it in Primark recently ,well not the shirt exactly but the purple parrots and palm trees !! It was screeching "make something more exciting with me"  (in a parrot sort of way) I kept saying to my husband look at this shirt, it's fab ...he thought I had gone mad ! as,never in a million years would he wear it .

 

We went off for coffee ,but I couldn't get the thought out of my head that I could have some fun with it so I went back to buy it, the fact that there were 2 size 3xl on the rack was a plus, so much fabric that could be re-used for some thing else ...possibly a 1950s sun suit , not for me you understand but for a lucky 21st century pinup gal who lives for the retro vibe.

So I went to my large pattern collection to see what I could find 

Who knew how many 'sun suit' patterns i had ? Not me ,thats for sure.it turns out I have over 10 vintage sewing patterns for various sun suits and beach wear from the 30s to the 70s, and I want to make them all ...

so I picked this Simplicity one from the 1950s as I thought the tiki parrot fabric would suit it best

The next stage was to carefully unpick the 2 shirts so I could get the best  pattern placement and as much fabric as possible for my project.

It took over 3 hours! but was the perfect way to chill out on a sunny Sunday afternoon , I have to say

it was the most 'mindfull' thing I've done in a long time!

 

I then washed and pressed the pieces and was very pleased with the fabric, no shrinkage and the colour was fast ...well done Primark, great quality fabric choice.

I used the original pattern pieces very carefully and was so pleased that there seem to be a perfect size piece of fabric to each pattern piece.

In this picture I'm just trying the pattern placement out ( my bed is the perfect space for this job ) ...i would normally trace the pattern of but I sacrificed this one because of time.I pressed the pattern pieces gently with a warm iron before I used them .

I wanted to keep the sun suit as close as possible to the vintage pattern instructions but I also wanted it to be durable so I machined all elements of this duo apart from the fastening and belt loops (not something I would do in my bespoke making )using my new  Janome M200 QDC  with its sweet little vintage inspired pin cushion and new to me thread cutting button 😀 I then used picking shears to finish of the seam allowances.

I had just enough fabric in the 2 shirts to make the bra and shorts 

but there was enough left over to make a tie belt which could be used as a hair tie. Little thread belt loops make it easy to wear the shorts with or without the belt . Hopefully you can see some of the details in the next collage 

The shorts have 2 fab side pockets hard to see with this fabric so i popped in a little hankie to help .they have  a side opening which is fastened with vintage press studs and hook and bars. The 6 little red plastic vintage buttons I found in my stash were the perfect match.

I would also liked to have made the jacket but that would mean purchasing extra contrast fabric and that wasn't the point if this project, although if I did I would proberbly pick out the purple of the parrots and use some of the shirt  scraps to make the patch pockets on the front. 

 

If I were to make this pattern up again (I proberbly will ) I would move the opening to the centre back and use a zip and button closer and keep the side seams for just the pockets.

 

What do you think? was it worth the time and effort I put in ...i would love to hear your comments 

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