Wednesday, August 28, 2019


The Wikipedia definition of "upcycling" is:

also known as creative reuse, ... the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.

This project qualifies.

Original object
The fabric started its life as a rather lovely pure linen flat bedsheet. I think it was a double bed size. My husband, consummate thrift shopper that he is, spotted it as a good quality item of potential use in the sewing room. The prize feature is the white on white embroidery and deep hem.

It had been used and was not in perfect condition. I spotted a couple of small holes and in one spot the faggoting between the hem and the main body of the sheet was ripped. However there was plenty left for my purposes.

I previously made the Inari Tee Dress pattern as a dress from fabric with a heavily embroidered border and I figured I could do it again, but this time as a top.

There was one thing I did not love about the dress and that is that it tends to ride up and back as I wear it. This means the neck in front feels like it's going to choke me and the whole dress angles towards the front at the hem, instead of staying vertical like it should.

I did a bit of superficial web research and looked in some books and asked on FB forums and everybody said that all I needed to do was take a slice off the front shoulder and add it to the back. This would put the shoulder seams in the "right place". But (thought I) it would not solve my problem which seemed to me to be that the upper back was too short as a result of anatomy and poor posture. As I hunch away at my desk my curved back steals fabric from the front and this is why the thing shifts on my shoulders.

So instead I sliced through the back and added 8mm of length and then I added a little wedge in the sleeve cap to make it a bit longer, as you can see at left.

I'm pleased to say this worked perfectly. I wore the top today and it did not shift around during the day. It feels more comfortable.

The boxy shape is cool and comfy. I cut the top longer than the pattern says. I wanted it to hit me at the hip bone approximately and at 51cm from shoulder point to hem, it is probably about 4-5cm longer than it would have been if I had cut where the pattern directed. 

The embroidery makes this top special, and I didn't have to do a thing to get it! I left a little slit opening at the side seams.

It's a new silhouette for me. I think it looks OK with these wide cropped pants.

I wore it today with very wide linen pants and got a few nice comments.


  1. Lovely upcycling, and a very beautiful linen sheet! You came up with the perfect change to fix that "riding up" problem, it's amazing how that idea that just moving a seam would change the shape of anything, but I've seen that advice too, in so many places. Good thing you did some thinking on your own��

  2. Really lovely, with the slit a very nice detail. Happy autumn sewing!

  3. Great top - love the fagoting and embroidery. What a wonderful second life for the bedsheet.
    Angling the back shoulder seam out to add 1/2" at the armhole edge leaving neck edge as is and removing the corresponding 1/2" from the front seam plus moving the shoulder seam match point on the sleeve 1/2" to the front, is a wonderful adjustment for a forward shoulder. This is the only adjustment I need to make to stop my tops sliding backwards. For a round back the adjustment is explained really well in this video at 8:50 minutes
    Hope this helps. Stephanie

  4. Ingenious upcycling! I have some old linen sheets that I may have to get out and have a look at now that I see the potential.

  5. Thanks for the photo of your back adjustment. this is just what I need, and now I know exactly what to do :).
    I'm upcycling and old linen tablecloth into a boxy top and this will help.

    Hope it looks as good as yours!

  6. Kudos to both you and your husband, for his good find, and for your beautifully executed gift of a second life for this lovely fabric.

  7. Now that's my idea of upcycling! Beautiful!

  8. love it ,it would look great with your new style arc pants too.

  9. Love this! I, too, feel compelled to rescue textiles that are of good quality fabric but then don't have a use for them. This is a great idea!

  10. I saw your review on PatternReview and found my way to your blog. I love this top. I will definitely be working on creating a few of these for my capsule.

  11. Just found your blog and glad I did 😊. This is a beautiful top! I also have a problem with tops riding back on me. I add about 1 cm or so to the CB at the neckline and smooth the back neckline to the shoulder point.this makes the back neckline shallower, which helps me. I learned this from Kathleen Fasanelli's book. I also move the shoulder line a bit forward but this CB adjustment really helps if you have a small, shallow back neckline. Thanks for a well written and informative blog!