SUMMER WHITES: The Shrug & The ReMake

SUMMER WHITES: The Shrug & The ReMake

'Once upon a time....there was a new stash of beautiful fabrics and trims shared by friends from all over the land. It was not the end, but another beginning. 

 Inspired by generosity and beauty, that day, the woman set out on a splendid journey of making'.


                               THE SHRUG- 

  I'm at the beginning of a collection of these for every season! Here is my pattern (med/lg) so you can join me in the making.  

Order of Construction:

  1. Create fabric combo
  2. Finish front foldback edges, fold back & tack across shoulder line to hold
  3. Place fronts on back and pin across shoulder line.
  4. Place facing strip on top, sandwiching fronts in between facing strip and back. 
  5. Stitch across shoulder line from sleeve end to sleeve end: Turn to right side and press.
  6. Finish sleeve/armhole edges as desired, then stitch side seams leaving slit open at bottom edge.
  7. Finish hem edges or leave raw. Add ties or other details as desired… then wear it! Prepping shrug fronts - Adding surface design, pockets, pleats or other details first is fun way to start. The pleat across one side of my front is somewhat like a dart shape, because it lifts the bottom edge to match my painted piece without cutting it off...which also keeps the straight grain across the bottom edge for a more symmetrical raw edge.

Added Surface Design-

The painted, cut and stitched fabric for this piece makes it! The initial painted and stamped circles were added in silver metallic (Jacquard Fabric Paint). Once dry, the paint seals the edges and can be cut out in any shape. Some of the holes were left open and some were used as frames with bits of cool fabric and trims added from behind and stitched in place. Strips of cotton were rubbed with the same paint for the ties. 

The facing rectangle is 4-5” wide and the length across garment. I use a lightweight cotton fabric for these summer weight garments.  Scooping the back neck as shown in the sketch, creates a more comfortable neckline. 

 More hand stitching was added to finish along the side slits across the pleat and along parts of the front edge and armholes.

 We will have a folder on my facebook page for all the cool shrugs we make this year, so add a photo of the ones you create there! 


The ReMake Tunic-

Combos for reMaking is never-ending. Once we’re hooked…one piece always seems to lead to the next!

This sleeveless tunic combines: Painted linen, a dress shirt, a printed tee shirt, a pin stripe shirt, some grey linen fabric, embroidered pieces and an unsuccessful skirt project. 

 This kind of garment construction is a fabric puzzle with a variety of ways it can evolve. Working on a dress form is key to this process.

 Where will you start?

 • Sometimes randomly cutting garments into a collection of pieces in various sizes, opens the way to just starting. I suggest starting with pieces that are different lengths and widths and let the finishing details on the garments you cut be part of the new pieces: ie button tabs, cuffs, collars, front panels with pockets etc. You can always cut them down more later…so start with some generous size pieces. 

My Start- This garment started by placing the collar on the dress form like a front edge down the front. Once there is a start there, it evokes the question: ‘What will  go with what I have so far?’ It can be helpful to keep some running notes as you work…you never know what will become key to your process  and how you will work on future pieces.


 To get the process moving, I often serge 3-4 pieces together, thinking about amounts of each I might want to use in the garment. Making, until something says ‘yes!’ is part of the process.Once a few pieces are in place on the dress form, time to build from there: adding for width or length, looking at the direction that will be most flattering, and in this case how woven grain and knit might play out when the garment is worn. Because I usually want one, pockets tend to show up along the way. This one with a tuck, and wide, bias top edge is a nice detail on this garment.

At mid-stage, SCALE of the pieces becomes part of the story. If things feel to large (or bold), I can piece into them or create more seams  to create a better scale of elements on the body. Remember, you're not making a duvet cover!…so big quilt squares may not be the best look!!  

Repeating what is there-One you've got some aspects of a successful piece,    the details you are drawn to can be repeated throughout the piece. For this one, black stitching thread on the machine was just that. The way things are stitched and the types of stitches used can create a cohesive story as you make. Stitching irregularity contributes to the casual feel of this piece. 

Details & Stitching-

The second collar/neck piece was cut from the hem of one of the garments. It is a nice scale for the neck edge. I noticed the bottom of the finished collar band and the pieces I added below it ‘created ‘ the perfect buttonhole! Since I hadn't started with trying to match buttons in the beginning, I am now open to what buttons will complete the look of the evolving front edge.

The bold, stripe button is the perfect accent and the smaller shirt buttons fit right into the buttonholes in the shirt tab I used there.


Hand-stitching can be used as a finishing tool. For this piece,  I combined grey and white embroidery threads. They can be used to ‘soften’ an edge, bring more attention and balance, or create a focus with a contrasting colorful detail. 

 Overall theme & flavor of the Garment: Refined and casual: some rough edges, some finished- always going for an interesting story. Each of us, at every age, has a unique style shining through. Re-Making is a playful celebration of the individual. 

                                     Making we discover the magic in our fingertips.



Wanna see some video? Click this link to see more about these pieces.




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Do you have a pattern for the shrug? You were showing?

Claudette barber

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