Garment Reverse Engineering : Part 1

I’ve always seemed to have a knack for being able to look at something and then being able to recreate it, provided I had the right materials and/or technology. So, when I recently took up sewing after purchasing a sewing machine, I put that skill to good use in making dog collars and leads, and I’ve even not to say “invented” but rather “improved upon” the idea of a dog’s no-pull harness. Of which more later, as my experience with needles breaking (12 so far!) and a very long wait for a walking foot to arrive put me off for a while.

Meanwhile, I got a hankering to make my own clothes after watching BBC’s “The Great British Sewing Bee” on TV. They’d only started by showing Series 4 here in Australia, but luckily I was able to track down and watch the 3 previous seasons online. 

Anyway, back to reverse engineering. I had this old favourite tunic top that had seen better days. It was made from t-shirt jersey material, which is sadly pilled now, as you can see in the photos below. I liked how it draped, and the ties at the back meant I could adjust the bodice.

Front of the tunic.

Back of the tunic.

To reverse engineer this tunic, I first folded it in had lengthwise, and placed it on top of my tracing “paper” (which is actually made of a material similar to interfacing and comes on a roll). 

Front part of the tunic, folded in half and with a 1″ seam allowance.

Back of tunic, folded.

I then simply cut out the shapes, allowing for a 1″ seam all round the outline.

Then, I transferred this onto fabric and cut out the pieces for the front (1 piece) and back (2 pieces).

And then, it was time to sew the pieces together. I decided that the original tunic’s patch pocket was too small and in a not very convenient spot, so I would instead create 2 roomy pockets on the front of my tunic instead.

I started sewing mid-morning, and took a break after lunch to do some pet sitting and dog walking, then returned to finish the garment off in the evening. I finally put the finishing touches to this garment at 9:30 in the evening. Yes, it took a while, about 8 hours in total, but I’m really proud of it. Every single seam has been bound (no fraying), and I learnt and practised several new techniques at once.

Front of my reverse engineered tunic.

Back of my reverse engineered tunic.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll show you what the tunic looks like on my person. Yes, I wore it out to the cinema, to watch Bridget Jones’ Baby (a very enjoyable rom-com, by the way).

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