Amy’s Breton Top Refashion

Childs breton top refashion

Well, ‘refashion’ is a strong word for this project, but we’ll get to that in a minute…  First, let me get my excuses in for my Made-Up pledge!  I didn’t finish the quilt (obviously…), but I did almost finish the quilt-top, which is a huge block of the work and has really dragged it forward a good chunk.  I did take a photo, but it’s literally so bad I couldn’t bring myself to include it.  I swear it’s real… it just doesn’t photograph well…

Right, down to today’s business,  I was given a mixed bag of hand-me-downs for the girls recently, among which was a grown-up top, in blue and cream striped jersey.  It had a tiny stain near the neck, and bore such an alarming similarity to a top I wore through-and-after all 3 of my pregnancies that, even though it fit me fine, I couldn’t wear it.  It seemed a shame to waste it though, as the fabric was in good condition, and who doesn’t like those stripes?!

Amy’s rapidly out-growing her clothes at the moment, so I decided to see if I could get something for her out of it.  Which I did, in a deeply un-scientific manner, consisting, mainly, of cutting it up, eyeballing a new shape onto the bits, and sewing it back together.  Hasn’t it worked out awesomely?

kids breton top

I am so happy with it, and so is she!  I haven’t sewn with jersey before (the closest I’ve got was a fleece-backed sweatshirt knit, which is really not similar…), so I was a little nervous, but it turns out it’s completely not scary at all.  I lowered the presser-foot pressure to about 1/2, and dropped the feed-dogs the same amount, which I imagined would help to not squish and stretch the rather delicate fabric.  It worked great, which was a relief, as although it feels and looks nice, the jersey is pretty cheap quality, having a lot of stretch but little recovery if handled roughly.

I kept as much of the original bits in as possible, to save effort mainly, but also because I knew the chance of hemming success was probably minimal.  So the body and sleeve hems are original – a lot less work, plus a professional finish :).

The sleeves I cut out wholesale and then cut off the sleeve-head to leave a straight sleeve-top, as I was going for basic, straight-line, drop-shoulder stuff here.  Nothing fancy, no drafting, no curves, thank you!  I then cut the biggest rectangles I could out of the body to make the body pieces, eyeballed a new neckline and stuck it all back together.  There was no measuring – I just made it as big as the bits would allow, figuring if it’s too big, she’ll grow, and too small, Annie can have it.


I just love a split hem on a boxy top!


The pockets are cut from the sleeve-heads – the original top had set-in sleeves, so there was a decent half-moon of fabric cut off each sleeve.


The neckband!!  I am quite unreasonably proud of this.  I unpicked the original neckband and then stretched-and sewed it into the new neckline.  Apart from my slightly wonky topstitching, it gives a really professional finish to the whole garment which I’m so happy with.

All-in-all, massive success right here.  I love it, Amy loves it, and I’ve made something useful and pretty out of something I would only ever have worn for decorating.  Win-win-win, I’d say!

Out-take time:


Hmm, speaking of decorating, I should probably be doing a bit more of that and a bit less sewing, so it may be slightly quiet for a few months.  I feel like a year is probably long enough to have no curtains and bare plaster in the living room.

Have you had any re-fashion success lately?  It’s not really something I’ve attempted before, but I can see how it could get addictive!

So long, and happy making!



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