I used one of Reid's cowboy shirts that we were sending to Goodwill. By cowboy shirt I mean a shirt that has been starched to within an inch of its life. When Reid puts on his cowboy jeans, he literally has to shove his foot down the leg to separate the two sides because they have been glued together by starch. I'm talking these jeans could stand on their own if given the chance. But this shirt was nice and soft because he had washed it at home a few times since he had clearly bleached the front of it somehow.
I'm including a couple of close up details of the shirt. (Sorry for the terrible lighting but I'm still shooting from my iPhone.) I'm bummed that I chose the shirt of Reid's that had a big bleach stain on the front but I didn't see it until I was too far in to turn back. I liked the white/baby blue/yellow combo because it seemed summery to me. Working with the plaid was an excellent choice because it helped me line stuff up and keep things symmetrical. One of the things I'm going to change to make it look a little more feminine is the buttons. Any suggestions? I was thinking of doing something in an antique brass to give it a vintage look. Or maybe pearl? Baby blue or yellow?
Here are a few other close ups.
That is a picture of the back yoke (the part at the very top with the black/white seersucker stripe) which was actually the inside yoke (you can tell because the pleat is inverted) but I liked the stripe contrast so I cut up the sides of the shirt and used it inside out. The next little bit with the inverted pleat is the front of the shoulder seam. I did another inverted pleat to help give a little shape to the front to accommodate my bust and keep it from looking boxy. The bottom part with the black/white stripe is the cuff of the sleeve. It is 3/4 and gathered at the shoulder and cuff. I had very little of that striped fabric to work with so it's sort of pieced together on both sleeves and I actually used some scraps of the plaid on the inside of the cuff so you could see more of the striped part.
Part of the problem with using Reid's cowboy shirts is they have pockets on both sides so you have to work around that. I put in bust darts to help ease some of the fullness but I also did small elastic gathers under each pocket and in the back.
The place I really feel the shirt is lacking is the collar which you can see a peek of at the top of that last picture. I would have liked to do the same thing as the cuff treatment and use the stripe but I have very little of it left and I would really need it on the bias to get it to curve nicely and that definitely isn't happening. We'll see what happens once I change the buttons. Maybe it'll turn it all around.
So, what do you think? Any button suggestions? Have you ever swapped buttons on a cheap garment to make it look more sophisticated? I got the idea from Darby here.