How to DIY An Amazing REF BLOGGER Shirt

I got a lot of great feedback when I wore this shirt on Sunday to brunch/adventuring. Both IRL and via internet (in pictures I wasn't even trying to showcase the shirt!) people kept asking me where I got it from and complimenting it.

My response...."It's from Zara a bunch of years ago. It was a dress this morning."

I don't know where I got the bug from - maybe the constant purging of my closet and the realization that while I loved the dress, in theory, it wasn't the most flattering thing I owned. Needless to say I took the scissors to it. It turned out awesome.

So here's the big, easy trick. I buy a lot of dresses that are too short for me and then I cut them and turn them into shirts. Sometimes I use an existing seam (peplum is great for this) and sometimes I leave the hem raw. Occasionally I will use the iron-on stuff but it's so stiff I never really end up liking it.

The real thing I can't teach is the vision, but I have been doing this for years. As a tall, busty, long-torsoed girl I ask a lot of my shirts. At some point, I just realized that I could buy dresses that were way too short for, or unflattering from the hips down, or had some weird pattern or whatever. Sometimes they were a horrible failure (see rule #1) but most of the time they end up a success.

So with that frustratingly unhelpful piece of advice, I thought I'd come up with some hard and fast rules should you be considering this particular DIY.

RULE #1:  Never cut something that you aren't willing to trash. You don't actually have to trash it (I use fabric for all kinds of things, including cleaning rags, headbands, chokers, bracelets, and stuffing for a couch) but do not take scissors to something you're not willing to lose forever. Take it to a tailor if that's the case. Assuming you pass this test....

RULE #2: Measure TWICE, cut ONCE.  This is a general sewing and construction principle but is very applicable here. Put it on your body. Fold it. Pin it with a safety pin. Take it off. Put it on again. Adjust. Repeat as many times as you need.

BONUS TIP: Smooth the fold all the way around. If the fabric doesn't have a natural pattern that you can use, iron it to make a ruler to cut along! The line from pressing the iron along the crease will be your cutting guide.

RULE #3: You can always go shorter but you can't go longer. Some things I will cut once - much longer than I think - even before I pin it to see where I want to cut. This gets rid of the extra bulk from all that fabric so you can see how it hangs before you snip.

RULE #4: Use good scissors. Dull scissors and fabric make a miserable combination. It's counter intuitive but the more soft and bendy an object is, the harder it is to cut straight. That's why hairdressers, like my mom, are so bananas about their hair scissors. I'm particular to whatever is on sale that says "cuts fabric" somewhere on the package, like these.

RULE #5: If you use this trick you must tag @leowithcancer in a picture. J/k not really.

P.S. The giant BLOGGER in the title is kind of inside joke :*