Sewing Leftovers: Reeta Shirts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I have a trio of totally game changing shirts to show you today, all made and worn aplenty during (Me Made) May - if you caught my round up posts then you'll have already seen them pop up a number of times. As ever, I realised my desperate lack of tops early on in the month, so whipped up my first cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress with some #sewingleftovers. Then came another, also in leftovers, and finally a third version in fabric bought from Stoff & Stil on a recent trip to Berlin. It's a really easy, quick and versatile hack, and a new-to-me wardrobe staple.
Reeta Shirt in white crepe
Reeta Shirt in leftover suiting fabric from a recent project

Fabric: The white one is made of a leftover crepe/poly mix that's been in my stash for years and the black pinstripe version is a cheap suiting poly/viscose

Original garment made: The white fabric is leftover from a failed attempt at making something for someone else, and the pinstripe is leftover from my absolute fave M7661 trousers (I was given lots extra as it has a few faults to it)!

Leftover fabric amount: Just over 1m in both fabrics (this hack takes about 1m)

Sewing Leftovers make: Named Clothing Reeta Midi Shirt Dress, hacked into a cropped shirt

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Skip details to save on fabric - I left out the pockets and turn up on the sleeves. The back yoke can be cut as 2 separate pieces rather than on the fold if you're restricted by the length of your leftovers (I actually did this by accident for one of mine and it turned out fine)! I also learnt the great joy that having matching separates can bring to your life/wardrobe (scroll down for more on that)!

About the make:

White crepe Reeta with corduroy Landers
Funnily enough, I don't like my Reeta Shirt Dress and I hardly ever wear it. It's a combination of the length, sleeves and waist gathering that just don't sit quite right with me, which is pretty disappointing as it seems to look great on everyone else! After seeing a Reeta Shirt hack by @craftwerking, I was inspired to make more use of the pattern, and I'm really pleased that I've finally found a way to make the Reeta work for me!


My pattern was already cut out at a size 42 so I stuck with this. I could have downsized, but I opted to keep it bigger for a sort of boxy, oversized fit. To make it shirt length, I cut the pattern 3" below the waistline (marked out for the waist casing/gathering on the dress). Once hemmed, this is a pretty good length for me - let's say a 'gentle crop' - which can be worn loose or tucked in without too much bulk, depending on the mood/outfit. 

Back view of the white crepe version
Losing the length was obviously the big fabric saver for these shirts, but simplifying the sleeves also helped. I really dislike the longish turn up sleeves on my Reeta Dress - so much so that I recently cut them off to try and make it more wearable. The turn up is quite bulky when made in anything other than lightweight fabric, so it wouldn't have really worked with my mid-weight leftovers either. I cut the sleeves as long as I could, and hemmed them much shorter after trying on the nearly finished garment. I now know that I prefer the sleeves pretty short, so this should help to minimise waste at the point of cutting for future versions!

The original version worn over a Nettie top, with Landers and Doc sandals
Finally, I skipped the pockets as they're just too fussy for me, particularly on a boxy cropped shirt. Each finished shirt took around 1 metre of fabric, and could probably do it in slightly less with some thoughtful pattern tetris.

*I got a tripod, hence the funny angles of these pics!
If I find a pattern that I really like, I'll make repeat versions of it quite quickly. Perhaps this is down to the pattern being fresh in memory when I'm out fabric shopping. I've tried to limit my fabric shopping and concentrate more on my stash and leftovers recently, but as these two Reeta Shirts worked out so well (in cheap leftovers), I decided it was fine to treat myself to this beautiful Stoff & Stil wiggle print cotton for version 3.

Version 3, in wiggle print cotton
Worn with a particularly bold pair of B6178 culottes
And finally, I wanted to show you my favourite way of wearing my original Reeta Shirt hack - and the real reason that I made this shirt in leftovers. I've always wanted matching separates, but never had either the right length of fabric or motivation to make it happen. I'm over the moon that I've finally managed it with my matching Reeta Shirt and M7661 trousers. I guess I'm biased, but I think they make THE BEST faux jumpsuit around!

Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
The cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta goes with pretty much everything. Though each shirt carries a slightly different quality - the white version is a bit more boxy as the fabric is thicker, the wiggle one is lighter and more summer-y - they all serve the purpose of filling a huge wardrobe gap. I couldn't recommend this simple hack more, particularly if you can squeeze it out of your #sewingleftovers.

Which version is your favourite?

Check out #sewingleftovers on Instagram for loads more inspiration!


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14 comments

  1. That faux-jumpsuit is, indeed, absolutely awesome!!! Do you find that when you make a project your excited about repeatedly in quick succession, that you end up getting wear out of all of them? I have a tendency to get super-excited by a project, immediately make 1 or 2 more, and find that I only really wear one of the bunch since, you know, I don't always NEED three versions of the same garment!! So sometimes I prefer to curb my enthusiasm for a while to see, after I've worn the original garment long enough, whether I really would get wear out of another version...

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    1. Thanks so much :) I usually get wear out of the multiple makes, but at the disadvantage of the rest of my wardrobe, so I guess there are definitely pros and cons to it! Perhaps I need to curb my enthusiasm a little too, but for slightly different reasons! x

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  2. The faux jumpsuit is absolutely fantasic! It true that sometimes it takes several iterations before we find just the right way to style a look. Cheers to you for sticking it out.

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    1. Yay thanks so much! I think it might be my favourite way to wear the shirts too! :)

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  3. I have been eagerly waiting for you to write this hack up, LOL! I love the look of these tops, and am absolutely planning to copy you. ;-) The neckline of the Reeta dress is so pretty and it makes a great cropped shirt! I like the shorter sleeves too, they are quite long as written and they're my least favorite part of my dresses for that reason (though admittedly I love my Reetas).

    -Abbey

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    1. Ahhh Abbey you should totally go for it! I've just realised that the shape is really similar to the latest So Over It pattern too :) I cut the turn up off the sleeves of my Reeta Dress and I've found it much more wearable since, so there is still hope for me with the dress version! x

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  4. Love a faux jumpsuit - so much easier to wear than a real one. Funnily enough I don't really like my Reeta shirt dress either, it's too long, too floaty and there is something frumpy about it that bothers me. I'm wondering about shortening it.

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    1. Thanks Emma! Definitely agree that it's easier, particularly after a night out in it at a grotty pub/club haha. Yes I totally agree about the air of frumpiness the Reeta Dress has to it. I shortened mine and it helped, but there's still something slightly off. I feel much more 'me' in the shirt version :) x

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  5. I love the 'jumpsuit', but I like all of them really!

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    1. Thanks Tamsin! Me too with the jumpsuit version, but they are all in regular rotation :)

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  6. Ditto Tamsin - the jumpsuit is great, but I also love a classic white top...it seems like you'll get a ton of use out of these, well done!

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    1. Yay thank you Lia! I NEVER wear white but just got this idea in my head that it would 'work' and I totally love it :) (So worth the white bra I also had to buy to wear with these too haha) xx

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  7. These are all so lovely and I’m sure they will get a lot of wear!

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    1. Thank you! They are so far :) x

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