I love the look of a crisp white collar – it instantly transforms a casual outfit into a professional one. However, I don’t like the added bulk around my bust area that a full button-down gives. When I try to layer a sweater on top, the buttons usually pop through the top layer and the cuffs get bunched up at the wrists. I found the solution to this dilemma at Cos, but unfortunately their faux chemise was far out of my price range. So I did the next best thing and made my own.
The key to a great faux chemise is a sturdy collar. I used an old work shirt that was a bit too boxy for my taste, so it made the perfect candidate for my experiment. Turns out it is one of my most successful clothing experiments, as I now wear this faux chemise at least once a week for work. Sometimes when I’m really not in the mood to dress up for work I pop on this collar and put a black t-shirt on top. Done.
- Collared button down shirt
- Thread in matching colour
- 60cm of flat elastic, or 2 pieces measuring 30cm
- Use a seam ripper to remove any breast pockets (if shirt has them) and all buttons except the top three.
- Below the third button from the top, sew together two front panels where the other buttons used to be. Try to sew over existing seams to make a neat edge.
- Close remaining buttons and measure 30cm down from the top of the first button. Mark with tailor’s chalk and mark at the same point on the back side of the shirt. Using pinking shears, cut shirt horizontally at place marked, which removes the bottom of the shirt.
- Turn shirt inside out. Measure 12 cm along shoulder seam from the inside of the collar. Mark with tailor’s chalk. Repeat on other side.
- Using pinking shears to cut off the arms: cut vertically from shoulder markings down to raw edges previously cut in #3.
- Sew 1cm seams along freshly cut edges.
- Cut 60cm elastic into two pieces, approximately 30cm each. Sew one end of the first elastic onto the left side of the front bottom corner to the bottom left corner of the back side. Repeat on right side.