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Forte Refashion for Date Night

Forte Top Refashion

Hi everyone! It’s Koe from @koetiquemade on instagram back on the Love Notions blog. I’m so excited to tell you about one of my favorite and least expensive date night makes, a refashioned Valentine’s Day Forte Top. Plus, read to the end to see what my husband picked from my stash for me to make him for our Valentine’s date night at home. Spoiler: he LOVES it.

forte refashion for datenight

Refashion it!

This year I wanted to approach my sewing a little differently. In 2020 it got a little hard to find fabric during the peak of Covid mask making. I started thinking about different ways I could still be creative but not have to rely so heavily on fabric stores for sourcing my fabric. What if I used what I had in my home? I opened the closets in my house and looked at all the things not getting worn. There were t-shirts, maxi skirts, button up shirts, sweaters, pants….. So many things that were either outdated or had just lost their sparkle.

Why not take a few of those items and refashion them?

So this year I decided to start upcycling  more. I know it’s not for everyone but I find it challenging and fun. It’s exciting to piece things together and have very little waste. If you have been curious about refashioning clothes, hopefully this inspires you to look at your wardrobe a bit differently. I’m going to show you how I used my favorite pattern, the Forte Top and Dress to make a cute Valentine’s Day shirt that I completely love.

forte refashion

Forte Top and Dress Pattern

Here’s some details on this versatile Pattern. “The Forte top and dress is a great transitional piece to add to your wardrobe. Included are four body styles, two dresses and several sleeve options to mix and match. Mix and match the sleeve flounces or leave them off entirely. The Forte is meant for light to medium weight knits. Views B & D can even be made as dresses!” All of the options make it a really great pattern to use when you alter or refashion clothing.

forte refashion

Ready for a Refashion

I had this fun t-shirt that was still in really good condition. It was big and boxy and because it was older the knit fabric was soft and drapey. The thought of using the Forte pattern to transform this shirt made me really excited. It was going to be perfect for a Valentine’s Day tee. 

forte refashion

How to Refashion a Tee

One of the first things I do when refashioning is open the side seams and remove the sleeves. Then I can work with the front and back pieces separately. I try to keep the neckband intact as well. I also find it works best if I don’t cut things on the fold. I trace both sides of the pattern so I can lay the whole pattern on the item I’m transforming. That way I can make sure it’s all going to fit or in this case I can make the graphic sit where I want it to.

forte refashion

From Scoop to Crew

The Forte Top has a scoop neck so I knew that if I was going to keep the cute graphic on the front I was going to have to raise it to a crew neck. I cut around the neckband making sure not to cut the neck band itself. That way I could use it later. This was also how I changed the neckline to  “crew.”  Then I cut out the bodice and the sleeves using the pattern pieces.

forte refashion

Refashioning is About Improvising

One of my favorite things about the Forte Top is the cute flounce ruffles. I am borderline obsessed with them. I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to have any fabric from this refashion to make the sleeve flounces shown in the pattern. However, refashioning clothes is all about improvising and figuring out how to make things work. So even though I couldn’t do the ruffle like in the pattern, I did have some fabric to improvise with. I had the hemmed portions from the sleeves and bodice that I had cut off. If I sewed those together I could make two strips long enough to make two gathered ruffles to attach to the sleeves. I didn’t even have to hem the ruffles because they were the hemmed parts of the bodice and sleeves.

forte refashion

Refashion and Reuse

Using my seam ripper I was able to detach the original shirt neckband from the little bit of fabric it was still attached to. Now I could reuse it for my Forte top. I measured the opening of my new shirt and measured the neck band. Luckily, I had more than enough to make it work. When I refashion clothing items, I try to reuse everything. Even belt loops, buttons and zippers get reused. I know some sewists who look for old purses at thrift stores to source different hardware they need for sewing projects. Reusing things like I did with the ruffles not only looks nice and professional, but saves time too.

forte refashion

There are a few things I think are important when refashioning clothing:

Look in your own closets first. We might have a lot that isn’t getting worn. Starting there and supplementing with fabric from our stash is a good way to waste less. Also, ask family and friends if they have clothing items they would like to get rid of. Something I try to be super conscious of if I do shop at thrift stores is to  stay close to my size range. Bigger sizes are limited so it’s good to leave those for people looking for that specific size. As someone with plus size family members I know how difficult it can be for them to find nice clothing in their size.

forte refashion

A new make for my date

Since my husband so willingly donates his unwanted, used clothing to my refashioning cause I thought it was only fair to let him choose some lovely fabric from MY stash to make him a NEW Valentines Day shirt too. The Dockside Men’s Henley in the Crew view was the perfect combo to go with my refashioned Forte. I sewed it up for him in about an hour. He’s worn it everyday since. Once I threw my Forte top on with my Sybil Illusion skirt, we were all set for our Valentines Date! Even if we are just staying home.

Affiliate links

Forte Top and blouse

Dockside Men’s Henley

Sybil Illusion Skirt

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forte refashion

Some bottoms to go with your date-night top:


Author Tessa

More posts by Tessa

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