This shirt began life as a beautiful linen tablecloth belonging to my mother’s stepmother’s grandmother (my step-great-great-grandmother?). After many years the stains and tears were too large and numerous to be covered with a strategically placed platter, but it was too special to just throw out. So it became this top.
I designed the top around the lace of the tablecloth, keeping as much intact as possible. There were two sections of lace without major rips or stains, just enough to make the front and back of a shirt. I used a sturdier fabric for the sleeves since they have to hold up when I move my arms and added tablecloth-edge cuffs. This sturdier fabric was a very light weight linen – pretty much anything is sturdier than an old tablecloth.
Since it was a rectangular tablecloth, the lace pattern didn’t point directly at the corner. I chose to line up my pattern with the lace rather than the hem, which leaves the hem higher on one side than the other. I added a little piece of lace from another part of the tablecloth to the edge to even things up a bit. This left it longer on one side than the other, but at least the seams line up.