Sample Project From Thrifty Style

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Nice 'n' Simple

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Backless scarf top with chain ties

This is an edgier version of the ribbon-tied backless top on page 38 and would
be great for a night out dancing or with a pair of cut-off jeans. The idea with this top is that the chain straps are attached, doubled up, and then hooked over the buttons at the back of the top to secure. You can buy chain from a craft store; alternatively, pick up a couple of necklaces from a thrift store and bling it right up! You don’t have to have the chain really tight across your back; in fact, having a little slack allows for more freedom of movement.

Why not criss-cross the chain at the back? You will need to allow more chain for this and to stitch buttons to the top, center, and bottom point of each side.

Extract from

Thrifty Style by CICO Books

Published by CICO Books

Discover how to transform vintage finds and well-worn clothes into fashion-forward pieces. Whether you trawl markets for pre-loved clothing that's in need of repair, or simply want to update your existing wardrobe, you'll find plenty of inspiration here. Take 'make do and mend' one step further by not just mending but creating fashionable, unique items of clothing by repurposing your old ones. Janine Chisholm, an experienced dressmaker, teaches you how to rework clothes into new styles - from adding embellishments and changing necklines, sleeves and hems to total transformations, such as creating a brand new dress from two old ones. Make a pretty blouse from a floral dress, or convert a man's shirt into a stylish shirt dress. Take a basic woollen skirt and bring it bang up to date with an asymmetric hem - or add interest to a plain top by adding an embellished collar using a linen table doily. With clear, step-by-step artworks, as well as a comprehensive sewing techniques section, four full-size pull-out patterns and advice on sourcing vintage clothes, this book will tell you everything you need to know for a wardrobe that's all your own.

© 2018 CICO Books / CICO Books · Reproduced with permission. · Thrifty Style by Janine Chisholm is published by Cico Books at £12.99 and is available from . All photography is © Cico Books.


  • How to recycle a scarf top. Backless Scarf Top - Step 1
    Step 1

    Lay the scarf right side down on your work surface. Using tailor’s chalk or a pin, mark the top, center, and bottom points of opposite sides. Using buttonhole thread, which is stronger and thicker than normal sewing thread, stitch a button to the top and bottom points on one side and to the center point on the other side.

  • How to recycle a scarf top. Backless Scarf Top - Step 2
    Step 2

    Cut the chain into three 39-in. (100-cm) lengths with a pair of side cutters. (If the chain is fine enough, you can cut it with a pair of pliers.) Remove any sharp edges, so that the end of the chain is neat and rounded.

  • How to recycle a scarf top. Backless Scarf Top - Step 3
    Step 3

    Place the scarf face down again, with the chain down next to the marked points that do not have buttons. Hand stitch one end of each length of chain in place at each point.

  • Step 4

    Put the top on by holding your scarf at the front. Ask a friend to hook each length of chain over the corresponding button, take it back across to the starting point, and mark where the chain will end with a safety pin. Check in a mirror to make sure that you are happy with the look before you cut the chain.

  • How to recycle a scarf top. Backless Scarf Top - Step 5
    Step 5

    Remove the top, cut the chains where required, and then hand stitch the end of each chain to its corresponding starting point on the scarf, overstitching with buttonhole thread in a color of your choice for a funky look.

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