If Jerry Garcia Were A Surgeon…

Tunic with Seashell PocketsI needed to create my final top project for my Garment Construction class, so decided to make Simplicity 8133.  simplicity 8133It is not the most flattering of patterns, but my mum got it free up north at a tag sale somewhere AND it fit all the criteria for the assignment, so I decided to make version E, without the ties.  I selected fabric I already had in my stash, a brushed cotton in a lime/olive green and orange with a floral/camouflage pattern.

tunic and pocket fabricWhen I sewed up the top, it looked EXACTLY like a medical scrubs top.  Only one that a totally tripped out doctor from the late 60s/early 70s would wear.  There was no way around it.  I set about attempting to remedy the situation.

My good friend, Chris Lucas pointed me in the direction of the Pavlova skirt she made and the fabulous Seashell Pocket on it.  I downloaded this pocket pattern from Stephanie at Cake Patterns and added two of them to the front of the tunic.  I love these pockets, they are adorable, actually look like seashells AND are functional, to boot.  Cake Seashell PocketThis is not the last you’ll see of them in my Made By Me wardrobe.  I then added fabric covered buttons to the pockets as well as buttons to the tunic where a “placket” would be.  Fabric covered buttons in pocket fabricThe colours were still a little too, in your face Deadhead, so I dyed the whole thing (including pockets and fabric covered buttons) with a dark brown dye to tone it down.  And, to top it off, I wore it with a scarf, chain metal belt.  Tunic with Seashell Pockets and Belt

Nurse Ratched

“My Nurse Hat is Too Big…”

So, after all these embellishments, does it still look like a medical scrubs top??? Yes, yes it does.  🙂  And, I will be seeing YOU, for your upcoming surgical needs at the 1970 – Grateful Dead, Keep On Truckin’ – Memorial Hospital.  Ask for me.    Complimentary lava lamp in every room

Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead.

“What a long strange trip it’s been.”

41 thoughts on “If Jerry Garcia Were A Surgeon…

  1. seweverythingblog says:

    Oh dear. It does look like a scrub top. However, you still look adorable in it.
    Do you think shortening it to a “cropped” length would work? That’s the newest “trending” fashion item 🙂

    • Gjeometry says:

      I know!! No matter what I did….the Jerry Garcia Surgeon look followed faithfully :). I think I’m going to leave it “as is” now. It is wearable for casual “errand running work days” and looks a wee bit more like I tried, rather than throwing on a paint splattered Tee that I got free in a box of beer. So, you know, something!! Lol.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks! The dye changed it from “completely unwearable” to “can wear it now, with certain limitations”. I tried SO many things to “de-medical-scrubify” it, so now, it is what it is. I call it a wearable muslin.

      I actually love the pockets! The ‘getting them to sit right symmetrically’ was definitely a challenge, as I had two of them to sit across from one another, but think they finally are balanced now. And, I can carry stuff! You know, stethoscopes, thermometers, aspirin, bandages….. 😛

      • laurahoj says:

        I think a more drapey fabric would help the tunic to look less scrub like. Something like a rayon challis or something with a similar drape. Scrubs are usually a woven cotton that tends to lack a lot of drape.

        • Gjeometry says:

          Yes!!! Obviously, hindsight 20/20, and all that jazz. But even while I was sewing it, I thought, I should have used the spiral fabric (which was a very thin, light, drapey cotton). I kept sewing for the sake of my assignment for school and the fact that this WAS a very easy fabric to sew with, but probably best suited for pajamas. #NowWeKnow 🙂

  2. Boomdeeadda says:

    At least you gave it a whirl. Smart idea on the dye. I would never have thought of that. Your sense of humour makes up for any shortfall you may think the tunic offers, although I do think you wear it well. I just shopped Haight and Ashbury here in San Francisco. It’s full of vintage shops that I think you would have been ga ga for. Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin and others have all played at the record store there. I guess there were lot’s of war protests in the intersection during Vietnam too.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Oooh, I think Haight and Ashbury would have given lovely alternatives to the “Jerry Garcia as Surgeon” ensemble. And, yes, I figure it is a wearable muslin, as they say, since you don’t REALLY know for sure till you sew it up. Now, I know!

      And, I did get 20 out of 20 on my sewing class assignment, so all is NOT lost! Obviously, it was marked for technique and not style (unless the teacher happened to be a Deadhead in the ’60s….possible).

      I’ve been so happy to hear of your adventures on your fantabulous travels Boomdee and so delighted that you are having a wonderful time!!

  3. marie says:

    Looks much better in the darker brown. Adding the cute pockets & the buttons really makes it look less scrubs like. I think you did a great job in the sewing, it looks really comfortable. But, poor Kitty needs a better hat, he can’t be a good nurse in that hat.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Yes, it definitely toned everything down to this century with the dark brown dye ‘wash’. And I’m loving the pockets and fabric covered buttons, so for future ‘makes’ I’ll know how to construct these properly.

      And, yes, Kitty had some technical issues with his Nurse’s hat and can’t possibly nurse in it, lol. He did not get 20 out of 20 on it. He is altering it now to fit, as we speak (type).

  4. Brooke says:

    The over-dye helped so much! It looks really vintage. I don’t think it looks too scrub-like with the pockets and buttons. It has a ’60s vibe to me – rather cute! (Love the first photo a lot!)

    I wonder what it would look like if you tried doing some shirring at the waist. It might be a fun technique for you to try with the elastic cord in the bobbing and 3-5 rows of stitching. It would probably take it more toward peasant style than scrub style. And if you hated it, you could just take it out.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Aw, thanks Brooke! Yes, I think everything ‘helped’, just didn’t exactly ‘fix’. Lol.

      I totally thought of shirring!! Where to put it? At the waist, just in the back? In front? All way round the waist? I was hesitant because of the slit openings in the sides. I wasn’t sure if shirring up the waist would make these slits open and splay unattractively. What do you think? Do you suggest maybe just several cm’s at the back? Or sides? Or all way round? And do u think it would affect the side slits laying flat properly?

      • Brooke says:

        Hmmm… I was originally thinking all the way around. But now that you’ve mentioned only partially, I think it might be best for a few inches at the waist on each side. Maybe above the middle of the pocket, across the side seam, and onto the back in an equal amount. And that way, you won’t have to worry about vent split so much and it will give you a defined waist.

        Do a test with a wide strip of elastic stretched to fit & safety pinned at intervals in the area you think you might want shirring.

        Now I’m really curious to see if shirring solves your scrubs dilemma. =)

        • Gjeometry says:

          Ok!!! I shall give it a whirl with shirring at the sides! To be honest, I’ve had elastic thread for the bobbin, for a few months now, and have never used it, so am a bit excited to give it a go! I shall try it this week and will post and tweet the outcome! Thanks for your help. 🙂

  5. prttynpnk says:

    As a gal who’s work uniform is turdlet brown scrubs, I applaud this adorable NON_SCRUB lookin’ fabness. You knows I love a tunic- I hope you enjoy it!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks! I love a tunic also, I thought it would be a nice up-scaled look from a T-shirt. But, sadly, I STILL think this baby looks like medical scrubs, lol. It could be that I saw it before I added all the embellishments and dye, so that memory is just burned into my brain and I can’t see past it. But, I did wear it yesterday and nobody said “Excuse me, doctor…..”, so I consider this a win! 🙂

  6. mrsmole says:

    You are so funny! That top is a real eye-catcher full of inventive techniques and pizazz! Keep enjoying making personal statement clothes…life can be boring without them!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Lol, thank you! I do enjoy personalized and original clothing. This one still sails down the river of medical scrubs, for me, but at least scrubs that nobody else would own! 😉

    • Gjeometry says:

      My sentiments EXACTLY! What is life without a) ‘giving it a go’ and b) ‘having way too much fun with it’ ? And, I got to listen to some Grateful Dead while posting, haven’t heard that band in a looooong time.

  7. Thimble & Cork says:

    I really like this top! Those pockets are SO awesome and I love the fact that you dyed everything to mute the colors – very clever. I sure hope you got an A+ on this assignment.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Aw, thanks, you are too kind! I do love the pockets and the fact that the colour is not SO garish now. It does still scream “scrubs” to me, but much funkier and up-scaled ones. (I actually submitted it before all the embellishments were added and did get 20 out of 20, so was all Cheshire Cat about that :P)

  8. Kerri says:

    You’re too funny! There is always a risk when using old patterns; I don’t know how or what the designers do when bringing back older fashions, but they seem to always make little changes that preclude the use of old patterns by making them look not quite up-to-date. I think it’s a plot to make us keep buying new patterns. 🙂
    That being said, I like the cheery little pockets.

    • Gjeometry says:

      🙂 Yes, the pattern seemed benign enough, but also looks like they added shoulder pads to the model, so it was probably a combo of the pattern, but definitely also the fabric choice I made. Fabric was too thick and did not drape and the colour is just reminiscent of medical scrubs! And, thanks, I really like the pockets, as well!

  9. Chris Lucas says:

    Loving the pockets and glad you do too! They sure do add some interest as well as the buttons and the belt. I’m loving the colour you died it as it really has toned it down and it’s blended everything together beautifully. Sometimes it’s great just to sew things for the experience and the fun of it and it doesn’t always have to be a fab fashion project… although I think you still managed to turn your scrubs into super fashionable one and any fashion forward doc or nurse from the 70’s or 80’s probably wished they had scrubs like yours. One good thing about this top is I bet it’s super comfortable and you’ll still get some wear out of it. Oh by the way I noticed you’re outside and there’s some greenery so the weather must be finally warming up for you which I bet you’re loving. The nights are starting to get a little chilly here for me and this morning for the first time I actually put a cardigan on…. mind you it’s still 23 degrees but I’m so use to 40+ degrees LOL.

    • Gjeometry says:

      I’m glad you mentioned these pockets, I think they are quite fabulous! And, I’m also in love with fabric covered buttons, can”t wait to button everything in sight now!!

      And, yes, not everything I’m going to make is going to be a ‘high-fashion, wear it out on a Saturday night’ garment. It was fun trying to breathe new life into the top.

      It has been warm here up until last night!! Then, it went down to zero and today feels like autumn. ?? I had to bring all the lettuce and herbs I was growing, into the carport to protect them. But, it’s not quite 23 or 40 here, yet!! 🙂

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you! It was a lot of fun trying to create something new out of the “scrubs” attire. And, so glad you enjoyed the commentary. I actually made myself laugh when I made the Lava Lamp sign! Lol. (p.s., enjoyed your ‘medical’ imagery :))

  10. marisolsen99 says:

    Hahaha – hi-larious post! Leave it hanging in your closet for a few days (months?) and your opinion of it may change. (Note I said “may” change!! 😉 And you shuld feel proud your creativity turned a total wadder into a wearable-within-limits garment. Nice work!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Hee hee, thanks! And, yes, it’s wearable, I wore it the other day to go shopping and nobody pointed and laughed, lol. At least the construction part worked out well and now I have more information into fabric selection and embellishing.

  11. The Amazing Taracat says:

    I don’t think it looks like scrubs, and I love the pockets. Great save! I do know how you feel though – I have a half finished Laurel that I can’t bear to look at because it looks like the cleaner’s uniform at my old work.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Aw, Thank you!! And, lol, “cleaner’s uniform” sounds like exactly what you were going for, no? Well, perhaps you could add stuff like fancy pockets, fabric covered buttons and the ol’ stand-by, “dye” to help it move past the ‘uniform’ stage and make it wearable.

  12. Jeff says:

    Well I didn’t think it looked particularly medicinal. To me it looks like a stylish tunic. But I suppose the only people who really wear tunics these days are medical professionals and perhaps barbers. Maybe the tunic will make a comeback? And when it does, you’ll be ahead of the curve!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Oooooooh, I forgot about Barbers!! I love-a De Edward-a Scissor-hand!!!!! Although I think they wear more of a ‘smock’ than a ‘scrub’. Fine line, really…

      And, I recently got some ‘vintage’ patterns from the local thrift shop, and I’m not only going to bring back the tunic, but stay tuned for the culotte jumpsuit that will be making it’s way to a blogpost here fairly soon! 🙂 REALLY excited about that one. 🙂 🙂

  13. ShanniLoves... says:

    I don’t know but I love it! I don’t think it needs anymore rescuing but that’d be the hippie in me. I’d happily wear this to my next Dave Matthews Band concert and freely dance to the music with flowers in my hair!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Really?? Thanks Shanni!! Now, I so want to go with you to the Dave Mathews Band concert and wear my tunic and flowers in MY hair too! (Call me!!) 🙂

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