The Refashioners 2016: Now, let’s talk about YOU…

The Refashioners 2016

Soooo, now we’ve all had a chance to digest the awesome month of inspiration we have in store in August. Let’s get down to talking about what this challenge is really about & how to get involved.

It’s about refashioning . It’s about getting you to try refashioning if you’ve never tried it before. And if you’re a seasoned refashioner already, it’s about giving you a platform to share what you do so you can inspire others to give it a try too. Why? Because refashioning is bloody brilliant on so many levels. What you learn about garment construction. The way it makes you think outside the box, let go of the outcome and allow things to evolve. It’s cost effective. It’s often quick. (But not always, lol!). It’s environmentally sound. Oh yeah, and you get to turn something that you don’t wear, into something that you do wear. It’s that simple. That’s all The Refashioners is about.  Waving very energetically at everyone out there and going “oi, you lot out there! Yes, you! Look over here and come and try this. It’s brilliant and I think you’ll really enjoy it!” That’s it. That’s the aim.

So what’s the deal with those really awesome bloggers that are generously lending their time, creativity and support to “the cause”? Let me explain why they’re here. They are the aperitif at this party. There to whet your appetite with ideas and inspiration. YOU lot,  however, are the main event. You’re the people I’m trying to get to with this by waving all these well known bloggers in your face and saying, through them,  “just LOOK at what is possible with Refashioning!! Give this a try! ” I absolutely cannot wait to share their makes with you, and my intention, and my hope is, that they will inspire you to look at Refashioning in a new light, and give it a try.Refashioners 2016 - Line Up

And if all the inspiration that’s coming over the next few weeks is not QUITE enough to get you trying this, then there’s the little matter of the HUGE prize package I’ve been working on over the past few months. Oh yes, it’s MASSIVE.  But I am going to tantalise you with that for juuuust a little bit longer. (Hint: It’s much bigger than last years!)  I’ll be announcing full details of that in a separate post. Yep, there’s that much of it 😉 For now let’s talk about the challenge itself…

So. What exactly IS this year’s Refashioners challenge. Well, it’s about these things….jeans!

The Refashioners 2016

Now, if my experience of jeans is anywhere near typical, then MOST of us have pairs of jeans in our drawers and wardrobes/closets that we simply just don’t wear. Am I right?? The search for the holy grail of jeans, ( well fitting, comfortable and stylish) is inevitably littered with candidates that failed to make the grade. They may have fitted well in the fitting room, but failed to stand up to the realities of everyday wear. (Muffin top, bad stretch recovery, shrinkage and builders bum…I’m looking at you!) Our shape, size or tastes may have changed. (Right now I’m looking at my 7 year old, my crisp stash and the bootcuts in my bottom drawer). In any case, you get the picture.

The question is, what to do with them? Well, that is your challenge. To turn those jeans that you don’t wear, into something that you do wear (or use). Simple as that….so  here’s the skinny (excuse the pun)….The Refashioners 2016

The Brief:

  • The theme is Jeans only: (Not denim jackets, skirts, shirts etc) Because the specific challenge with this is the scarcity of fabric and all the hardware and heavy seaming you’ll need to work around. The majority of your finished project must have come from the source garment (ie your jeans). Other than that anything goes. Use additional fabric and haberdashery to your hearts content, as long as you turn them from something you don’t wear, into something you do wear…or use,  ok?! 🙂
  • The challenge is open to everyone: Anyone, of any age, from any part of the world is invited to take on this challenge. You do not need to have a blog. But if you want to be in with a chance of winning the prize, you will need either an Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest account in order to share your make(s). Otherwise, feel free to just play along 🙂
  • The Prize: There will be 2 prizes this year. One overall winner and one “special recognition” prize. The standard was just so high last year it became clear one prize was not enough. The prizes will be predominantly physical items of a sewing related nature and will be posted to the winner(s) directly once they have been selected. The bloggers in the official blogger line up are not entered into the prize element of the challenge.
  • When is it?: The challenge launches on 1st August and runs until 30th Sept. Any garments shared using the official Instagram hashtags, or on the official facebook and pinterest groups will be entered into the competition and be in with a chance of winning . Details of those hashtags/groups will be included in next week’s post regarding the prize package
  • The Winner(s): The winner(s) will be selected by myself, the blogger line up and sponsors of the prize package. We will be looking at factors like ingenuity, creativity practicality, and overall finish. It doesn’t have to be complex to be clever ok?! So don’t be put off if you’re relatively new. Last year’s winner had only been sewing a few months!

The Refashioners 2016

So, what happens between now and August? Well, next week I’ll let you in on the deets of that amazing prize package and share all the different ways you can enter to win it. I’ll be sharing some inspiration posts between now and then too. So keep an eye out for those. Then you’ll have a whole month of inspiration/ideas from our bloggers in August. From there, you’ll have until the end of September to submit you makes in order to win that prize I was talking about 😉

In the meantime, get rummaging in those drawers/wardrobes/closets. Dig out all those old jeans that you (or your other half/brother/sister/mum/dad) no longer wear (or grab some off the bargain rail at the local charity shop/thrift store) and start plotting people. This is gonna be BIG! I cannot wait!!The Refashioners 2016


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The Refashioners 2016: The Blogger Line Up Revealed….!!!

Refashioners 2016 - Line Up

So this is it! The countdown has begun once again people!!! For the entire MONTH of August (launches Mon 1st August) this blog will again play host to an awesome line up of makers ready to take on The Refashioners challenge!! What’s more, you can take part too and be in with a chance of winning a FANTASTIC prize. Your part of this challenge runs from the start of August right through until the end of September! More deets on that and how to enter in a future post coming soon. So stay tuned for that!)

For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge, (this is the 4th series) participants are challenged to refashion a garment for your delight and inspiration,  basically to highlight how cool, creative and ecologically and ethically sound refashioning old garments actually is. The kicker is, they don’t get to decide what that garment is. (insert evil laugh here) This year we’re tackling jeans. Yep, The Refashioners is all about all those unloved and ill fitting pairs of jeans languishing in wardrobes and drawers everywhere, and showcasing some #jeanius (see what I did there?)  ways to reuse, rework, and reimagine this classic garment; so beloved of cowboys and fashionistas alike!

So without further ado….I am unbelievably excited (like I could pass out with excitement excited) to announce this years STELLAR line up!!!!

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Rosie Martin: Sewer, author, drummer and all round dudette. Rosie’s second book is due for release this summer. You can find Rosie on IG here or via

Marie Koupparis: Marie is an utter delight. Her style is decidedly vintage but increasingly with an edgier “rock chick” twist. Co-founder of The Vintage Pattern Pledge you can find Marie on IG  here or at

Zoe Edwards: Founder of the global Me Made challenges, roving sewing tutor, blogger and burgeoning pattern designer. Zoe is an established advocate of refashioning and zero waste fashion. You can find Zoe on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Marcy Harriell: AKA Oonaballoona! Actress, sewer, blogger and general force of nature. Look she made jeans already!! Deconstructing them next then 😉 It’s OK Marcy you can pinch a pair of Ruggy’s right? You can find Marcy on IG here or via

Megan Nielsen: I don’t think you need me to introduce Megan! Pattern designer extraordinaire and one of the first blogs I ever read, I am super stoked that Megan agreed to be on board this year! You can find Megan on IG here or via

Mirjam Liechti: Last year’s winner of The Refashioner’s community challenge. Mirjam ditched a career in teaching last year when she discovered a passion for sewing and is now studying at the Swiss College of Textiles. You can find Mirjam on IG here or via

Refashioners - Line Up

Elisalex De Castro Peake: Designer and Co-founder of the By Hand London pattern line and all round gorgeous and talented individual. In fact all the things that might make you slightly hate a gal….except you can’t because she’s.just so.darn.lovely!  😉 You can find Elisalex on IG here or via

Heather Lou: Blogger, designer and founder of Closet Case Files Patterns. Arguably already a jeans #jeanius this year’s challenge should be right up her strata! You can find Heather Lou on IG here or via

Ingrid Weimers: Blogger and fellow sewist. Ingrid has a really lovely style and an even lovelier way about her.  Such a cool Scandi style. Plus she’s made me want a Podenco! You can find Ingrid on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Sarai Mitnick & The Colette Team: The founder of Colette Patterns and editor of Seamwork Magazine. Sooo excited to have not only Sarai, but 3 other members of the Colette team (welcome to Anna, Delaney & Meg!!) taking part as a group this year too! You can find Sarai on IG here or via

Sasha Werner: Talented seamstress, photographer, knitter and budding pattern designer. Stylish. Italian. Just. Awesome. Sasha sometimes describes her style as “Radical Nun”. Nun’s never looked that stylish in my day, lol! You can find Sasha on IG here or via

Beth Wood: Sewer, blogger and emerging pattern designer. I love Beth’s easy style and can’t wait to see what she makes of this year’s challenge. You can find Beth on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Erin Hagstrom: Fashion and style blogger, Erin was relatively new to sewing when she joined last year’s challenge, but she made quite a splash! You can find Erin on IG here or via

Marilla Walker: Pattern designer and all round “polycreative”. I made that word up but I think it aptly describes Marilla! Her Maya top remains one of my favourite sewing patterns. So simple but so perfect. You can find Marilla on IG here or via

Joost De Cock:  Welcome the first ever “bloke” participant of The Refashioners! So excited! Joost has great style and totally mad skills. Founder of you can find Joost on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Rachel Pinheiro: So pleased to have the inimitable Rachel Pinheiro joining in this year’s challenge. In her own words “tall, Brazillian & opinionated”. This should be fun….and most definitely glamourous! You can find Rachel on IG here or via

Sally Ward Foxton:  Serial refashioner, pattern designer and lover of cocktails. I’m still reeling from Sally’s refashion of a giant trenchcoat in the 2013 series of The Refashioners! You can find Sally on IG here or via

Lisa Poblenz: Last year’s runner up for The Refashioner’s Community Challenge. I hadn’t planned on having a runner up prize. But Lisa’s project was so epic it just had to be recognised! You can find Lisa on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

The Foldline: Founders of new online sewing community hub The Fold Line, Kate and Rachel are going to be taking part in this year’s challenge as a team! You can find The Fold Line on IG here or via

Jenna Bennett: Sewer, blogger and magazine contributor, Jenna lives in the same neck of the woods as me. So we occasionally hook up for coffee, thrifting, and mutual piss taking 😉 You can find Jenna on IG here or via

Wendy Ward:  Designer, Author, Teacher. Many strings to this lady’s bow! The sequel to Wendy’s best selling book The Beginners Guide to dressmaking is also out later this year. You can find Wendy on IG here or via

So what say you? August and September are gonna be pretty awesome right??!!! Get rummaging through your drawers and wardrobes and have your old jeans at the ready. This is gonna  be SERIOUSLY good!

If you want to help spread the word…(and I’d LOVE it if you did!) then use the following hashtags on social media:  #therefashioners2016 #jeanius

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Top Tip: An easy way to store your sewing machine needles!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So having dealt with the issue of storing my hand sewing needles with my origami needle wrap (free pdf pattern here) my attention turned to my machine needles. Up until now I’ve had them stored in one of the drawers of my Ikea Moppe mini drawer unit. I think every craft space must have one of those right?

In any case, that storage method was certainly adequate. But for some reason it bugged me that I had to rummage around to find the needle pack I needed and couldn’t see at a glance when I was running low. So I’d occasionally go in search of a particular type of needle only to find I’d run out of that size/type. Not a massive issue as other needles will always do the job at a push. But I find my machine produces a better stitch when it has the right needle for the right job…An easy way to store sewing machine needles

I had just restocked all my machine needles. So it seemed a good time to sort out an improved storage solution for them. As it happened, I’d been on a bit of a purge/sort out mission all week. Among the things I’d  donated  to the charity shop was an old organiser/ring binder; (like a cheap filofax thing) but I’d kept back the plastic inserts above. They had multiple sections for business/credit cards and it occurred to me they were the perfect size  for machine needle packs!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So I simply cut them into separate pieces…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

Hole punched each corner…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

Then whacked in a split ring with a lobster clasp connected.

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So every needle pack now has it’s own little see through pouch. So I can find the one I need quickly and easily and see at a glance if I’m running low etc…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

And the whole thing hangs right next to where I sit at the sewing machine for easy access and makes the little organisational addict in me smile inside, lol!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

There!! Much better than having them bundled in a drawer or strewn across my worktop!

How do you store yours? Any other nifty storage tricks you use in your sewing space?

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FO: Denim Kimono (+ maybe a future pattern?)

So one of the first gaps I noticed in my wardrobe a few days into Me Made May was a Spring jacket that went with everything. When it comes to a versatile little jacket that goes with everything then denim jackets are a classic. However, a classic denim jacket is not quite my style. So I decided to have a play and come up with a slightly different take on the wardrobe staple that is the denim jacket, but a little more aligned with my personal style. And I have to say, this hasn’t been off my back since I finished it!

Enter the denim kimono jacket…denim kimono diy (2)

So we all know I love a kimono as evidenced here, here and here 😉  Originally this was going to be a longer length. But during construction I tweaked and played with the proportions and decided that actually, the cropped proportions of the body and sleeves were exactly what I needed to complement the looser trousers and shorter tops I’m wearing most at the moment. And indeed more of a reference to the proportions of the classic denim jacket that was my starting point….denim kimono diy (7)

There are some fit issues at the back that I need to address. I ended up taking a big tuck out of the CB to get it to hang the way I wanted. The back neckline needs to come in closer to the neck so the kimono band sits a little snugger to the neck, (which will involve a little shaping to the band itself too). Then there’s the width across the back at armhole level. Excess fabric there so I need to have a play with the sleeve and armhole configuration and remove a little of that. BUT, that said, for something that started out as an experiment I am MORE than happy with how this turned out. It’s kinda my perfect jacket! And none of the above is going to stop me from wearing this all Summer. They’re issues that only us sewists would notice. (Although I can’t help myself pointing them out to everyone that says they like my jacket. Sewist or not, lol!)

I wanted to reference the classic denim jacket a little further by adding little details like contrast stitching and jeans hardware…denim kimono diy (8)

Which brings me onto a close up of those pockets. The long rectangular shape was initially to do with what I felt best fit the overall proportions of the jacket. Then it occurred to me that they were almost identical in size and shape to my my mobile phone!! Which of course I have on me at ALL times because I am addicted. So naturally, they are now sized perfectly to accommodate my Samsung Galaxy, ha ha! Well…what is designing your own clothes about if you can’t add in little details like that to perfectly suit your needs 😉 (And no, as someone asked me on IG, I don’t have two mobile phones. But one pocket would’ve just looked weird 😉 )denim kimono diy (1)

My other favourite detail on this make are the split cuffs. They echo the kimono band on the jacket opening and kinda unify the style I think…denim kimono diy (9)

The fabric is this denim from Remnant Kings, who incidentally are celebrating their 70th anniversary this week! So basically, they were around the last time that sewing was this popular, and they rode out the dry spell of the intervening years between then and now. Which to me is pretty darn impressive. So I’m taking this opportunity to wish them a very warm and heartfelt Happy Anniversary and a thank you for the way they continue to support this blog 🙂 Mwah to Hazel and the team there!


Now, onto the (hopefully intriguing) subtitle of this post! I’ve had a few people on social media ask if I am thinking of releasing this (and previous self drafted makes) as a pdf pattern. Well….there’s a short answer and a long answer. And being of a slightly verbose disposition I will give you the longish answer! And also because I am AWFUL at keeping secrets, and now that the question has arisen, yes. I HAVE, behind the scenes been working towards the goal of developing a line of sewing pattern designs under the “Makery” brand. And yes, this jacket has now been added to the list of patterns that I want to develop further. There is alot more that I could say on this subject, but that’s kind of another blog post. Which I will write in due course. Suffice to say for now, in all likelihood, I will be releasing a line of sewing patterns in the near (ish) future. But as this is a new avenue for me, with lots to learn, explore and consider, I can’t yet say exactly when that will be. I have not yet figured out how long the process will take.  But essentially I’m gradually building up a stack of “personal” patterns that I think will appeal to some of you out there. It feels like a natural progression for me now, to start working towards the goal of refining and making these available online. So yep. There’s my little bit of news. Watch this space over the coming weeks 😉


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