The Refashioners 2013 – Elisalex of By Hand – London

Is it shameful to admit that I actually really liked the mystery item that Portia sent me to refashion…? I was even lacking a good denim shirt in my life… But that’s not what this is about. I’m sure Portia didn’t sign us up to The Refashioners just to send us thrifted freebies!

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

So, slightly reluctantly, I set about envisioning this shirt as something else. First thoughts were a button down mini skirt with a bandeau top made from a sleeve – but seeing as the shirt already fit me perfectly, there wasn’t going to be nowhere near enough fabric to fit around my backside, so that wasn’t going to work at all.  With a trip to the Deep South coming up, I eventually decided to use the denim combined with some white Broderie Anglaise cotton to make myself a dress worthy of the Grand Ole Opry (any old country lovers here? No? Hmmm just me then…). 
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk


Shamelessly I went for my own namesake pattern, the Elisalex Dress, and only just managed to squeeze out the front and back bodice pieces from the sleeves and back panel of the shirt.

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

The rest of the dress came together super easily and quickly – I’ve made about a squillion of these babies by now so you know I can do that sh*t in my sleep! – and I decided on a pretty gathered skirt as opposed to the main tulip variation. With some of the sleeve’s leftovers I made a pair of little bows which I handstitched to the shoulders. I absolutely LOVE the resulting dress – and it’s right up my street with just the right amount vintage white trash country singer! Just need to get me some cowboy boots and a matching hat…
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk


But what about the rest of the shirt, I hear you cry! Fear not ladies, I’m definitely not one to advocate waste of any kind so you can be sure that the rest of the shirt went to very good use.

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

 I simply traced over the missing back panel and replaced it with the last of the white cotton Broderie, and hey presto! A sufficiently white trash sleeveless shirt – not quite to my taste but immediately snapped up by our very own Victoria:

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

 So there you have it folks, one denim shirt becomes one entirely new dress and one refashioned shirt (and just a tiny pile of scraps for the bin). Now all we need is a flight back to Nashville… Anyone?

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

 Portia, I can’t even begin to thank you for inviting me to be a part of the second (and hopefully annual?!) Refashioners! I am beyond flattered that you thought of me and humbled to be among such prestigious company.


Elisalex of By Hand – London (and Stitch Me Softly)

Oh, my, bloomin’ word! Back of the net Elisalex! Denim and broderie…a classic combo AND two new garments from one teensy denim shirt! Actually I concur. The denim shirt was actually quite nice to start off with and I’d toyed with the idea if embellishing the front and back yokes myself. Which was another option. But my refashioning pile was large enough as it was and I knew this would be in good hands. Love the substitution of the tulip skirt of the Elisalex dress, with a simple gathered one. Totally changes the vibe of the original pattern. “Pieced” patterns like this, where the garment element (ie bodice in this case) is assembled from several smaller pattern pieces, are a great way to use small bits of fabric harvested from garments. Especially when you opt for the contrasting fabrics route as Elisalex has done here.  And you needn’t run off and buy a length of fabric to emulate the skirt section in this refashion either. Bag yourself a denim shirt from the clothing rail of your local charity shop…..then go off and peruse the linens section for some pure cotton (vintage floral??) bedlinens/vintage tablecloths…

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17 Comments

  1. Marie June 14, 2013

    OoOoOoOoh, I love that Elisalex got two iyeams out of this sweet little shirt! The Elisalex dress is particularly lovely…very country chic indeed!

    Reply
  2. Jo H. June 14, 2013

    OHMYGOD that dress is absolutely killer! loveitloveitloveit!

    Reply
  3. anastasia anezinis June 14, 2013

    cool refashion!Very good job!Well done!
    http://freestilcreatingbyvilly.blogspot.gr/

    Reply
  4. Zoe June 14, 2013

    A seriously inspired refashion(s)!! TWO garments from such a small sized shirt? There’s some talent right there. Amazing work Elisalex. The dress is so pretty, I love that you’ve included a bit of the lapped seam detail in the front panel of the dress. have an awesome holiday! Zoe xxx

    Reply
  5. So much awesomeness

    Reply
  6. Lori June 14, 2013

    Stunning dress and vest, amazing job using the original garment.

    Reply
  7. Love the country and western vibe of the original shirt, but your new dress and shirt do have that little bit of extra wow factor! Great work, well done.

    Reply
  8. Giddyauntlola June 14, 2013

    Very clever girl, on both counts. I will look out for a denim shirt to restyle in the same way as the cut out back top.

    http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk/

    Reply
  9. Kathryn June 14, 2013

    This is so amazing, I love how you’ve made two such different items from one shirt. That dress is so gorgeous and perfect for the Grand Ole Opry – the closest I’ve ever got to the Grand Ole Opry is the Glasgow name-sake, good fun but one day I’d love to experience the real thing! I loved seeing your deep south photos on Instagram too!

    Reply
  10. Tasha June 14, 2013

    So cool! I love that you managed to make two garments out of this. That dress is amazing. Totally country chic!

    Reply
  11. LLADYBIRD June 14, 2013

    Yay I’m so happy with how this turned out! Totally white trash country – in the best way, naturally 😉

    We are going to need to baptize this dress in PBR and cowboy boot footprints. Come back to Nashville and I’ll make it happen 😉

    Reply
  12. Absolutely amazing!! What a gorgeous dress. Wish I had a denim shirt now 😉 Thank you Portia for such a wonderful series, I’ve been enjoying them all and have really been inspired to do more refashioning. Charity shop here I come!

    Louise x

    Reply
  13. Two for the price if one.awesome!

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  14. didyoumakethat June 15, 2013

    Really, really love the dress. Inspired!

    Reply
  15. Wanda June 16, 2013

    I love it!!

    Reply
  16. abbeydabbles.com July 1, 2013

    Okay, so this year’s Refashioners was just fantastic, Portia. Between Sally’s trench and now Elisa’s denim dress, I am beyond inspired. Great work ladies!

    Reply
  17. Bonnie MS August 14, 2013

    So awesome! I know denim is supposed to be on trend right now but I couldn’t really see myself doing much until I saw this refashion! Oh my I feel the need to go thrifting and maybe sew something similar up with the Billie Jean pattern I got for my birthday… http://bluegingerdoll.bigcartel.com/product/billie-jean-pattern Oh my any tips ladies?

    Reply

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