The Refashioners 2016: Lisa

The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

Hey, Refashioners!  Let’s talk jeans refashions!

I want to talk specifically about my creative process for refashioning rather than focusing on details of sewing the specific pattern I used.  I’ll talk about those details more on my blog, but since the goal of these posts is to inspire you to create whatever you want to create, I want to focus on my way of working and thinking about the project, rather than on the specifics of how I followed the pattern directions.

When I first got my brief from Portia outlining the parameters for this year’s Refashioners challenge, I got really excited.  The thing I have loved about participating in this challenge for the past two years is that I think about it differently than I do my everyday sewing.  Refashioning is a problem-solving challenge in the materials department as much as it is a sewing challenge.  When I heard from Portia, I did two things:  start a secret Denim Pinterest board (now public) and head out to my local fabric store to look through the patterns.

The Pinterest board was a place to collect any creative surface designs, fabric manipulation, style lines, and construction that caught my eye.  In searching for a pattern, I looked for garment designs made up of multiple smaller pieces (especially vertical ones) since I would be cutting the pieces out of the legs of jeans.

And after that?  It was off to the thrift store!  I had already gone through any jeans that weren’t being worn in my personal stash, so I went to the thrift store with the hope of finding some colorful denim that was different than the traditional indigo I already had.The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

I struck gold in the men’s department with two large pairs of jeans, one ivory and one yellow.  I also found a pair with a cute heart design in the kids’ section that I planned to use initially, but changed my mind on in the end.

In creating a project like this, there is often as much time spent in the thinking and planning phase as there is in actual construction.  After all the mental preparation and ruminating, this is what I finally came up with:  I would create a skirt using Vogue 8750, View A.  This skirt has numerous panels for color-blocking, so it seemed like a good choice.

Before I even got started, I washed my jeans in hot water and then dried them on hot so that any shrinkage and dye bleeding would happen before I made my garment.  I used dye magnet sheets to see how much bleeding was happening.  It wasn’t much of a problem with the jeans from my stash or the kids’ jeans since they were older and had been washed often.  Obviously the ivory wasn’t going to bleed.  Where I did run into potential problems was with the yellow jeans.  I think they may have been brand new, and I had to wash them several times to get all the excess dye out.  My last step before declaring them ready to go was to do one wash with all the jeans together on hot, so that if there was any chance they might bleed on one another, it would happen before I started and I could regroup and come up with a new plan.  Luckily, it didn’t happen.  What a relief!

Another thing I did after getting my pattern and my jeans was to scan the line drawing from the back of the pattern envelope and then, using a program called Picasa (free from Google), I repeated the image on a sheet of paper and printed it out.  Then I used colored pencils to do little mock-ups of my thoughts so I could get an idea of what I liked.  This was a technique I used to plan my project last year, and it was immensely helpful.The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

When I was finally ready with all my planning, I made two test versions of my skirt using scrap fabric, some of which stretched (like my indigo denim) and some of which didn’t (like my ivory and yellow denim).  The combination of stretch and non-stretch fabric turned out to be a great choice as it really adds to the comfort level of the skirt.

One thing I learned during my final version was that I should have considered how I was going to finish my seams at the beginning.  Of course this isn’t something I did on my muslins, but I really wanted to make everything nice on the inside for the final skirt.  You can see that some of my bias tape finishing stops short of the intersecting seam.  This is because I didn’t think through my finishing beforehand.  I learned my lesson, though, and finished all my other seams as I went along.  I LOVE how it looks.  If you have wide seam allowances, this is a great finishing option, and you can learn from my mistake!The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

Another small detail that had a big impact on my finished garment was choosing to topstitch many of the seams with red topstitching thread.  It helped to make everything look crisp and it gave the skirt a nice detail.  Small details can go a long way with this project.The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

I was really happy with the finished look of my skirt.  Now I have a jean skirt as part of my wardrobe, but not just any jean skirt—one that is completely unique and made from formerly unloved jeans!The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

I can’t wait to see what everyone else makes and how each person puts their own unique stamp on their project. The Refashioners 2016 - Lisa Poblenz

Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this challenge, Portia!

Love that idea of scanning in the line drawing and using it to plan your colour blocking! Such alot of thought, planning and preparation gone into this. And it shows in the finished garment! Lisa to me, has a very distinct and precise approach to refashioning evidenced again in this post which very nearly won her the challenge last year and prompted me to create a second prize this year! To my mind there are two quite distinct approaches to refashioning. This one where you view the base garment(s ) as a source of fabric from which to cut your pattern; and the other….a free wheeling approach…where you tweak, reconfigure, and reshape an existing garment and let it evolve. (And of course there are a million shades of  grey inbetween!) Both, IMHO, are equally valid in the context of refashioning. Both can yield amazing results. To refashion something is to “give new form to something”. How you get there,  is a matter of personal choice and preference and what suits your creative style  😉  

You can find Lisa here. And if you’re inspired to get your refashion on and enter the Community Challenge and be in with a chance of winning some epic prizes…DO IT! Deadline for entries is 30th Sept. Midnight GMT.

The Refashioners 2016 - Huge Prize Package

….I think you’ve got the idea now right? Essentially we want you to refashion some jeans! (You can find the full details/small print of the brief here). BUT, if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these amazing prize packages you need to SHARE that refashion with us in one of the following ways:

  • On Instagram: Share a pic using the hashtags #therefashioners2016  and #jeanius
  • On Pinterest: There is a community board here where you can pin your makes. (You will need to request an invite to join)
  • On Facebook: There is a community board here where you can post your makes (You will need to request an invite to join)

Only entries shared via the above 3 methods will be entered into the competition. Closing date for entries is 30th September 2016 Midnight GMT. Good luck!!

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  1. Sue August 10, 2016

    I really appreciated this post. It is full of useful information, some of which is new to me – scanning in the line drawing to check colour placement – and the final skirt is gorgeous. It doesn’t look like a refashion of anything, which I think is nice. Thank you!

    • Lisa August 10, 2016

      Thanks, Sue! I really appreciate that.

  2. Megan (meggipeg) August 10, 2016

    This is a gorgeous skirt and a cleverly planned refashion. The styling and photos are fabulous. Great post!

    • Lisa August 12, 2016

      Thanks, Meg. It took two tries to get our pictures, but we chose a fun location, so it wasn’t a hardship. 🙂 I think I saw that you’re entering? 🙂 I always love the stuff you make. Good luck!

  3. Carlee August 10, 2016

    WOW what a great idea to scan the line drawings! I think that is something I may have to steal for the future. This skirt is the bomb!

    • Lisa August 12, 2016

      Thanks, Carlee. I think it was my husband’s idea. Please steal away!

  4. Vicky myers August 12, 2016

    I just love this skirt:) the colour blocking is so stylish and flattering.

    • Lisa August 16, 2016

      Thanks, Vicki! I appreciate that!


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