The Refashioners 2016: Over to you!

I tell you what….I think this year’s series is shaping up to be the best so far. Something about this theme, and the (amazing) blogger inspiration posts, the way you are all engaging and embracing this challenge, and the STUNNING competition entries that are already coming in…something about all of that tells me this is gonna be good. REALLY good. The aim in selecting this years theme was not only to encourage the reuse of existing garments and textiles…but also to put pay to this idea that all denim refashions are “Becky home eccy” (to coin a rather amusing phrase that I’ve heard several times recently). And, well….I think we’re achieving that don’t you? Just take a look at what the series has yielded so far…THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - BLOGGER ROUND UP

Looks pretty impressive when all put together like that doesn’t it?!! Not a “Becky” in sight…and there is more….SO much more to come! If you haven’t seen already…there are some phenomenal competition entries coming in already.(I’ll be sharing those as they come in over the next few weeks) I’m floored by the amount of work that has gone into some of them, and also by the sentiments that are being expressed in terms of what you are all learning and gaining from this challenge. For me, there couldn’t have been a more gratifying and exciting start to this challenge.

So, if you haven’t already done so, get yourself involved. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

You can see all this month’s awesome inspiration posts 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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The Refashioners 2016 – Me (no pressure!)

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ME (7)I think sometimes, because I run this challenge, there is a misconception that I am some kind of  refashioning queen. I certainly don’t regard myself in this way. I prefer to think of myself as a refashioning cheerleader.  Much less pressure! The Refashioners challenge has always been about inspiring other people. To showcase  what  they can do with refashioning, rather than showcasing my own skills. It may come as a surprise to some when I say, that I have never refashioned jeans in this way before. The extent of my jeans refashioning is mainly centered around re-fitting and reshaping existing jeans. I’ve never completely deconstructed jeans and turned them into something else. Never. So in selecting this year’s theme I was pushing myself as far out of my own comfort zone as anyone else! Of course, I was characteristically laid back about that. It’ll be fine, I thought! Won’t take long, I thought! Ha!  This project was characterised  by challenges, delays, changes of direction, obstacles and frustrations. But I got there!

I’d originally shelved this idea as “too ambitious” and decided on another idea, that would have been relatively quick and easy. (That’s MY comfort zone people!). As the projects from the other bloggers popped into my inbox it became apparent that great minds think alike. And my intended project was going to be similar to a few others. I wanted the series to offer as much variety of ideas as was humanly possible so I did an about turn about a fortnight ago and came right back to this idea…..The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Quilted denim! Because of course, when it’s hotter than it’s been all year, sizzling temperatures are the perfect time to work on a big thick quilted coat. Naturally!  I knew I wanted a thigh length coat. I figured I could get enough fabric from 2 pairs of jeans (wrong!) for the shell and I had lining etc in my stash. I also knew I would have to piece the shell together from smaller component parts. The green jacket above gave me a massive eureka moment there. I fell in love with that diagonal yoke and the directional use of quilting lines and my idea was born….

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I don’t think I was the only one to snap up the Tamarack Jacket by Grainline as soon as it was released! This was the perfect opportunity to crack it out.  I lengthened the front and back sections by 6″ and shortened the sleeves by 2″. Cut it out and sew it up, I thought. Hmmm….maybe I’ll toile to test the size & fit first before I cut into my scarce denim. Then ensues 3 days (I kid you not) of faffing and fitting around the sleeve/shoulder area. The drop shoulder of the pattern was not working for me at all. Twisting and drag lines that I was worried would translate weirdly to the thick quilted denim I had planned. (I have narrow forward shoulders) I tried in vain to fix it. I could probably have just gone with it. With hindsight. But my inner obsessive came out at this point (and stayed with me for the rest of this make) and I couldn’t let it lie. So I lopped the top off the pattern and spliced in a set in sleeve configuration. Which I then proceeded to fit within an inch of it’s life and after about 4 days of faff,  I had my base pattern…..

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

Turns out that switching to a set in sleeve was a good move. Not just for fit, but because the pattern piece is MUCH narrower that that of a drop sleeve. Handy when they need to be cut from narrow jeans legs….just saying 😉

I sat for a while staring at my pattern on the morning that I started this part. Swiping through my pinterest images. Basically procrastinating and being indecisive. I was still thinking about lines, directions, how to break up the pattern pieces. So I threw down a quick and very crude sketch to try and get things moving thinking I would end up doing a few sketches. But this one was enough….The Refashioners 2106 - Me

 

It cleared the “log jam” in my brain and from then on I knew what I was working towards. So I began to transfer the style lines from my pencil sketch, onto the pattern itself…

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

From then I traced each piece of individually…

The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Added seam allowances, marked the grainline, and named my pattern pieces (that one made me snigger!)…

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

 

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I ended up using 2 pairs of jeans (I actually needed 3 which I’ll come to in a minute) This pair was languishing on the £1 rail of the charity shop. Lot’s of panels, pockets, worn and wrinkled areas. They were very wide (44″ waist) but very short. And because of the construction or complex darts and pannelling “flat” fabric was sparse on this one. But I really liked the denim and thought the pocket shadows on this pair would be awesome…so they went home with me…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

The second pair (above) was a pair of size 10 fitted jeans donated to me by a friend when they no longer fit. Normally size 10 fitted jeans would not be “up there” when it comes to amount of useable fabric. However….

…these were huge bell bottom jeans! Ha! They provided the perfect amount of fabric from which to cut all four pieces for the bottom of my coat..The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Cut on the cross grain…the longer back pieces were cut from the widest part of the leg at the bottom (so the outer leg seam now runs horizontally across my pattern piece) and the shorter front piece cut from the middle part of the leg….also on the cross grain.

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

One problem you may encounter with more fitted/flared/shaped jeans is the fabric not laying flat once you’ve cut up the inseam. This is due to the shaping built into the curved side seam.

On the reverse, look what happens to the fabric either side of the seam line when you pinch it together….The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Essentially you can add some shaping of your own at that side seam to counteract the original shaping to get the fabric to lay flat 😉

Middle sections of the coat were cut from the upper legs of the £1 jeans.  I took my time to line up the details on the fabric (pocket shadows etc) so that they would be symmetrical on the finished coat…The Refashioners 2106 - Me

When deconstructed…because of all the panels on these nutty jeans…Apart from the torso area, the pieces I was left with after this were actually quite narrow! Which was a pain in the arse because I had planned on cutting my yokes and sleeves from that pair of jeans too. There was no way THAT was happening…

I still had the bum part of the bell bottoms left so I played around for a while seeing if I could squeeze them out of that. I could….but it wasn’t ideal. It would be wonky off grain (like, not even cross grain!) and I would have original seams intersect at the armhole where I was already worried about bulk. Plus I had these sections earmarked to cut pockets and binding from…The Refashioners 2106 - Me

My project had stalled. It became apparent that I would need a 3rd pair of jeans to have enough fabric for the yoke and sleeves to match. (Another design element that I had become obsessed with). Problem was I didn’t have another pair of jeans and a scour of the local charity shops, twice,  proved fruitless. I couldn’t find a pair of jeans in the right weight of denim. (Because of the quilting I had planned I needed lightweight denim; which the other two pairs were). In the end I had to use a denim remnant from my stash if I had any hope of getting this finished in time. I couldn’t afford to wait for the right pair of jeans….so on this occasion I conceded defeat and the yokes and sleeves are cut from stash fabric. I was gutted by this BUT it is TOTALLY possible to get those pieces (and the sleeves) out of a pair of jeans if you have them as evidenced by the measurements shown below…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I do feel a little like I “let the side down” here. I overestimated the fabric I would have from my £1 pair of jeans and got caught out because of all the panelling etc. But I had to move on and finish this thing….if I could have waited and found that third pair of jeans I would have done. But at this stage, and this close to deadline….I had to compromise.

Moving on…I used what I had left to cut bias strips for the edge binding…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I cut strips in the 3 different colours of denim I used so each section of the coat opening and hem would be bound in it’s corresponding denim…

This is all I was left with from the bell bottoms. The front torso area….which I used to cut the pockets for the coat…The Refashioners 2106 - Me

 

Before I could begin construction there were some holes and rips in some of the pieces I had cut…some from a slipped seam ripper…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

….and some from where I had removed the rivets during deconstruction…

A pretty simple fix from the underside …The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I just applied patches of interfacing to protect against future tearing etc…

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

With all my pieces now cut I began assembling my shell. My first attempt at joining the yoke to the middle was a fudge…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I’d just gone onto auto pilot and aligned raw edges and stitched. When I turned it out it was, of course, off!!

So as a reminder for anyone else who may want to attempt this, the pieces need to be joined so the seamlines match. NOT the raw edges…so the whole thing is sewn slightly offset. By an amount equal to your seam allowance…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

And then everything lines up perfectly!

Front sections were joined top middle and bottom. Back section is the same and then joined together with a CB seam…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I get really obsessed with getting intersecting seams to line up. I pinned at these points first and foremost. With the pin going directly through the seamlines on both layers to ensure the are lined up…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

This gives me accurate alignment where several seams intersect like at the point of this back yoke (and makes me feel “like a boss!”)

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

The lining I used had also come from a charity shop several months ago. It had the softest flannel underside and the shiniest satin RS. It had obviously been exposed to light whilst folded because there was fading along all the fold lines. It had turned a peachy colour in those areas which I actually really liked. So I decided to make a subtle feature out of it  and found a variegated peach/thread with shades of pale khaki and cream in it to use for the quilting lines on this side of the fabric…(That streak of faded peach is placed centrally on the back piece of the finished coat lining. Only I can see it. That’s how obsessed I got with detail and symmetry on this make!!)The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I did a few practice swatches and loved that effect in particular…

The quilting part itself presented a couple of challenges. Not least because the sturdy nature of denim kind of fights the batting..and instead of the batting pushing the denim up…the denim is inclined to flatten the batting…which diminishes the look of the quilting…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

 

In the end I found I had to use a pretty thick (cotton) batting in order to get the “loft” I needed to make the quilting visible. This had a knock on effect with the overall sturdiness of the finished garment. This was going to be one seriously thick and sturdy coat!!

I made a quilt sandwich for each piece and was ready to get started quilting. This is the extent of my quilting experience to date. I am NO expert, lol!The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I began by hand basting length wise and width wise. I did NOT want this shifting or distorting. Construction of this thick wadge of quilt sandwich was going to be tricky enough without that. So baste people. Definitely baste. This wadding was self adhesive but denim didn’t stick as effectively to it as quilting cotton. So it was definitely worth the added “security” not to skip this step!

I first quilted the diagonal yoke seam and the horizontal hip seam….then laid down my vertical quilting lines between those two points….using my variegated thread on my bobbin…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

And dark thread on the top…

I used 1″ masking tape as a quilting guide to keep my lines straight and evenly spaced. Starting in the middle and working outwards. I started and finished my lines of stitching just a fraction inside those diagonal yoke and horizontal hip stitching lines and left loooong tails of thread….The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Which I then secured by hand and buried within the quilting channels. I was determined to achieve a clean finish on the inside and have all the quilting lines meet and line up perfectly on the lining where any mistakes would be really obvious. I counted, 172 thread tails secured and buried by hand to achieve that finish…The Refashioners 2106 - Me

But it was well worth it. That back piece in particular, the quilting lines on that lining, remain one of my favourite elements of this coat, to the point where I almost want to wear it inside out, lol!The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I repeated this process on all 5 pattern pieces, edge stitch all around the edges of my pattern pieces and cut away the excess batting/lining and I was ready to finally construct this thing!

The Refashioners 2106 - Me

I won’t go step by step into the actual construction because that is all in the pattern instructions for the Tamarack jacket. But I will share with you the parts that go “off pattern”. Including a solution I found for the bulk element of this make…the pattern is designed for lighter weight fabrics so the seams wouldn’t be as thick as this!

As you can see on this shoulder seam…pressing these seams flat was gonna be a challenge. Super thick!The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

I peeled back the lining and trimmed the batting right up to the seam line…

Ta dah! Bulk reduced…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

…and seam presses flat!

I repeated that process on shoulder seams and side seams and I was ready to insert my sleeves which had me all kinds of scared. Because…The Refashioners 2106 - Me

Well….these suckers are so thick they stand up on their own, ha ha!! This picture kills me every time I look at it. This was becoming more like an engineering project than dressmaking. At this stage I was working right at the limits of what my little Janome could cope with…every line of stitching, every bit of binding…everything added just a liiiiitle bit more bulk. I swear my little Janome whimpered when I approached her with these…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Basting the sleeve in place was a must. Luckily I had removed a great deal of ease from the sleeve cap so easing the sleeve head in was relatively trouble free.

And ta dah!  They were in! I basically had my coat!The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

 

Of course a coat needs pockets. What I really wanted was a nice clean welt or inseam pocket that wouldn’t visually disrupt the quiltiing lines of the bottom section. But I had to compromise here. The fabric was just too thick for the turning required for that kind of pocket. So patch it would have to be.

I played with a couple of ideas. The one below was what I wanted. The angled pocket opening echoes the same angle as the yoke, and the curved corner echoes the curve of the hem…(see….told you I was getting obsessed with symmetry)The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

Buuuut I didn’t have enough fabric left for that (of course not. That would be too helpful, lol!) so I squeezed what I could out of the leftovers of the bell bottom jeans. My plan was to quilt them so that the quilt lines matched the ones on the coat itself. Blending the pockets visually with the coat. But I was worried about adding more bulk and used only a thin layer of batting on the pockets so it didn’t work out. The pockets are actually the only part of this coat that niggle me a little. But you gotta have pockets on a winter coat, right?

Last, but definitely not least is the 28″ chunky gold zip that finishes this make off. Basted then rebasted in place to ensure that when it’s zipped up, all those points at the yoke and hip line up perfectly…The Refashioners 2106 - MeThe Refashioners 2106 - Me

All the binding is single fold, in an effort to reduce bulk, and edge stitched in place. So there’s a very slight raw edge finish to all the binding. Which actually I really like. I like all the contrasts of this make. The utility/worn feel of the denim, with the luxury feel of the lining and gold zip, and the precision of the quilting against the rawness of the denim edges. It’s a coat of contrasts. Of juxtaposition if you like. It’s a coat of many elements. It’s a coat of blood, sweat (literally) and stress.  It’s definitely one of a kind. And I absolutely love it and couldn’t be prouder. Even though it was a bitch to me at times I wholeheartedly forgive it. All I can say is…it better be a bloody cold winter this year after all this! 😉The Refashioners 2106 - Me

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ME (7)

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ME (7)THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ME (7)THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ME (7)

Turns out, this project, was the hardest, most stressful, and longest I have ever undertaken (largely because I am my own worst enemy and became somewhat obsessed and uncompromising). But it was also the most satisfying because, despite (or maybe because) of the challenges and the blood, sweat and near tears that went into this, (I didn’t quite cry, but “head in hands with bewildered look” became a firm favourite during this make.)  I persevered.  And eventually, I won.  And I’ve ended up with a garment  that I am SO proud of.  That I look at and think, I can’t believe I actually made that! You see, I think when we challenge and push ourselves, we find we are capable of much much more than we ever thought.

So, are you ready to challenge yourself too? This is me, signing off, pouring myself a stiff gin, and handing the baton to you guys for a month. Show us what you got people!!!

You can see all this month’s awesome inspiration posts 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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The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

Hello everyone!  I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am to be involved in this year’s Refashioners #jeanius team. It is an huge honour to jump in at the last minute and let my jeans flag fly! Thankyou Portia for the opportunity and for all the awesome makers for inspiring me everyday with their jeans recreations.

 

I’m going to start with the moral of this story… don’t unpick until you know how much material you will need. For instance spending hours, nay days, unpicking 8 pairs of jeans when you only need 3 may turn out to be a tremendous waste of time and let’s be honest, who has time to waste?! That of course is exactly what I did!!

It started with 11 pairs of jeans… the day after I got the exciting email asking me to get involved I was rushing around Battersea Car Boot Sale with one thing on mind ‘get as many pairs of jeans for as little money as possible’ and I did extremely well getting 11 pairs for £11 in a range of sizes (luckily some HUGE) and colours.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

I knew from the start I wanted to make a gown – a big theatrical dress that would really let the material sing and I made some (awful) sketches that looked very steampunky with big full skirts and belts made from the back pockets and zips going down the front but I didn’t have a clue how I was going to make it a reality. My husband was beside me whilst I was sketching away and he said ‘can I have a go, as I have an idea’ now this is something that happens a lot as Stephen and I love to get involved with each other projects and get excited about creating things together (cheesy but true) so this dress is very much a team effort. I did all the sewing but the ideas were from both of us – as Stephen has one of those brilliantly creative minds I would be a fool not to get him involved! So this is where things picked up – we got excited about having a sort of outer skirt, layering and a corset type bodice.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

So I started unpicking… for AGES. I thought I would need as much fabric as I could get my hands on so basically spent a week taking apart these jeans- first the waistband, then take off the back pockets (I still thought these would be a feature at this point), unpick the crotch seam and then the inner seam of both legs. Stephen even helped me take out some rivets (with pliers and a flathead screwdriver) so I had 8 pairs of flat jeans ready to turn into a dress that was taking shape in my head.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

I did consider using patterns – especially for the bodice and using the jeans as just normal fabric but the moment Stephen started placing jean legs over me and it just seemed to fit… the crotch seam became a perfect armhole and just by using the two legs from one of the biggest pairs of jeans is was already starting to look like a pretty cool dress especially with the waistbands as a sort of dungaree straps (which is the only remaining element from my original sketch!)

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

So I discarded the patterns idea, got the mannequin out and just started draping instead! First I tried to recreate what we came up with on me and pinned everything to Betty (my mannequin). I fell in love with the look of where the pockets used to be on these jeans – like the fabric time forgot – the general wear and tear, sun bleaching and fading hadn’t touched this bit and I think it leaves a lovely effect so I was very happy to make that a feature of the bodice.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

I started by sewing down the hems as that was the easy bit – they were already creased to shape so didn’t even need pressing down. I did this to the neckline and all the way around the back. Oh I was so very thankful for my amazing Gutermann jeans thread set, jeans needle and my lovely Pfaff Passport 2 for making it seamless, if I tried this on my old machine there would have been tears and a few choice words spoken!

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

Then the interesting part started – how the hell was I going to sew this thing?! I had the shape that I wanted pinned to the mannequin, but there were complicated tucks and pleats to make it fit that I just don’t know how to transfer to a marking to sew up from the wrong side.

I am not a hand sewer, I’m very bad at it and have to be forced into kicking and screaming into it but I had a strong word with myself and got out the needle and thread to tack my way through this.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

Actually, my hand sewing wasn’t too bad (yay!) and now I had the shape of the bodice I wanted and a interesting dress starting to emerge. I sewed together the raw edges of the waistbands for the straps and folded over the belt loops so they were the same width as the waistband as that was another detail that I was determined to use.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

The turning point came with the discovery of the perfect zip in my stash – a giant open ended chunky zip that was the perfect length to go all the way down the back of the dress. From that moment on it something special at the back too and I loved the idea of having a dress that you could completely unzip for ease of getting into (as a performer one of my pet hates is spending ages doing a huge hair style and intricate makeup only to have to pull a dress over your head – nooo!) Also I was worried about all the shaping and hand sewing I was doing would need some wiggling about to get into the dress and this zip meant I didn’t have to worry about that – eureka!!

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

I put the dress on and it looked great, lovely bodice and perfect fit until I looked down and realised I hadn’t covered my…ahem… modesty… at all!! I needed a bottom to this dress and so I went back to the sketches and got excited about our idea of making the overskirt -so I made a big old triangle out of a massive jeans leg.

The Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

And laid it under the dress.

It became clear that more draping was needed to create the waterfall effect we wanted so back to Betty, lots of pins and hand sewing, which I’m happy to report didn’t feel like a chore for the first time ever. In fact I would go as far to say as The Refashioners ignited my joy in sewing by hand!!

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

The last thing I did was add a gathered hem in a darker denim to make it a proper full length gown. I used two legs, cut off at the crotch, sewn together and gathered up along the edge using twine to pull up the gathers. I attached it to the bottom of the dress and matched the hemmed sides either side of the zip. DONE!!

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

Everything in this dress is made from the recycled jeans except for the zip and I added buttons to the bodice top as we tried pulling off the old jeans buttons and gave up/ran out of time. Luckily I have this awesome Prym punching tool that made it a doddle.

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

I freaking love it! It is by far the most complicated and original thing I have ever made. Stephen and I are pretty darn proud of our denim baby that I’ve been called The Dream Jeanie Dress, as a nod to the late great David Bowie. This piece deserves a stage and I can’t wait to wear it on tour!!!

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

The rest of this post is pictures – Stephen (I told you he was brilliant) is behind the camera and his newly finished summerhouse is the PERFECT back drop. The paint is only just dry and it basically looks like we painted it to match the dress! The sunglasses suited the look far too much not to use them and it was a sunny day afterall so I decided to rock chick it up for this shoot! You may notice my bra is showing – I had to take it off for the back shots but I think I might bring up the straps a bit to reveal a little less chest or just wear it with a stripey top underneath?!

 

The Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: GabbyThe Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

So that’s all from me folks!

I know I’m the penultimate blogger of this series which means tomorrow it’s time for Portia herself to show us what she’s been up to, I may or may not have had a sneak preview and can’t contain my excitement for you to all see her icing to this epic #jeanius cake!

I hope you are all joining in – I would totally recommend giving it a shot – you learn so much just by taking apart jeans and it’s a fantastic fabric to work with. Oh and have you seen the prizes?! DO IT NOW!! 🙂

 

Sew much love,

The Refashioners 2016: Gabby

 

There is so much I love about this. Admittedly not everyone could pull off this look. It’s flamboyant, unique….verging on the avant-garde. Just the kind of look that Gabby  rocks on stage all the time. Which is exactly why I was so excited to see her take on this challenge. And boy oh boy did she rise to this challenge. But there are so many elements to take inspiration from and use in your own makes.  Detail after detail of the original jeans reworked and referenced in unexpected ways. This dress was essentially sculpted and allowed to evolve. I for one cannot WAIT to see this worn on stage!

You can find Gabby here or 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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The Refashioners 2016: Elisalex

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

REFASHIONERS 2016 – A Fish Called Elisalex

Let me begin by stating for the record that denim is not my jam. In fact, thinking back over the last two Refashioners challenges I’ve been a part of (thank you Portia!), menswear is also not really my jam, and needless to say, denim menswear is the least my jam. For that, I’d like to extend my deeply heartfelt gratitude to Portia for pushing me well and truly as far away from my comfort zone as she possibly could!

All joking aside, that’s one of the things I look forward to most with The Refashioners. Although we, as a community, are united by our mutual love of fabric and sewing machines, we couldn’t be more diverse in terms of aesthetics – yet we manage to appreciate and celebrate each other as a whole, without siphoning ourselves off into bitchy sub-cliques (I’m looking at you, Fashion Industry) – and it’s that wonderous diversity that really shines through when a bunch of women – and man! – who essentially do the same thing, and are given the same materials to work with, come up with such an inspiration smorgasbord! Fabulous.

Anyway, where was I…? Right, me no likey denim. Having said that, the dress I made from the denim shirt two years ago, and the off the shoulder top I made from a man’s shirt last year have both been much loved and much worn, so I wasn’t worried in the slightest about the #jeanius brief. I headed straight for Pinterest and started thinking in terms of how to make denim work for me and my aesthetic ideal. While I love the unstructured off-duty look, and could definitely rock a floaty chambray trapeze dress, we’re talking jeans here – heavy duty fabric, built to last not drape – so I found myself drawn to an uber feminine silhouette, immediately excited by all the curves and figure sculpting potential of panelled jeans denim…THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 As I was hatching my plan, a favourite 80s film suddenly sprang to mind, and one scene from A Fish Called Wanda in particular where Jamie Lee Curtis meets John Cleese for the first time and pretends to be a nerdy law student in order to strike up a conversation with him, and happens to be wearing a knockout denim dress that barely contains her bosom so what hope does the poor man have anyway?  And so it was decided – I set out to make the Wanda dress….

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

I came home from the charity shop with three pairs of men’s jeans – two mid blue and one a darker indigo, with a view to making a panelled wiggle dress contrasting the light and dark denim in order to further accentuate the curvaceous silhouette.

Luckily our Kim Dress pattern could not have been more perfect, and with a little hackaroo to the petal skirt I had me the perfect pattern, and better yet, all the panels fit perfectly on my limited supply of fabric harvested from the jeans.

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The construction was pretty straightforward, although when I say it took me all day to turn the bodice out to the right side, having joined the shell to the lining (a pretty printed cotton I snaffled from Amy aka Almond Rock’s recent destash), I literally mean exactly that. The summer holidays had just begun so I had sewn up the lining and joined it to the bodice one morning while my son was watching post-breakfast cartoons. I started trying to turn it out to the right side through the shoulder straps before heading out to the skatepark, but quickly realised it would be one of those that gives you a bit of hell before it magically pops out and you have yourself a bodice, so I took it out with us.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

I wrestled with that bodice, I fought, I gnawed and clawed while my son skateboarded, throughout lunch, back at home, back out at the park… I had a break over dinner then hit it hard again at bathtime (not mine of course), and by God it was 10.50pm by the time I got the whole thing out, minus two nails and having significantly compromised the integrity of my front teeth. That lonesome beer I found lurking at the back of my fridge must have been heaven sent.

After the bodice debacle, the rest of the dress came together super quick and was a dream to sew.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

The finished dress fits like a glove, and feels like a pair of super-Spanx with bonus in built lower back support, but in a really sexy way. I have never received more wolf-whistles, propositions and “Corrrr, blimey!”’s in my life, and so my conclusion is this – me likey denim now!

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Finally, and in homage to the image that inspired me to make this dream dress come true, I felt it would be rude not to try and recreate that scene. I’d like to thank the two random blokes we dragged away from the pub for being such great sports, and my sister for her flawless direction and photography skillz.THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

Thank you Portia for having me on the Refashioners again! It has been a meaty challenge, as ever, and one that has left me with a newfound love and respect for denim as well as a killer dress – score and score!

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - ELISALEX DE CASTRO PEAKE - BY HAND LONDON

 

Sheesh Elisalex!! I’m not even sure what to say to this one except maybe….AROOOOGA! (Another 80’s reference Jessica Rabbit is the only clue you’re gettin’!) I am literally speechless. Such a well conceived and brilliantly executed idea. I can only apologise for the strain caused to your nails and teeth trying to turn that bodice and in terms of pushing you out of your comfort zone…you are most welcome!

You can find Elisalex here or 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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