The Refashioners – Karen

The Refashion Rookie 
When Miss P approached me to be one of her Refashioners, I was openly terrified. I’ve never tackled a refashion, mainly because I don’t – or didn’t – have much confidence in my ability to revision an item or do anything other than follow a set of pattern instructions. I also don’t feel that I have the charity shop antennae that allows a person to zone in on the hidden diamond crushed between rails of polyester. But Miss P is a charity shop expert. 
 
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk
She assured me that I was up to the challenge and that only natural fabrics would be sent my way. Soon, the postman was handing over a beautifully wrapped orange parcel. I tore it open to discover a voluminous gingham dress, circa 1980s I’m guessing. There was enough fabric there to open my mind to lots of opportunities. And who doesn’t like gingham? Miss P had done me proud.
So, what did I do? At first, nothing. I let the dress sit around, waiting for inspiration to strike. Then I woke up one Sunday morning and – bang! – the picture of an outfit and accessory was in my head. All I had to do was make it happen.
Mine wasn’t a sophisticated approach. The rotary cutter was my best friend during this exercise. I felt like Freddy Kreuger! First, I sliced the skirt section from the bodice and ripped out a load of pleats. (There was a lot of excess fabric in this dress! I’m not sure today’s retailers would tolerate such wastage.) I hacked a wedge off the bottom of the skirt – that would become my waistband. I wanted to make a feature of the row of buttons that ran down the front of the dress – why waste button holes that someone else has already made for you? I added the large button on the waistband, and love that it’s a pearl button to match all the others except in size. I bought some red piping from MacCullough and Wallis and already had some lace trim hanging around that I bought off Walthamstow market. One weekend of sewing, et voila! I had a new gathered skirt to wear with my cotton petticoat. A skirt that I can cycle in – double result!
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

 

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk
There was still quite a lot of fabric left in the bodice, along with some neat embroidered white flowers on the gingham. Unfortunately, the embroidered flowers sat over sewn down pleats that would need unpicking if I tried to rescue the fabric – and the flowers would be ruined. So I decided to just hack away – this time with a pair of scissors. I used some spray starch and a brooch template from a recent issue of Mollie Makes. I love the spray starch – does exactly what it says on the tin!
 This brooch was a lot of fun to make. I adore the hidden details on the rear. The ‘felt’ is actually a scrap of my Paris red cashmere. (Well, if it’s just lying around…) The clay button was bought in Cornwall, so memories are threaded into this outfit – a detail I always love.
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
 What are my conclusions? I’ve worn the skirt to death since it was made, so it’s definitely a success. I was surprised at my ability to envisage a new outfit, once my brain had relaxed into the exercise. I do worry that I didn’t make the most of this dress’s potential and would love to hear from readers and Miss P about what they might have made from it. But most importantly, I got past Fear Factor Ten and embraced refashioning. It’s a great way of producing new outfits and can free up the creative imagination more than following a set of instructions. But most of all, I think this make is a credit to the very clever Miss P who knew just the right thing to send me and reassured her little apprentice every step of the way.

I hope I did you proud, Miss P!

Indeed you have Karen! Thankyou sooo much. Great refashion. LOVE the red piping accents. I’ll bet you’re the best dressed cyclist in your neck of the woods!
See…..I told you you’d be brilliant 😉 

Still MORE fantastic refashioning inspiration to follow…stay tuned 🙂
Px

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+

The Refashioners – Zoe

Next up, it’s over to Zoe of So Zo…
When I first unwrapped my secret garment I was surprised to find a kilt! Well, a ladies kilt-style skirt to be precise, but definitely very traditional in nature. I must admit that initially I was a bit perplexed about how to approach the refashioning of this garment. This was a really good quality garment, but it’s not something I’d gravitate towards in a charity shop.

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

But that’s the very genius of this mystery refashioning project: challenging the participants’ creativity, which is what you have to rely on when taken out of your comfort zone!

So I ‘sat on’ the garment for a while and let my ideas stew. Upcycling a garment can mean a dramatic remake into something unexpected, or simply shortening the hem line, and everything in between. My early ideas for this skirt erred towards the more extreme end of that spectrum. I was picturing some sort of cropped jacket or cape with the pleated sections being used for the sleeve parts and the buckles reused as an asymmetric fastening. But thinking about it, I realised there possibly wouldn’t be enough fabric and I didn’t have enough time to commit to such a major overhaul. So I scaled my thoughts down somewhat and settled on attempting to creating a sexier, updated version of the original traditional kilt-skirt style.

I started by carefully unpicking and ‘harvesting’ the waistband and buckle fastenings to be used later. I have to say that this skirt was solidly made! It felt like it had been welded rather than stitched together, unpicking took several sittings. I also unpicked the darts front the flat sections and gently pressed the area flat.
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk
Using a basic pencil skirt pattern, I cut the front piece from the flat part of the original skirt. I marked the new darts then stitched and pressed them inwards.
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk

 

The pleated section of the original skirt sat around the back. The pleats had been stitched in a kind of graduation so that they created a curve at the rear, rather than using darts. I really liked this and wanted to incorporate it into my refashioned version. I cut a section from the pleated part that was a bit bigger that my back skirt pattern piece. The pleats had been edge-stitched down to just below the wearers bottom, but I decided it would be fun to edge-stitch them down further so that the pleats flared and kicked out like a fish tail when the wearer walked. I pinned the pleats down and stitched to a certain horizontal line in the check, then gave the back section a press.

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

Pinning the dart closed on the back skirt pattern piece, I laid this down on the pleated section and cut out the back piece of my skirt. With my front and back pieces now cut out, I overlocked all four side edges to neaten them. The front and back pieces were stitched together along the right hand side seam and the seam was pressed open.

Now was the time to reattach that previously harvested waistband. Measuring along the top edge of my pencil skirt pattern gave me the measurement I needed to cut my waistband to. The waistband had a stiff interfacing which I wanted to retain, so pinned it to the waistband to keep it in place until the final row of stitching caught it inside. I stitched the waistband along the top edge of the skirt, right sides facing.
With one half of the waistband attached, I measured the length of my zip and stitched the remaining side seam closed from the base of the zip will come to the hem. I pressed this seam open also. The zip was inserted into the opening on the left side seam trapping the waistband edges at the same time. I then ‘stitched in the ditch’ along the line where the waistband joins the upper skirt, thus trapping the remaining edge of the waistband to the skirt and the stiff interfacing inside.

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

I wanted to include the original buckle fastenings because they are such an integral design feature of a kilt that no kilt reworking would look right without them. I placed them over the zip which served to slightly obscure the zip fastening.

Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.ukWith that icing on the cake, I declared my kilt-skirt refashion complete!
Refashion Inspiration! Don't miss out on the new upcoming series of The Refashioners at www.makery.uk
Thanks so much Zoe. My favourite part has got to be that fishtail effect. Genius! Sorry for sending you something with “welded” seams! But at least you’ll never be short of a sexy little number for Burns Night or Hogmanay! Great twist on a classic garment. Yay for refashioning!
Still loads more to come this week!

Px

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+

The Refashioners – Dixie (Part I)

Hello Readers! I’m Dixie from DixieDIY.com and i’m here to share with you my new digs I made from restyling an old blouse and skirt. I’m so glad I got to be a part of The Refashioners, such a talented and skilled group of sewers and designers. Thanks Portia for including me!
Like everyone else I had no idea what to expect when my little package arrived all the way from the UK (I live in Austin, Texas). What was inside turned out to be a button down top and long faux wrap skirt. The fabric was 100% Rayon and had a cool, almost chevron stripe style print to it.

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 outfit was way too big but when you are looking for something to refashion, that could be a good thing. The more fabric you can use, the better. Now I don’t often shop at thrift stores (or charity shops as some might call them) not because I don’t want a good deal but I get easily overwhelmed with the quantity of items. That’s ok because sometimes the best restyles can be done with clothes from your own closet that you never wear anymore and need some new life. The one thing that I drew inspration from was the fabric print with the diagonal lines. Rather than deconstruct the garment and start from scratch, I decided to use the pieces of the original and adjust from there.

I used a pattern that I had lying around but never used – version b of an old simplicity pattern from the now discontinued Built By You series – Simplicity 4112. I loved the diagonal and gathered cut on the long sleeves, an interesting design detail that I’ve always wanted to make but never had the right fabric. I thought the directionality of my print would be perfect!

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

To start, I cut the sleeves and side seams off the top. The front and back of the top were still attached at the shoulders.
Next I arranged my shirt tolay as flat as possible on my table and pinned my pattern’s bodice piece to the fabric. By lining up my pattern piece at the point where the shoulder and the neckline of the shirt met, i could keep the original collar and centre buttons but trim off the sides of the shirt to make it fit better. I remembered to take a mental note that the pattern piece had 5/8 seam allowances, and the shirt already had those seams sewn, and so I pinned the pattern piece accordingly.

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

I had one small problem. The bottom armhole had to be lowered about an inch to accommodate the shirt’s original armhole. i made sure to make this change on the front, back and sleeve pattern pieces so they all matched. in the end this worked out fine beacause I like more room in the armpit area anyway. 😉
I did the same thing to both sides and the back, lining up pieces along the shoulder seam until I had my basic bodice. I stitched uo the sides and was ready for the sleeves!

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

I was lucky that I had so much fabric in the skirt to use for my sleeves! Even then I still had do do some creative manouvering with pattern placement. when I took off the waistband and spread the skirt out it made one long rectangle, but there were several small darts and seams to contend with. I seam ripped the darts and worked around most of the seams. Luckily with the fabric design it is difficult to tell that there are seams there at all.

I sewed up the sleeves according to the pattern directions and attached them to the shirt bodice. Finally I switched over the old pearly coloured buttons for plain black ones. I would have had to get new buttons anyway beacause I needed two extra for the sleeve cuffs and I didn’t have any that matched the originals.

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

Ta da!! One nice new (fitted) button down shirt appropriate for work or even something more casual. unfortunately I won’t get to wear this shirt for a few months because we’re currently experiencing global warming to the extreme here in Texas; but I’ll wear it often come Winter, I’m sure!

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

But wait, I’m not finished yet! I still had some fabric left from the skirt. Enough to incorporate into another top….

So lookout for another post from Dixie in the next few days, this time with a FREE PATTERN DOWNLOAD especially for the occasion……! Thanks Dixie. Awesome refashion!
Px

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+

Revealed!

Ok, time to let the cat out of the bag! Remeber these suspect little packages from a previous post….?

THE REFASHIONERS 2011 (2)

Well it is with no small degree of excitment that I announce “The Refashioners” challenge…

THE REFASHIONERS 2011 (1)

Starting on Monday, and running all next week this blog will play host to a series of guest bloggers sharing their refashioning take (and tutorials) on the mystery packages I have sent them. I can’t wait to share these projects from some awesome women who just happen to be inspiring bloggers, crafters and sew-ers!!! So without futher jabbering on like an excited toddler, here’s the line up:

The “too cool for school” Zoe of So Zo…
The inimitable Karen of Did you Make That?
The very talented Dixie of Dixie DIY
The ever inspiring Casey of Elegant Musings
and
The gorgeous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons

NOW, can you see why I was so excited!! Feel free to grab the button HTML and spread the word 🙂

Miss P
<div align="center"><a href="http://portialawrie.blogspot.com/" title="Miss P"><img src="http://www.makery.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/6123219092_5d348943ed_m.jpg" alt="Miss P" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to check back on Monday for the first post in the series!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+