The Refashioners 2016: Rachel

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

“They (jeans) have expression, modesty, sex appeal – all I hope for in my clothes.” -Yves Saint-Laurent. {My challenge motto.}

The Refashioners always been a yearly inspirational series for me. I love challenges that get people reinventing something that once-was and making it up-to-date. Anything that inspires people to think out of the box. This year grand-theme of “jeanius” got me whistling ‘Tiny Dancer’ while rummaging every local charity store around. Yes …. some occasional pirouettes were also witnessed by the locals.

For a long time I been looking for an excuse to draft a Lanvin inspired one-shoulders flounced denim dress.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

One of the things that makes having a jeans theme so fascinating for me is that the material- ‘denim’- is consider one of oldest fabrics in the world but is the epitome of youth/cool. Never gets ‘dated’ so rummaging for older pieces felt like a personal treasure hunt.

At first I as looking for the perfect combination of shades of blue. Strangely my biggest challenge was to find the ‘raw materials’ with reasonable prices. Where the second hand shops valuing the jeans using the price of gold? Luckily Portia came to my rescue with a car boot full of used denim. For my body con design to work my denim had some level of stretch.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

I came home with 3 pairs with different percentages of lycra content. When working with materials with different characteristics is important that placement is done correctly as the fabrics will behave differently when sewn together. I had to stabilise some of the side seams. I’m glad it all worked perfectly including the side zipper.

My self drafted pattern looked like long strips of rhythmic gymnastics ribbon. A total of 6 pattern pieces using mainly the legs. As each denim pair had a different leg length I had to apply creative problem solving.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

The different patches end up being my favourite design feature. The only piece of old the bolt-fabric used was the flounce which was made by cutting a circle. A piece of one of the waistband was used as an epaulette. If you fancy trying this design but don’t want to draft a pattern you can simply unpick each leg forming long strips and drape over a mannequin or yourself.

My plan was just to have a denim dress. Simplicity in itself. But you know when you look at a finished project and feel is missing something? More is more suddenly. Fringe is always a great compliment for denim because the way the fabric is weaved. I imaged someone else would probably do it so I went for contrasting colour fringe trim instead.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

After watching Gucci on snapchat (seriously addictive stuff and future subject for long therapy sessions) I felt so inspired by all their embroidery work over Tian prints. If you are into fashion & history of art I highly recommend looking at their latest work. It was inspired by “Bird and Flower’ Chinese 10th century painting.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

This thoughtful ‘feeling moment of harmony’ influenced me on choice of design and colour of my embroidery. One of the places I teach, CCB Rochester, has a selection of embroidery machines. I was able to sew the embroidery design with a six needle embroidery machine. You can freehand embroidery on whatever machine you own.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - RACHEL - HOUSE OF PINHEIRO

That’s all from me. Many thanks to Portia for hosting such a creative and inspiring challenge! Now my pirouettes will look a lot more fun in this dress.

So Rachel returning to that ongoing theme with jeans refashioning….narrowing her pattern pieces so she could squeeze them out of narrow trouser legs. It’s a key way of overcoming the scarcity of fabric, as pretty much all our bloggers have demonstrated. Let’s not forget the perks of stretch denim too! Perfect for form fitting refashions like this. And embellishment! Yay! Embroidery (elaborate like this or simple like sashiko), applique/patches, (floral, modern or like the beautiful japanese boro textiles Marilla and Wendy referenced). Oh and while we’re at it, have a think about bleaching ( a la Rosie!) and dyeing too. Techniques like shibori/tie dye and batik can be used with dye, or in relief with bleach. There are soooooo many ways you can transform the fabric itself before you even sew a stitch!

You can find Rachel 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: Heather

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When Portia first asked if I’d liked to participate in a jeans-centered Refashioners challenge, my answer was clearly “HELLS YES!” Jeans are a bit of an obsession for me. I design jeans sewing patterns, wrote a book about how to sew them, and teach jeans making workshops. A refashioning challenge featuring second hand jeans is pretty much my jam. I also knew immediately what I wanted to make: a perfect, deconstructed pair of Levi 501s.

The Refashioners 2016 - Heather

 

If you’re a heavy Pinterest user like I am, it would be hard not to notice what a huge comeback 501s have had in the past year or so. Everything 90s is back (whether we like it or not), but there is something perennially classic and eternal about a stonewashed pair of Levis. While I would happily collect dozens of vintage pairs, I happen to have a pair of hips; 501s are drafted for men and therefore are nearly impossible to wear if you have a pear shaped body like mine. While I’ve picked up a number of pairs over the years for research purposes, not one ever managed to fit just right. I could rarely get the buttons done up without crying, and the straight leg never felt very flattering or modern. I’ve also found myself incredibly inspired by all the deconstructed jeans I’ve been seeing lately (many examples of which I’ve collected here), so I decided that it was high time to make myself a pair of frankensteined 501s that actually fit.

I started with three pairs of vintage Levi’s in a gradient of washes. The best fitting pair couldn’t even do up as you can see below, but they did give me the magical 501 butt I’ve been chasing like a dragon for years, so I decided to use those as my base.

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I started with figuring out how much I’d need to add to the waist, which added up to about 1 1/2 inches on each side. I decided to replicate the method I used in high school when I wanted to make jeans that fit, which involves sewing in inserts of fabric along the side seams. However, unlike the hippyish pairs I made when I was 14, I decided to insert the side seam from one of the other pairs in order to create a subtle colour blocked effect. Since I didn’t want this panel to be too skinny, each side seam panel ended up being about 3″ wide, which meant removing the extra 1 1/2″ of width from the side seams of my base pair. I made sure to include lots of extra waistband from the new panel so I could stagger the waistband seam.

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Once I had everything cut out, I did a quick baste to see what it looked like. While the fit was great through the waist, the legs were way too wide, so using my Morgan Jeans pattern as a base, I narrowed the legs substantially on the base pair. While the new sewn in panel is a consistent width, the main jeans leg was tapered quite a bit to give more of a skinny fit.

The Refashioners 2016 - Heather

 

At this stage I realized that the difference in wash was almost too subtle, so I decided to add some more dramatic contrast. I made a pattern piece for the back calf and cut it from my lightest jeans, and then replaced the back lower leg of my base pair with this new piece. The top seam was serged and topstitched into place.

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I also added hefty knee patches to break up the darker blue. I hoped to handstitch straight lines using sashiko thread, but after sewing up a sample I realized I didn’t have the time or hand strength to stitch through that much denim, so I resorted to a simple straight topstitch on my machine.

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Once I was sure that the legs fit well, I sewed everything up and serged and pressed open the inner seams. I decided to leave the hem raw for now since I liked how it looked folded up, but I will definitely have to trim off any errant threads after I wash them for the first time.

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Finally, I pieced together a newly expanded waistband. This was probably the trickiest bit of sewing since I had to rip everything open and carefully sew it back together. Luckily the two darker pairs of jeans were similar sizes so it was pretty easy to get the yoke and pocket openings to line up evenly. I love the way the extra belt loop looks too. I used a matching topstitching thread along the waistband once I was sure the fit was spot on.

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Perhaps my favourite detail is the overlapping coin pockets; I love the different textures of denim all playing off each other.

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In the end, I am over the moon for these jeans. It was a lot more work than I anticipated, but they fit like a total dream and let my hips enjoy the 90s stonewash denim trend. My boyfriend likes them so much he’s now pleading with me to make him a pair too. We’ll be quite the sight walking around in all our patchwork 501 glory.

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A big thank you to Portia for inspiring this refashion! This denim obsessive is really happy to have this deconstructed pair in her collection….
Aaargh! Another pair of jeans I now want! Aside from the fab decorative elements of this refashion there’s a particular technique, that for me, is the big “takeaway” from this make. And that is the “T” shaped panel, harvested from another pair of jeans, and inserted into the base pair to make them fit. So if you have a pair of jeans that are way too small, there’s your solution. RIGHT. THERE. You can use a contrast panel or go for one in a closely matching wash. And hopefully by this stage of the series, you have a few more ideas of what you can do with what’s left of your “donor” jeans afterwards 😉

You can find Heather 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: Jenna

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - JENNA BENNETT

 

Yay! Refashioners time again!  (I can’t wear my refashion, so you’ll have to make do with this pic of me that Portia inserted into this post without telling me instead :))  I was so happy when Portia asked me to take part again this year and extremely excited by the theme.  Jeans are so ubiquitous and so easy to get hold of which is perfect for refashioning.

I had so many ideas to start with (my initial reaction was to make a dungaree dress, which sadly would not have been practical for pregnancy so has been shelved for a while!) but I soon settled on making something I will need soon, and something I know will be used a lot – a travel changing mat.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - JENNA BENNETT

I had one of these when my daughter was a baby which was a freebie from a magazine and it didn’t last but it was so useful for carrying a small changing kit around, and meant that any bag could become a changing bag.

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I haven’t actually done a lot of sewing since I found out I was pregnant so this was also the perfect project to get me back into the swing of things, unfortunately my brain wasn’t in gear while I was sewing and I forgot to take any before or during pictures – sorry!

I started with a pair of jeans which I probably bought about 8-10 years ago and which were still a lovely dark indigo colour which was what I was looking for.  They also have some stretch in which isn’t ideal but hasn’t affected the end result.

Before starting, I looked at a tutorial to get a basic idea of construction and also borrowed a friend’s changing mat to get a rough idea of size.  I was obviously constrained by the width of the leg of the jeans but luckily I managed to cut the mat out whilst avoiding the leg shaping in these jeans.  Obviously this would have been easier if I had used a pair of men’s, non-stretch and unshaped jeans but these were sitting unloved in my cupboard!

I cut my jeans up the outside leg seam, leaving the inner seam intact, and lay the fabric out flat. I then made a quilt sandwich of denim, batting and soft furry plush fabric before quilting all three layers together in a diamond pattern, using basting spray and a walking foot to stop the layers shifting around while quilting.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - JENNA BENNETT

 

To make the pockets, I cut two rectangular pieces of denim from the remaining leg and two pieces of flannel fabric half as wide again as the main pocket pieces.  I gathered the bottom of the flannel to fit on the pocket, and sewed a channel for elastic along the top.

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I wanted bigger, roomier pockets than my last version as I am intending to use cloth nappies again which take up more space than disposables, but they will also be useful to put a spare change of clothes in too.

Using a faux leather bias binding I bound the pockets first before attaching them to the mat then bound the whole way around the mat.  The binding was really quite tricky to work with so I kept the walking foot on my machine and took it really slowly.  It isn’t perfect but I am happy with the outcome.  The last thing to do was to stitch the buckle on the front, which has a magnetic closure, and done!

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - JENNA BENNETT

The only thing I had to buy to make this changing mat was the binding, everything else I had in my cupboard.  The plush and flannel were left over from making new baby gifts, I can’t even remember why I bought the buckle but I am so pleased it has been put to good use and obviously the jeans were taking up space and feeling unloved so I am delighted to have turned them into something which I know will be so useful to me in a few months’ time.  Thank you so much Portia for organising such a brilliant event.  I love seeing everyone’s projects popping up and how other people interpret the theme.  Good luck to all taking part in the community challenge!

I would have loved one of these when Elliott was a baby. So so handy. Love the way it looks like a grown up clutch form the inside and then BAM! Baby style on the inside! I can attest to how soft that plush fabric is on the inside and I suspect Jenna’s impending “mini me” is gonna love that next to his/her skin!  You could adapt this idea to make a pencil, crochet hook or knitting needle roll. Or make a smaller version as a mini sewing kit or needle case. Denim is perfect for all manner of accessories. Bags, pot holders, oven gloves, cushions, quilts, upholstery, purses, zipper pouches….the list is endless. So go change your unloved jeans into something you do love. Like, now!!

You can find Jenna 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: Marilla

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

First of all I just want to say thank you to Portia for including me in the refashioners 2016. It is a pleasure to take part and reminds me of how much useful cloth we are surrounded by that can be reused and re-purposed. Thanks Portia x

So this year’s challenge is denim! Such a great start! I have probably refashioned more jeans than any other item of clothing and rarely give away good denim. It’s one of those items where the cloth still has a lot to offer in terms of durability and is often superior to equivalent fabrics you can find by the metre. For that reason I am a jeans hoarder.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

I set aside two pairs of jeans for this challenge and  was immediately thinking of the different blue hues and the signs of wear on my garments. I was reminded of traditional Japanese textiles, their use of indigo dye and the boro mending technique. Boro garments and textile items I have seen are rich in colour variation and texture. Below is a better description of traditional and ‘true’ Boro textiles.  Japan’s mended and patched textiles are referred to as boro, or ragged, both in Japan and abroad.

” Boro textiles are usually sewn from nineteenth and early twentieth century rags and patches of indigo dyed cotton.  The diversity of patches on any given piece is a veritable encyclopedia of hand loomed cotton indigo from old Japan. In most cases, the beautiful arrangement of patches and mending stitches is borne of necessity and happenstance, and was not planned by the maker.  Imagine that boro textiles were stitched in the shadows of farmhouses, often at night by the light of one dim candle and on, on the laps of farm women. This unselfconscious creative process has yielded hand-made articles of soulful beauty, each of which calls upon to be recognized and admired as more than the utilitarian cloth they were intended to be.” Source.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

When I was approached about the challenge I had recently acquired a new jacket pattern and immediately knew this was what I wanted to make. I used the fabulous Falda jacket pattern by Pattern Fantastique .

My approach with refashioning jeans always remains the same.  I unpick the inside leg seam and flatten both legs out to get the most amount of flat fabric.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

Inside leg seams are often sewn with a chain stitch, which if you pull the lower thread from the right direction you can just unravel without any tricky unpicking. See this instagram clip I posted here . It ‘s difficult to describe which is the right end, but it’s the base of the chain stitch. Just keep fiddling with both ends until one pulls easily. That’s how I discovered it!

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

It did take a while to fit all the pieces on and I did have to use a skirt back left over from another refashion for the jacket back, but with careful planning I got there. I cut the lower sleeve pieces for the jacket thinking I was going to have long sleeves, but if I hadn’t done that then maybe I could of squeezed the whole garment onto just the jeans. After basting the side seams with short sleeves I decided I loved it as it was, so omitted the lower sleeve portions from the final garment.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

So here is the final jacket!

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

It is difficult to plan a refashion absolutely and finally, so I let the process be pretty organic. I sewed up the jacket and realised the pocket placement was not working at all, so unpicked them and re-stitched them in a more natural and practical position. I really love the dark, ghost like patches that have been left behind.

The length of the jacket is longer than the pattern states because I just left the hem down. The front facing does not meet the bottom hem, so I just improvised because I really liked the longer length. Well, I liked it after I had a go at shaping the bottom hem. I chopped a load off both sides and didn’t like it, so ended up making Frankenstein style repairs to sew the missing pieces back on! This was actually a brilliant move as it led to all sorts of new additions in an attempt to make good my horrific mistake.

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Once the construction was complete the most fun bit was adding all the finishing details. I topstitched everything fairly neatly for the main body, but then incorporating my disaster into the garment allowed me to play with some finishing ideas. The inside seams are zig zagged with the gold topstitch thread which mimics the original finish of the jeans and then different colour bias tape has been used for mending and finishing the front edges and stabilising the raw edge hems. All the hand stitching is done in white thread for a point of difference and is used to mend and also anchor down parts of the facing.

I refashioned garments from the denim brand most synonymous with jeans and added touches of the original branding here and there.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

Here is the original leather label sewn onto the inside of the jacket back with hand stitches.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

So a combination of different denim washes, stitch techniques/thread colour and recycling of the original elements has produced a very “boro like” garment. I really find denim to be very malleable and a bit of a rough finish here or there only adds to the charm. There are so many nice hidden details to be discovered and the softness of the worn fabric makes this a very tactile item. It is actually more interesting off the body than on in some ways, but is also a completely relevant new item of clothing from old.

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If you hadn’t guessed, I really enjoyed this challenge! I can’t remember if I mentioned this last year, but this really appeals to my textile design background and I love considering all the detail placements.

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

I pinned bits on and removed them, stitched bits and unpicked until all was completely how I wanted and achieved a balance I was happy with. This just goes to show that if you don’t instantly love your creation, it may just need some tweaking to become perfect!

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Thanks again Portia and thanks Pattern Fantastique for the great pattern! I have been wearing it all day and am set to wear it all the days!

THE REFASHIONERS 2016 - MARILLA WALKER

 

So are you tempted to give refashioning a go? One or two old pairs of jeans are definitely the best place to start (in my opinion). Check out some previous denim refashions I have made here  and here.

Not much can go wrong and remember frayed edges are cool, so don’t fret it! 😉

I really love this approach to refashioning. Starting with an idea of the type of garment you’d like to end up with, but not having an overly rigid approach to how you get there or exactly how the finished garment will look. Adapting to the challenges your base garments throw at you as you go and allowing the final garment to evolve. It’s a free flow approach that really allows creativity into the process and can result in some unique details and “happy accidents”. It’s also far less stressful than trying to wrestle a garment to conform to rigid preconceived idea, when it just doesn’t want to be what you want it to be! I always remember my sewing tutor telling me (in relation to fitting a garment) “Watch the fabric. It will tell you what it wants to do”. Same applies to refashioning in my experience.  I tend to think of it as working WITH the garment. Not against it. Or to put it another way,  just roll with it and see what you end up with 🙂

You can find Marilla 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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