Restyle # 22 – Straight Leg to Cigarette Pants

More restyling today. I’m on a roll 😉 I thrifted these “jeans” for £2. Brand new. Never been worn. The fabric is a lovely soft stretch twill and I loved the powdery blue colour. I didn’t however like the shape and length in the lower leg. (Left pic) They were semi bootcut and the kind of length that doesn’t reach quite the right point of your shoes. Kind of flapping around my ankles like a flag at half mast!
So I put them on inside out and pinned out a rough idea of the shape I wanted them to be, (middle pic). I then marked out a smoother stitching line using the pins as a guide, and sewed the new seamline, blending it into the existing seam. Oh, and I shortened them by about 3″ (Right Pic)
The result was a shape more akin to the tapered cigarette pants that I am absolutely loving at the moment. (The curvy girls version of skinny jeans, lol!) Try as I might I couldn’t get a full length shot to show the shaping at the ankle/hem. For some reason the way I stand (or perhaps the camera angle) makes it look as if they’re really tight at the ankle. (They’re not at all) So here’s a side on close up too…

I suspect I’m going to get have already had alot of wear out of these and have a couple more pairs of trousers lined up for the same treatment. These were simple to do because the inseam and outer seams were standard straight seams and easy to blend in with a new stitching line. However, I haven’t quite worked out how to do this on jeans as they tend to have flat fell seams (usually on the inseam only) which would be nowhere near as straightforward to blend into a new seam without having to unpick the whole thing and even then….Hmmm! Thinking cap is on….any thoughts?
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The Refashioners – Casey

Hello! Casey from Elegant Musings here. I am so excited to be participating in this series—it was such a fun idea (thank you to Portia for asking me to participate)! When Portia sent me the garment to refashion, I was quite delighted with this challenge. I had been thinking this summer about remaking a “dressmaker” suit (meaning a suit that doesn’t have the traditional tailoring we associate with a suit) into a cute, 40s-inspired number. This original garment proved just the piece to test my ideas on!

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

I usually begin refashions by loosely sketching an idea and sometimes playing with various ideas on the dressform (straight and safety pins are a great way to test!). I find that this helps me envision the order of construction (or deconstruction!) rather than chopping away at a garment blindly. I wanted to take this suit from ho-hum to something that evoked the look of the 40s. I had a pattern in my stash, as well as some images on my computer, that proved to be the inspiration for this piece. Sometimes refashioning is not so much about creating a new garment, but rather refitting an old one to your aesthetic and size!

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To start the transformation and refit the (several sizes too large) suit, removed the sleeves from the jacket and set aside. (Note that in the before pictures I had to clip the suit in the back because it was too baggy for my dressform.) I unpicked the collar from the neckline, and removed the shoulder pads and opened the neckline facing away from the jacket. Trying on the jacket inside-out, I pinched away the excess fabric at either side seam and the shoulders (which brought the darts up to approximately the correct level) and pinned. It took a few tries to get the fit just right, but once I had I sewed the new seams and finished with serging. I also took this opportunity to redo the hem of the jacket and add a nicer (thrifted hem tape!) finish.


Next up was the fiddly part of redoing the neckline. I pinned an approximate outline while wearing the jacket, and then marked the outline in chalk. I added a 3/8” seam allowance, blending it into the back neckline. The neckline was trimmed to this line, as was the neckline facing. I sewed the facing and the neckline pieces right sides together for a smooth (and easy!) finish.


Adding the sleeves back to the jacket was perhaps the easiest step of this refashion! I measured the new armholes, and found a pattern with a sleeve cap measure of approximately the same. (In this case my trusty Swing Dress pattern). Using the original hem on the sleeves, I cut out new ones and sewed those in.


Finally, the jacket needed a few new details to add a bit more of a vintage flair. I dug through my button stash and found these two, beautiful vintage glass buttons to add to the front. They were slightly too large for the original buttonholes, so I slip stitched those shut, attached the buttons overtop and added snaps underneath. For the neckline, I wanted to add a bow, and used the piece that was originally the jacket collar to fashion this. This was permanently tacked to the overlap side of the jacket, and then secures on the underlap neckline with a snap.


To redo the skirt, I just drew a new a-line skirt pattern directly on the wrong side of the skirt. This was really winging it, but I wanted to keep the original hem intact, so using a pattern would have been a bit tricky (since the hems on even modest a-line have a definite shape). But, it would have been easy to just pick apart the entire skirt and use a simple a-line pattern. Redoing the skirt involved have to take out the old zipper, reinsert it, and add a waistband. I used some leftover pieces of the skirt fabric and Petersham ribbon for this to face the waistband.

This was probably one of the more extensive refashions I’ve done in a long, long time! It was quite worth it and I enjoyed the challenge of giving a rather ho-hum garment my own spin. I think if there was one additional adjustment I wish I had made, it would have to be overdying the fabric. I thought about it, but decided not to even try because of the high polyester content in the material—I didn’t want a splotchy dye job!

A big thank you again to Portia for asking me to be a part of The Refashioners!!! This project turned out to not only be a challenge in refitting, but also opened my eyes to some new possibilities when it comes to refashioning. Off to raid my stash of thrift store find that need altering to see what new life I can breathe into them…

Crikey, this looks so authentic!  Absolutely gorgeous. Who would ever know this started life as a frumpy 2 piece?! Thankyou so much Casey. You’ve inspred me to tackle a vintage suit jacket that’s been taunting me!
STILL more to come people so stay tuned!
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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 🙂
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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!

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