Handmades refashioned

I’ve always loved to refashion clothes. While I’m not doing it a lot anymore (making things from scratch is often less time consuming than refashioning them) I still love the process of turning something not quite perfect into a new favourite piece. This time the starting point are two handmades that I made last year but didn’t wear a lot.

First off the Megan Nielsen Dove blouse which I tested for Megan last year (here is the original post). While I was quite happy with the result and it got a decent amount of wear (even to a fun hen do) it never felt quite right. The pattern is lovely but for the testing I decided to follow the instructions to the dot, and some of the design features are just a little bit of a departure from my usual style.

First the sleeves; while I had a lot of fun experimenting with a new sleeve shape, I never really felt like they were me. This could have something to do with me being a little clumsy and having a tendency of dipping my clothes into food (just ask my boyfriend how often that happens, it’s a lot). So I decided I had to do something about them. Instead of taking them off completely I shortened them to around 12cm, gathered and re-attached them. And I have to say I love them. They are a lot more practical and the sleeve shape feels a lot more boho and less like a wizard shirt ;-)

Next the hem. The pattern has quite a pronounced high-low hem (I believe the tester version was more extreme than the final pattern). It felt kind of cool but a little bit awkward as well, so I decided to take off around 7cm at the back. I just used the same hem facing, which meant a little bit of butchering at the side seams, but nothing a little bit of hand sewing couldn’t fix. The back still is slightly longer than the front but it now feels more wearable.

The last thing was the neck facing. I originally hadn’t top-stitched it to keep the look cleaner (even though the pattern instructions give that as an option) and the facing just always kept peeking out. I hate having to re-adjust my clothes, so top-stitching it was and to be fair, with the print it isn’t even that visible.

So all in all, just some small changes that made a massive difference. I am absolutely in love with the blouse now, the light fabric and the loose cut are the perfect combination for a summer top. It perfectly matched my mood on the lovely spring weekend we just had. I am so ready for spring!

The second piece I refashioned was my jump-lotte experiment that I posted back in November. I wore it to a wedding of a friend and felt very cool in it. Still, the fit of the bodice wasn’t great, and in real life, how many occasions are there to wear a fancy culotte-jumpsuit? So I decided to cut off the top bit and make a pair of culottes out of them. Since the jumpsuit already had a waistband, this hack was super easy. I just shortened the invisible zip and finished the waistband with some grosgrain ribbon. I hope as a separate I might be able to incorporate them in my wardrobe a little bit better. I’m still not 100% sure about the shape, but who knows maybe this will be the summer of the culotte…

So that’s it. Half a day of work and two “new” pieces in the wardrobe. Not too bad right? Hope you are es excited as I am about spring and summer sewing!

The Refashioners 2015 community challenge

Refashion_1So here is the thing, I have never participated in a sewing-related challenge before, even though I love following them online. So when the Refashioners 2015 started I was really excited and loved reading the blog posts, especially because some of my favourite bloggers were participating. Still it took several calls for submissions from the community until I asked myself, why not join the fun? It’s not that refashioning is something I am not familiar with. I love flea markets and charity shops and have refashioned lots of clothes, mainly tapering jeans or shortening skirts but I tried my hand at a couple of men’s shirts as well.

So I decided to go for it and once I had made the decision I started plotting. I had a look at a couple of shirt refashions on Pinterest but quickly realised that I didn’t want to feel like I had copied someone else. So I went straight to the charity shop and tried to find a shirt that inspired me. Originally I had wanted to play with stripes (I just love Dixie’s shorts) but since I couldn’t find a nice striped shirt I settled for this chambray one. The shirt has a very nice quality with lots of details like cute little tags and embroideries. Since it was a size L and had long sleeves there was a lot of fabric to work with and I decided to make separates as I am loving the coordinated separates trend. I went for top and skirt as the shirt already had a nice curved hemline which would work well for a skirt.

Refashion_2   Refashion_3
In a first step I tried to figure out the shortest skirt length I could get away with and cut the shirt in half. Then I took off the sleeves and the collar. First I wanted to get rid of the collar but it just felt wrong to throw away something that was so beautifully constructed and I decided to use it as a design feature. I then interfaced all the skirt pieces to give it a little bit more structure. Using one of my favourite miniskirts as a guide I added darts in the front and in the back and took in the sides. For the waistband I decided to use the collar. As this obviously wasn’t a giant’s shirt (and I am not that tiny either) the collar was way too small to fit my waist. Looking at the rest of the shirt closely I realised that the cuffs had almost the same width. So I cut the collar in half, added in the two cuff pieces and the waistband was born. I kind of love the quirkiness it adds to the skirt, at the same time I feel like wearing a huge shirt around my waist and am tempted to add a bow tie to complete the look ;-)

Refashion_4To finish the skirt off I added another button hole to the bottom to avoid indecency and put the two pockets on the back. First I thought this might be a little bit too much but in the end I really like the 70s look it gives the skirt.

Refashion_5Refashion_6For the top I was left with not that much fabric. Even though I wanted to go for a cropped look, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable with showing that much midriff (I find it rather fascinating that British teenage girls don’t seem to have that problem at all). Luckily the sleeves provided enough fabric to add a decency-hem to the bottom. I love the look of botton back tops but never make them due to all the effort they involve. This time the botton band was already there and I just had to use it. So I turned the top around, which left me with a slightly awkward looking front yoke. I’ve been seeing lots of tops lately with similar features but never felt drawn towards this look. Here I tried to embrace it and it is actually not that bad after all.

Refashion_7In the back I cut the strips from the sleeves at a slight angle and left the sides where they meet at the button band open. At the top I added one of the little buttons from the cuff to close it. It is still visible where the pockets were attached to the shirt, the fabric was slightly darker below and the holes from the stitches are still visible. It doesn’t bother me that much and I hope that with wear and washing the difference will not be that noticeable anymore.Refashion_8Refashion_9

So this is it. I have to say that this was by far the most elaborate refashion I have ever done (it took me one evening and one morning to finish it) and I really enjoyed it. I realised that with refashions I like to not have a detailed plan but let the garment and the different design features inspire me. I loved how one thing let to the other and that I ended up with two garments that I can see myself wearing a lot (however probably more as separates than together). Thanks Portia for giving me a reason to work on my refashion skills!