Refash., Uncategorized

The Refashioners 2016

Another year, another project done for The Refashioners challenge at Portia Lawrie’s website, the Makery. Last year I turned a shirt into a summer dress, this time around the item to be given a new life was a pair of jeans.

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-12

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-13

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-15

I got mine from my favourite virtual charity shop: eBay. It was a large men’s, non-stretch, unbranded pair of blue jeans, and I think I paid about £5 for it (including delivery). I had no idea what to turn it into, all I knew was that making trousers would have been too easy and that I didn’t need another denim jacket, since I love the one I already own. So I decided to turn it into a dress that isn’t too tacky – not too sure if I managed to achieve this… 😀

I started looking for something structured and minimalistic, so I searched for dresses made of leather, but couldn’t really find anything interesting. While I was researching ideas for the tablecloth dress, I stumbled upon a beautiful Delpozo number and I knew straight away that I found what I was after.

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-11

With my new found courage for pattern drafting, I made one for it in no time. After adding a bit of boning, I managed to resolve the issue with the gaping of the under-bust area, that must have been avoided by using pre-shaped foams in the original dress. I am pretty sure that I was supposed to add boning to the side seams, but to be super honest I was too lazy to go back and do it (again).

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-16

The bodice was relatively easy to put together after having a go at it while making up the toille, but I did not have any plans for the skirt. I just attached it with some pleats in place to match the waistline, and then worked it out from there. Unfortunately I did not have enough fabric for the style I would normally wear (A-line or a circle skirt), so I went with a pencil skirt – that not only makes cycling fairly difficult, it also makes the dress look more formal than intended.

the-secret-costumiers-the-refashioners-2016-2

I did not realize that I created a horrible little pouch on the front of the skirt by turning the pleats into impromptu (and way too long) darts in the last-minute, so please excuse that mess.

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-10

I am pretty happy with the fit on the back though. The pockets have been slightly moved, darts hidden behind them, and an invisible zipper inserted. I was going to use a golden exposed zip all the way down the back, but I had to admit to myself that the invisible zipper looked a tad bit more classy than the shiny one. In order to try out the two different looks, I inserted both zips twice, then when I decided to stay with the invisible one, it broke while trying it on. Realizing that I can’t fix it, and therefore I will have to buy and insert a new one was one of the less relaxing moments of sewing, to put it mildly… 🙂

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-9

Do you know that feeling when you are cooking a very fancy, very complicated dinner, and when you sit down to eat after hours of sweating over it, you just don’t feel hungry anymore. No? Well, that’s how I feel about this dress anyway. 🙂

While I am quite happy about how that sad pair of jeans got transformed, and about the relative success of my pattern cutting, I doubt that I will wear this dress a lot next summer. I will either change the skirt totally, turn it into something else, or give it away…

Do check out the other entries too, they are pretty mind-blowing! And again, thanks for the photos Robbie!

the-secret-costumier-the-refashioners-2016-5

 

Advertisements
Standard
dress upcycled from a tablecloth
Refash.

#usedtobeatablecloth: The reveal!

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing” (Camille Pissarro)

And it’s over. The summer and the #usedtobeatablecloth challenge too. Hopefully some of you have found inspiration here in the past few weeks, and there are tablecloths out there turned into something wearable and cherished.

Two sewing friends definitely did, and turned their charity shop finds into some beautiful pieces of clothing.

Marijana, from Sew2Pro, found a very similar tablecloth to what I made my Little White Dress from. She decided to dye it to indigo and made a spaghetti strap summer dress. I really love the placement of the lace details and the interesting neckline, and as far as I know there is some leftover fabric, so watch that space!

Kaci, from Textile and Stitch, bought this crochet tablecloth for a mere $1 and turned it into something Anthropologie would sell for about 200 times more. 🙂 I think it’s super difficult to find anything crocheted that doesn’t look too cute or granny like, but with the simple design and it being monochrome, she managed to pick something that goes very well with a contemporary outfit. It might just be my laziness, but I always love a nice use of the border for the hems, and the ones on this jacket look absolutely perfect.

And I’m done with my dress too, finally…

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

We went to my favourite park to have a picnic and take some photos (thank you Robbie!), and I think I got a bit more comfortable than I was supposed to in this kind of dress, so I had to pull the dress up a few times… I am now thinking of inserting boning into the sides and maybe even into the front seam lines, but it’s not high on my list of priorities at the moment.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

I already went into detail about how this dress came together, so I will not bore you with that anymore. 🙂 While I was making it, I felt that excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time during sewing.

You know, that feeling when you can see something you are working on taking shape, and you haven’t eaten for 5 hours, because you just don’t want to waste time on that instead of getting to the point where you can try it on for the first time. And you try it on. And you realise that even though you will probably only wear it a handful of times, whenever you look at it you will still be happy that you have created something you find beautiful.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The dress

Standard
TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The material & the pattern
Refash.

#usedtobeatablecloth: The material & the pattern

When I thought about putting together the #usedtobeatablecloth sewing challenge, I didn’t actually think there would be anyone joining me. Luckily, and to my biggest delight, there are some very inspiring people out there who thought it would be a good idea to make something out of a tablecloth. By now, some of these ladies even have their pattern pieces cut out. As for me, I have just decided what direction to take when chopping mine up….

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The material & the pattern

I got this circular tablecloth for £6.60 (including postage), and it came with 8 matching napkins as well! I was a bit surprised by the texture of the fabric, as I assumed it would be similar to the white cotton one I used to make the Little White Dress. In reality, it’s a very soft fabric, fairly densely woven, using probably somewhat synthetic, pretty thick yarn.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth - The material & the pattern

It has white embroidery, some drawn thread-work decorations and a scalloped hem. The napkins are mostly plain, with only one little flower embroidery on them.

TheSecretCostumier - Usedtobeatablecloth Before4

The plan is to use the tablecloth as a circle skirt, by simply cutting out a hole in the middle to the size of my waist (plus seam allowance, of course!). After this, I would use the remaining fabric and some of the napkins to make the bodice.

Burdastyle pattern & dress, Selfportrait dress, Asos white dress

Right now, I’m thinking of going with a basic shape, either with some sort of cups attached to the middle bit (like on the pink & white dress), or I might use my trusty Burdastyle pattern again (first two images)!

Since the front would be fairly simple, on the back I am going to attempt to make a laced up opening to make it a little more exciting, as well as more office appropriate than my usual open back dresses.

I should be able to finalize these plans during the week and start sewing it this weekend…Fun times! 🙂

Standard
The Secret Costumier - #Usedtobeatablecloth sewing challenge
Refash.

It used to be a tablecloth…

I was so amazed by the many comments that post about a tablecloth turned into the Little White Dress received, that I decided I will take Marijana’s (from Sew2Pro) advice and set up a little challenge. The aim, quite simply, is to encourage everyone out there with some old linen in the bottom of their drawer, to turn it into the ultimate summer piece.

The prize to be won is that feeling you get when someone asks where you bought that awesome dress/cute top/lovely skirt, and you get to say that you’ve made it with your own two hands…and that it #usedtobeatablecloth.

If you are interested (and I really hope you are!), here is a quick breakdown of the challenge:

The objective:

Turn an old piece of cloth (curtain/tablecloth/napkin/bed linen/etc.) into a garment. To me, nothing says summer more than a heavily embroidered, lacy, romantic summer dress/top/skirt. I think upcycling is the most rewarding way to create a garment. In this case you get to work with some beautiful fabrics, and you are actually doing good by giving a new life to something long forgotten.

Materials:

  • You will need an old tablecloth/bed linen/curtain/cloth napkins/etc. You could either use something you find at home, or you could buy an antique/vintage one from a charity shop, or from online (eBay is fantastic for this).
  • You can also add trimmings, pompoms, ribbons, or any other materials you have at hand.

What to look for:

  • Your search words should be something like: embroidery, lace detail, drawn threadwork, Madeira, Irish lace, linen, etc.
  • When using vintage materials it is very likely to get some stains or tears on the fabric. Do check for these, but don’t worry too much, with careful designing and cutting, you can get away with most of them.
  • You should also consider the shape and size of what you are buying. For example, a circle tablecloth might work beautifully with certain designs, but it could be very challenging with others.

And here comes the exciting part: what should you make out of your tablecloth you ask?

I made a dress and an off the shoulder top (see above) from mine, with some fabric still left over, but the possibilities are endless. The bigger linen you can get your hands on, the more options you’ll have.

Here are a few inspirational images of clothes probably not made of curtains or tablecloths, but they could have totally been 🙂

12, 3456,  78,  9, 10,  11121314, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2021, 22,  2324,

Where do I sign up, you ask? In the comments please! I’d love to see what everyone is up to (not just tablecloth refashioning wise, btw), and if you let me know once you’re done, I would love to share your creations here. If you could  just put down your name and your blog’s url/your email address, and say if you’d like to be added to the Pinterest board -so that you can pin there too-, that would be awesome! For now you will find some more inspirational images, but I’m hoping it will fill up with your photos.

You can also use the #usedtobeatablecloth (or curtain/bed linen/whatever it used to be) hashtag on Instagram or Twitter if that’s more your thing.

Since “the ultimate inspiration is the deadline”, here is one:

Saturday 27th August 2016

If you finish your piece earlier, you’ll have more time to wear it and you’ll be able to take some great holiday photos in it. If you finish it just in time, you’ll still have the Indian summer to take it for a test run.

I am making another piece and I’ll share my progress here every week, so if you’d like to follow along, in the next 5 weeks I will post about how I:

  • select the material;
  • choose the design with the fabric in mind;
  • choose/draft the most appropriate pattern;
  • cut and sew the garment.

If you have any questions, need help with anything at all, I am more than happy to help. Happy sewing! 🙂

Standard
Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

60s dress…well, it used to be!

Happy Independence Day for those who celebrate it! For this month’s Thrift Store Thursdays I would like to show you what I’ve done to this poor dress I found in one of those fill-your-bag-for-a-pound charity shop events.

2

The dress originally was a typical 60’s shift dress, which (as you can see below) does not work well for my shape, so I decided to turn it into one of those sets consisting of a crop top and a high waist skirt. Since I didn’t have a lot of material to work with (and because I find elastic bands really comfy), I decided to use that as the waistline for the new skirt. I am now thinking about changing it to a wider band, because the crop top turned out to be slightly too short and it does leave a lot of skin on show. I have simply changed how the skirt buttons up and switched the flashy gold buttons to flat black ones.

As for the top, I turned it around, put in darts (which btw look a lot more pointy on the picture below than they do IRL) and reshaped the armholes. All this happened without using a pattern, which is probably why the new neckline is kind of choking…

To be honest I haven’t worn this together as a set yet (or the top on it’s own for that matter), but the skirt works well for work, especially worn with my favorite jumper (like I did for Me-Made-May earlier this year). I really love the material – I’m not sure if you can see it, but the blue dots are not printed on the fabric, but woven into it which gives it an interesting texture. Nice touch! 🙂

5

Standard
Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Shirt refash!

Have you heard of the Refashioners? I’ve stumbled upon Portia Laurie’s blog about a year ago, while checking out a pin about a stunning upcycling project. She invites bloggers every year to – you’ve guessed it – refashion old pieces of clothing. This year round there’s even a competition with an absolutely amazing amount of sewing related prizes, and what’s best, everyone is welcome to join in.

So for this month’s Thrift Store Thursday, I decided to show you what I’m entering the competition with… and you know, if there’s going to be a vote, feel free to choose my dress if you like it! 😉 )

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

I got this plain, blue Marks & Spencer shirt in one of Brighton’s many vintage shops for £1. I had no idea what to do with it, and I was just gonna use it to make a toilet for the final version, but I thought I was running out of time, so I just I went with this.

I wanted to make a folksy/boho summer dress with loads of details. I was looking for embellishments on Pinterest that could be recreated quickly. Originally I was going to get guipure lace and appliqué it on the dress, but I couldn’t find red in the shop, and after eliminating black and white, that was the colour I was going with.

I knew already what shape I wanted the dress to be like, but after assembling the top bit (quilting it, attaching the piping, attaching the ribbon, then the lining), I realized that the front and back piece alone wouldn’t be enough for a gathered A-line skirt. I played with all the remaining pieces (the cuffs, the collar, etc) until I could work out how to make a bigger piece of fabric. I wanted to have pockets and I actually had to have pockets, as there was a slit on one of the side panels – where the placket was inserted into the sleeve originally.

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

TheSecretCostumier - £1 shirt turned into summer dress for #therefashioners community challenge

The fit is not exactly perfect as the skirt dives down at the back, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I am quite happy with how it turned out as it’s super comfortable and I really love how the red pops on the blue.

Standard