Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

From coat to skirt

Going to a vintage pound sale weekend once or twice a year has become a tradition for me and a good friend of mine. It’s usually in a warehouse somewhere in East London, we usually plan to get there first thing in the morning on the Saturday, and usually end up arriving hours after the opening on the Sunday.

We usually still have to queue up, which is a great opportunity to catch up, and we usually end up being a bit disappointed with the offer, but still manage to walk away with some goodies. Usually. Around this time last year, those goodies were these two leather coats for £1 each.

I must have spent over an hour searching for them, as most of the jackets on sale were mouldy, cracked  or had been made up of small pattern pieces. These two have seen better days too, but after dismantling them, I had enough material to make something wearable out of it.

I already have a leather-like skirt, which I don’t really wear because I don’t like the shiny material, so I knew there was a gap in my wardrobe that I now had the fabric to fill.

thesecretcostumier-recycled-leather-skirt2

The pattern is a self-drafted one, based on the also self-drafted basic skirt block I made using Winifred Aldrich’s book (I bought the old version for a couple of pounds, but psst: it’s also available for free in PDF somewhere online…). 😉 It was supposed to be a simple A-line skirt, but I had to make modifications according to the size and shape of the pieces I had from the disassembled coats.

thesecretcostumier-recycled-leather-skirt1

It has an exposed zip on the side, a simple waistband and no lining… which decision I may have to reconsider. I have worn this skirt a lot, especially during Me-Made-May last year, but somehow I keep forgetting that it sticks to my tights while walking and how annoying that is. So next time I feel bored, I may add a lining and see if that resolves the issue…

 

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TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction
Refash.

#usedtobeatablecloth: The construction

After about two weeks of an intense search for inspiration, I finally came up with a plan that I was happy enough with to start work on my third item that #usedtobeatablecloth.

I already knew that the tablecloth itself will be turned into a circle skirt, and I had an idea about the silhouette too, so I was just looking for a bodice with some nice seam lines. I went with the same design as the one on the swimsuit below, but looking at the final result now, I am pretty sure that subconsciously I was going for a Dior look after watching the Dior and I documentary a few days before finalizing the plan…

Image sources clockwise from left: 123, 4

I decided to draft my own pattern, because I have recently experimented with a design using my brand new bodice block (drafted to my size), and I was really happy with the results.

First I measured where I would like the top of the bodice to finish, and where the dart should finish, by wearing the toille for the original block. Then I took these measurements and transferred them onto my copied bodice pattern.

After this, I just marked where I would like the seam lines to be, and decided how wide the opening on the back should be for a lace up closure. Once I had all these lines, I copied the new pattern pieces to plain paper, one by one, and closed/opened the darts where it was necessary. After adding the seam allowances, I was ready to make a toille.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

I was trying to buy some calico in my local fabric shop, but it was way too expensive, so I bought some polycotton instead. After making up the toille from it, laziness triumphed and I decided it will also serve as the lining. I actually didn’t even think about lining it at first, not because I didn’t want to, but simply because I totally forgot about it.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

The size of the circle that was cut out (to turn the tablecloth into a circle skirt) was based on my waist measurement plus seam allowance, and I deducted the gap I needed to leave for the lace up back opening.

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

The bodice’s pattern pieces were cut out from 3 napkins, out of the 8 that came with the tablecloth, and were arranged more sensibly than on the photo, of course. 🙂 Two napkins probably would have been enough though, was I not an idiot who used a pen to mark the dart points, and ironed the interfacing onto the right side of the fabric…

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

I was really unsure about what kind of interfacing to use. Out of the two on hand, one was soft and drapey, but quite thick, as I bought it to use on a winter coat for a little added warmth. The other one was a piece I bought to use on a pair of structured trousers. I decided to go for the latter one, as I thought that as much as I would like to keep the qualities of the fabric, the bodice is very fitted and does actually require some structure.

The piece of fabric I used for the lining of the skirt turned out to be too small to cover more than my bum, so I decided I should try to add some tulle (yay to no hemming!) to make it long enough, and just see what happens… The-accidental-making-of-a-50s-cocktail dress, that’s what happens! 😀

As soon as I tried it on, I knew I didn’t want to turn it back into a simple summer dress anymore. All I wanted was a friend or relative to get married, or be knighted (like that’s gonna happen) immediately so that I can wear it with my incredibly uncomfortable silver heels, sipping cocktails in a beautiful garden. You get the idea…

TheSecretCostumier - #usedtobeatablecloth -The construction

The last step, that took approximately 7 hours, was making rouleau loops for the lace up back, sewing them on and sewing the back of the skirt shut. I have just read Marijana’s post on how she wrestled to make them for her version of the tablecloth dress, and I must say I totally understand her struggle.

I managed to turn mine inside out, and for the second try I even succeeded to line them up (close-enough to) perfectly. As for the “lace”…well, that I mucked up totally. It took me about 45 minutes to turn it inside out, just to find out that I sewed the wrong sides together and now the seam allowances where the bits were joined together are on the right side. Oh well… Once I figure out what I’m gonna do with it, I will show you how it all turned out!

In the meantime you can already check out Marijana’s beautiful indigo dyed #usedtobeatablecloth dress. She used a similar tablecloth to the one I made my first dress out of, and she managed to transform it stunningly!

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Refash., Thrift Store Thursdays

Quick mum jeans refashion

I scored these pair of jeans on a “vintage fair”. It was more the kind where you find used clothes on the floor, most of them looking unwashed, but only for a £1 each. I don’t really wear jeans, so I wouldn’t spend anything over a pound on it anyway, and they were in pretty good condition, so I decided to get them. I prefer the loose fit, and since it was on the bigger side it was a perfect candidate for alteration. Thrift Store Thursdays - Black jeans refashion

Thrift Store Thursdays - Black jeans refashion

Thrift Store Thursdays - Black jeans refashion I’ve actually worn them twice in their original form right after I bought them. Looking at the before pictures now, I don’t really know what I was thinking though… 🙂

Since they had no back pockets and an elasticated back, it was easy to make them fit on my waist by sewing some darts on.

I still kind of feel like there’s a bit of excess on the lower legs, but I wanted to keep them as comfy as possible and I’ve already reduced the excess twice, so knowing how lazy I am, they will stay like this for now.

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