The Refashioners was the main reason that I started this blog (realizing that I wrote too long Facebook posts for my contributions, wishing for a place to just put up a link to). Now it’s finally that time of year again! This year, the theme is “inspired by”: Find a picture on the Internet, take inspiration from it to create something from unloved textiles. In other words, lot’s of freedom! So here is my Refashioners 2018 project:
I’m very often like this:
Oh, I love this look! I should buy that skirt!
(Here is where I found it: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/fashion-zen-11201501/patchwork-suede-skirt-4576315446)
But wait… it’s too short for me. I need to be able to move about both at work and at home with the one-year-old. And it seems to be suede. I can’t buy things I can’t wash in the regular machine, or it will not be worn. Oh and those buttons… Too shiny for me. But I still love this skirt! And before I could make up my mind it was out of stock. But hey, I can make one! Not only that, I can make it longer and in a material that I can wash!
I went into my stash of outgrown, worn and “thrifted-to-become-something” garments. There I found four “fabrics” that I really liked together:
But, looking at the inspiration picture, two of the colours were just not right. First, I tried exchanging the blue trousers with a thrifted bedsheet (which I have previously used for toiles, it was once enourmous):
I decided that this won’t do either, so I went to the thrift store and got these two complements:
It’s a linen skirt and what looks like a fake suede jacket, possibly a failed sewing project since the facings are constantly flipping out and none of the seams are finished, not even a hem. I washed them both in the machine and they survived so I decided I had my colours even though they were now in different materials:
For buttons, I dug through the box of buttons I once got from my mum when she was cleaning out her sewing supplies when moving house. It contains both her old stash of buttons, and my grandmother’s as well. Some buttons are never used and some have remains from being cut off from worn out garments. One of these buttons is missing a small splinter, so I guess it’s a previously used and saved pile of buttons:
They also go well with but stand out from the colours in the skirt.
(I considered the ones below just to make it similar to the inspiration picture but decided these buttons were too small and I still didn’t like the look of the shiny buttons on these colours. And also, they have the text “for gentlemen”… Hmmm… Not sure I want to walk around with that over my belly and thighs!)
In that cleaning out of my mothers sewing room, she also gave me lots of bias binding leftovers. This was one of them and I thought it would be good to use on the hem (if long enough).
My other grandmother (not the one who contributed to the buttons) liked many different crafts and I still have her old “misc crafts bag”, isn’t it beautiful:
In it, I found the perfect little leather scrap for the buttonholes (the small grid is 1cm squares and the large approximately 2 inches):
Of course, this was not enough for all the buttonholes so I ended up only using a little bit of it for the buttonhole in the waistband. The rest of the buttonholes I would have to make with the sewing machine.
Sum up of old and new materials:
Parts of two pairs of jeans, a linen skirt, a thrifted bedsheet and a fake suede jacket.
Buttons from mum’s/grandma’s button stash
Bias binding from mum’s old stash
Leather scrap from grandma’s misc crafts bag
Sewing & Pattern
I used V1247 as a base. I traced the yoke and skirt into the same pattern piece and then made a toile (from the blue thrifted bedsheet). After adjustments of the toile, another tracing and measuring the proporions on the inspiration picture, there were loads of calculations!
I also laid everything out several times to be certain that I sewed the right pieces together…
The red linen skirt behaved very unsteady when I cut it, so to make it more similar to the jeans I applied some fusible interface. I should have done that with the fake suede as well. And the brown stretch jeans. They’re very sloppy compared to the other parts of the skirt. I also interfaced the waistband as one piece.
Looking closely at the inspiration picture, two different yellow colours are visible. To get the lighter yellow, I put one of the legs of the yellow trousers in bleach (after measuring exactly how much I needed). It didn’t turn out great, but I managed to cut around the lighter parts or place them in the seam allowance. Next time i dye or bleach something I will have to remember to use something holding the fabric down below the surface. Overall, the colour turned to exactly what I was aiming for. The lighter parts are from where the fabric peeked up from the solution:
To make sure I got all the seams lining up, I very carefully pinned every intersection and also used a walking foot when sewing it all together.
I didn’t finish the edges on the patches, because I tought I would topstitch on each side of the seam. But when I got to that stage, I zoomed in on the inspiration picture and realized the patches were zig-zagged together! I quickly decided I would try that look as well! We’ll see how well it holds up. I might have to finish the eges more thoroughly later.
(I needed darts in the back, and they got to go in between the patches.)
V1247 has pockets in the front and I decided to make that kind of pockets even though I wasn’t really following the pattern (eliminating the yoke containing the pocket). This was easily done by inserting pockets between two patches. By this time, I had very little left of the yellow fabric so I only made facings and used the blue thrifted bedsheet to make the pocket bags.
As I mentioned, I didn’t have enough leather to make all the buttonholes bound. But the top one in the waistband got one. It turned out really pretty, but was a beast to turn and secure! It still looks a bit messy, but I’m good with that. It’s so much better than when I first turned it.
For the rest of the buttonholes, I got to use the new buttonhole foot on my sewing machine! I sewed them twice to get really sturdy buttonholes, which was easy since the machine did practically all of it. I only had to make the initial adjustments, place the fabric and press “play”. This was so much fun:
And look at that line of perfectly identical buttonholes!
Always a satisfactory feeling when cutting them open!
Then, only the hem left. The bias binding was just the right length, less than 10 cm was left when I was done:
Finally, a finished skirt! Very much like my inspiration, but long enough to wear and washable. Lovely buttons. And pockets! Do you see them?
Now, since there was an element of trying to imitate the inspiration picture, we (me and my boyfriend) felt that we had to make an effort with the photography of the results. Remember, here is the inspiration:
Some compromises had to be made. I have a top in that colour. It doesn’t have sleeves, but in the spirit of sustainability, I’m not getting another that I don’t need, so sleeveless will have to do. Boots… Well, I recently got a new pair of winter boots that have brown elements. This is a lucky coincidence: my old worn out ones were black, and when I realized I had to get a new pair I decided to try a different colour. They are not as high, but I don’t think I’ll find a high pair that fits my calves anyway, so winter boots it is. I have a party purse with a chain (as it turned out, not quite long enough) but it’s too glittery, so I put it inside my (fake?) leather purse -> leather purse with chain strap! I also borrowed my boyfriend’s watch and tried to make my hair look “intentionally messy” but chickened out of cutting bangs. I haven’t had bangs since I was 10, and still remember what a trouble it was growing them out to their current long state. My gray hairs took the role of the highlights. I don’t have all that many rings and they are not as special as the ones in the inspiration pictures, but took what I had. Results:
A million thanks to boyfriend M for that splendid photography!
But to be honest, it’s too cold to wear it like that where we live. I will probably use this skirt like this now that it is almost winter:
(Somebody’s happy to finally get to put on something warm… The sweater is a hand-me-down from my mum or grandma. One I was given as a teenager during the early 90’s.)
Or like this:
My very favourite wool sweater which I got in Lerwick in 2006. Still keeping me warm! I was so happy to put my hands in the pockets here! My hands were freezing cold.
But that’s indoors. Outdoors I generally look like this during this time of the year:
This was indeed a chilly and windy day!
Thank you so very much, Portia, for the wonderful and inspiring challenge!
There is more material left than went into the skirt, and that feels very counterproductive to the goal of less waste in the world. But don’t worry, I’ve got plans for the leftovers. The rest of the fake suede jacket would be perfect for refurbishing my old ratty handbag-packpack. For the rest of the leftover fabric: I won’t make it on time for another 2018 refashion, but here’s another inspiration (one of them… I want to make basically everything she makes…):