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Save the Dress!

Time for Portia Lawrie’s  The Refashioners 2018 challenge! This year we had to find a look/garment we loved and produce a version of it, by refashioning unloved/unworn items. I found lots of looks I loved but was scared off by the thought of trying to recreate. I actually started with a Dries Van Noten outfit, but shelved that after messing up the first piece.

Then, I came across this beauty from Save the Queen! I love the stark black/white/red colour combo, the sporty proportions, and the gorgeous playful penguin print (would love to get a hold of a few yards of THAT).

So, off to the thrift store… I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find the right print with enough fabric to make me a swingy shift dress shape – I’m not a petite woman. I was really hoping to find a maxi dress for extra yardage, but no luck.

Finally, I found a great dress with a strong graphic black/white print and it looked hardly worn. Also picked up a red shirt to cut the sleeves from. Everything was marked down further, so spent $7.75 total (including a pair of trousers for my son).

The Refashioners 2018Unfortunately, I couldn’t cut the whole dress out of the skirt panels, so I had to use part of the bodice which had shaped panels, but at least the busy print hid the seam lines.

I made the sleeves from the red shirt sleeves and the bottom of a black dress I’d previously chopped into tunic length. The trim was thrifted by a friend and gifted to me a while ago.

I’m not sure about the collar on me so I faced the neckline and just tacked the collar on for now. I didn’t want pearls and beads on my collar so cut up a press stud bracelet I made a few years ago and stitched on a few of those for an embellishment.


All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the result!




Keeping My Belly in Check(s)

Self-discipline regarding food and drink is NOT my strong point. As a result, my mid section is not what I’d like it to be (in fact, it’s way more). I do quite a bit of sucking in, but sometimes I’d just rather wear a loose top, and breathe easy.

I’d had these two Goodwill bargains hanging around for quite a while, and thought it might be fun to combine them.

T shirt refashion









I cut most of the blue sweatshirt off (another piece for the fabric stash), and cut the XXL men’s shirt across at the armpits. I switched the shirt to button down the back. It was wide enough to make pleats – one inverted at CF, and one either side of the button band on the back.

I stitched the chopped off garments together, and overlocked the edges.

Well…..not the most imaginative of refashions, but it’ll help to hide the belly until I wrangle my appetite under control!

Later that same week…………….

Hmm, had left Sheila standing quietly in the corner for a couple of days, wearing this and thought it looked quite cute. Then, I put it on and had my husband take photos  – it looked terrible!!

I will use the idea of the chopped off T with a shirt bottom, but I guess Sheila can have this one – not that she gets out much, usually just hangs around the house naked!


Giving Me the Cold Shoulder

BAG SORTING…..REFASHION 2 – the Asymmetric Sweater

I do like asymmetry in clothes, although it’s always more work in pattern-cutting, and for cutting out (no cutting on the fold).

The second Goodwill garment I pulled out of the bag was a Cynthia Vincent lightweight sweater. I think it was labelled L, but was definitely not “L” enough for me! It’s a pretty sweater, but made for a slender girl (who doesn’t feel the cold on one arm, and doesn’t need to raise the other one very high).

The band at the hem was really tight, so that was a no-brainer to chop off.

Also, I am not wearing anything one-shouldered (and therefore braless), so that would definitely have to be changed.

Cynthia Vincent sweater

After chopping off the band, I cut off some of the batwing – it was a pretty long sleeve. I figured I could use that fabric to make some kind of shoulder strap. I really liked the draped pocket on one side, so wanted to keep that.


This was one of those refashions I kept messing about with, not sure how it was going to turn out. I kept trying it on, and pinning scraps of fabric over my shoulder. In the end, I used some of the hem band, and chopped off sleeve fabric to make a wide shoulder strap.

WP_20170325_12_01_55_Pro_LI (2)

So, the sleeve side now had a very deep armhole and was draping oddly because my hips were pushing it to its’ limits. So, I overlocked – green lines – to make a more modest armhole. Then, I cut up the side to release the hip drag – pink line. This actually created a cool asymmetric hemline – those happy accidents, eh? (story of my refashioning life)

I overlocked all the edges and zigzagged narrow hems.

I need to try this on with a lot of things to find the best look, but it’s something different for me for the princely sum of $3 again!

Shorter and Wider

I pulled a really cute grey dress out of the refashioning bag – it was too tight around the bust area, and a little too short for me – creates an attractive picture, eh?

I liked the neckline shape, and the print combo, but this wasn’t going to work without some changes.WP_20170409_13_44_24_Pro (2)


SO, first thing, cut out the plain grey lining, and shorten it to be a top – that bit was easy….tape measure, shears, overlocker.

NEXT, make it wide enough – not so easy……inspiring music, a strong coffee, and some thinking.

I decided to cut down the centre back, and use the grey lining fabric to make button and buttonhole bands adding an inch or so around the body. Well, that inch wasn’t really enough, so what now?

GOT IT – grabbed a piece of black sweatshirt fabric from the mess stash, and added a panel down the back. I didn’t bother with buttonholes, just stitched buttons through.

Isle of Man Expansion Project

I loved the retro look of this Isle of Man T-shirt I snagged from my son’s outgrown pile. Of course, it was too snug for me – looked like I was trying to squeeze into my kid’s clothes……………huh!!

Isle of Man T shirt refashion

First thing I did after practically asphyxiating while wrangling it off over my head was open up the front and back necklines.

  • The ideal track to accompany this project was Motorcycle by The Rumblestrips, though my favourite on the album is Alarm Clock (who doesn’t fantasize about taking e sledgehammer to their alarm clock, at least once!)


It was a heavier cotton jersey with very little stretch, so I toyed with adding panels down the sides like I had done with a previous T-shirt “expansion”…

…but, in the end, I replaced the back with a contrast, looser, ribbed jersey to add some ease. I unpicked the sleeves off first, did some chopping, then added the new back piece. I overlocked a contrast neck band on, too. At this point, I was going to keep it sleeveless with black trim around the edge, but the front armholes were not a very snug fit, so I thought sleeves would disguise that better. I used the old sleeves as a pattern piece, cutting the black ones shorter, to make more of a cap sleeve.

And, voila, expansion plan complete!

T shirt refashion

T shirt refashion       T shirt refashion

Not Ready to Retire

I decided to organize my giant bags of potential refashion victims.

So…..BAG #1

  • took everything out
  • folded garments
  • put aside things to try on if they might only require a quick tweak
  • listed everything in the bag to cut down on future rummaging

…………..3 days later

  • try-ons are still folded on the sofa
  • BAGS #2 & beyond remain unsorted, because I did actually achieve 2 refashions before I ran out of weekend.

REFASHION 1 – the Python (?) Print T-shirt

When I was a student, I loved wearing animal prints for their kitsch and retro quality. Now, many years (and lbs on) I fear me, clad in printed animal skins, may give off more of a Golden Girls/Florida Retirement Home vibe!

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and if the whole project goes pear-shaped (to match the bod), I lose a couple of hours I could have spent cleaning the kitchen, and $3 to Goodwill, not much of a risk.

Needed music that was upbeat – Eight Legs kept me going.

I pinned the shirt together at shoulder seams, so CB and CF were on a fold, and cut a slightly deeper neck at the front, and a square one on the back.

Still not convinced I could pull off the print as is, I decided to add a contrast neckband, hoping it would look a bit more sporty. I used a striped scrap from the stash, and stitched on one continuous band running from the vertical side of the back neck around the front to the other side, and a short band across the horizontal of the back neck. I stitched on 2 straps in a V for extra detail.


Not bad, hopefully it will look OK with faded jeans, or denim skirts (I’m partial to a denim skirt or two in the summer – disguises my bum better than jeans do!).


And, Refashion #2 follows…..










Sharing the same jeans/genes ?

Youngest son cleared out his closet before leaving for college, and put a lightly worn pair of Hollister jeans in the thrift store pile.

I like dark denim and need some more pants (I prefer skirts, but need pants for walking to work).

Now, youngest son and I may share the same genes, but I could not wear his jeans without some major “up-sizing”!

By the way, today’s refashion is brought to you by the album Well, Well, Well by Milburn. I actually listened to it twice all the way through because I got involved in the project and forgot to change music.

I just decided to kind-of-randomly chop away/add in some contrast fabric/do a lot of pinning and trying on/cross my fingers……… other words, wing it. I used a really muted tartan from Cali Fabrics as my contrast.

Unsurprisingly, I ended up doing a bit of patching together, due to my complete lack of planning, so had to add some pockets to cover unwanted seams. Luckily, I had cut quite a bit off the leg length, so had some scraps to work with.


Well, now I can get them on, AND do up the buttons (grrr…darn button fly, prefer zips).

Not bad for a Sunday afternoon’s work and a little fabric from the stash – thanks, son!