Dress to raglan t-shirt refashion

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I love sewing and refashioning its my hobby. I’ve tried no buying for a year and it was a useful learning curve. I am not ready to do it again, but my current position for is that I have enough clothes and don’t need any more yet my hobby is sewing – how to reconcile the two positions?

One answer I have given myself is to take the most unloved second hand items and refashion them, therefore enter this dress, reduced to £1 from £7 at a local charity shop. It’s not my size and I generally don’t gravitate to leopard print, but do like this blue version.

The fabric is a very stretchy 100% viscose knit, made in Turkey from French Connection, surely good for a t-shirt, no FBA required.

The dress was gathered with a belt from the same fabric, all the better for me to unpick.

After unpicking the belt gathering I draped what remained over myself and looked in the mirror – a t-shirt was definitely on. Not sure why this dress was so heavily reduced, it was quite nice as it was just too small for me.

At the start of this post I wanted to return to my refashion roots and not use any patterns but the truth is patterns have been tried and tested and likely to give a better result than anything I can do myself so I used a pattern

as a base for the t-shirt. I like this pattern because the sleeves are in 2 pieces and are shaped over the shoulder.

I was able to cut the front and back using the original hem and side seams from the dress. NB as you would normally sew the side seams and under arm sleeves last on a raglan tee in one move, although I’d saved myself work in the side seam area it was more tricky to sew the under arm sleeve seams.

There wasn’t quite enough fabric left over to cut the sleeves so I used this contrast orange knit for one section – blue and orange are a perfect match right?

For the neckband I used the belt of the dress, it was the right width. I could probably have stretched it out a bit more but can live with it as it is.

The leopard print was considerably more stretchy than the orange floral and there was a lot of easing in to be done.

I recently signed up to and took advantage of one their free tutorials about easing in a sleeve – basically the technique is that instead of using gathering stitches you should always ease in using your fingers to manipulate the fabric. Watch the video to understand, explains better than I ever could.

I had enough leopard print fabric left to make the sleeves a bit longer using a piece from the cowl neck of the dress which as a bonus was already hemmed.

As what was the hem of the dress was now the hem of a t-shirt its a bit wide but I quite like it like that.

I do like this make, its so comfortable and an unusual colour for me.

On the hanger

And on me

Curtain to dungarees dress refashion

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I bought this curtain from Oxfam at Earl’s court for £5.99. Strictly speaking I think the price should have been for the pair but the assistant wanted to charge me £5.99 each curtain so I just bought one as it gave enough fabric for my project.

The project was a Tilly and the buttons Cleo dungarees dress which requires a denim weight fabric so I thought a curtain would be ideal.

Of course not all curtains are suitable and they were actually quite hard to source as a lot of charity shops did not appear to have any on sale, however sometimes if asked, they would bring something out of the back room for me to look at.

This particular curtain was a good quality one from Debenhams , fully lined with a lightweight plain polyester cotton fabric.

The curtain fabric is 100% cotton, it has a herringbone type weave. Washing instructions were dry clean only so I bunged it straight in the machine on my normal cycle and there were no ill effects.

There then followed and extended and relaxing time of seam ripping, which I actually quite enjoy, to separate the lining and tape. Once this was done there were immediate concerns about the suitability of the fabric. Although reasonably thick, once removed from the lining it seemed much more floppy, and this pattern requires a fairly stiff fabric.

I had a think for a few days then came up with the solution of interfacing the whole thing. This would also mean lining the whole thing, suddenly this project was not so quick and easy. There was a suitable lining fabric immediately to hand, which was the curtain lining.

I had studied the finished garment measurements and made a size 6. The design of this dress means there are no fitting issues as the top is just a bib and the hip area is loose.

The pattern is printed on paper rather than tissue which makes cutting out much easier. Both front and back are cut out in 2 pieces then stitched together as a faux flat fell seam, and although I can see this would work well on denim, and could save fabric, I didn’t think it added much to my version.

There are several pocket options and I chose the large front bib one.

I was concerned that after using interfacing all over the main pieces it would end up too stiff, and with the added lining be too warm to wear, but its actually OK and has worked quite well.

Because it was lined, there is no visible hem which was pleasing, I don’t think I will be scared to line again in the future.

I had already bought some buttons and while I don’t think they especially go with the fabric, decided to use them anyway.

Overall its been a good result, slightly tight at the knees when I’m walking but if I’d gone with the optional front split that wouldn’t have been a problem.

Those curtains would probably make a good version of this dress too

I’ve already got another pair of curtains waiting for the same treatment. This second pair is more curtainy but won’t need lining.

Scalloped hem top refashion

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I’m trying to perfect a FBA for myself and this simple top pattern seemed like a good one to use as a practice, and I could learn how to make a scalloped hem as well. I was making view E but added approx 2 inches to the length.

My starting pieces were these two items, both of which were just used as fabric.

The nice medium weight cotton skirt was bought last year in a charity shop sale for £3. Although it’s short, the gathers yielded a decent amount of fabric, originally from Zara.

This dress I would say, has a lot of typical features of a charity shop item

a) Its smaller than my size.

b) Its a going out item which has seen a few wears and is no longer in tip top going out condition.

c) Its from a mid range brand (Next)

d) There’s not really much refashion potential…. but wait, the skirt is quite full and in a useful floaty but non transparent tencel and as it was on the £1 rail it was duly bought.

I cut the skirt off the top half of the dress, there’s also a useful long white zip and a fancy button from the neck fasten which I’ll keep. The zip was good quality and white. It straddled both the white and black sections of the dress but the insertion had been so perfect that the white of the zip was completely invisible against the black fabric.

The roses skirt fabric was a slightly heavier weight than the black dress and was going to be easier to sew and work with, all the better to cut the sleeves and neck facings from.

FBA done, sleeves waiting to be inserted

As shown above I split both the front and back pattern pieces a couple of inches above the dart. The now rather large dart was a bit lower than in the original pattern due to the FBA. I’d also added a couple of inches in length to the top as it looked a bit short on the pattern illustration.

The instructions for the scalloped hem involved cutting and sewing an extra strip, interfacing it and sewing it onto the bottom of the top before sewing and cutting the scallop shape. I found other tutorials online which suggested making the scallop hem by cutting the top extra long then turning a long hem to make the scallop.

Probably because I’d messed around with a FBA on the pattern, even though I had widened the extra strip for the scallop piece, by the time I’d sewed it in place it was slightly wider than the actual hem which made one side scallop slightly imperfect but I decided to accept this collateral damage and move on.

I think adding the interfacing makes the scallop hem a bit stiff but the interfacing did make it easy to draw and sew the shapes, it would have been much more difficult on the black.

back view
On the hanger
Scallop hem close up

The FBA is not perfect yet, the darts are slightly too big and too high but its difficult to tell with the black matt fabric.

Bonus feature – the detail of RTW zip insertion.

Already mentioned is how well the dress zip was inserted by the manufacturer but the skirt zip (a lap zip this time) deserves a tribute as well. The bottom stop wasn’t just a few stitches sewn across the teeth but a neat tab made from lining fabric – I’ve preserved that feature for when I eventually use the zip myself.

Just look at this loop for the button, not made from twisted thread like I have done, but from a teeny tiny piece of lining. How on earth did they turn that through? Sadly that came out with the zip stitches so I won’t be able to re-use it.

Dress to skirt refashion

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This dress was a longstanding inhabitant of my refashion stash, in fact it had been in there for maybe 4 years, how long was this going to go on?

I had bought the dress for next to nothing at a jumble sale, which had reached the ‘fill a bag for £1’ stage and I was swept along in the buying frenzy. I picked it out due to the Berkertex label but despite pulling it out of my refashion stash and examining it on several previous occasions I always found myself lacking in inspiration.

The dress was at 2 sizes too small for me and constructed of several panels running right down its length. Re-donation was looking like the only option but honestly, there are probably not many buyers out there for this type of dress in my local shops. I decided that I could make a skirt from it using my new favourite pattern, view D.

Fabric was a light weight viscose with mother of pearl buttons.

The pattern includes side pockets below the yolk but I decided to change these to side seam pockets, less cutting through panels involved. I had made this before what could go wrong? Here are all the elements before it was sewn together.

I had to move the buttons – more around the waist and toward the hem and split the front yolk to incorporate the front fasten – the pattern has a rear zip fasten. The yolk ended up a bit short so I had to add a small extension which made it somewhat untidy but as I rarely wear tops tucked in that won’t show.

On the hanger
On me

It’s a bit mumsy, but I suppose that’s my look.

Jeans to skirt refashion

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I have 3 crates of items to refashion, and one of them is dedicated to jeans . Recently I seemed to have been accumulating jeans faster than I was refashioning them so decided to make a denim skirt using a pattern simplicity K8175, view D. I cut it about 3 inches longer than the pattern suggests. This used 2 pairs of jeans.

Image result for simplicity K8175

The style is an A line skirt with a yolk waist. It lent itself to being cut out of several pieces. I kept some original leg seams from the jeans. These original seams are more visible than the new one I made so it looks as if the skirt front is made out of 3 panels not 2,

Contrast fabric was used for the pockets and back waist yolk – I had enough denim to use for every piece but just used the contrast as a design detail.

I also added a trim to cover up the hem seam.

The denim had 2% lycra which was a good amount for comfort but not too stretchy.

I am so pleased with this skirt, its a perfect fit and so comfy. I already have plans for another in a different fabric.