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Cruise wear to cool wear

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It was the generous meterage of fabric which first attracted me to this odd garment when I spotted it on a charity shop hanger.  I couldn’t work out what it actually was but £3 for this amount of fabric, unimpeded by few seams, seemed like a bargain not to pass up.

At home trying this contraption on, I wasn’t much the wiser.

Looking like palazzo pants with a wrap around skirt incorporated, you could also wear it as a sarong or halter neck dress.

It had a label ‘Moira C’, it’s 100% polyester, no country of origin, with a lot of small pretty purple flowers maybe violets?

I did some research and there is a video from Moira herself showing you how to wear this thing.  Apparently its ideal for cruises because of the unlimited food on offer you need clothes which are size flexible.  I’m mocking but actually I think I quite admire  Moira, a woman after my own heart.

Anyway, I was going to fabric harvest, and there was a lot of fabric, nearly 3 metres of it.

The plan was to make a top using the same pattern as in my previous post but sleeveless and with some gathers under the neckline band instead of bust darts, because I wanted to make something cool and loose to wear in the hot weather.

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I slashed and spread at the neckline to make room for some gathers

The pattern was something of a dogs dinner once I had finished with it.

I was able to get the whole of the top out one of one leg of the pants, and with these pants there are 4 legs.

The fabric slipped and frayed quite a bit, it was a job for the walking foot.

I did have to neaten the seams in a rudimentary way.  Luckily I had left generous seam allowances and was able to fold each side of the allowance down then sew the sides together, it would have been better to use French seams in the first place.

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Neatened seam allowances, I was afraid of fraying

The contrast neckband was made from ultra stiff Dutch wax, there was no way it needed any interfacing so I missed it out. I hope this stiff as a board fabric is going to loosen up once I’ve washed it a few times, which leads me to think that actually I probably should have washed it first before sewing, oh well, too late now.

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Neckband back view

At first I thought it would be possible to use the pant ties as a kind of interfacing for the sleeves, but as they were not bias cut it didn’t work out, I had to cut them off and make some actual bias binding instead.

Cutting off this first attempt at sleeve binding meant what was left of the shoulders was perilously close to the neckband.

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All, bar the hem, was done within one afternoon.

 

The gathers did give a bit of trouble, first attempt they were off to one side. I read later that you’re not supposed to use a walking foot for gathers, it squashes them, that’s probably what went wrong.  Actually they are still off a bit to one side but I’m not undoing them again.

I saw someone on the way to work wearing a top which had a straight hem at the front and a longer curved hem at the back, and decided to try out this hem idea for myself.

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Side seam hemline detail

 

The hem is probably my favourite part of this top, and I referenced this method

from byhandlondon  to get the curved hem neat.  The inspiration top wasn’t quite as long at the back, but I’m happy with what I’ve got.

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First stage of hemming, see how much this fabric frays
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Finished hem, you can see the 2 lines of stitching where I missed folding exactly on the first set of stitches

I used a book as a tailors clapper when making the hem.

The weather in London is cooler now but I am off to Mykonos in September, hoping to wear the top there.

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Dress to top refashion

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Dress before any work

A friend gave me a number of items to refashion, one of them was this dress.

The fabric was a very light and stretchy 96% viscose 4% elastane, made in India.

 

The maker was the Spanish brand Indiwoman by individual.

My friend said she liked the fabric of this dress but it didn’t hang right, and when I tried it on I could see what she meant.

While not terrible, it was a bit too short and had an unflattering belly area.  Also while I do like a wrap top I usually end up sewing them shut to avoid the inevitable bra revealing gape.

The shoulders and sleeves were good so I was going to keep them.

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First stage was to unpick the seam at the waist to free up the top section.

I sewed the wrap front shut to make a regular V neck and trimmed off the excess.

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Let me say now, I strongly believe in trying on at every stage of a refashion.  When I don’t try on I make mistakes.  I must have tried this top on about 20 times during the course of the refashion process and don’t regret any of them.

I was hoping to make a dress by adding an alternative skirt section.  This was mainly because I already have a lot of tops.

I auditioned a rather attractive table runner  bought in a jumble sale a couple of years ago.

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Although tempted, and the resulting dress would have been dramatic, in the end I decided that because the fabric of the original dress was so light, there was a danger of it being pulled down by the weight of any heavier fabric.  I also may not be brave enough to wear a table cloth out to dinner.

So it had to be a top.

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I cut off the bottom section of the dress below the pockets.  I know pockets are useful but not in a top.

Then sewed the bottom of the dress onto the now closed upper section, trimming some length and width to make it the right size.

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I tried this new top on and it looked OK but a bit boring.

I rummaged in my stash for this trim, previously removed from a skirt waistband.

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I draped it around the neck and it looked good, especially the way the point fitted the middle of the V.

After a few goes to get the trim to lie flat when being worn,  I am now happy with the result, hope my friend is too. I am quite pleased the joins are not obvious.

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I wore the top on a recent trip to Northern Ireland

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A fail, a fix, a frill and some flowers

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I had some pink flowery stretch jersey fabric in mind to make up a top using the Walkley pattern, originally given free with a magazine.

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This design is very simple, just 2 pieces the same back and front, but the boat neck was a bit too wide the first time I made it.  Other users of the pattern had also reported the same problem of a too wide neck.

 

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This is the first Walkley  made (from an old t-shirt and contrast viscose)  I found the boat neck too wide.

Some adjustments were made to the shoulders and neck on the pattern which made the neck narrower.  Before cutting out my flowery fabric, which was a rather small piece with no room for error,  I decided to make up a toile to test if the pattern adjustments had worked.

Using a men’s t-shirt from my stash the upper section of the design was constructed, up to just under the armholes.  I am glad I did this because further modifications were needed to correct some gape at the neckline, job done.

 

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top section of pattern after multiple alterations to the neckline and shoulders

 

After a few days had passed,  I wondered if there was some way I could make this practice half piece into a wearable item.  I found a turquoise t-shirt in my stash, cut out the bottom part of the design, and sewed it onto the top half.

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Clearly this was never going to produce a perfect result because you would normally sew the pieces together to make a complete back or front first.  What really spoilt it was that the top t-shirt had a small white stripe in it and the stripe placement at the join hadn’t worked out well.  At first I tried to re-sew the top and bottom halves together along a stripe but this just meant one side of the t-shirt was longer than the other.

The only answer seemed to be to cover up the mess in some way.

I had noticed that a lot of items in the shops at the moment have frills sewn on in a late 70’s sort of way.  A frill in the middle of my creation would do the cover up job perfectly.

I cut out a strip of fabric 4 in wide from the turquoise t-shirt , hemmed it, and stitched it on, pleating as I went along, to make a frill.

The result is erm.. acceptable, it is never going to be anything other than casual wear but too good to go in the bin, I don’t like to waste fabric if I can help it even if its just a couple of old t-shirts.

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The frill placement is not quite straight, so it covers the white lines,  but its not very obvious when its being worn.

Bonus feature:

Here is the other top, for which the one above was a practice.  It is made up in a flowery stretch knit fabric, bought in Norway last year.  Its a photo like cherry blossom print.

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There was some urgency involved in its construction because I was on holiday with a friend when I bought the fabric and was meeting her again very soon, so I had to get this top made quickly if I wasn’t going to miss a showing off opportunity.

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Long skirt to top refashion

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I bought this long skirt because I was attracted to the large amount of fabric and attractive border and it cost me £3.49, which was 10% of the original, still attached, price tag of £35.

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The fabric was 100% polyester and there was a short gauzy white underskirt which I ended up using for facings.

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My plan was to make a top, using a pattern given to me by a friend, incorporating the border of the skirt and the original hem.

The fabric was very light and floaty and the brand was ‘Glamorous’, one I had never heard of.  I looked it up and it appears to be an online shop of the type that claims to offer massive discounts. I don’t think that glamorous would have been my first choice of description for the original skirt though.

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When I started cutting the pattern pieces out, it became obvious that this fabric was trouble.  It slipped and frayed all over the place,  even after weighing  it down in every place possible.

My newly and expensively purchased ‘walking foot’ did help in the actual sewing though.

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Here is the finished top.  It will be good for travelling light because it takes up only the space of a light scarf and doesn’t really crease.

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Bonus feature: Refashionables in Modern Art

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On a recent trip to Tate Liverpool I was drawn to the above exhibit by Michelangelo Pistoletto  entitled  ‘Venus of the rags’ .  The description describes the mound of clothes as  ‘the detritus of modern society’ but I was thinking ‘that looks like a rather nice vintage scarf’

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