So, when Zoe asked me I felt I wanted to blog about something that would do her proud & show what an impact her blogging & inspiring refashioning & style has had on me. However, to be truthful I don’t do lots of refashioning/ repurposing, starting most of my sewing from scratch. I do have a mountain of intentions though! So I’m taking Zoe’s path & trying some for myself but developing it for an area that maybe I’m not the only one to struggle over.
I think many of us find it hard to part with some of our old favourites when it comes to donating to charity, even if our old favourites no longer fit us or have “had their day”. But how many of us find it easy to put things we’ve made into charity shops/ thrift stores? I know I struggle & it’s not because I think my lazy stitching & poor seam finishes will get found out! – I can cope with that. Am I sentimental to find it a challenge to give up a piece of clothing that meant something to me as I chose the pattern, looked up the yardage & carefully selected “the right” fabric? We all pour love, attention & many hours (even days) into some of our makes, but what do you do with them when you no longer wear them?
Or come to think of it, other handmade items, maybe made for you by someone you love, that you totally recognise the skill, time & love poured into every minute dedicated to making it, but for some reason can’t bring yourself to throw away or pass on to charity. Or something for which the fabric is right right right, but the make is wrong wrong wrong. Instead it sits in your wardrobe or in a cupboard, passed over for some reason. Maybe it is because it is just too “1980s darling” even for the recent 80s revival.
Maybe you’ve changed weight/shape. Maybe you were proud of it when you made it but through practice your skill level is oh so much better now & you always pass it over in favour of something that you feel better reflects your current standard of making? Or let’s face it, tastes change & it is no longer flavour of the month….
It seemed appropriate to have a think about this conundrum because I guess that I might not be the only one who faces this challenge. Yep, I have things in my cupboard & wardrobe that I made yet don’t wear (except maybe for me made months just to ring the changes a bit). This being Zoe’s blog, queen of refashioning & repurposing, it felt like something to ponder & spring into action with some ideas.
So, I have taken the three items above & given them a new lease of life. Many of you are experts in refashioning, but being one who practises this infrequently, this has stretched me in new charming ways....Easiest to tackle for a newbie, a dress in swoon-inducing fabric but being a good 10+ years old is far too short & has no hem left to let down (it must have been quite a short original style!)
I remember choosing this fabric & being totally head over heels in love with it. It's got such a great drape & the colours!! Zing! However, I suppose it could be worn as a tunic with leggings, but I don't do this much. The dress still fits like a dream, so I don’t need to make any alterations. All I did was to cut off a chunk from the bottom & re-hem at a hip length. The back zip is still operational & I know I will get exponentially more use out of this in its new guise.
Second up, a dress with cute fabric but even though it fits, it’s just not doing it for me. With the full skirt I know I can remake it into something by unpicking it & harvesting the zip. I’ve taken my current fave, Simplicity 2154 & made it preppy. I didn’t have enough fabric for anything more than the bodice, but that’s OK, I just found an old cotton sheet to use for the collar & bow. Facings in this pattern are made from bias strips, or in this instance just some bias binding I already had.
Another success, which I can imagine wearing both at work & dressed down with black jeans. But what about the original dress’s bodice? Not being one to waste it, I had an idea. How about something practical? I sewed up the centre back seam. Made the bodice & lining into a bag & sewed up most of the armholes to create ....
A peg bag! Having a clothes hanger on hand I was able to work out the gap needed to secure it & sewed away. To make the most of such a practical everyday item embellishment was in order with a lace collar & some buttons. What do you think?
And last but by no means least. That jumper. It’s a classic 80s body-engulfing but exceedingly warm number. It’s huge. It was knitted by Mum & it would have taken ages – I think the intricate knitting is what’s described as entrelac. Do you understand that neither she nor I feel the urge to wear it now? So with agreement by its creator and a spell under my overlocker later it is now rather a kooky cushion for my lounge...
You can see some velvet ribbon I used to tie up the edges just so that it is potentially removable. I had trepidations about cutting through a hand knitted jumper – how quickly would it unravel? Would it sew strong & straight? Hopefully I can reassure you that it was easy – I literally secured the stitching line with pins (but you could always baste if worried) & stuck it under my overlocker. The seams appear to be robust & are taking the strain of a cushion (& the cat sitting on it).
What about the sleeves? A bit of chopping, reattaching a hem here & there & re-seaming later I have ...
What used to be called legwarmers in the 80s.
But now I think are referred to as boot toppers just to rid of that Flashdance/ Kids from Fame legacy. Cosy!
Thank you Zoe for asking me over as I probably would have taken so much longer to get around to starting any of these - & the best bit? I know I love them all & will get plenty of wear from them, even more so because they are much-loveds.