THE REFASHIONERS 2017

BEFORE I had even decided to take part in my first The Refashioners challenge I had spotted a vintage Biba floral suit which I just had to recreate and the two projects seemed like a perfect match.

I searched a lot(!) for a floral mens suit to tailor into this.  Unsurprisingly I didn't have much luck finding a unloved or secondhand mans floral suit, but once I was on the scent for a floral refashion I had to stick with it! 

I eventually found this ladies suit, although it is more of the type of suit your grandmother would wear. The plus side was that the label said Made in UK - I feel like theres more karma in repurposing something that was also originally made here. Even if it is 100% polyester.

I'm unsure what is more disturbing the suit, it's smell or my modelling?

AFTER going back to the drawing board as the suit clearly wasn't going to work I took the size 18 polyester 2 piece and created a 3 piece jacket, skirt and vest co-ord to be worn seperately and together.

I really feel like I have got my monies worth and created multiple outfit choices from one unloved pre-owned suit.

For the jacket I took in the side seams and sleeves and created lapels and a collar tailoring it more into a traditional style jacket.

The double layered skirt was drafted from one panel of the original skirt. I really love The Reformation style of this skirt and can envisage it being a key piece in my wardrobe this winter. This is definitely my favourite of the three.

The final part is the vest, created from the final skirt panel, a really simple piece that fits seamlessly with the skirt to create a 'dress' or can be worn with almost anything else - like my flared jeans! 

This challenge has really given me a taste for refashioning. I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about how wasteful sewing can sometime be, in the past sewn items that were not actually my style or fit and I end up never wearing them and giving them away, not to mention the fabric waste/scraps created from sewing.

Refashioning seems like a great median between sewing from scratch and buying RTW.  I certainly plan to hit up more charity shops soon to see what I can dig up. 

DENIM FLARES | MADE

PATTERN: Self drafted flares

FABRIC: Indigo Denim with Green Selvedge, The Village Haberdashery 

Here are the denim flares made over last weekend. They were a quick sew and I love working with denim, it's such a hardy fabric to sew with. I was originally going to use the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans with the flares extension but for some reason I decided to take matters into my own hand. The Ginger Jeans flares were not going to cut the mustard and as you will see, I went for quite an exaggerated flare.  

 

I was inspired by these jeans from The Reformation and their new take on the zipper! So I too forewent the traditional, and saved myself the fly construction, by adding a bold exposed  zipper on the side and combined them with the silhouette of these jeans - how beautiful do they look!

 

 

I used the same trouser block as the Joplin Flares  which was drafted from the Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear book. I lengthened the waist to sit higher, slimmed the block through the thighs and flared out from the knee to the greatest width my fabric would allow.

Admittedly, I had some fitting issues in the back. After a number of alterations, plenty of unpicking, re-stitching and sewing in my pants the penny dropped when I simply lengthened the darts in the back. 

Finally I convinced myself the raw hem looked good enough to leave. This is probably because a. I hate hemming and b. I just wanted to wear and photograph my jean! But I think I will hem them now I've got that out of my system.

 

I've become obsessed with the silhouette of flares - I can't get enough of them and am three steps ahead planning the next pair(s)...

JOPLIN FLARES | MADE

PATTERN: Self drafted flares

FABRIC: Corduroy, Merchant & Mills

These flares started as one of many sketches I had made. Then I watched Girlboss on Netflix and could not resist the idea of making these up in a red cord. I also added a lace up 'fly' and, what you cannot see in the pictures, some design lines on the thighs.

I used the Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear book to draft the trouser block which I then flared out. I then cut from the mid waist to just above the knee on the back and front. The closure on the front is not as well executed as I would have liked but in theory these are exactly how I imagined! 

LOVINA JUMPSUIT | MADE

PATTERN: Self drafted jumpsuit

FABRIC: Linen (H20), Merchant & Mills

I love how this jumpsuit turned out. It is perfectly practical (for me at least). 

I originally drafted this bodice for a dress and I don't really recall how that digressed into a jumpsuit but I think it was a win. During the Summer and on holiday I wore this jumpsuit a-lot. It was more practical than a dress version for exploring local neighbourhoods in Bali and biking to the coast, Lovina. The fabric is my favourite, everything at Merchant & Mills I adore, but as it is linen it creases like a B*tch.

MONETA | IN BLOOM

PATTERN: Colette Moneta Dress

FABRIC: Black Jersey, John Lewis

DETAILS: Hand embroidered

RIFLE | MADE

PATTERN: Hacked Sew Over It Doris Dress bodice 

FABRIC: Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co.

Since this fabric arrived I always thought it had a Nineties maxi vibe to it. After lots hunting around for patterns and inspiration I decided to use the bodice from the SOI Doris Dress which I crudely lengthened. My original idea was to have the dress buttoned down the front, but once cut, I preferred the casual style of the wrap front - that and the idea of  avoiding 18 button holes!

BEATRICE | Behind the Scenes

Photography | @OllyfCooper   MUA | @graceoftown   Hair | @attila.keyeres   Model | @janeturchetti

Published | Elegant Magazine November 2016

SICILY | MADE

PATTERN: Self drafted pattern 

FABRIC: White lace, refashioned from Boohoo.co beach dress

After falling in love with this Self-Portrait dress, or maybe it was just the dream of being there!, I decided that I had to make myself a copy. Hunting down the perfect fabric proved tricky and in a moment of genius I decided to look at shops for something I could cut up and re-use. Luckily I found a good enough match online - although I'm not best pleased at the 'fast fashion' website I bought it from! The cotton lining fabric in peach/nude was bought from John Lewis. 

I sketched out the pattern and drew up the pattern pieces to my measurements and putting the dress together took no time at all after I made a toile. I even managed to salvage the straps, saving myself from making some bias binding!

Not a bad job in my opinion...although I'll have to make sure I don't get myself some floral tan lines on my stomach! 

Photos by Olly Cooper

MOROCCO | MADE

PATTERN: Self drafted pattern from bodice block

FABRIC: Black flower embroidered chiffon | John Lewis    Black poly-cotton | Rolls & Rems, Lewisham

The making of this dress had a mind of its own. When I started cutting into the fabric it was destined to look very different.

The result, is an airy relaxed dress that I will end up wearing much more often than the intended dress. 

I didn't have much room for error, or the possibility to make a whole dress in the one fabric. In any case, at £30 a metre I couldn't bring myself to! So I decided upon a separate bodice piece in the flower embroidery and this great black fabric with the perfect drape as the lining/skirt with an elasticated waist. This was initially intended to be made from a black chiffon from John Lewis which frayed like a Bitch and had a cheap un-drapey-ness which I was not happy with. 

Ultimately, I'm thrilled with this result and am glad I took the time and effort to un-pick the chiffon and replace with this lightweight fabric, perfect for the Summer! 

COCO IN PARIS

PATTERN: Coco dress Tilly and the Buttons 

FABRIC: Navy & white stripe cotton knit, Stof & Stil Copenhagen

This dress was a quick sew up and was my first time using a Tilly and the Buttons pattern. It is one of only a few patterns where I have not had to make any alterations for fit. Which was a perfect pattern for me to whip up to get me out of a sewing funk. 

The fabric is a quality cotton knit that I picked up in Stof & Stil in Copenhagen (which is very near to the train station and is absolutely worth checking out).

Pictures were taken in the breathtaking Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. 

LARK TEE

PATTERN: Lark Tee Grainline Studios

FABRIC: Red and ivory stripe jersey, Fabric Godmother

 Another quick sew, I made this Lark Tee (my second) with 3/4 length sleeves and a boat neck. I adjusted the pattern to bring the side seams in for a tighter fit. Next time I will also bring the neckline in a little from the shoulders.

I am working my way through all of the Grainline Studios patterns. The wearability and style of each design easily makes them my favourite pattern company, as I am sure is the same for many others!