In the fold, Inspiration

The Refashioners 2017 upcycling suits

The Refashioner’s 2017 #suitsyou

If you’ve not come across The Refashioner’s before, organised by Portia Lawrie of Makery blog, then do check out what it’s all about in our Refashioning and Upcycling sewing resource. This year the theme is upcycling suits and we are excited to be taking part during the month long blogger tour of refashioning inspiration! Also if you didn’t follow the blogger tour last year, you can read all about Kate’s contribution refashioning jeans. If that’s not enough inspiration for you then do search for the hashtags on Instagram #suitsyou #therefashioners2017 to see what everyone in the sewing community has been making.

I’m really lucky that where I have moved to has some great charity shops. On my search for a suit I found a Max Mara jacket and trousers made from a light to medium weight wool. On closer inspection I could see that the trousers has suffered quite a bit of moth damage. In the spirit of refashioning and upcycling I thought that I would not be deterred by this and wanted to see what I could salvage from the suit. I bought the suit from FARA for £18. As soon as I got home it immediately went into the freezer so I didn’t acquire any of those moths!

In the end I decided not much of the trousers were useable although it had a nice lining, which I unpicked and hoped I could use. The prospect of making something quite different using a jacket was intimidating as there are so many existing seams, darts and a lining too. I decided the best plan was to unpick everything and see what sized pieces of fabric I was left with. Nothing like a challenge to get the creative juices flowing!

The refashioning garments made by other bloggers this month have been amazing. For me and my lifestyle, I wanted to create something really wearable as part of this refashioning process. I wanted to show that you can also turn old or unwanted clothes into a wearable garment using a sewing pattern and explore the opportunities and constraints this throws up.

I love tailored garments, all the details that go into the construction and shaping to get the fit. I think my ultimate garment has to a hacking jacket, so taking part in this year’s The Refashioner’s was perfect. You will see above how little fabric you actually have in a jacket and how each piece is shaped with either darts, cuffs or curved seams. At this point I thought, eek this is not going to be easy. To fully appreciate the jacket and the tailoring elements I knew it would need to be a sewing pattern with several long panels. After Kate made the Orageuse Berlin skirtearlier this year I explored this as an option and after some time spent shuffling the pattern pieces and fabric around I thought I could just about achieve it.

You can almost see it in this photo – the centre front panels of the jacket were also used as the centre front of the skirt. I really like the fact that although I removed the pockets, you can still see where they were and I was able to keep the top pocket. The pocket side panels were created using the main part of the sleeve and I could then keep the three buttons from each sleeve at the side hem.

Here is the back of the skirt on my new Adjustoform from Groves Ltd, which was ideal for getting a good fit and manipulating the fabric. The back of the skirt is made up using the back of the jacket, as these were the biggest pieces of fabric. I had to cut out the vent at the back to create a seam for the zip.

I set up the Adjustoformwith my body measurements (1″ ease) and so I was able to fit the pieces of fabric at my waist and hips – no toile needed!

The pockets and waistband were created using the lining from the trousers. I interfaced these pieces as they needed supporting before attaching to the main wool skirt.

At the side seams there wasn’t quite enough fabric (because of the armhole) so I used the smaller piece of the sleeve to create the full pattern piece. I really like the detail this has added at the hip on both sides.

An essential item for most garments is roomy pockets and these are great in this skirt. Although I thought the lining of the jacket would provide even more of a challenge, for this skirt it was actually perfect because most pieces were already lined and just needed sewing together with their neighbouring panels.

I’m really happy with how the skirt has turned out and as winter approaches I know I will get a lot of wear out of it as the wool fabric is so cosy. Do you have any refashioning plans?

To stay up to date with The Refashioner’s 2017, see all the other inspiring refashions AND find out how you could win an amazing prize go to: http://www.makery.uk/the-refashioners/

Note: I was kindly given the Adjustoform by Groves Ltd, views are all my own. To find a local stockist you can email [email protected]

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