I’m elated with my first refashion project. Perhaps I should rephrase, this is my first wearable refashion project. When I first started sewing, seven years ago, I’d take garments and try to re-fashion them. It was embarrassingly awful. But after years of sewing curtains and tote bags and learning patience, I’m finally up for apparel again.
This is the original skirt that I thrifted for $1. It was several sizes too big, but I liked the heavy fabric (a polyester) as well as the pattern. I’d originally considered making it into a pencil skirt a la BurdaStyle Jenny, but once my Colette Beignet pattern came in the mail, I was a goner for the buttons. In fact, I'm trying to use every sewing project to teach me something and I have major button-phobia. Here's the pattern illustration, in case you're not yet on the Colette train.
Refashioning—while not only an excellent venue to re-imagine new ways to use existing items—allows me a low-investment method to amp up my sewing skills. It’s my way of making a muslin, since I don’t want to buy the muslin and can’t bear to make something I’m not actually going to wear. If I screw up, I’m sad but I’ll get over it. But if I actually succeed, then I’ve got something *fabulous* to add to my collection.
This project came with it’s own frustrations. Because I was working with an existing piece, I had to adapt the pattern, combing the front panels and back panels. There was no facing. I improvised the lining (also thrifted). While I once recounted my lessons in the light of defeat, here are my lessons in the light of success:
-I can now sew buttonholes! And use my button foot. It’s amazing.This is not perfect, but it’s not awful. In fact, I got two compliments when I took it out for a virgin spin yesterday. And in typical-me behavior, I’m now going to point out one of the key things that make it look homemade: the lines on the side don’t match up, see?
-I can also sew in-seam pockets. Watch out, closet! All you dresses are getting pockets.
-I learned the hard way that if the lining’s too tight, it can totally change the fit of the garment. Yeah. The inside of the skirt isn’t too pretty.
-Facing’s probably essential
-Belt loops are a pain in the okole. Anything that requires a 1/8-inch fold (especially since the fabric was so thick) is painful for me.
-Thanks to my partner’s mother, I’ve now begun to understand how I can ease the fullness when doing a hem. By no means is my hem perfect but it’s not bunchy or warped and all the other bad adjectives I’d use to describe pre-lesson hems. The aforementioned phenomenal seamstress told me that the bobbin moves faster than the needle and that changes how I deal with fullness and finishing edges.
But hey, I figure that’s part of refashioning—I’m working with what I’ve got. I also have all these wonderful lessons for when I make the real Beignet skirt from scratch. Even though my current skirt is a departure from the original vision, I'm already in love with this pattern—I love the shape, the ease, and just the downright classy-hip thing it's got going on.
Also, this is my first project on the Wardrobe Refashion blog. Check it out here.