Monday, 30 October 2017

The Refashioners 2017

When Portia announced this year's Refashioners challenge was to transform a suit I was slightly flummoxed. Suits aren't a part of my wardrobe, my dress code at work is pretty casual so I have no occasion to wear a suit.
As I didn't have any laying around I searched for a second hand suit in my local charity shops and then stumbled upon this vintage burgundy velvet skirt suit on eBay. It was part of an old lady's house clearance. The suit is vintage size 14, which is equivalent to a 10 today. This partly determined what I could do with it as I didn't have a lot of fabric to play with.
I had a baby 6 weeks ago, which determined a further two aspects of this refashion:
1 - time
2 - fit
I decided I needed a relaxed garment that would still work once I've lost my baby weight. I'm not very comfortable with my current post baby body so I didn't want to make anything tight or skimpy. I'm also not getting much sleep and have very limited free time so needed this make to be speedy. I ended up completing it over about 3 sewing sessions with my baby attached to me in the sling. Luckily my sewing machine is pretty quiet!
With the deadline less than a week away I got started and due to the time pressure I was quite gutsy and started chopping in to the jacket. I've listed my steps below:
1 - remove lining, shoulder pads, bulk and structure
2 - cut collar off
3 - cut cuffs off
4 - trim hem straight and trim front edges straight
5 - cut bottom hem shape for ribbing, leaving hem longer where it meets the zip at the front
6 - attach ribbing
7 - insert zip
To attach the ribbing I just eye-balled the depth of the cuffs and hem and attached them as you would to any jersey garment. I gathered the sleeves into the cuffs so that they had the typical bomber jacket shape. I cut a straight strip for the collar and then tapered it in at the front edges as I pinned it on.

The original button holes are still visible but this is the only thing on the jacket that hints at its former use and I actually like that.
I'm so pleased with the finished result! This is such a wearable jacket and was really quick to make, much quicker than making a bomber jacket from scratch! It was also a lot cheaper and reused an unwanted velvet suit! I think this is a really versatile garment, perfect for feeling a little more dressed up but still comfy! I've got my eyes peeled for jackets when I go into charity shops now, I'd really love a tweed bomber jacket.

The best thing about this refashion is it has taken a jacket in my usual size, that wasn't the right style, and turned it into something I will wear a lot with just the addition of some ribbing and a zip. It was very simple and quick and didn't require a pattern or any difficult fabric-wrangling. It takes me back to my teenage years, where I had to adapt things to fit or suit my style and it shows that a simple approach can be successful!


Monday, 4 September 2017

Seamwork Reggie Dress - Pattern Review

I never opt to make or buy empire line dresses because I am quite pear shaped so they don't do much for me.


However, when I saw the Reggie Dress from Seamwork Magazine I completely loved it. The pattern description said it was maternity friendly, and as I was well into my 3rd trimester and running out of clothes I thought I'd give it a try!


I got the PDF pattern printed at A0 from Hobbs Reprographics for a few pounds, it was well worth it to avoid all the cutting and sticking!


I cut a straight size 8 based on a combination of my pre-pregnancy measurements and the built-in ease within the pattern. I wanted the option to wear this dress post-pregnancy so didn't want it to swamp me afterwards. It has turned out a little small in places, but it's still really comfy, I think I've put on more weight all over in the last couple of weeks than I was anticipating. I was very pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to make any adjustments, it's so easy to fit with the relaxed shape.


I found the instructions really clear like all the Seamwork patterns I've done. The only part I had to re-read and think about was the cuffs, but it results in a really neat finish inside and out so it's worth taking some time over.


I used a pale blue cotton / linen mix from my stash. It's lovely to sew and wear but takes forever to iron and still looks creased afterwards! I really fancy a gingham version, but we are at the end of summer now so might save that for next year!


I was hoping the wrap front of the dress would make this nursing friendly, but I'm not sure access will be easy enough. I'll give it a go still though! I think the relaxed shape will be quite flattering on my post-baby body and I'll be trying to avoid clingy clothes for a while!


I would really recommend this pattern, these pictures are taken at 38 weeks pregnant so it's one that could easily see you through a whole pregnancy.