Greetings, Refashioners! I’m back with another monstrosity-turned-masterpiece for your viewing pleasure.
I bought this Cambridge-blue (Tiffany-blue?) polyester/viscose top in the Scope shop in Lewisham, a while back when they were having a sale. It was £2.00 (reduced from £3.95). Score!
Like the magpie I am, I had totally fallen for the silver-coloured beading on the front yoke. Delightful!
The top is a little big, and the effect of the overall shape was a bit third-trimester, but it had a lot going for it.
I wanted to separate the bottom ruffled layers from the rest of the top and see how the shape looked, so I carefully unpicked the seam holding the layers together. Unfortunately, the seam allowances of both layers were overlocked together which meant a lot of hours with my best friend Mr. Seam Ripper… normally I would just cut this off, but I wanted to preserve every millimetre of length in the hope that the top layer would be long enough on its own.
After rather a lot of work, the whole thing had come off.
I unpicked a few stitches from the side seams to remove the ties, and stitched the sides back up again.
I decided at this point that I would try to make this into a crop-top style, hemming the top layer where it fell. Here’s what I started with:
I pressed under the smallest amount I could manage without burning my fingers – about 5mm.
After running a row of stitches around the whole hem, I carefully trimmed away the excess to within about 1-2mm.
I then turned under the hem again and stitched it on top of the other line of stitching to make a narrow machine-rolled hem.
Here’s how it looks from the outside.
And the inside:
Next step was to cut the lining to the correct length. I chose to cut this at the same length as the shell layer as the shell is transparent and I didn’t want to show too much skin.
I just turned the lining under twice and stitched it closed to hem it.
The two hems looked neat enough!
The final step was to fix a few pulled threads on the shoulder area. Here’s a quick example of how I n0rmally do this.
First, identify your pulled thread.
Next, take a fine needle and push it into the material at the base of the pulled thread.
Then, carefully thread the pulled thread loop through the eye of the needle.
Gently push the needle through the material…
…and pull it through, either to the wrong side, or further down the piece.
The pulled thread should be left on the wrong side of the fabric and be invisible.
Here’s me modelling my new crop top. It’s perhaps a little short for comfort, but sometimes it’s good to be out of the comfort zone. Possibly a little annoying is that the centre front hem seems to dip a bit, probably because the shoulders are too wide; it’s not as obvious when I’m wearing it as it is in these pictures.
Although I’m easing myself into the world of crop tops, I felt comfortable in the blouse and will definitely wear it again. Would you ever bare your midriff?
Announcement: Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion!
You might have seen that Amy at Sew Amy Sew is hosting a refashion competition this month – there are all sorts of patterns to be won, including one of mine and several from other well-established indies. All you have to do to enter is refashion something and post before and after pictures of your project in the Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion flickr group. You can read all about the competition here. You can start with either a charity shop/thrift store/op shop piece, or something from your UFO pile, or something you already have in your family’s wardrobe and you have until the end of the month to enter.
I have also guest posted for Amy here and here, with some of my refashioning tips and to hopefully give you some inspiration for your entries. I hope you’ll consider entering the competition; I want more people to try refashioning and find out how liberating it is to work without a pattern and make it up as you go along. Personally I feel like it’s a very creative art-form; no instructions, no right answer. It can also be a great entry point to sewing as you can start with small changes and work your way up to full garments. I started refashioning as an easy way to make clothes I wanted to wear while keeping the hard-to-sew parts, like zips and buttonholes, from the original garment.
Of course, there is also a button you can use on your blogs, designed by the talented Carmen Hui:
Thanks Amy for organising such an inspirational sewing contest – I hope it inspires you all to start refashioning! I am the judge of the competition and I can’t wait to see what everyone makes!