So it’s been 3 months since I started venturing into the world of refashioning and let me tell you it’s been a frustrating journey.
My frustration probably stems largely from my approach.
My brain is weirdly wired to always want to make or do the thing that no one else has done before.
I’ve always been this way. WHY? I don’t know. Some times it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What can I say.
Today, I wanted to share pictures of my latest refashion along with some of the lessons that I have learned along the way.
LESSON 1: THE BIGGER THE BETTER
When you are looking for a piece to refashion, it is probably best to buy larger sizes and fuller cut styles. By fuller cut, I am referencing gathered skirts and dresses where the fullness starts at the waistline. Essentially these are usually rectangular shapes that gathers have been added to. Using skirts or dresses with skirts like this will give you more fabric to work with and also increase the options of what you can make. Beware of using Aline and Circle cut styles, these styles have some volume but they will not have as much useable yardage because the upper portion from the waistline to the hip is narrow.
Remember the Teal Evening gown that I was working on, well the bodice was strapless and corseted and the skirt was a half circle. To top that off, the dress was a size 12 (Which I had previously altered to a size 8/10). Additionally, my objective was to transform it from an evening gown into a day dress. Since my idea of a day dress does not include a strapless or back laced corset, I decided against using the existing bodice as the bodice of my new dress.
All this considered, I would be pulling the yardage for my day dress from the skirt which was not a lot of yardage.
LESSON 2: GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW
Because your yardage is limited and you can’t just run out and pick up a couple of extra yards of fabric, it’s best to go with what you know works when choosing a style.
For my Evening gown project, I decided that it was best for me to use a bodice that fit me well and looked good on me, so I chose to use Simplicity 1873. This decision worked out great! It turned out perfectly.
The skirt however was a different story. I initially went with a pleated skirt, which was NOT the best idea. The pleats were pretty and the dress looked great on my assistant … but I hated it on me. It fit okay, but the style was a little more serious than I wanted it to be.
In the end, I decided to go with a more fitted skirt. I made it using a self-drafted pattern.
The only thing that I don’t really love about the finished product is the length of the skirth. It’s about 3-4 inches outside of my comfort zone.
LESSON 3: TRY SOMETHING NEW
Refashioning often allows you to work with more expensive fabrics on the cheap. My last refashion project was a pair of vintage leather pants that I found at the thrift store for less than $2. I could probably NEVER find leather this cheap shopping retail.
And even if I did find it at a reasonable price, I would be afraid that I would mess it up.
Using a thrifted piece eliminated this fear and allowed me to gain confidence and knowledge that I would need to work with leather in the future.
LESSION 4: USE YOUR RESOURCES
Refashioning projects do not come with written instructions but if you are fortunate, you may be able to find a refashion project similar to yours out on the internet. Google, Facebook Groups, Pinterest, and Instagram can be your best friends when working on a refashioning project. Using these resources can connect you to Blog Posts and knowledgeable and experienced sewists within the Online sewing community.
LESSION 5: BE FLEXIBLE
Keep yourself open. Sometimes what you envision is so much better in your mind than it is in real life. If you don’t love what you’ve made, you don’t have to live with it. You can change it.
I didn’t love the first versions of either of my projects, but I didn’t give up. I pulled out my seam ripper and headed back to the drawing board.
I am still not 100% happy with my Teal evening gown remake but I am pumped to report that I picked up up some new skills.
I learned how to create pleats using a dinner fork. How cool is that?. I learned this technique on Instagram.
On the other hand I am totally thrilled with my leather pants turned pencil skirt.