Tag Archives: Makery

The Refashioners 2016

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It’s finally time to talk about The Refashioners 2016!

Refashioners 2016

I’ve been waiting a long time to share my #jeanius project with you.

The Refashioners is a challenge created by Portia Lawrie of Makery that showcases creative ways to refashion whatever the chosen garment for that year’s challenge is.  If you’ve been following along, you already know that this year’s garment of choice is jeans (#jeanius!).  Check out what I made!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

I’ve written about my creative process over on Makery, but if you want more details on working with the particular pattern I chose, Vogue 8750, you’ve come to the right place.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

As soon as Portia sent us our brief for this year’s Refashioners challenge, the gears in my mind started turning.  My local big box fabric store was having a pattern sale, so I went down there with notebook and pencil in hand, sat down in front of the big pattern catalogue books, and started making list.  Lists and lists of patterns that I might be able to create out of different pairs of jeans.  I decided to look for something that had multiple narrow pieces so I could cut them out of jeans legs.  I finally settled on Vogue 8750, a skirt pattern.  I chose View A, which is the shorter (but not actually short) pencil skirt.  This looked like it had a lot of possibility for color-blocking, and I was hoping to find some super-cool denim at my local thrift store.

With the help of a pattern and all the inspiration on my then-secret Denim Pinterest board, I went to my thrift store looking to find some railroad denim or…something inspiring. (I have a little railroad denim obsession at the moment).  No railroad denim.  But I did find…THIS!  Yellow denim, white, denim with hearts, and my own older pairs of dark blue.  Now it was all coming together!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Last year’s Refashioner’s contest helped me make a move up from beginner to intermediate sewist. However, still not being super experienced, I don’t always make a muslin.  (Who am I kidding?  I skip it whenever I can.)  I know…I know…  It’s helpful, and I’m moving in that direction, but I’m not there for every project.  I actually DID make a practice garment for this one, though.  I made two, even!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The first showed me that I needed to size down.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

A lot of people say they find this with Big 4 sewing patterns–I typically don’t, but in this case it was necessary, so it’s a good thing I made a muslin.  I used the second muslin to try lowering where the skirt sat on my hips and practice putting it all together a bit more.  The pattern tells you to ease the top of the skirt to the ribbon facing, but I had a lot of trouble with this and didn’t really want the skirt up at my natural waist.  I found that skipping the easing and just cutting a ribbon to match the top of the skirt solved both problems.

Muslins can also be a great way to procrastinate on cutting into your final fabric while appearing busy.  😉  I finally got up my courage, though, and found that I could easily fit my pattern pieces onto the jeans I had chosen (large men’s jeans for the white and yellow).  I tried out using one pair of children’s jeans for my middle panel, but had to backtrack when I saw that it just didn’t work.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The thing I wish I had done (and I’m still not sure how or why I didn’t after two practice garments) was think about how and when I was going to finish my seams.  I realized part way into my final draft that I really wanted to bind the edges of the seams with bias tape.  This is something best done as you go along and before you join various parts.  You can see a few places where my bias binding doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the seam.  Lesson learned.  I actually contemplated starting over when I realized that (plus, I was getting pretty good at making this pattern after a couple of versions), but it seemed to defeat the purpose of refashioning to throw an otherwise good garment-in-the-making out because of one little detail.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The other interesting thing I discovered was that sometimes, in matching up seamlines (namely on the sides), it wasn’t about moving the pieces up or down to get them to match, but making the seam allowances the correct width for them to match. One of my sides matched immediately, and the other took several passes through the machine, taking the side in millimeter by millimeter in order to get it to match.  The skirt in-progress looked messy and crazy, but as I got things lined up, trimmed and bound my seams, and finished edges, it came together into something that looked polished.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

When I finally finished, I had a thing of beauty.  It’s certainly not perfect, but I’m proud of it.  I think the best compliment I got was when I was in Rockport, Massachusetts shooting pictures, and I stopped in an art gallery.  Rockport is famous for its artists, and one of the artists in the gallery complimented me on my outfit.  When a person who spends their life looking for beauty compliments you on your outfit, you know you’ve done something right!  😉

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

My favorite thing about this challenge is that it makes me think like an artist. You get your parameters, but within them you have freedom.  How far can you push it?  What will you do to make your garment distinctive?  Will it be simple and sleek or heavily embellished?  This is what I talk about in more depth in my post on the Makery blog.  If you haven’t already, I hope you check it out and look through all the other posts as well to get some inspiration.  What do you think?  Will you be diving in?  There’s a pretty tempting prize package!

Last, but never least, thank you to my photographers–my husband Scott and my friend Colleen.  I appreciate your help SO MUCH!

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The Sewcial Sew, The Refashioners 2016, and Me-Made-May 2016 (Whew!)

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Hey, friends!  It’s time to get back to some sewing!  A lot has been going on in the sewing arena over here, and I wanted to share some exciting places my blog has been popping up as well as give you a quick progress report.

In May I linked up my jeans post with Allie J.’s blog for her Sewcial Sew:  Basics challenge.

Every month she puts out a challenge, and if you sew something within the month that fits the theme, you can put a link to your blog post on the page.  At the end of the month, she posts a round-up of all the links.  It’s a great way to discover new blogs and it’s really fun to look at everyone’s projects.  As Allie says, the theme is general enough to allow a lot of latitude, but should give you some guidance if you aren’t sure what to sew next.  This was my first time joining in, and I really enjoyed it (plus, Allie said some very kind things about my jeans, so that doesn’t hurt!).  Thanks, Allie!

The June 1st blog post over at the Makery revealed the blogger line-up for this year’s Refashioners 2016 challenge…and guess who’s on the list?  Me!  I’m so honored to be included in this group.

Refashioners 2016

The Refashioners challenge is a chance to take a specific type of garment and refashion it into something entirely new.  Creating clothing in this way is really fun.  It takes a lot of thought to decide how to refashion the item(s) you are working with, but the end results of everyone’s creativity is truly fabulous.  Last year’s theme was men’s dress shirts and I made a lined jacket from four shirts for the competition.

The Refashioners Challenge 2015

(You can read about my entry here.)

This year’s theme is jeans.  You can use one pair or you can use ten!  What do you think?  Are you game?  If you want more details, either about the blogger series or the competition that follows, check out Portia’s blog.  There’s plenty of inspiration on my Denim Pinterest board if you need a little help getting started.

For extra reading on the idea of refashioning, you can also find Portia and fellow participant Marilla Walker in this Seamwork article.

Last but not least on the sewing challenge front was Me-Made-May ’16.  I made my pledge to wear at least one me-made article of clothing daily, wear two me-made clothing items in the same day at least once a week, and not to repeat items within a week.  I also decided I wasn’t going to make a big effort to take daily outfit photos this year since that was a lot of work last year.  I took some quick and easy photos here and there for Instagram, but that was it.

Me-Made-May 2016

So how did it go?  I would say it went well.  I decided pretty quickly that I was going to throw the no-repeats-within-a-week restriction out the window.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough clothing that I had made, but because sometimes I loved an item so much that I wanted to wear it multiple times in a week.  I was amazed at how much easier it was to do the challenge this year over last year.  A full year’s worth of sewing has really filled a lot of holes in my wardrobe and/or replaced garments that didn’t fit as well and that I didn’t love as much as those I’ve made.  It’s a great feeling to see that accumulation of skill and accomplishment.

While it may seem like I haven’t been doing much actual sewing lately, the opposite is true.  In addition to working on my Refashioners project behind the scenes, I’ve been gearing up to face down one of the (many) areas of sewing that I have yet to successfully master:  swimsuits!  I am deep in the trenches of swimsuit making.

Making bathing suits (year three)

Cut out bathing suits, jeans remnants, and mending are piled everywhere!

I had a whole long section in this post giving you an update on where I’m at with all that, but I decided to cut it and save it for another post.  This one is getting long, so let’s wrap it up with some fun recommendations instead!

Recommendations

  • If you want to try your hand at making a bathing suit, you might like to look at the many suits featured on the Curvy Sewing Collective’s Curvy Swimsuit Sewing Pattern Round-Up.  There were several pattern companies they featured that I wasn’t familiar with.
  • Are you mourning the death of David Bowie?  Do you like puppets of the Jim Henson type?  How about Jennifer Connelly?  If any (or all) of these apply to you, may I humbly recommend a blast from the past?  I put before you the movie The Labyrinth.  I didn’t listen to David Bowie’s music, but I LOVED him in The Labyrinth.  It’s still one of my favorite movies.
  • My favorite book growing up (starting sometime in elementary/middle school) was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  I knew I had finally found the perfect iteration of this story when I saw the edition illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg.  His illustrations capture the essence and feel of the story better than any others I’ve seen.
  • I think I need to start using this method to cook my shrimp.

Do you think it will work on chicken?