An unseasonal refashion

No, it isn’t summer any more here either, but here is a quite unseasonal pair of refashions! I finished them a few weeks ago but hadn’t got around to posting them, so here they are.

Firstly, a pretty green dress that just didn’t look quite right on. It was a bit baggy on the top, though the skirt was lovely as is.

IMG_0842At first i just cut off the skirt, which was fine on its own, and thought i might use the top fabric for a bag or something.


But as it turned out, the fabric sat around for a while and i kept looking at it, and i quite liked the shape and cut of the back neckline, so in the end i turned it around, did a lot of unpicking and re-stitching of the dark green binding, and made it a lace-up back top, which i love the look of at the moment, and is easily re-sizeable. I also added some dark green fabric from another top i cut up to make a double-layered ruffle around the hem of the top. I added some of this fabric to the skirt as well, to add a bit more feature and length, and to make a stronger waistband.

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For this next i’m afraid i don’t have before pictures, but it was essentially a sleeveless summer dress. I did some cutting and hemming around the neckline and to make a large scoop out of the back of the dress. I then used pink yarn to blanket-stitch around the neckline edges to create a base for me to crochet into, then did some very simple crochet stitches all around the new neckline and back shape i had made. I crocheted some ties for the halterneck and a long string to lace up the back of the dress, and voila!

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Both these little summer outfits are destined for my Etsy shop, but i think they will have to wait for next summer!


Pretty new sundress

This is a fairly simple refashion from an old long tunic top passed on to me that was pretty, and i could have worn as a dress as it was (after maybe taking in the arm holes a little!) but it was a bit too big and not quite the right style for me

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I used to have a cute pink tie-dyed strappy sundress, which i wore absolutely to death a few years ago, and the recent hot weather means there is more opportunity to wear little sun dresses than we normally get in england! (Sadly a couple of days ago it started raining again, but at least it’s still quite warm!) So i decided that’s what i would do with this top. I used a dress that fits me well, in a similarly stretchy type of fabric, as a pattern.IMG_2830

I folded both the top and the dress in half, and used the dress to cut the pieces from the top for my new dress. I basically cut two ‘front’ style pieces to start with, then cut the back one straight across at the top. I kept the beaded bottom hem of the original top as i thought it would be a shame to waste it! I didn’t need to add any length as the top had started off slightly longer than my dress.

I used the offcut pieces from the sides of the top to make binding for the front edges (i just folded over and hemmed the straight edge of the back of the dress) and for the straps. I was surprised at how little time it took me to make – about half an hour in total. Boom! new sun dress. Now all i need is for it to stop raining! stupid english weather! :p


Much better! :)

Two Dresses

First up – an old purple velvet skirt. Loved the colour and fabric, and i’d already refashioned it once to replace the heavily gathered and unflattering waistband with a tapered fit and a zip, but i’ve lost a bit of weight since then so it sat too low and was too long for me to wear with flat shoes. To be honest, I have enough long skirts, and this one just wasn’t getting worn.


I liked and wanted to keep the embroidered band at the bottom of the skirt, so i removed the waistband and cut off a strip from the upper part, leaving enough for a knee length skirt at the bottom. I used this dress to make the pattern for the top part:


And ended up with this:


I think doing this again, i would have made the triangles a bit larger, or maybe make them wider and elasticate the bottom of them – they aren’t at all stretchy and so are a bit ‘baggy’ in places, so i’ll definitely need to wear a bra/bikini top with this!  I do like the look overall and i’m definitely more likely to wear this now.

And another dress/top – this one much simpler to create as it basically just involved cutting! It’s made from a long top and from more forgiving stretch fabric. Sadly i don’t have a ‘before’ picture, but it was a hip-length top with 3/4 length sleeves and a scoop neckline – not something i’d normally wear but the fabric caught my eye. I turned it back to front, cut into it to make a halter (i’ve since hemmed the neckline as it was curling too much), and ‘took it in’ by cutting slits into the back and tying bit together. It’s probably easier to show than to explain:


I can wear it with leggings as a short dress, or over jeans or a long skirt as a long top. I made the remnants of the sleeves into gloves by cutting them to points and attaching a loop of braided cotton, covering the stitching with a fabric flower made from the scraps. There was almost nothing left of the original top, which made me very happy! Halterneck/backless dresses and gloves are two of my favourite things clothes wise, and it’s nice to have some that really go together! :)

Hi-Lo Skirt Refashion

I’ve been wanting to try making a hi-lo skirt for a while now as it looked like a nice simple way to make a plain skirt a bit more interesting, and i’m definitely all in favour of clothes (and most other things for that matter) being a bit more interesting! The original skirt was a wrap-around i had inherited with a bunch of fabric and had originally just been relegated to the ‘fabric suitable for lining stuff with’ pile as the print didn’t really grab me and i thought it was a weird length for a straight skirt, coming to just above my ankle.



But then i had the idea of turning it into a hi-lo skirt with an elastic waistband, mainly just as a way to practice the hi-lo thing without risking ruining something i already loved.  If you wanted, it would be very easy to do the same thing with just a rectangle of fabric (wide enough to go round your waist and for a seam; long enough for the longest ‘lo’ length you want, plus hem and waistband allowances).



Basically i just cut off the original wrap-around waistband, made the rectangle i now had into a tube (using a french seam, but you could just as easily use a normal seam and zig-zag the edge), and turned the skirt upside down so that the raw edge where i’d cut off the waistband was at the bottom (i’d have to cut this anyway for the hi-lo bit). I created a waistband by folding down the now-top hem and straight-stitching about 1cm from the edge all around (leaving a gap to put th elastic through).



Before adding the elastic, I laid the skirt-tube out and drew my hi-lo line, starting short at the front and curving down to a ‘tail’ at the back. I had the seam running down the very back of the skirt as i thought this would look more even. I cut along this line, folded the bottom edge up twice, pinned and stitched to make a hem.





I finished by pressing the skirt, threading elastic through my waistband and closing the gap i’d left to do so, and ta-da!


I will definitely do this again as it was really easy, and while i like the length of the ‘hi’ on this, i’d like to make one with a longer ‘lo’ bit, which is longer than it looks in the picture (taken from above!) but still not long enough.  I would make it with an elastic waistband again, i like the look of it being a bit gathered and if anything i’d use more fabric to increase that look. Despite the changes i’d make next time, i do think this was a success – i like this skirt much more now. Before it was a summer skirt i’d never choose to wear, now i think i’d wear it in summer with lacy tights, or in winter with thick black tights and ankle boots (and i’ve noticed the colour of the flowers goes really well with one of my favourite jumpers! win!


More Upcycled Tops!

Since i’ve not had much of a chance to make stuff for myself recently (or much time to blog about making anything!) i thought i’d take the opportunity of having a little free time to look back on a few refashions i did a while ago. I realise i have done quite a few posts on the pants refashioning front and not put much up about the tops i’ve done. I don’t have ‘before’ pictures for all of these i’m afraid so you’ll have to use your imagination :)

First up is a plain orange top which i combined with a floral-print top in similar colours ….

to create:

Another plain strappy top got some embellishment in the form of a cutout from an old band tshirt:

And another band tshirt was refashioned into a strappy top using a well-fitting top as a template and my first ever (TERRIBLE!) attempt at bias-binding, or rather stretchy binding made from scraps of another tshirt. it has too many seams in it to look good, but in principle it seemed to work ok. The skirt in the bottom photo is another refashion, story for that one coming soon when the other bits i made from the same original item are finished…

Wow, my room was even messier than usual that day… :p

This is a refashion i am frankly not too keen on. Basically i love the top but the straps had stretched out a lot, so i was lazy and doubled them over, then decided to add a bit of a crochet edging to hide them…thus making lots more work for myself. And choosing the ridiculously fluffy yarn for this edging was probably not the best plan either, since although it’s interesting enough, it is a bit overwhelming, not to mention itchy! The ‘lace-up’ bit at the back didn’t really work out how i imagined it either. Suffice to say that i haven’t worn this top since deciding to refashion it a few months ago, so i think it may be up for another round. Maybe i can use the cute little picture as an appliqué on another top (if the photo isn’t good enough for you to see, the writing says ‘Ouchy, love hurts’)

This next is a full-on refashion, from a large skirt into a long-sleeved top. i used a vintage 60s off-shoulder top as a pattern and was pleased with the result.

Sadly the refashioning work is not completely done – after i’d finished sewing i noticed a small stain on the top. Luckily it’s in a place i can reasonably add some embellishment to cover it, so it’s now sitting in my ‘add some little crochet bits to make it prettier’ pile. (not kidding, this pile does exist!)



Gecko top to Lacy top refashion

Somewhere amongst all the house-sewing i have been doing recently, a couple of ‘me’ projects worked themselves in :) One was this top.

I started with an old and well-loved strappy top of mine with a faded gecko print and a couple of holes in the front, and a pink stretch-lace cardigan-thing from a charity shop, which i’d bought purely for the fabric. (The dress is another old item of mine which is soon to be upcycled but i didn’t get round to today – its story will be continued later!)

I decided to dispense with the front of the gecko top as it was really too worn and holey, so the back of the top was now to become the front and vice versa. I started by unpicking the binding joining the straps to the gecko side of the top, so that i would get a bit of extra length on the straps before i cut them. I then snipped down the side seams leaving just the back (the new front) of the top, which was plain black, with two long straps attached.

I used the old gecko side of the top as a guide to cut out a panel of pink lace that would become the new back to my top. I used the existing bottom hem of the cardigan, and cut it straight across at the top rather than shaping it like the original top, to make it easier to sew. I hemmed the top by turning over 1cm then another 1cm and straight-stitching it down (my machine does a kind of 3-part straight stitch that allows the fabric to still stretch a little once it is sewn, if you didn’t have this then a zig-zag would give the same stretch though it would look a bit different).

While i was messing about with the pink lace fabric it occurred to me that it looked very nice placed over the plain black. For a while i toyed with the idea of covering the front of the top with the lace as well, then decided that would be too much. I cut out a heart shape and appliquéd it to the front using a stretch straight stitch and leaving the edges unfinished (it doesn’t look like the kind of fabric to fray but we’ll see!).

It was then just a case of pinning the new front and new back of the top together and stitching (again with the stretch straight stitch – rather than zig-zag over the raw edges as i normally would, which can make them wavy and thus more bulky, i did 2 rows of straight stitch as an experiment to see if that alse helps prevent deterioration. neither fabric is particularly fragile so it should be fine). I pinned the straps to the back and tried the top on to check their length and positioning was ok, then sewed them on. The finished product:


Not the world’s best pictures, sorry, but you get the idea! I’m pleased with how this turned out, and it ended up taking a lot less time and effort than i had expected. Bonus! Now to find something to do with the rest of the cardigan….

A simple jumper to jacket / cardigan refashion

This was a really simple refashion which i have seen around the web quite a lot. I didn’t follow a specific pattern or instructions but just winged it based on some finished projects i had seen on the web (sorry to those that inspired this project, but it was such a long time ago that i saw those inspiring posts ive forgotten where they were written and by whom).

I started with a lovely Per Una jumper from a charity shop, too big for me and not something i would wear in jumper form (i don’t really wear jumpers and find jackets/cardigans much nicer). I measured and cut right up the middle of the front (i was a bit worried it would start unravelling as the weave is quite loose but was pleasantly surprised!). I used some fabric scraps from another project for facings on the cut edges – no pictures i’m afraid but there are lots of good tutorials out there! It basically involves sewing a strip of facing fabric to the cut edge, right sides together, then turning the facing all the way under and stiching it flat on the inside. As i sewed the facing on one side, i inserted some little loops of scrap ribbon at measured intervals, and afterwards hand-sewed some pretty buttons on the other side to make the fastening. As a finishing touch i added two little buttons to each sleeve.

The top is now a jacket, which i am much more likely to wear!  :)