Category Archives: Refashion

Refashioning Arden Trousers into Shorts

Inspired by The Refashioners returning this year, I decided to actually work on an idea that had been in my mind for a while – to replace some items in my wardrobe I never wore with some I actually might.

2 Summers ago, when I was living with my sister she have me some leftover linen she had from making some dresses. My favourite go-to casual trouser pattern is the Ardens by Helen’s Closet but there wasn’t quite enough of any of the fabrics to make a whole pair, so I made colour-blocked pairs, using 2 of the colours on each pair of trousers. I liked the idea but they were hard to pair with things and I honestly felt a bit silly wearing them. I still had some of the fabrics left so I decided to use the Arden Shorts hack on the Helen’s Closet blog and make them into shorts in a single colour.

Here are the 3 pairs of original trousers:

As you’ll see below, there wasn’t enough of the cream linen left to make another leg so there are 5 pairs, not six.

I went for a 3.5in inseam which is what Helen suggests – and I checked it against my Dawn shorts and they are 3.5in too. They feel a little long standing but reeeaaaly short sitting down so I didn’t want to go shorter. I found I had to stitch the front pockets into the hems or they hung out the bottom of the shorts – which is a look, but not the look I was going for (I feel like it’s more for super short denim shorts?)

I had to cut out the pieces that were missing in each colour – either another full leg, with one of each pocket, or for the double blue pairs, 2 fronts (with 3 pockets) or 2 backs (with pockets). Because the hem is wider that the original trouser leg in the hack, I also traced off a hem piece for the existing pieces, which I sewed on the bottom of the relevant leg piece, having cut them shorter (but with added seam allowance). I also had to cut some of the front pocket pieces in 2 halves because I didn’t have pieces of fabric big enough left to cut them out in one go – and it was more important to cut the leg pieces in one go.

Anyway, without further ago, here are my 5 new pairs of shorts – just need Summer to finally arrive in the UK so I can finally wear them!

The above pair of trousers became the below 2 pairs of shorts. This is actually the pair of trousers I wore the most – but that’s not saying much. It was probably 3-4 times max!

I actually had quite a lot of the denim blue linen in my stash as it’s the same fabric I used for the Ilford Jacket I made for my brother in law. I was hoping I would have enough to make a matching shirt to have a Summer co-ord set but alas there really aren’t any pieces big enough to cut out a shirt. Sigh.

I think I maybe wore this pair of trousers once. I still like the colour combination but they just didn’t work with anything in my wardrobe.

I particularly like the mint colour. I’m realising, however, as a result of Me Made May that grey is not a colour I generally love in my wardrobe. Though maybe on the bottom half it’s okay – just not near my face as I feel like it washes me out.

I don’t think I wore this pair at all after taking these original photos! As I mentioned above there wasn’t enough of the cream linen left to make another leg. I have kept the scraps – maybe I’ll think of something to do with them one day?

This is a slightly lighter dusky pink linen than the fabric I used for my wedding suit but I still like it. I love bright obnoxious pink, but also this more muted shade.

It was a massive pain unpicking all the stitching and overlocking but I hope I will get more wear out of these shorts than the trousers – I maybe don’t need over 5 pairs of shorts in my wardrobe, given I live in the UK but I’m hoping at some point in the future to go travelling to warmer climes so then they will come into their own.

Do you every re-asses makes and decide to harvest the fabric rather than giving away the garments? I do both definitely – but I was glad I’d kept the remaining scraps in my stash or all of the fabric would have been wasted!

Refashioned Shirt (again!)

Ages ago (in 2016!) I refashioned this dress:

into this tunic-y top:
(wow, that is a dead-eyed smile, huh!?)

I still really really love the fabric but the style of the tunic meant I wasn’t wearing it at all. I’m actually often pretty ruthless with my wardrobe, even stuff I’ve made/remade, and have regular clear-outs but this one kept surviving the cull because of the fabric. So over the Summer when I wasn’t working, I figured it was a perfect time to refashion it again into something I will actually wear – and I already wore it 3 times before it got a bit too chilly for short sleeves.

(I should have waited for nice weather and taken these photos outside, sorry!)

The third iteration of this garment is still maybe a little long, but the shape is the more boxy silhouette that I find I’m more drawn to these days. The original refashion was kind of based on the Deer and Doe Bruyere (who remembers when that pattern was new?!), with a nipped in waist, a waistband and pleats above and below the waistband.

This time around I removed the waistband, unpicking the button bands on both sides as far up as I needed to – in neither of these refashions have I had to sew new buttonholes, winning! I removed the pleats and sewed the top to the bottom, without the waistband this time. I did have to trim the bottom half to get it to fit the top half as I think there were deeper pleats on the bottom the first time (which makes sense, to go over my bum and hips).

I then sewed the button bands back down and sewed the buttons back on – easy! It took way longer to unpick the previous alteration than to sew the new version.

As with the Summer dress I shared last week, I’m now waiting for it to be warm enough to wear this. I think it’ll get lots of wear in Spring and Summer as it has all my favourite colours in and will go with lots of things in my wardrobe!

Have you ever refashioned a refashion? I wonder if I’ll do this one again – full on refashion-ception!

Refashioning a Shirt (sort of)

It feels like it’s been a while since I refashioned anything and this is definitely not the best, nor the most involved refashion I’ve done. It’s also been a while since I’ve updated this blog and the new wordpress editor is the actual worst thing I’ve ever been forced to use – at least before you could use the old interface but it seems they’ve removed that as an option. Urgh.

This is a shirt that my mum bought for my ex-partner and it was too big for him so he never wore it. Then I decided it was more in my colour palette anyway so I commandeered it and decided to take it in a bit as it was too big for me too. I definitely could have taken it in more though.

I did these alterations a while ago and I seem to have not written down the alterations I made. I took some length off the back by re-sewing the seam at the bottom of the yoke.

I also took off the sleeves, trimmed the shoulders on the shirt and the sleeves and sewed them back on – but they are still way too long on me so I should probably take them off again and take them in more but for now I’m just wearing it with the cuffs folded back and it seems to work fine.

The shirt is made from almost a flannel fabric so it’s pretty warm, which has been great with this never-ending cold weather we’ve been having in the UK. I think for next Winter I want some full-on flannel shirts though. My flannel pyjamas are so warm I want to live in them when it’s cold so, even though I already have a bajillion shirts, there might be some more on the horizon!

I feel like I want to be maybe a bit more adventurous with my next refashion project as I don’t tend to think hugely outside the box! And I’m inspired by the Sewing Bee to try some more outrageous refashions – though maybe not in only 90 minutes!

A review of 2020

I’ve done review posts (and then planning posts for the forthcoming year) for quite a few years on this blog and I wasn’t going to do one this year (I won’t be doing a planning post) but then I realised it’s been my most productive sewing year so far so it would be a shame not to celebrate all the things I’ve made.

I do want to acknowledge my privilege before I dive into my makes because I know a lot of people have lost friends and family members this year and have lost jobs and had their lives as they knew them fall apart. I myself work in a bookshop and was furloughed when the UK went into lockdown in March and was about to go back to work when we entered the second lockdown in November, but this was delayed until December. I was back at work for 4 weeks and a day when Gloucestershire was moved to tier 4 (today) meaning that I am furloughed again. I have been paid at least 80% of my wages that whole time and my partner and I have relatively low outgoings (and he went back to work in June) so we have been okay financially. I also have a flat to live in and hobbies to occupy me so I was able to enjoy most of my time not working. There were weeks when I was fed up of being in my house, but I did manage to visit family in the Summer when it was permitted and we have my partner’s family close by where we live. I have no children so I didn’t have to suddenly become a teacher over night and this means my time has been my own to do with as I please. I have also had regular online chats with my close group of friends from uni and I feel we have deepened out friendships – usually we try to meet up once per year and have a whatsapp chat but it has been nice to feel like we are close together even when we are (literally in some cases) thousands of miles apart.

With all that said for the first 3 or so months of the lockdown I sewed ALL THE THINGS that I had in my mind to make for probably years. I had bought fabric with specific projects in mind and then never quite got around to them, even with moving to working part-time last June (2019). In 2019 I made 16 garments and in 2020 I made 35 garments (2 of which I haven’t yet shared here) and refashioned one. That’s quite a difference!

I’ll start with jackets and coats – I didn’t realise I made 4!

Sequined Bomber jacket

Houndstooth Richmond jacket


Gold Rumana Coat

Victoria Blazer Coat hack

And of course, no sewing year for me would be complete without a bunch of shirts!

Blue and Pink Popover Kalle

Yellow Geometric Kalle

Faces Kalle


White and Black Checked Blaire

Classic White Melilot

I also did some epic scrap-busting and made a load of Inari Tees from larger scraps I had in my stash.

Silver Knit Inari

Electric Blue Inari

Jungle Print Inari


Crowd Inari


Cotton Lawn Inari


Pink Striped Inari


Yellow Geometric Inari


Black Striped Inari

2020 was also the year of making jeans for me – I made 5 pairs in total!

Ginger Jeans

First Pair of Dawn Jeans


Pale Denim Dawn Jeans


Black Skinny Dawn Jeans


Navy Skinny Dawn Jeans

I also made some other trousers that weren’t jeans!

Black Crepe Evelyn Trousers

Grey Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Double Gauze Arden Pants

Mustard Double Gauze Arden Pants

I finally made 2 pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas, the fabrics for which I had had for years and years!

Liberty Cotton Carolyn Pyjamas

Boaty Carolyn Pyjamas

I refashioned my Sew Over It Anderson blouse into a Marilla Walker Mercury top and I very much prefer the new iteration of this gorgeous fabric!

I made another Cleo dungaree dress mostly just to use up some leftover denim. I’m not sure how much wear it will get to be honest!

I also made another Sew Over It Nancy Dress – again not sure how much wear it will get, though it will certainly have to wait for warmer weather either way.

Another make¬† I’m not sure will get much (if any) wear is this Sallie Jumpsuit. The fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel completely comfortable.


On the opposite end of the scale is my denim Roberts dungarees which have already had sooo much wear! They’re so comfortable and a good choice for days when I’m mostly sitting at home but don’t want to wear sweatpants!

It’s no wonder after all the sewing – and all the new items for my wardrobe – that I slightly ran out of steam after the first few months! Though a few things were made after the first main batch, the vast majority were made in April, May and June.

I want to try my hand at underwear in 2021 – I bought some supplies to make period pants, to find another way to be more sustainable and reduce my impact on the environment. I did made reusable make-up wipes this year and they have been a triumph!

I also stopped wearing bras really at all last Winter (under so many layers of clothes when it’s freezing at work, who can tell anyway!) but in the Summer with only one layer on I do kind of want at least something else to protect and slightly support my boobs so I’m going to have a go at making some bralettes. I’m lucky that I don’t need the support of underwiring or more supportive bras – when I was younger (like a teenager) I wished I had bigger boobs but now I’m so glad they’re not!

I’ve also got a (rescheduled) wedding to attend in the Summer so I’ll definitely be making a new outfit – I don’t feel like I went out that much before the pandemic but I like having bigger events to go to as an excuse to make something fancier than I would wear in my every day life.

But these are my only plans – I used to plan yearly and monthly my makes but I almost never followed through with the plans so I’m just have ideas for now. And now my wardrobe if necessary items is pretty much complete I might have a go at some more frivolous makes just for fun – and to expand my sewing skills!

Happy New Year! And thank you for following my making journey this year – I’m so thankful I have had sewing to keep me occupied for the vast majority of 2020!

Anderson Blouse refashion

About 2 1/2 years ago I made this Anderson Blouse from some beautiful coral crepe from Guthrie and Ghani. At the time I was working in an office and imagined myself wearing all these nice smart clothes.

That job lasted less than 18 months then I went to work in a fabric shop, then I changed again (I know!) to work in a bookshop. Both of these jobs did/do not require smart officey clothes and I knew I had made a bad choice of fabric/pattern combo when I made this – the fabric is too spongey and thick for the drapey style of the blouse.

But the fabric was too nice to waste, so I decided to refashion it into something a little more casual that I’ll get much more wear from.

I definitely think I’ll get so much more wear out of this Mercury top (by Marilla Walker) than I ever did of the previous incarnation! The Mercury collection is seriously such great value! You get trousers, with 2 views (which I’ve made here) and a top with 2 views, all for ¬£7.50!

I had to cut the front and back pieces with seams (making sure to add seam allowance in place of the fold) because I had to make it work with the pieces of the old top and the scraps of the fabric I had left.

I decided to use the Mercury top pattern because I thought the little overlap at the back kind of echoed the wrap on the front of the Anderson blouse.

I like how the back drops down a bit further than the front – unless I messed up and it’s not supposed to!

I do think I slightly stretched out the neckline when I was sewing on the facing. I definitely should have stay-stitched the neckline as soon as I cut it out, before sewing anything!

 

 

The lack of fabric meant that the sleeves are actually basically the original sleeves from the Anderson, but I did reshape the top of the sleeve with the Mercury pattern piece so the sleeve would fit in the new armscye. It actually looks pretty much like it’s supposed it, the sleeves are just a little narrower than the pattern calls for.

I made the size 2 with no fitting adjustments, apart from the fabric requirement changes. I maybe could have sized down a size, looking at the pictures, though I like looser fitting tops.

I decided to top stitch the seam allowances down on the front and back seams to echo the top stitching on the back, which is actually written into the instructions. It also means the seam allowance is flattened (and sewn down) where there shouldn’t actually be a seam!

Have you ever refashioned a me-made garment? I’ve done it a few times now (mostly in Alter It August), and I find it really satisfying to make something I’ll get more wear out of. Especially if the fabric was expensive, which lets face it, it mostly is!