Tag Archives: Refashioned Wardrobe

Refashioned Tea Dress

I’m not sure if this really counts as a refashion as all I did was take in this dress a bit to make it fit better, so I guess it’s more of an alteration?! I always find it funny that The Great British Sewing Bee calls their refashion challenge the ‘alteration challenge’ – it’s not like they’re just taking up a hem or something!

Anyway…….here are the before photos – taken ages ago (I had a binge of taking photos of most of the things I have in my to refashion pile):


It doesn’t really look that bad but it was a couple of sizes too big, which you can see especially around the bust area as I’m exaggerating below.


I put the dress on and pinned it at various placed to work out what changed I needed to make. There are bust darts, which needed to be about 1cm deeper over the apex of my bust, graduating out to nothing at the side seams.

tea-dress-refashion-2There are also back darts which I deepened by 2cm at the waits, tapering to nothing at the original top of the dart. Even just these changes made quite a bit of difference to the shape of the dress.

tea-dress-refashion-1I also measured that I needed to take some fabric out of the side seams on the bodice – I measure this as 2cm but after sewing the new seams, I tried on the dress and it was waaay to tight – I think I must have measure the various alterations in isolation, not taking into account how much the darts would take in the bodice, meaning I didn’t have to take in the side seams.

I was going to try to alter the sleeves by sewing new sleeves – without having to unpick and resew them – but it didn’t work, so I left them as they were and I think they look okay. If I was being really picky, I would want the sleeve seams 1 or 2cm closer to the collar. Speaking of which, I’m glad the collar fitted well as it was, I didn’t fancy having to change it!tea-dress-refashion-4

I wasn’t going to change the skirt, but I did unpick it and resew it 1.5cm further up, to raise the waist seam just a little so it sits on the bottom of my ribs instead of on my waist – it seemed like a cuter silhouette. To do this I had to unpick the button bands from the bottom up to just above the waist seam. I then sewed the new waist seam – gathering the back of the skirt so it fitted the new bodice size (because of the new darts), then sandwiched the skirt front edges in the button bands and stitched them back into place. I then hemmed the button bands so they lined up again with the hem.


All in all I’m pretty pleased with how a few changed and only a couple of hours of sewing means I’ve ended up with a dress I’ll wear – and one I can wear to work! It’s also a timely dress to have altered as my 2 best friends and I have been taking for ages about getting tattoos together – we were going to get a teapot, a teacup and a cupcake (one for each of us) but Chloe pointed out the cupcake might look like a pooh, so I think we’re all now going for teapots, so I’ll be able to wear this dress and it will match my tattoo!! We’re probably going to get them in January when we get together for our annual Christmas 2. I’m so excited!

It will be something like this but probably a little smaller.

teapot-tattoo(image source – via pinterest)

Do you have any tattoos? Do you regret them?




OMG, I made (or, more accurately, re-made) a coat!

I actually made a coat! And I love, love, love it! I know I say every one of my makes is my new favourite, but I think this might remain my favourite for quite a while!

Fara-coat-20As you may be able to tell, the pattern is the Marilla Walker Freemantle coat. I cut out the size 2 and made view A.

This was actually a refashion of the old coat I bought from the Fara Workshop. Remember it?

I just googled ‘Brian Tucker Dublin’ and according to The Irish Times, he was “a leading figure in the Irish clothing industry, affectionately known as “the blazer king” in the early l970s for a jacket that became his trademark. With a reputation for skilled cutting and for good fit, the Tucker label became synonymous with well-made coats, suits and raincoats, women’s outwear staples that were sold all over the country.” So I guess this was a fashionable, quality coat back in its day.

My original plan was to remove the faux fur cuffs, which it turned out were added by hand by the previous owner – you can see the stitches below.

This may have been a way to cover up some of the holes in the lining, of which there were many!



My original plan was to just replace the lining, using the old one asĀ  a pattern, and then to use the Freemantle pattern as a basis for the shape of the new coat, to make it a cocoon-type shape. But then it turned out it was easier to just make the whole coat, cutting up the shell of the coat and making a new lining. It took a bit of squeezing to get the pattern pieces to fit, but I realised they would, as long as I made the length in between the short jacket length and the long coat length, cutting off 16cm from the view A length.



I unpicked all the seams at the neck, took off the sleeves and unpicked the original facings as I needed that extra width to fit on the pattern pieces. This did mean that I didn’t have enough fabric to make the new facings for the coat, which was a bit of a shame, but both the shell fabric and the new lining fabric I bought are easy to iron so the lining doesn’t peek out too much – nowhere near as much as it does on my black Victoria blazer anyway!

As you may have seen from my post about the Knitting and Stitching Show, this is the fabric I bought for the new lining:

P1040244The pattern calls for an underlining and not a lining, but the way I had to piece the original coat meant I had lots of extra seams that would have needed bias binding attaching, and I’m lazy, so Idecided to make a full lining instead. This is what the coat looks like inside out – I might be tempted to wear it this way around sometimes if the outer fabric wasn’t so itchy!

And here is the obligatory ‘flasher’ shot!


I used this tutorial on Grainline to bag out the lining – I got stuck on how the sleeve linings would be attached to the cuffs, but this post makes it perfectly clear!


As a couple of other people have mentioned, one of the great details of this coat is the underarm gussets. It took me 2 days of getting increasingly more annoyed to work out how to construct these…..because I had sewn something wrong! I often cut some corners when I’m sewing, to get the thing finished as quickly as possible – so I can get to wear whatever it is as soon as possible. I therefore skipped the tailor tacks on the pattern – I didn’t even draw them on with chalk. This was a mistake!

I had the pattern pieces out for reference when constructing the sleeves, but when I sewed the back of the sleeve to the back of the coat, I sewed it too far so then couldn’t work out where the gusset should fit. I unpicked so many of the seams to try to work out what I’d done….except the one I needed to unpick! You know the phrase ‘a stitch in time saves nine’? Well I have a new one: ‘a tailor tack in time saves 2 days of getting annoyed and not being able to understand the instructions’. I think it’ll catch on!

Now I’m going to post loads of photos – sorry, not sorry – because I’m proud of how this turned out!



There’s an extra seam on the back because there was a seam on the original coat down the centre back.


I had to piece the sleeves slightly as the original sleeves weren’t wide enough or long enough – so there’s a little extra sort of cuff at the bottom of the sleeves.

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll also know how proud I am of the welt pockets – I’d never made them before, but following the instructions in the pattern, they worked perfectly! And there’s a little flash of yellow from the lining inside them.

I used 2 poppers to fasten the coat, and the sewed buttons on the top – it looks a bit puckered in the photos, but it doesn’t sit like that in real life.

I’m glad Marilla Walker put the pattern back in sale as I really like the shape, and think it would be flattering on lots of people in lots of different colours. Are you planning to make a coat this Winter? What patterns do you like for coats and jackets?