Runway Deconstructed: #ChallengeCreate Refashion Entry, Explained


*Becca and I are the first circle to click on in the poll at the bottom of the post linked above

So here we are in week two: Refashioning.  For me this was a WOHOOOO theme, for Becca it was more of an OhNoooooo.  Most of what I make includes some form of upcycling or refashioning, I built my personal blog around the idea that I could sew my children's wardrobes and save my family some dough.  My personal stash of fabric is made of 90% clothing, sheets, and drapes that have been given to be in garbage bags from friends and family.  I use this stash to mine for not only fabric, but buttons, zippers, and other notions.  Now Becca on the other hand has only tried a few refashioning projects, and in an effort to clean out her house, got rid of 5 bags of old clothes right before we found out we would be competing in this competition... wah-wah-wah.

After bouncing around through many different design inspirations, we ended up with a gray and pink color scheme to show the Naughty and Nice of Rocker Chic.

Now when I started Upcycling, one of my main goals was to create things that you would never know had been made out of something else.  The biggest compliment I ever get on my sewing creations is when people either ask 'where did you buy that' or don't say anything - assuming it came from a store.  Now the challenge here is that I am MUCH larger than my toddler children.... upcycling for myself takes a bit more ingenuity - good thing nothing is off limits to me in my quest to create a fun new outfit.

Here is a look at my fabric pile that fit our color scheme of greys and pinks: 2 fitted sheets, one men's button up,  and the pink and white pattern was a table cloth border.

Here is a look at my fabric pile that fit our color scheme of greys and pinks: 2 fitted sheets, one men's button up,  and the pink and white pattern was a table cloth border.

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We'll start with the Jacket:

  • The outer material is a vinyl outdoor tablecloth - you know, the kind with the fuzzy backing so that they don't blow away.
  • The Jacket is lined in a thin soft pink fitted sheet
  • The Jacket Zipper I stole from a hoodie that was given to me in a bag of clothes - the hoodie itself had a hole on the front, but the zipper was perfect - and I don't have a ton of separating zipper options at my local stores.
  • The seaming on the jacket is my favorite part - the double rows of topstitching not only show off the detailing in the pattern, but they are necesary to makeing sure the vinyl wont rip apart as it is worn (that stuff is not fun to work with: permanent holes, no ease, sticks to itself) *helpful tip: if you don't have a walking foot, stick a piece of painters tape or scotch tape to the bottom of your regular foot, this will help reduce friction.
  • Pattern - BurdaStyle Desert Moto Jacket , I cropped this jacket to a modern and flattering length, I also removed the collar to play with a more feminine look. (*I love the styling of this pattern, but if you need detailed instructions, you wont find them in here).

The Dress:

  • The center front and back of the dress are made from a Men's button up oxford.
  • The remainder of the dress is made from a striped fitted sheet and lined with the same pink fitted sheet used in the jacket lining.
  • The straps are where I got a bit creative.  I wanted lace, and had white lace in the form of an old lace dress from the 70's... it seemed like a no brainer.  But then I stumbled upon an unexpected piece of black lace in my drawer... I took a picture and asked my partner in crime whether she like white or black better.  Her answer was decidedly BLACK... so then I told her what they were - Victoria Secret Boy Short Undies.... she giggled and then said - 'oh yes, definitely the black'.  So here I am wearing my underwear for all the world to see - I kinda thought I said I wasn't going to ever do them, hmmmmmmmmm.
  • The invisible zipper was stolen from another dress, it was a side zip in the original dress, but the length ended up being perfect - phew.
  • I used the Mouse House Creations Caroline Dress as a base, but altered the bodice to a sweetheart front.  I also self drafted a circle skirt to go with the bodice, it is the most flattering skirt shape on my figure.  
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The Belt:

  • I have an entire bag of buckles that my mom gave to me from old belts she had that were cracked or worn.  I grabbed this pretty silver one since it fit the scale of the dress.
  • The belting itself was made from the canvas decorative edge of a table cloth.  I ripped this edging off years ago and have been saving it.  I decided to use the solid section rather than the print because I thought the solid pop of color was the better fit.  I love the look of knotted belts, so that is how I decided to do the closure.
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Voila - The Nice Rocker Chic with just a little Naughty thrown in ;o)

I am the anti-hoarder (well.. except for my fabric stash.. which I don't call "hoarding" because I'm actually sewing through the whole darn thing!). If I trip over a toy I've cleaned up more than once in a day, that sucker goes in the trash. If there's a piece in my closet I haven't worn in a few months, it goes to Goodwill. 

Which is precisely what I did. With 5 full bags in a recent Spring "declutter" mission. So when I saw this week's theme? I had an immediate face-palm response. 

HOW was I going to pull this off?? Creativity I've got, but I can't *materialize* trash-to-turn-treasure. 

So my fabric hunt went a little like this:

"What old T-shirt do I never want to see my husband wear again? Perfect! This dingy thing'll work!"

Then.. "We've got 3 beds. Do we really need bedding for 10?" This Ikea duvet was the victim of a red-fabric-bleed early in the domestication-of-Becca, and was stuffed in the back of the closet to hide the evidence. Throw that in the pile, too.

Then... there were pleas to friends and family to purge their unwanted goods, whereby I scored this red bag I was kinda sad to cut up!


A lengthy date with a seam ripper later, that bag became this belt...

But the skirt... the skirt was unexpectedly difficult. 

I made it from 6 a-line skirt panels, and 5 large godets.  Then to nicely stitch down the many, many raw edges inside the skirt, I used my twin needle. Insert back-pat here!

But here's the thing about a giant white maxi skirt. It screams "BRIDAL!". So I thought "easy-peasy, I'll throw it in a dye bath!" ... that turned it orange. Like, "shield your eyes" orange. New dye bath. "I didn't know that shade of pink even existed." New dye bath. "Didn't the instructions say this was supposed to strip the dye?? Let's try going darker instead.." Last dye bath. "Well. I wouldn't exactly call this RED, but I'm out of dye packets, so time to make like the Gunn and 'make it work'!"

Fun fact: White thread is apparently dye-resistant. Who knew?? So I'm just gonna pretend like I did that for an added aesthetic detail to highlight the godets. I mean... I did, I totally did. 

So there you have it, my bottom-of-the-barrel upcycle attempt. The skirt will be dyed darker (who knows how that'll turn out??) and the slit'll be stitched up a bit, but it *will* get wear! Plus, when you upcycle bedding, you can be sure it's mega comfortable to wrap yourself in :)