Refashion Month with Climbing the Willow

Today I get to welcome back, Teri from Climbing the Willow. I love her blog, the way she writes, her creations and her generousity - she's got wonderful, well written and ilustrated FREE patterns that I am sure you'll love to use over and over. I know I do! I've sewn a few of her Izzy Top pattern and I know there will be more in the future. Just like last year, she's coming back to the series with an awesome refashion to show us. 


I enjoy refashioning, but not for the typical reasons - reducing waste or cost savings - although those are excellent reasons to refashion!  I enjoy the challenge of taking an item not intended for the purpose I am assigning to it and making it work.  I also love working without patterns or instructions which can be limiting, and instead just using my creativity and sewing skills to create something entirely new from an item that no longer meets a need.  Not having an infinite amount of fabric forces me to be creative. And because I am starting with an item that would have otherwise been discarded or donated, I am more willing to try ideas that might not be successful at first.  Sometimes expensive fabrics and trims can actually be quite intimidating since we are afraid to waste our money if we mess up!

Every year I collect a small pile of clothes my children have outgrown (at least I try to keep it small!) that I particularly like the fabric or the details, and that I know I would enjoy refashioning.  This year I'm starting with a dress, a sweater, a lightweight floral top and a pair of pants.  I will add more items to the pile, but I like to start small :)  Today I'm sharing the first two items that I made for my daughter Mae.  In the next couple of months you may see the rest of the pieces as part of Mae's fall wardrobe if you follow my blog Climbing the Willow.

Today's project started as the navy and white striped dress pictured above that was too small for my middle daughter.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it at first, but I knew I didn't want to leave it as a dress, so I unpicked the waist seams and removed the elastic just to see exactly what I was left with.  As soon as I was done I knew that I wanted to keep the top essentially the same and just scale it down a bit to fit through the neckline and under the arms.  I finished one side of the top and went to do the second side, but I quickly realized that it wasn't going to work.  Someone at an H&M factory must have had a bad sewing day because the left side of the bodice was 3/4" narrower across the front than the right side.  And one of the sleeves was about 1/2" longer than the other.  So I essentially had to re-sew the sleeve on the left side to try to make it match the right side.  I couldn't really do anything about the fact that the front was narrower, so I'm just hoping it's not that noticeable since it I never noticed in the original dress :)  After finishing the neckline and the sleeves, I took in the side seams a little and attached a knit band to the bottom.  The shoulders are still a little wide, but she loves it, and that's all that counts!

For the skirt part of the dress, I kept wavering back and forth over keeping it a skirt or turning it into harem style pants.  In the end I knew we would get more use from a dress, so I sewed a bodice (using a t-shirt pattern from a Japaneses sewing book) from the same knit I used on the band of the top and simply attached the skirt without making any alterations.  I had to remind myself that sometimes refashions don't need to be overly complicated!

I just want to give a big thanks to Magda for hosting this series!  I have seen a huge growth in refashioning in the last few years, which is a trend I hope will continue.  And blog series like this are a wonderful way of encouraging beginner and experienced sewers alike to take a fresh look at some of the old things around them and use their creativity to create something new :)

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