Refashioners 2016

First, an apology. I got my entry in before the deadline, but did I manage an accompanying blog post? Did I buggery. So here is my story about turning rags to embroidered denim riches, and sorry to Portia for giving you something extra to read….



Once upon a time, a tall and handsome man ripped a hole in his Levi 501s, right where you didn’t want a hole.  So, with great sadness, the handsome man consigned his tired, worn jeans to the bin – when suddenly, a crafty woman appeared and snatched them from the jaws of death, crying “STOP! I’ve just read the Makery blog, and I can use these jeans!”

The chances of me writing this whole post as a fairy tale are slim to none, much to everyone’s relief, I’m sure.  I was armed with one largish pair of very sad looking jeans that were ripped at the crotch, and a longstanding desire to make a button down skirt like the ones I walk past in Dorothy Perkins every day.  Except better, obviously.

First up, prepping the jeans. They really were tragic – worn, faded, inkstained…



Have you noticed the (not) deliberate mistake? I cut the jeans to pieces and then dyed them – and of course they frayed like a bastard, losing me precious fabric. But dying them was a good move I think; it’s sorted out some of the more faded and grubby patches, but I’ve still got some really cool features like the pocket shadows.  I should mention at this point that I think I’d missed the point of the brief – I thought we had to refashion just one pair of jeans. That meant that losing an inch of denim on each piece was a worry for me.  Onwards and upwards, it’s going to be fine.

Next up – pattern. I’ve not been able to find a button down a-line skirt pattern (I’ve not looked terribly hard, mind you) so I had a go at drafting my own. I based it on a (sad and worn denim – notice a theme?) skirt I wear to work.  The panels would be too wide to cut from the pieces of denim I had, so I elected to make it a 12 panel skirt.

skirt-draftThat skirt is embarrassing. I wear that out of the house and everything.

Of course, a black denim skirt is not a very interesting refashion. Also, I was right in the middle of a massive sewing slump, and didn’t really feel like doing this skirt at all…. my solution was to mix things up and add in some embroidery.  I picked a couple of designs from (having seen them on Google and made the moral choice to pay for them instead of pinching them. Shine my halo) and settled down on the sofa for the next three weeks to calmly hand stitch a bunch of skulls. 20160817_132208.jpg

I really enjoyed it. It was just what I needed to get my head back in the game.  And I can honestly say no one has a skirt like mine now…

finished collage.jpg

What do I think? I love that you can see the marks of the old pockets.  I love the embroidery – I’ll definitely be doing more of that on the right project.  It’s basically post-watershed short, but I’ll wear it with leggings or tights without worrying too much. Putting in the jeans buttons was brilliant, and now I want to use a hammer to put in all my fastenings.

Will it win the Refashion challenge? Hah, no. There’s some UNBELIEVABLE entries (here’s my favourite) which totally knock it out of the park. The experience has made me look at refashioning in a different light, and I’ve got an idea of the standard for next year’s challenge.  And I will be entering next year!  I’m really pleased with what I’ve ended up with, from something which was destined for the rubbish bin.  So, in a way, you could say I’m already a winner!


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