Refashion to the rescue!

I spend part of every fall and spring, culling my wardrobe as many of us do. Lots of folks lately are writing about this process. The Coletterie has touched upon this more recently as part of their Wardrobe Architect series.

At this point, I feel like my style is shifting again. Maybe it's getting older, moving to the country, feeling subtle shifts in how I want to be perceived. As a result, the need to re-evaluate my wardrobe as I have in the past is unavoidable, but familiar.

I know what I wear all the time. And I know what I'm not going to wear. Since I cull my wardrobe so frequently, I don't have too much to work with as things start to change. There are some serious gaps. And I'm also at the point where a majority of my garments are self made. I've astonishingly been able to part with a few ill fitting or ill conceived makes, but it's the pieces in between that confound me.

I'm still figuring out what to do with the maybes...

There's loads of criteria for whether or not to ditch something and many of these maybes only fulfill one: they don't get worn. For many, I like the fabric, the style, the color, and they go with things I own. But I don't wear them, and I think that's due all sorts of factors.

I find one of the hardest things to do when making clothing for oneself is to distinguish between what you like and what you like to wear.

I decided to take some unworn pieces from my wardrobe that I really, really like and figure out how to make them wearable:

Exhibit A

This is a Hazel Dress by Victory patterns, modified to be a shirt. I used some incredible cotton voile and lightweight sateen. I love the colors.

But I discovered that despite the fact that bow blouses were designed for small chested women, it doesn't feel right for me. It's too fussy and feminine, even though it's made up in the least feminine colors possible. Too much bow.

I think the best way to save this is to do away with the bow. There's quite a bit of fabric in there that could be used for other details, but I think it would be best to stay simple. Perhaps I'll keep the neckline as a sort of band collar and add a button placket. I'm a big fan of the Henley shirt and fantasize about making them all the time (though no pattern exists to my knowledge...I'll have to make one!). The silkiness of the fabric will be the star, offset by a more masculine palette and balancing out the feminine puffy cap sleeve.

Exhibit B:

This was a pattern I was developing for myself after seeing a little boys shirt with button closed neckline. I had, I believe, 1.5 yards of this awesome Nani Iro double gauze and decided to make it happen with this shirt. I think the fact that I was short on fabric, combined with the fact that my posture has changed a lot in the last year, resulted in a shirt that's just a bit too short. It's not a crop top, and it looks ok with high waisted skirts, but as a result of being a pants person lately, it's just not getting worn.

I'm thinking for this one, my best bet is to turn it into a dress, or at least a tunic. The drawing on the left: Find some more of this fabric and attach a skirt right below the purple stripe at the waist, then add elastic. On the right, cut shirt in half as pictured and throw in a contrasting double gauze to add length...most likely cropping right below the bust line.

We'll have to see if I can find a fabric that works...

Exhibit C:


This is from the Japanese pattern book I Am Cute Dresses.  I made it originally as a sample for JP Knit & Stitch and took it home when the fabric (one of my favorite - and unlikely - Denise Schmidt prints) and the book were out of stock.

In theory, I love this dress. It's over sized and very Japanese, just right. Since I'm a similar build as the models, it looks quite nice on me too. But here's the problem: I don't want to look girlish and demure like the book models. Which I certainly do, despite using a fabric one could describe as feedsack-goth (can that be a thing?). I think this look is great for others, but for me is somewhat retroactive.

The plan here is to eliminate the 13 yr old dressed in mom's 90's sundress cut and make it into something more oversized-in-the-right-way Japanese artist in late 1960's New York.

I decided to crop the dress at thigh length (right now it hits at low calf) and use the remaining fabric to create raglan-ish dolman sleeves. This one inspired the most clear and manageable fix, so I decided to give it a shot. I wrote the majority of this post before attempting this fix, but decided to wait to post until I had a picture of the finished product.

That night, we had out annual JP Knit & Stitch holiday/winter dinner party and I decided to wear this to it.

Here's me an Genevieve at the party (she's wearing her Cabin top in Nani Iro sparkley double gauze.) I can definitely foresee this getting a lot of wear!

I've noticed a lot of other folks taking this approach to their handmade garments, too! Teresa of Dandelion Drift recently made a Cabin shift out of a lovely double gauze. When she decided she didn't like the length and wasn't much for tunic length tops, she decided to turn her potentially unworn Cabin shift into a shirt, and it turned out awesome!

Stay tuned for the other two rescued tops!

Have you performed any successful wardrobe saves? Was it a simple fix, or did it end up being more complicated than the original?