The Refashioning Checklist, or, six garments I need to chop up

One of the great benefits of sewing is being able to take a pair of scissors to an unwanted garment and create something worth wearing.

That’s the logic, anyway. But more often than not, I’ll buy or adopt something second-hand with the best refashioning intentions – yet it ends up at the bottom of my wardrobe all the same. Usually, it’s discarded in favour of a sewing project with new and shiny fabric. As Zoe pointed out recently, adding to the stash is not that much different to buying new.

To remedy this, I’ve rummaged in the deepest depths of my darkest drawers to find six items I need to refashion, pronto, lest they be banished to the wardrobe whirlpool until they get eaten by moths or something.

They include second-hand purchases I’ve since had second thought about, donated items, found items and even a very recent me-made. The main thing is, I can’t just leave these unworn in my wardrobe much longer – otherwise, what’s the point of having them at all?

The 80s hangover blouse

Yup, you’ve seen this one before. Bought at a vintage fair which wasn’t really a vintage fair, I found this doozy nestled in between blouses from H&M and Primark. I was probably just so excited to have finally found something from another century that I forked over the cash without a care about the dreaded shoulder pads. It looks like a tent on me. A tent which reminds me of Margaret Thatcher.

photo (23)

You know that feeling, right, when your eyes clock on to a lace wonder on a bargain rail at a car boot sale. It’s love at first sight and you think it will be a lacy, happily ever-after. That is until you get home, try it on, and realise something’s a bit off. And before you say it, I did wear something underneath it! I tried to make it work, but alas, it wasn’t to be. We fell out of love and now I don’t know what to do with it.

The school uniform

There’s not really anything wrong with this dress. It’s a touch too long for my liking, but other than that, it’s fairly normal, doesn’t have shoulder pads and doesn’t fit me like a tent. It was donated to me as something I could potentially wear to work – but then I realised just how much it made me feel like I was heading back to school. Primary school, that is. Now, every time I look at it, I see back to school posters and have nightmares about maths lessons.

The boring one

Meh. ‘Nuff said.

the shapeless shift dress

A good-natured eBay purchase of mine gone awry. I happily wore this a few times to work until I noticed something the seller failed to mention. Namely, some unsightly navy staining underneath the arms of the dress. Lush.

the me made

When I look at the dress I made and wore to the Guardian Student Media Awards, I just feel a bit sad. The wrinkles give a lot away – I haven’t worn it once since. The bodice is uncomfortable, I can’t lift my arms in it. As much as I love the velvet ric-rac details (which will be put to good use elsewhere, mark my words) it’s just not working. I’ll feel the saddest cutting this one up, because I spent so long on it.

I’d like to finish them before the end of May, but we know that’s unlikely – a girl can dream though eh? I’ve started work on some of them and those of you who follow me on Instagram or Flickr will know I’ve already completed one, result!

You can keep up with my checklist progress here. Got any suggestions on what I should do? Drop me a comment below – I’m always up for inspiration.

10 thoughts on “The Refashioning Checklist, or, six garments I need to chop up

  1. Vicki Kate says:

    I’m no good at refashioning unless its a fabric harvesting exercise! I’m in awe of people like you, Miss P and Zoe who can remake garments. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  2. flossiejamieson says:

    I would, if it was mine and I was remotely capable if such a thing, take the arms off the dogtooth, cut in a slash neckline or perhaps a horseshoe curve, and get darts or shaping on that waistline – it could look very Joan from Mad Men.

  3. Gjeometry says:

    I wonder what you will create with these? I have some “wadders” in my closet as well, but usually end up donating them to Goodwill. You may inspire me to tackle some refashioning of my own.

  4. maddie says:

    I think this is a great challenge. You’re absolutely right that garments left unworn are as bad as gluttonous fabric buying. I think you can meet your goal!

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