Hello Sewists,

Have you been following #TheRefashioners this year? I love this challenge and I’ve really enjoyed all the amazing refashions I’ve seen up on Instagram. There’s barely half a week to go (the deadline is the end of October) and I’ve managed to finish my look. Which is no mean feat considering I’m still recovering from a broken arm! – I really didn’t think it would heal in time for me to enter this year which would have been really bad news considering it may be the final year for the refashioners.

My inspiration is Gene Kelly in the film Singin In The Rain. In particular, that snazzy outfit he had on in the Gotta Dance scene. Years ago I used to be a professional dancer and I performed in Singin In The Rain on a UK national tour. MrA & I had not long started dating and I was away a lot, but he came to see me in every venue of the tour. He must have seen that show well over a hundred times. It holds great memories for both of us.

Now, let’s start with the shirt. I posted the shirt last week because it’s not refashioned. The buttons and bias tape were but that doesn’t really count. However, if we wanted to be pedantic; I think if you add up the yardage of all the other refashioned elements, the shirt can pass as my 20% ‘acceptable new fabric’. And anyway, in all seriousness I’m not going to get much wear out of a peppermint-candy-stripe shirt, so I had to make some changes! So that it could still rival Gene’s shirt, I cut it on the bias to step up its ‘jazzy-ness’!

Next up, the waistcoat. I was over the moon to see that curtains and other household fabrics were allowed for refashioning this year. You see, earlier in the year one of my colleagues had very kindly donated me a set of gold velvet curtains that had never seen the light of day and a red silk bedding set left unopened from the 80’s.

As marvellous as these gifts were, I couldn’t think for the life of me what I’d do with them! One of the silk bedsheets became a kimono for my friend MissV,

then I was stumped… until now! … so I drew up a plan…

I made the front, back and facings of the waistcoat from the velvet curtain. (The lining is the reverse side of a Donna Karan duvet cover that I made my mum a top out of) This was my first ‘big’ project since breaking my arm, so to keep the lines clean (& not over do my wrist!) I only put in one pocket; on the left breast. I love how you imagine something turning out quite well, then when it’s done, you totally love it! That’s what happened with this waistcoat. Bring on the festive season; I’ve got my party outfit!

I finished it off with some gold buttons (from a (seemingly endless) stash of vintage buttons given to me a couple of christmasses ago by one of my hair clients) and I had the buckle in my stash from way back when I made mine & MrA’s wedding waistcoats.

Then came the tie. I’d made one before for my nephews’ wedding and was pleased to see that the pattern pieces fit onto one opened out pillowcase…

I cut one cotton lining from the (aforementioned) duvet cover and starched the heck out of it… Only a little bit of machine sewing then it’s out with the hand needle.

Pardon me if I don’t show you the inside!

So I needed a hat… Or did I? As a rule, hats don’t like me. I’m not exactly enamoured with hats either – although I had a recent success with the free Elbe Bucket hat pattern (this was a rare turn up) – I decided to get a haircut instead.

(In my La Maison Victor ‘Omer‘ jacket, with my Sewist pin in prime position!)

Finally trousers. I picked up a pair of oversized suit trousers from my local charity shop. They weren’t hard to find and they weren’t expensive: there’s rail upon rail of unwanted, unmatched grey suit trousers in the world. These were in good condition, a couple of sizes too big with slash pockets and one small front pleat.

I unpicked the waistband, the seat, inside and outside leg seams. At the back, I loosely traced around the La Maison Victor Greg Chino pattern. At the front, I unpicked the pleat and put two new ones in on each side to take up the extra fabric. I kept the fly intact but adjusted the crotch curve slightly to better fit with the back leg pieces.

With it all basted together I tried them on before securing the stitches and finishing the seams.

I was really lucky not to have to meddle with the pockets and the fly. Even the beltloops stayed attached to the waistband! I attached the waistband in three pieces (before finishing the side seams) so that I could also retain the front closures. The hook & eye, button & buttonhole are all the originals, unmoved – I took the excess from the sides of the waistband.

This all happened in a moderately haphazard order, so here’s a small montage…

Where I could, I finished the seams with a bit of bias binding from a reclaimed sewing tin. I only had enough for the seat, crotch and a little bit of the inseam. So I finished the long seams off with my overlocker (still loaded with rainbow thread!). I’m so happy with how they’ve turned out and think I’ll wear them quite a bit. I’ve wanted a pair of pleated trousers for a while now.

Okay, that’s it; this post is getting long enough, so without any further ado, here it is… my #TheRefashioners2018 #InspiredBy Gene Kelly look…!

I must admit, I relish any opportunity to wear my aubergine suede Hermes loafers!

A big thank you to Sinead at work who donated the curtains and bedding. Of course, also to Portia for organising the whole thing! – if you’ve got this far and have no idea what #TheRefashioners is (perhaps you live on the moon… or ‘off the grid’…?) check out her website to get the lowdown and catch up on a whole month of inspirational posts, and you can search the hashtags for all the amazing entries throughout October on social media. Have you entered this year?

Happy Sewing!

Notes to self:

  • Take on more refashions – I loved doing this!
  • There’s enough gold velvet left for a coat or trousers… do I…?!
  • Get your aubergine loafers out a bit more!