Friends, I'm humbled to be part of The Refashioners 2018 epic line-up. This year, Portia has opened the challenge right up - absolutely any garment goes, as long as you start with an image that inspires you!

With that in mind, you're probably wondering why the heck I've played it so safe!?! Well, aside from not being a particularly gifted refashioner, my initial plan kinda went to pot. 

I was hoping to make a patchwork Megan Nielsen Karri Dress, using the many unloved pairs of jeans I've been holding onto for years. I was really excited about this idea, until I realised that none of the jeans I owned were wide enough for the skirt pieces. 

A trek to my local charity shops revealed that I would need to buy quite a few jeans/denim items to be able to carry this off, which really got me thinking about waste. It seemed like I would be buying items just for the sake of it, when I already have plenty of me-mades in need of some TLC. So, I decided to hold onto my jeans until the right project comes along and hatched another plan.

 

I turned my attention to the By Hand London Kim Dress I made four years ago, using the loveliest Liberty London cotton lawn. Even though it was pretty, I'd never worn it because it was a little too revealing in the bust area, plus I'm not a fan of light-coloured dresses on me. 

Wasting such beautiful fabric made me uneasy though, so this was the push I needed to do something about it. I googled 'Liberty fabric blouses' which led me to this divine image from Pompom magazine and the Stevie Tunic pattern by Tilly and the Buttons immediately sprung to mind! 



Having already made two Stevie tops that I love, this was the perfect pattern to ensure that my Liberty lawn got the second chance it deserved. I chopped the skirt off my Kim Dress and...the rest is history. For this version I opted for the ties at the back and added cuffs too. The purple contrasting fabric was in my destash pile, so I'm glad I found a use for it. 

Was the original dress cuter? Possibly. Will I get lots of wear out of this? Definitely!




If you've got this far, thanks for sticking with me! Once again, Portia's challenge is super inspiring, so make sure you stay updated with the latest here

It's also proven again that when it comes to refashioning, I'm definitely a harverster instead of a reworker. This means that I'm not great at reimagining garments and pretty much only see them as fabric I can use for something else. Elisalex of By Hand London has written an interesting article about these two different approaches in this month's Love Sewing magazine!

Are there any more harvesters out there?

After many an Instagram teaser, behold my striped Cocowawa Honeycomb Dress!

Can you believe I started it back in July? It took me forever to finish, because work was super crazy, plus I was juggling a couple of other sewing projects at the same time.

But, I had SO much fun playing with the direction of the stripes and nailing the front bodice stripe-matching gives me life. I hope you'll also be impressed to know that I managed to squeeze this out of just 1.5m of fabric (a cheap and cheerful seersucker from Stuart's Fabrics stall on Leicester Market).



There's not an awful lot to say that I haven't already covered in my posts about my animal-print dress version or my cocktail-print blouse version.

However, I did make a few small tweaks. I cut a straight 4 (UK size 12) again, but shortened the bodice by a good 1.5cm which makes it perfect in the back, if a little borderline in the front. 

I also took in the top of the princess seams by a 2cm to reduce the shoulder width and took out the same from the back yoke so that the shoulder seams matched up.  

Finally, I cheated and sewed the buttons on without buttonholes. I actually have no problem sewing buttonholes, but I just didn't want them to mess up my stripe-matching on this occasion.



Ironically, I didn't add buttons all the way to the top as I prefer a slightly open neckline, but my collar was misbehaving in these photos as I hadn't pressed it properly. So I finger-pressed it together and it stayed...haha!


I couldn't resist ending with an out-take of me looking displeased with my photographer. Sometimes I can be such a blogzilla...poor Charlotte!


Anyway, although I'm sad I only got to wear this once before the weather turned, I'm happy to have made an early start on next year's summer wardrobe.


Friends, I can make shoes! Well, sandals...kinda.

When Amanda, the founder of I CAN make shoes, invited me to try out their Leather Sandal Making course, I jumped for joy and put my best foot forward! After all, it's not every day you get to make bespoke footwear that you can replicate at home. The ethos of the school is to teach techniques which don't require heavy machinery, so by investing in a few key tools you can continue to create in your own time.





I arrived at their beautiful studio, which is a stone's throw away from Bethnal Green tube/train station, with high hopes and no real clue about shoe-making. To avoid disappointment, make sure you treat the class as the beginner's guide that it is. I was armed with pinned pictures of extravagant sandals, which in hindsight, are more the kind of thing you might tackle in their Fabulous Flats class.

The key to the sandals class is to keep things simple so you can master the basics. It's only four hours long, which isn't long when you're a perfectionist. To give you a head start, the soles and straps are pre-cut for you. This does mean you're a little restricted in terms of style, but with it being such a short class, it's actually really helpful.

We started by tracing around our feet and trimming the pre-cut insoles and soles to size. Then it was onto picking out straps and settling on a design - this step took up a large chunk of my time. Placing and adjusting the straps using masking tape was probably the trickiest part of the whole process, but  with just five of us in the class, we all got plenty of help from the teacher and each other. Once we were happy, everything was glued together, sanded and sealed.

Although this particular class required no stitching by hand or machine, there were quite a few parallels with sewing. Transferring strap markings and trimming down the bulk of the excess straps before sandwiching between the inner and outer soles were both familiar processes.  





Believe it or not, I actually set out to make a tasteful pair of sandals. A combination of magpie tendencies and lack of choice resulted in this funky pair instead, but they are truly one-of-a-kind! In fact, my only criticism of the class would be the restricted colours and shapes. There seemed to be a good selection at first glance, but if you were last to go up and chose your pieces, there weren't many options left. I know that leather is expensive and precious though, so having an abundance would be wasteful I guess.

Still, I'm pretty thrilled with my first ever go at making shoes and would absolutely love try to their Derby Masterclass, so I know what gift vouchers I'll be asking for this Christmas!

If shoe-making sounds like something you'd like to try, I'd seriously recommend checking out I CAN make shoes. You can also get an idea of what you could create in a more advanced class in this nice film by Kate and Rachel from The Fold Line.

I made my first Nina Lee Kew Dress and it's love...the fiercest, most passionate kind. 

After getting an invite to Amy of Almond Rock's wedding last month, the self-inflicted pressure was well and truly on. Not only was Amy making her own dress (which was utterly breathtaking by the way), I've also been in a bad place about my weight and in a total sewing funk. In fact, I can't remember the last time I made a fitted woven dress that I felt comfortable in. 

I don't know what possessed me to try Kew, other than madly hoping it would miraculously look as good on me as it does on everyone else I've stalked online. Well guess what? It bloody well does!




Before going into pattern details, can we take a minute to swoon over my fabric? It's this gorgeous poly crepe from Sew Me Sunshine, which is actually much more teal in real life. The peach buttons from my stash are the perfect pairing.

This was my first time working with a Nina Lee pattern and I'm seriously impressed. It's very well drafted, the instructions are easy to follow and the design mixes vintage and contemporary details beautifully.

I made a straight size 14 and it was very nearly a perfect fit. I just shortened the shoulder straps by 3cm and sewed the facing along the neckline with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as I was worried about it being a bit revealing. I'm always so self-conscious about my large bust and try to avoid unwanted attention, but the finished neckline is very pretty. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of dipped hems, so I evened mine out to the shortest part of the skirt.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to lower the bust dart by a smidge...but that's it!




This pattern did what no other has managed to do in months...it made me feel sassy and elegant and happy in my own skin. Oh, and it only took me a day to sew up...so a win-win on all fronts!

Thank you Nina for designing such a gorgeous pattern and thank you Amy for giving me the motivation to sew something special.

I'll leave you with a few of my favourite photos of the stunning bride and I! If you want to know how Amy made her wedding dress of Dior dreams, then check out the series of posts on her blog throughout August.




Last month, I spent a wonderful day sewing at The Village Haberdashery with these gals!

We were invited there by the lovely Ana of CocoWawa Crafts to celebrate the release of her latest pattern, the Honeycomb Shirt and Dress. Despite heading home with just one more button to sew on and the hemming left, it's taken me this long to finish and photograph. Life sure does get busy!



After unexpectedly falling in love with my Honeycomb Dress, I wanted to give the shirt version a whirl so I could pair it with this cute cocktail-print crepe from my stash. I think it was from Ditto Fabrics, but I got it such a long time ago that I can't be sure.

I'm really happy with my decision to make contrasting ties and buttons for this version, as they really stand out. This was my first time making self-covered buttons and boy are they fiddly little fellas! Why didn't anybody warn me?!? I really like how they turned out though and even though I'm not a gadget person, I think I would have given up if it wasn't for this nifty tool




Once again I made a straight size 4 (UK 12), as the pattern has a lot of ease. I added a fifth button to eliminate gaping at the bust and sewed the sleeves on with a 1.5cm seam allowance (the pattern calls for 1cm) to get rid of some of the extra ease. For my third Honeycomb - this stripy goddess in the making - I've tweaked the pattern pieces slightly to reduce the dropped shoulders...will report back on how that works out.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this sweet little shirt. Are you a Honeycomb pattern fan?

Friends, it's July and I'm still catching up on blogging last year's makes!

This here is my third version of the lovely Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress, made using a cute confetti-print jersey from Stoff & Stil. Sadly, I think this print is sold out, but they have plenty of other jerseys to choose from.

I shared comprehensive thoughts on the pattern and fit in my post about my first version. You can also see my velvet Aldaia Dress here, which I've since refashioned and still need to blog about.





A short and sweet post for you, but I thought this dress was too pretty not to share.

Have you made this pattern yet? What do you think to it?