When Portia Lawrie first announced this year’s Refashioners challenge, I wasn’t planning on joining in. But then the blogger posts started popping up and there were so many beautiful and creative makes like Toya’s and Allie’s that I couldn’t help but be inspired. (Portia is sneakily smart about how the challenge rolls out I think!) It was Beth’s gorgeous shift dress that really got me thinking that I wanted to give it a try.
Initially I had a plan for a cool wrap skirt with D-rings and some kind of fitted top or jacket—but of course all that went out the window when I went to actually find a suit. I really wanted a wool suit in a somewhat unusual color or pattern, but everything I found was grey, black, or too small to use. I checked out the women’s suits and found a much bigger range of colors, but it was really difficult to find a full suit set. I was ready to give up and decided to give it a last look, but then I found this 100% silk large skirt suit with shell buttons. I absolutely love sueded silk and shell buttons are my number one favorite buttons, so it was meant to be! But the skirt was a wrap skirt—great for the amount of fabric, but not great for my plans. I didn’t want to make a wrap skirt that came from a wrap skirt, so I needed a new idea.
Around this time I started watching The Deuce on HBO, which is about pimps, sex workers, and pornography in 1970s New York. It’s a great show for many reasons, but I absolutely love the costume design. I was really intrigued by the tiny button-up shorts that Maggie Gyllenhaal often wears, so I did some Etsy searching and found several examples of these shorts (or hot pants, really). To round off the 70s-inspired look I decided to pair my shorts with a blousey off-shoulder crop top.
To make the shorts I started with the Lander Pant/Shorts pattern by True Bias. Right away I eliminated the waistband, increased the rise to make up for it, and drafted facing pieces for the two fronts and the back. I tried to figure out a way I could combine the fly and front waistband facings, but it was too much of a puzzle for me at the time. I also shortened the hem by an inch and a half and graded from an 6 in the waist to a 10 in the hips.
I knew that I wanted to use the entire skirt to get the blousiest top possible, so I was left with the jacket for the shorts. A nice thing is that the jacket fronts were mirror images, so I was able to get everything to fit and match each other. The princess seaming on the back of the jacket ended up on my butt, which is a detail I actually like.
Probably unpicking everything took the same amount of time as sewing it back together. What took the longest was getting all that interfacing off the front of the jacket! When I got down to sewing the shorts came together really nicely and the top was a breeze. Everything fit pretty much exactly how I wanted it to, which was lucky because I didn’t do a muslin (oops). I trusted Kelli’s drafting on the Lander Pant and I’m really excited to make them in a more traditional fabric. (and by that I mean an actual bottomweight…I’m going to make them in a crazy Japanese panel print, of course)
I’m super super happy with how this came out! I feel like I challenged myself with the fabric and pattern choice (I had never sewn a fly front before!), but I think it all worked out beautifully. I’m sad that it’s now pretty cold (last week it was 85°, boo) and I can’t wear the shorts out, but I wore the top to work today and felt super cute. I know that both will be a welcome addition to my wardrobe.
In the end, the only parts that didn’t come from the original suit were thread and a little bit of interfacing. I still have all the nylon lining left over, a few buttons, and the shoulder pads, but no useable silk pieces are left from the suit. Not bad, right?
What do you think of refashioning? I used to be a huge thrift store shopper but since sewing I haven’t been doing any clothes shopping (shoes are another story…). I had a lot of fun with this project, but I think I need to work through more of my stash before I start combing thrift stores for more fabric!