Friday, November 1, 2013

Struck with a passion for refashion and I need some suggestions

Merci beaucoup for all the great comments on my faux french jacket. I wore it today when took a shopping trip over to Stone Mountain in hopes of finding something to make a top but didn't see anything that grabbed me. I am about to start on a similar jacket for a sewing client using the same pattern but the look will be very different, more on that soon.

Recently I got together with my neighborhood friends for a clothing swap. Great way to clean out the closet of some no longer worn items and maybe get something new. Of course I intended to come away with nothing but more space in my closet but instead I got 3 pairs of pants, including some black jeans. Yeah! No shopping or trying on in stores, just a fun get together (drinks involved and lots of encouragement). In preparation for swapping I did a closet clean out and came across some items that I never wear but seem like they might be good candidates for some refashioning. So I am looking for suggestions, please chime in.
First up is this suit I made about 9 years ago, pattern date is 2004. Dates back to my former life of tedious meetings negotiating with ambitious people all trying to outsmart each other. Yikes, could it be any more serious?
Business executive nun?  Tweedy schoolmarm or librarian? (no offense to any of these lovely vocations). What was I thinking? Although I didn't run around with the jacket all buttoned up like that of course. Wore it with a silk top, nice heels etc. I don't like black but this fabric tempted me to try it.

black white suit
                                        black white suit skirtBlack white suit jacket
Separately the pieces have potential. I played around with the skirt and I think that changed into a pencil skirt instead of the A-line I would wear it this winter. It even has a hidden inside pocket at the waist for my mad money and business cards. Prepared, just like a boy scout! Looking at the technical drawing I can see why this jacket fits so well, it avoids the issue I often have of too wide across the top with the front shoulder and back neckline darts. Also I see that I used a size 10 instead of a 12 so I am definitely going to try that on my next Vogue and save some narrow shoulder alteration. A very nice shape I might revisit. It's the little puny collar that bugs me.  What about lopping that off and changing it to a V-neckline? or some other kind of collar.  Ideas welcome.

bl-wh jacket closeup
            V7947 pattern envV7947 tech drawing

Item # 2:  faux fur coat in deep emerald green.  Yes this one is a bit wacky but I have worn it enough to justify making this - maybe 17 years ago?  OK, now you can see that I keep almost everything I make (at least in the coat or jacket category, I do let go some dresses/skirts etc that are past their prime)

green faux fur front

It is a very nice quality of faux fur, despite the color, which actually looks near black at night. The big shawl collar is so cosy. Just imagine wearing for a long car ride home from a party on a late winter night - like having a blanket to snuggle into. Having other coats now I never wear this but hate to part with it. What about a long tunic type vest, maybe with a soft black leather belt for a closure?  Suggestions please!

Item # 3:  men's cashmere overcoat. This one is quite a find. My sister called me one Saturday morning, she was at the local thrift store which was having a 50% off everything sale. She is quite the one for finding expensive handbags among the array of worn out vinyl or cloth bags. So she said, do you want a men's cashmere coat for $ 20? Her words were "I think you can make something with this...maybe for me"  After my initial confusion as to what it was I said yes, absolutely, buy it! I figured it would be in a sorry state but this is what brought home. It seems to have been never worn, or so we thought until we found $ 5 and change in the pockets. But believe me I have lived here all my life and do not know any men who wear overcoats  - it is just not cold enough for that here. The label is Dillards which I believe is in Texas? or somewhere back east. It is labeled 100% cashmere and very luscious. There are few seams which means lots of fabric but do I dare cut it up?  So I am very much wanting to refashion it into some type of jacket for my sister but still giving it thought and welcome yours.

Black cashmere coat front
Those are my potential refashion projects, the second and third are quite daunting and would take a lot of commitment.  If you have any ideas or style suggestions please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Happy weekend sewing and enjoy the extra hour of sleep,  Beth


  1. Business Executive Nun made me laugh out loud! (Though I can totally see that outfit transformed as you describe with a nice silk shirt and heels.) I love the faux fur coat. If I lived closer, I'd be prising it out of your hands. I don't think I'd have the guts to cut into either of your hand mades. The coat has a great story behind it! What oh what you could you make with that? The bottom half - could it be made into a skirt?

  2. Such nice pieces, Beth! I suppose if it was me I would consider removing some of the fullness from the skirt and trimming the jacket with leather. Perhaps I would turn the faux fur jacket into a vest and that coat? I'd just throw a scarf around the neck and go!
    Can't wait to see what you do :)

  3. I am not as experienced as you, but I love the top jacket. What about a collar behind the collar out of black leather, some leather tabs or trim on the sleeve cuff. Seems like updating it just a little would work.

  4. Very nice pieces! I am not a refashionista, so I will wait to see how this plays out. :)

  5. l really like the idea of adding leather trim to your former serious business jacket and making the faux fur coat into a vest. The men's cashmere coat is a real find so I'd get my seam ripper sharpened and see how much fabric it yields. No sense having that hangin' around unused. I'm cutting up a too small mink jacket and plan to trim a wool vest using the fluffy fur collar and trim down the front. The back of the jacket will become a tote bag using ultrasuede for the other side. My moto: use it or lose it!


  6. The first jacket has potential to be transformed into a Chanel look alike...

    Second one - please don't cut .... It's looking so warm and cosy for the Torontonian me...

    Third - cut it out and make it into a nice long winter coat if she lives in cold weather country ... Or visits there once in a while

  7. I like the black suit jacket as is. But, if the collar bothers you, I vote for swapping it out for black leather or velveteen and then echoing that with trim at the sleeve or faux pocket welts.

    I agree that the skirt would be more wearable if it were cut slimmer.

    Have you heard of the concept of "highest use"? One of the rules of refashioning I follow is to aim for the highest possible use of the materials. So, if that long cashmere jacket is in perfectly fine shape, then I would look for someone who fits the jacket and needs it. Cashmere is so precious, we owe it to our planet to use it wisely.

  8. I agree with the other comments re: adding leather trim to the business suit jacket to update it. I also like your idea of turning the skirt into a pencil style. Please don't cut apart the faux fur -- I love it as it is! The cashmere would be tough to cut into, but it would make a lovely coat for your sister -- you could play around with a lot of different details to make it really special. Have fun!

  9. I was thinking that the first jacket might be livened up with just a few changes similar to this one:

  10. It seems like the suit jacket would be a perfect place to go crazy with embellishments, as many others are saying. I agree with changing the neckline, and then what about adding multiple contrasting trims? Some loopy soutache in fuschia? I'd turn the skirt into a miniskirt, but I'm guessing that's not your style ;) Pencil skirt would be very wearable.

    That fur coat is divine. If you want to bestow it upon an enthusiast instead of cutting it up, my closet can always make room for more coats! Ha! What about cropping it quite short? (Okay, again, I know, the cropped top thing is my style, not yours. We've even talked about this in person. But I'm sharing any ideas I've got!).

  11. I think Dillards actually began life in Arkansas, but they have been in Texas for a number of years now.I used to love shopping there (back when I used to shop during my working life). Still stop in whenever I get a chance, but I seldom shop malls anymore.

    I'm sure you will come up with some fabulous remakes for these items. I always enjoy seeing that you create.

  12. The fabric on that suit is fabulous - you must make it wearable! And the fur is incredible . . . I think it deserves one final night out on the town before it gets re-worked.

  13. So looking forward to seeing what you make with the last coat, I have a quite similar one, very good quality wool but it is too long or something "too much"
    The fur one looks like so much fun..are you sure you want to refashion that?! It is gorgeous!

  14. Definitely refashion the Dillards coat! Into what? I have no clue...
    I would leave the faux fur alone, it's so pretty.

  15. The cashmere coat could be refashioned into a woman's coat by swapping the buttons over and making machine buttonholes in the right side. It could have lapel embellishment in the form of needle felting and soutache braid or to make it longer you could cut up the panels and add new panel pieces out of Ultrasuede or shearling. Go wild! The faux fur is just too practical and delicious to cut up. Change the buttons, add cheetah cuffs and call it updated. The black tweed off the sleeves and make a cool vest lined in something wild or edged in something furry or lengthen it using the skirt panels as a long peplum effect over black daring!


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