Monday, December 2, 2013

A very very holiday refashion - Yes Virginia, you can remove those gigantic shoulder pads

Lurking in the back of my closet are a few more refashion possibilities and since December is here this one seemed the best candidate for a quick update. While I don't recall making this specifically as a holiday item, could this be any more aggressively Christmas-y? I think it was Pendleton wool and probably sewn by me in the 90's based on the pattern and the humongous shoulder pads.

It does not pay to dwell on our fashion choices from a previous decade! Perhaps if this had aged gracefully for 40 or 50 years it would become delightfully vintage, but looking at it today all I see is old-man golfer or stereotype country club character from a movie. Also I buttoned it a bit wonky on the form but indeed the plaids do match across the front and all the way around. I had started to take the sleeves off as you might be able to see on the left, then remembered to take this picture.

holiday jacket before
I started playing around with the proportions and pinned up the hem plus extracted those gigantic shoulder pads and it was looking better already. I removed both sleeves and reduced the top shoulder seam from zero at the neck to about 3/4 inch off the front and back at the outside. That is a big reduction! It was interesting to open up something I had made a while ago, I had done a lot of hand stitching plus taping the lapel and collar roll line. Check out that crease in the collar, and I will bet you will find that on the pattern pieces the roll line is marked. Thank you, Vogue patterns in 1990-something! And why don't you do that anymore??? The result was a lovely turn of the collar and a perfect fit around the neckline.

holiday jacket phase oneplaid jacket sleeve removed

Because I keep everything...well not everything but a lot of patterns, here is the pattern envelope. Which I found after a very short search (amazing, that I found it.  Why can't I find the lining which I just bought last week? chalk it up to the mystery of the fabric closet) And why it has a stamp from a bank is another mystery.

holiday jacket pattern envelope

To refashion this jacket I decided to "harvest" the fabric from the sleeves and add a peplum detail in the back, and then update the look with contrast sleeves. I am not entirely sure it is successful but I do like the back detail. I have that other jacket with the contrast sleeves which is one of my most popular makes, blogged here, so I thought it might work. The fabric for the sleeves is bengaline  - at least that is what the label said. Not a fabric I am familiar with. I cut the sleeves on the cross-grain as the stretch is vertical on that fabric, not horizontal (selvedge to selvedge) as is typical. 

Holiday jacket frontholiday jacket back 1

To tell the truth it was a bit tight across the hips, so the gathered detail is a trendy way to make a bit more room over the backside. Sneaky huh? Also I like the look of bias plaid and then I didn't have to match that section to the side seams.

A look at the insides, I had used armo-weft fusible on the front, knit fusible around the welt pocket and on the upper lapel. I reused the sleeve heads in the new sleeves. The lining was completely removed to do these changes so it was certainly fun to have a fully complete lining to pick up and sew back in, with a slight adjustment in the center back to accomodate the gathered section.

plaid jacket inside plaid jacket lining

Since it is now December I figured it was time to start wearing this jacket which will have a very short shelf life (and I went to a holiday lunch today). So here it is, a side view so you can see the back detail.

And what is that in my hand? A tulip bulb, which I found right there on the retaining wall. Just recently planted by me and then dug up by the evil masterminds also known as squirrels. My nemesis. Nemeses? because they run around in a pack. Curse you, squirrels. Why am I smiling? because I have devised a plan to thwart them, to be revealed...

Plaid jacket on me2

Happy Holiday sewing, Beth

P.S. If the title of this blog post is confusing to any readers, perhaps those outside of the US, I will direct you to this Wikipedia entry which explains the origin of the phrase "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" and then hope you will excuse me for twisting that sentence into a blog post title.


  1. i love the refashion!!! you made a totally old fashioned jacket into something so cute and chic - i especially love the peplum back. hmm!! i want to make one too!

  2. Beth, You've got yourself a fun holiday jacket thanks to your ingenuity. The peplum is so cute! My refashions rarely look as I had planned but are generally better than the original. Good job!

  3. Wow, great vision... Love this refashion

  4. Love this! Refashioning has been on my mind as well (although I am not brave enough to do so with items that I made myself!). You make me want to dig some plaid out of the stash . . .

  5. That's a terrific refashion! it looks really up-to-date and fashion forward now. I've been on the lookout for some lovely tartan for next year, I have Vivienne Westwood aspirations in mind :)

  6. What a great refashion! I love the peplum back and contrast sleeves. What a great term, "aggressively Christmas-y" -- I can think of a few ways to use it this holiday season! I can't wait to read about your squirrel solution -- I actually planted some tulip bulbs this year and had not realized that squirrels dig them up!

  7. Before scrolling down, I tried to envision what kind of refashion was appropriate for this jacket. I was totally blown away by the bias gathered peplum, what a great idea! Nice save! I agree about not revisiting the fashions of recently bygone eras, although I still (sentimentally) keep 3 dresses that I will never wear again: a Laura Ashley flowered number from high school, the dress that I wore on my 21st birthday, and my wedding gown.

  8. I like the refashion very much, especially the bias-cut peplum, and find the contrasting solid sleeves attractive also. I hope you won't be too hard on the squirrels, as it is very hard being wild in the city. I think it best if we can live peaceably with them. Perhaps in you left out bird seed or some other treat, they would leave the bulbs alone. On the other hand, you could "force" the bulbs in the house. Just a thought, as I empathize with both the squirrels and you.