Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion

Refashioner’s Challenge 2017 #Suits You My Second Entry – A Jumper!

Presenting… my second entry:


If you read my previous post you know I’ve entered the Refashioner’s Challenge 2017. This is the third year I’ve participated. Each year Portia Lowrie of the UK challenges the global refashioning community to make something out of a used garment. The first year I participated the challenge was to make something out of a men’s shirt. I made a mini-jacket.  The second year the challenge was to make something out of jeans. I did a patchwork jacket.

So I guess I like jackets because I submitted my remake of a man’s suit:


You can read about the process here. 

Anyway… all that as way of introduction to my second entry of this year’s contest. And this one IS NOT a jacket!

So here is how I got to this place…

First it started with a trip to the thrift store. I went to the Goodwill in Ashland, OH where I found four suits for $12! I chose 2 suits out of the 4 I bought for my jumper:


My inspiration for the project came from a bit of history. French designer, Yves St. Laurent, back in the 60s designed a dress called the Modarian. His inspiration was from a painting by Piet Modarian:


Next, I chose a pattern:


My next step was to dye the suits. I used a dark blue that more or less matched the color of the wool suit but gave the yellow one a bluish hue. Then came the big step of deconstructing:

It was tricky to lay out the pattern. I wanted to keep a chest pocket in the skirt. At times I had to fold the pattern piece in half and plan to put in an extra seam so I could cut out everything I needed:

I picked out a cotton lining fabric that would contrast nicely with the blue. It was a cherry red with polka dots. I decided to also use it to accent with my color blocking:


I ended up using it to line the whole dress because the back of a deconstructed suit is really a sight to behold. It’s full of seams, interfacings, pockets, etc. In addition, the wool would be scratchy otherwise, so it made sense to just line the whole thing:


I found these amazing buttons at an antique store in Hammondsport, NY.  They are made from black glass and I thought they would look nice on my Modarian dress:


In the end, the overall look was fun. This was an easy pattern for intermediate sewers. Here are more finished pics:




Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion

“Suits You” Refashioner’s Challenge 2017

For the third year now, I’ve participated in the Refashioner’s Challenge put on by Portia Lowrie of the UK. This year she declared the challenge to be men’s suits. So the goal is to make a refashion out of an old suit. All last month she posted featured bloggers who used their creative geniuses to give the rest of us some inspiration. My favorites included this women’s jacket made from a suit and the cami made from its lining.   Another awesome make was this gorgeous coral linen dress made from a thrift store find. I also really liked this loose fitting vest that could go over just about anything.

So… off to the thrift store for me. I was visiting my daughter, Lydia, in OH, and went to the Goodwill there. It just so happened that there was a sale! You really feel like you find pirate’s treasure when you find a sale at a thrift store! So I picked out four suits that suited me and it cost a whopping $12 for all four!


So there was plenty to work with. Now… what do I choose to make? On to pinterest for ideas! I’ve always admired a nice Coco Chanel jacket:


My other favorite sewing blogger is Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It.   She recently release her own version of the Coco Jacket:


It would be a double challenge for me to do this pattern, which of course starts with a pdf print out, and harvest the material from an old suit. But I love a good challenge. So onward!

The first thing I did, after choosing which of the four I’d use, was wash and then dye the suit. I actually dyed it a similar color to even out the coloring and cover up a couple of stains.



The next step was to unpick the suit apart, which meant to separate the lining. I decided to cut out the sleeves and just adjust them and resew them back in.


Then it was all about preparing the pattern and figuring out how to lay out the pieces. I soon realized the pattern pieces weren’t all going to fit. So I used the lining material I purchased to create a back panel.


I liked the chest pocket so I left that intact.


The finished garment looks like this:



The pattern instructions were clear and overall I was pleased with the result. Next time I do this I will unpick the sleeves and re-cut them according to the pattern as I wasn’t super happy about how they ended up looking in spite of my adjustments.

I plan to give this a second go with another suit. So stay tuned!

What will YOU do? Go to Refashioner’s Challenge to find out how to enter.



Gail's Nest · Refashion

Refashioning a Too-Small Skirt

One of my favorite Ithaca, NY stores on the Commons is Petrune. It’s a vintage clothing store. You never know what you’ll find. My latest visit turned up a 70s skirt whose pattern I loved but whose size was too small!


I immediately noticed the length and the large hem. The light bulbs went off! I could take out the hem, thereby lengthening the skirt further, and then cut the whole skirt off below the zipper in the back! So I spent the $8 and bought it.


As I enjoyed a favorite television show I unpicked the hem.


I discovered that the hem had been doubled up so when I unpicked there was another hem already in place. When I lowered the hem I saw the “rest of the picture” of the print. So pretty! Now it just needs a good ironing.


I carefully measured the length of the dress from the bottom of the zipper to the end of the hem. I marked the measurement (happened to be 18 inches). I did this all around the skirt so I would cut the top off evenly.


I know – it’s scary, isn’t it? Once you cut into a garment there’s no turning back.


Now I have a skirt that is long enough and wide enough to fit me. All I need to do now is make a waist casing for elastic.

skirt 3

I simple folded over the top of the skirt a layer that would be wide enough to insert the elastic. When you sew it in place, be sure to not sew it entirely closed! Leave an inch or so opening for the elastic. When the elastic is through then you can sew it closed.


And that’s it!

Well – I also indulged in another purchase at Petrune. I found a top that happened to have a similar pattern and color and I thought would look so cute with the skirt. But I was aghast that it cost $24! But these places sometimes will negotiate so I was so pleased that the gal working there that day accepted my offer of $18.




Gail's Nest · Refashion

A Refashion of Wrap-Around Pants

My mother-in-law gave me an outfit she had bought years ago from a trip to the Caribbean island of Antigua. It is silky and cool, but odd. She wore it a few times and then gave it to me suggesting I refashion it.


When I laid out the pants they looked like this:


It’s certainly a clever design! You have straddle the opening and then it wraps around the waist. Anyway, I knew I wouldn’t wear them as is, so I found a skirt pattern in my stash that I thought would work well with the fabric:


And so, it was an easy thing to lay out the pattern pieces on the pants – there was plenty of fabric. I simply pinned and cut!


This is an extremely easy pattern and so I just followed the sewing directions and it came together rather quickly.



The matching top was a little big on me so I took it in on the sides. It’s a nice cool, updated outfit for our upstate New York summer!



Gail's Nest · Refashion

Refashion Challenge Reveal

Our mother/ daughter refashion challenge is partly finished! Here is my big reveal…

First, you may recall that Lydia sent me very large burnt orange pants and a cute sundress:



I made the pants into a skirt. It’s tricky laying pattern pieces on the limited fabric of pants because you have to avoid the pockets and seams. So I added fabric from the dress to compensate.


Then from the dress I made a top with an overlay to make the dress more practical and comfortable for work.


Here’s some pics of the process:


This pattern was my inspiration for the top.



The full effect:







I wore a black tank top underneath since it was a little chilly that day.

And now… it’s back to you, Lyd!! What will you do with those 2 maxies?

Gail's Nest · Refashion

Refashion Challenge – The Before (Gail)

Two Nests One Tree

Lydia and I are doing a mother/ daughter refashion challenge. If you have been following us you know that I sent her 2 thrifted items (total cost: $10), that she received in the mail and it’s up to her to create something new for herself out of them.

Then Lyddie gave me 2 thrifted items and I was to do the same. Here are the items she sent me:


Yeah. Thanks, Lyd! The burnt orange pants are huge, the sun dress is not my style and shows a little too much skin for my comfort zone. But the colors match and I think my creative juices are flowing!  Stay tuned for the reveal! Coming up later this week!

Lydia's Nest · Refashion

Refashion Challenge: The Before (Lydia)

It’s here! I got the package from my mom containing the thrift store items she picked out for me to refashion/ (Confused? Check out this post for an overview of what’s happening!) wanna see?

So these are the items i get to change. I haven’t done anything yet besides try them on.

There are two maxi dresses. They are both strapless. The animal print one is a light peachy nude color, made with chiffon fabric and an elastic waistband. The blue one is cotton and has a stretchy, smocked top. Here’s what they look like on (I kept a comisole on underneath so thats what the straps are).

I like that this dress has a nice drape.  The fabric is light and flowy, whic will be fun to work with! The top part is unlined, so that will need to change. 

This dress has a nice feel- the cotton fabric is very soft. Also, I love the print! You cant see in the pictures, but its a little short. 

I haven’t totally decided what I want to do with these yet. If you have any ideas, let me know!