Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Refashioners 2017 #suitsyou

Its Refashioners time again and this year I m part of the blogger line up... eeekkk!  I had a ball last year and am still  amazed I won...  so that set the bar pretty high for what i would come up with this year.

The task this year? Refashion a mens suit.  Luckily my husband has good taste in suits and had a wonderful Burberry number that had a big rip down the leg.  I'd had it in the cupboard for quite some time, so the theme this year was spot on!  I absolutely love the fabric, the details and as I deconstructed, wow I was in awe of whoever made this.  True craftsmanship.
The thing that impressed me the most was the shear number of layers, textures and details in creating the shape and support around the collar and sleeve.  Look at this - the sleeve head had no less than 7 layers of different fabrics.  Needless to say I kept as much of the tailoring intact as I could or reused it.  I kept the shoulder tailoring largely intact.  I couldn't do the same for the sleeve head as it was totally the wrong shape, but I unpicked and re-used several of these layers to add shape to my jacket.

Deconstruction time... as always, it takes way longer than you think when you want to do it well and preserve the pieces intact.  At this stage I hadn't fully decided what pattern to make. I wanted to assess what I had to work with first.  Even though the jacket was huge relative to my size, strangely it was awkward to work with to create a new jacket in a different style...     Messy as always

So lets talk style. My intention was to create a new jacket in a much more relaxed, casual shape.  Here is my inspiration:

I wanted a very simple pattern to use as a very basic structure that I would then free style from.  I chose the Ollie Bomber jacket- I've made it before for my son so I know its super easy and I felt I could hack from that.   I started with the lining.  The lining of the original jacket is something really special with so many lovely details I wanted to keep.  So  I carefully positioned my lining making best use of the original, keeping pockets & all.  I especially love the fact the sleeve lining is stripy!

I made up the lining to check fit.

Fit was pretty ok so I went ahead cutting the rest...  😞 I dug out the trousers which had been in my picnic hamper of scraps for at least 6 months.... the moths had got to them before I did - I held them up to the window so you could see- the whole trousers were covered in  moth holes  AARRRRHGGGHHH.   Wish I'd kept them with the jacket in the wardrobe. So plan B.  I didn't have enough fabric just using the jacket.  So I found a different pair of contrasting trousers, also worn through on one knee.
I used the contrast trousers for sides in the back jacket, the waist, cuffs and neck tie.   I had to do some adjustments around the neck and spent time pinning the waist till I got the  slight 'bomber' shape I was looking for:
Then I simply sewed it all together, fitting along the way.  As you see here (inside of the jacket front), I left alot of  the tailoring in place.
Instead of the usual bomber neck line and zip, I added in a long neck tie, made from the trouser legs and snap fasteners.

Here are some of my favorite details:

I loved the buttons on the original cuff, so I left them, pleated either side for shape and added a cuff band.  I used Prym snaps for the fasteners.  I really love them (they are from Minerva) and  are quite unusual with the pattern on them.  They are a dream to install with the Prym vario pliers.  One other detail is that at the bottom of the necktie I left in the tape that was on the inside turn-up of the leg!  I needed all the length I could get so I used the full leg + hem allowance to create the tie.

The Pockets can actually work two ways.  I think I like the effect above the best, but I can also untuck the flaps and it then looks like this.  Which do you thinks looks better?  I was also tempted to put snaps on the pocket- but resisted.
The neck can be worn either neatly tied in a bow, or can be left open/loosely tied.

Which do you prefer? I can't resist a bow...
So another years Refashioners complete and again I loved it- both years  I have found I learn so much and its so nice to push myself to make something I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.  I'm so excited to see what everyone else has made!!

To stay up to date with the Refashioners 2017, see all the other inspiring refashions  AND find out how you could win an amazing prize (and trust me its AMAZING!)   go to


  1. Your jacket is fantastic and looks very wearable. My preference is for the pocket flaps tucked in but both ways look good. How long do you think it took to make?

  2. Leave them out and put those snaps on them. It will be smashing!

  3. Love it. I admire how you looked for inspiration and then for a pattern that fit your vision. It was smart to check the size on the lining before you did the outer part. Great job!

  4. This is gorgeous! Well done! I quite like the pocket flaps left out with no snaps which just proves you can't please everyone :)