The Reveal: Refashioners 2016 & Gertie’s Butterick 5882

The Big Reveal: Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick 8882, the artyologist

Hooray! I didn’t wait until the last possible moment to finish up my entry for The Refashioner’s 2016. This is a record, I think. I was fully expecting myself to leave it to the last week, (day? hour?) but I actually finished this project up last Wednesday- with a full week and a half to spare! (Let’s just overlook the fact that it took me 8 weeks to get the project done, even though it actually only took three afternoons of sewing to construct it. . . hehe.)

When I first heard about the Refashioners 2016 challenge at the beginning of August, I was intrigued, but also a bit apprehensive. I am not a denim girl. I used to wear blue jeans all the time, but in the last few years, they haven’t found much of a place in my wardrobe. Not that I hate denim, I just don’t seem drawn to it as much as I used to be. I did at one point have a pair of skinnies that I liked to pair with my fur coat as it made me feel rather hip 😉 but they have worn out now, and the only other pair are designated for painting and other messy home renovation projects (designated as such, because they are covered in paint). So, even though I loved the idea of taking part in the challenge- I had to think seriously about what I could make that I would actually want to wear after I made it- and I came up with the answer: a retro styled bustier/playsuit top. (And just in time to put it away for winter too! What ridiculous timing. . . )

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, second view, the artyologist

So, in case you are here only to see the details, here they are first, and then I will continue after this to ramble on about how I made it, what mistakes I made (what? mistakes!?), and whether I will make it again. Oh, and show you a billion more photos too.

The Low Down:

  • Butterick Patterns by Gertie 5882 bodice pattern
  • Dark denim bodice made out of the bottom cutoffs of my sister’s old jeans
  • Light denim pleated inset made out of the back piece of the pant legs of my brother’s ripped jeans
  • Floral lining made out of a remnant from a past project
  • Boning leftover from a past project
  • A recycled vintage zipper from the stash
  • Thread we already owned
  • Cost= $0.00, since everything was from the stash!

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, details, the artyologist

My inspiration, and details that I wanted to include in the final project:

  • A winged “collar” or any other bust detail for interest
  • 1″ crisscrossed or straight straps. No halter straps as I find they give me headaches 🙁
  • Ideally, I wanted to make the top out of patterned or coloured denim, or utilize two different washes of blue denim for contrast and interest
  • I thought about using topstitching or preserving some of the flatfelled seams, but it ended up coming across as “biker chick” rather than “vintage girl”
  • I was nervous about sewing with a stretch denim, but decided to do it so the top would be more comfortable for hot summer days (note that this pattern is designed for woven, but I was able to sew the stretch just fine. I also cut my lining on the bias, so that it would have some stretch too.)
  • I wanted to try out an exposed zipper, since I was planning on a centre back zipper anyways. Now that the exposed zipper trend is now. . .  you know. . . going out of style and all that. I’ve never been one for following the trends anyways 😉
  • In the spirit of the challenge, I wanted it to be made out of all recycled or remnant materials

inspiration for playsuit top the artyologist

photo source: 1, 2, 3 (my Grandma’s wedding dress) & 4

I have seen several fitted bodice tops like this before, such as this one from Deadly Dames, and I really like them, as they are an easy summer option to pair perfectly with 1950’s style skirts. My original plan was to take a tried-and-true dress pattern that I have, bone it, and then add a collar flip to the top neckline. This was a popular style of bodice in the 1950’s, as I have seen several patterns utilize a detail like that, and even my Grandma’s wedding dress from the 1950’s has a collar flip like that. The Sweetheart Sundress pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing uses this detail as well. I’ve always liked this style, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. Well, as you can see from the finished garment, I obviously didn’t end up sticking with that plan, and here’s why.

first-try_edited-1

Left: the failed first try. Right: so many different colours in one pair of jeans!

I started with an old faded pair of stretch jeans from my sister, (just to test things out first) cut out the pattern, sewed it up, tried it on, and then decided that it just didn’t have enough structure (as I was planning to wear this without any other underpinnings). It just felt like the bodice was the wrong shape, even with the addition of boning, and I thought that I would always feel slightly uncomfortable wearing it. I also wasn’t happy with the shape of the top neckline. After fiddling with it for a while, I decided to change plans. (Which is not unheard of during my sewing projects!)

pattern-and-materials

Top: The cutoffs, lining and zipper. Right: I don’t think anyone minded me cutting these jeans up. Used for the inset bust detail. Right: Butterick 5882 pattern

The other option I had run across when deciding what to make for the challenge, was the bodice of Gertie’s Butterick 5882 pattern. I had not used this pattern before, but have wanted to for a while. We got it when it first came out which was. . . a few years ago, and there it was still waiting in the pattern drawer. This was the perfect project to try the pattern out on, and get all of the potential fitting issues out of the way, before I committed to making the dress out of a more expensive material. I am happy to say that we did manage to get the majority of the fitting issues out of the way, so next time should be a breeze. Also, it was an exciting pattern to make, as it was my first time using boning, sewing a shelf bust style, and sewing with a heavier denim material.

cutting-out-and-too-much-ease

Left: Pattern placement on the denim cutoffs- perfect amount of material! Right: A bit too much ease I would say. . .

I chose to cut out the pattern at a size 16, as I thought it would be better to cut it out one size too big, as a test run, than a size too small. However, when I basted the seams up and tried it on . . . there was a lot of ease. I could’ve omitted the two back pieces and it still would have fit. So, I cut the pieces down to a size 12, which fit much better, though I did still end up taking some material out of the centre front pieces, the sides and the back to get better fit. I also sewed the front seams with a curve as pictured (below) for a nice smooth front. Also note, since this was a refashioning project and I was working with limited material, I cut the centre front piece as two separate pieces, and seamed it up the front.

boning

Top: I curved the front seams in a little bit, for a closer fit. Bottom: The boning sewn into place on the lining.

Once we had gotten the majority of the bodice fitting down, the rest of the top went together pretty straightforwardly. The boning went in much easier than I was anticipating. I don’t know what I was anticipating, but I was expecting it to be hard, I guess. The kind of boning I used had a pre-sewn channel which was nice. Considering how nice of a fit, and the structure that the boning created, I am now hooked and thinking of all the other projects I can bone! I now see why so many vintage patterns use boning- it just makes a really nice structured bodice, eliminates crumpling and fits really well.

seams

Left: The ill fated seam of doom. I sewed it wrong, but it was also very thick! There were a lot of layers of denim in that seam. Right: You can see the exposed raw edge a bit in this picture (right where the strap meets the front). It is covered from the right side by the strap. Bottom: Sewing the strap down covered up the problem.

The bra pieces went together nicely, with no problems there, but are you ready for the mistake I mentioned? 🙁 I lost track of where my notches were, and accidentally trimmed the seams, so when I sewed the front pleated bra pieces on to the bodice bottom, I placed them too close to the edge, which meant that the raw edges couldn’t be completely encased in the lining seam. At this point though (it was several steps down the road when I realized the mistake and I had already graded the seams) I was not about to take it apart again and move them in. So, instead, to save the situation, I just flipped the straps down instead of twisting them like the pattern calls for. I don’t mind the look, even though it did widen out the neckline more than originally planned. I have seen these bustier tops with every kind of strap under the sun, though, so no one will even notice. Right? I also stitched the straps down all around the front, underneath the inset too, as it kept trying to flip up. I also decided to criss cross the straps across the back, so that I will not have a problem with them slipping off my shoulders.

zipper

Top Left: Removing the teeth from the zipper (sounds painful!) Top Right: The correct length. Bottom Left: Sewing in the zipper. Bottom Right: Slipstitching the lining over the raw edges of the back zipper seam.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I wanted to include an exposed zipper up the back. My criteria for a zipper was one that had brass teeth, as I think that it suits the denim better than a silver zipper would. (And I’m not much of a silver girl anyways.) I originally was going to purchase a navy, separating zipper with brass teeth, since we didn’t already have one that was the correct colour. But apparently, a navy zipper with brass teeth is an impossible thing to want. So, all options exhausted, I looked through the stash again, and found this lovely aged one that came from who knows where. Originally it had been rejected, since it is khaki not navy, but then I decided that it would work fine, and would be even better than purchasing a new zipper as it would keep in the spirit of recycling and reusing. It was too long, but I simply removed some of the teeth with pliers, reinserted the zipper stop, and cut it to size and it works perfectly. Once the zipper was sewn in- I was done! And then I had to wait a few days to take these pictures, because it decided to be fall time all of a sudden.

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, back view, the artyologist

So, would I make this pattern again? Yes! In fact, my original plan for the refashion was to not use blue denim at all, but to use a tan and cream, polka dot pair of jeans I found at the thrift store. However, once I had had the one detour along the way, I decided to continue making the top out of the old denim scraps, instead of cutting into the other pair. That way I could work out any kinks along the way, and then when I cut into the polka dot pair, I can avoid the mistakes of the first trial run. So basically, this denim one is a wearable muslin, and the polka dot one is going to be the next project! Also, I like how this pattern goes together, and fits, so I am planning on making it at some point as a dress, as it was originally designed to be 🙂

So, in conclusion, I am really glad that I found out about the Refashioners 2016 challenge in time to take part this year. I liked the challenge of using a material I would normally not be drawn to, and finding a way around those limitations to end up with a garment that I like- and I do really like how this top turned out. It is completely different than anything I have in my wardrobe, and after looking at it for a while- maybe I am more of a denim girl than I thought I was at first!

So did any of you participate in the Refashioners 2016 Challenge? Or, even if you didn’t take part in the contest, have you ever refashioned something into something completely different? And, what are your thoughts towards denim? Is denim something you are drawn to, or like me, would it take a bit of convincing to make it a part of your wardrobe?

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick,zipper detail, the artyologist

Complimentary windy weather petticoat

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, another portrait, the artyologist

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, bust detail, the artyologist

A very awkward photograph. . .

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, back detail, the artyologist

The Big Reveal: The Refashioners 2016 and Gertie's Butterick, full outfit, the artyologist

A Fashion Moment With Creative Hands

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist

“The Prettiest Suit in Town”

It is time for another Fashion Moment, and today I bring you Creative Hands. My dad found these books for me several years ago, and they are, hands down, my favourite sewing books.

These books were published by “Greystone”, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s but I haven’t been able to find much else about them. They were originally published in part as “Golden Hands”, which is I think a much more interesting (hilarious?) title. Anyways, if you ever find the Creative Hands series in a thrift store or second hand shop- snap them up!

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, stripes and vests

There are twenty-two volumes which are, in their own words, “The complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide.” The books start out with basics of such a variety of skills like embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting, lacemaking, (and more!) and practical tips such as building a wardrobe and how to care for your garments. Also scattered throughout are the “Collectors Pieces”, which are showcases of intricate works of textile art, throughout history and current (at the time of printing). Like a school course, you start in book one, learning the beginner steps of each craft, and as you work through the books, you build upon the techniques to become proficient in all of the textile arts. I haven’t worked through the books in chronological order, as I have decided that I will never be a knitter or a crocheter, but I have picked up many invaluable techniques in the dressmaking and embroidery sections, and found ample entertainment while looking through the pictures of the some the hilarious fashions “you can make yourself”!

So, today, on the second day of fall (how fitting) I share with you, some knitwear (and crochetwear -ok never mind, that’s not even a word…) of the 1960’s and 1970’s, just in time for the cooler weather headed our way!

What do you think of these garments? Would you wear any of them? My favourite is this brown sweater with frog fastenings.

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, how to make frog closures

Make your own frog closures! And what a gorgeous (and cozy looking) sweater/coat for fall time.

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, two tan knitwear

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, blue vest

Love the scarf addition, and belt for a layered look. (And the Gibson style hair!)

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands, the artyologist, pink and tan knitwear

Another coat/cardigan with frog closures- it must be a trend!

Not Always Vintage: Finding Freedom in Your Style

I'm Not Always Vintage in Style, the artyologist

I honestly love each and every one of the clothes in my closet. I routinely evaluate what I have, and if there is anything that I don’t like anymore, out it goes. Life is really too short to wear clothes you don’t love! I’ve been wearing vintage style for several years now, (as I have mentioned before- sorry for being a broken record) and I would say that most of the clothes I have are vintage inspired, though I do have some “hold overs” from my pre-vintage days, which are still hanging in my closet because I like them.

Sometimes I just really love certain things, even if they are not “vintage” in style. I absolutely love fashion, and am inspired by so many different things. I love to watch the runway shows of designers like Valentino and Zac Posen (although both of those designers do tend to have more romantic styles anyways). I read the blogs of several non-vintage fashion and sewing bloggers, because I am interested in fashion as a whole, not just the vintage niche. I am always inspired by cultural and ethnic fashions around the globe. I read Vogue occasionally, and find their editorials to be so interesting and beautiful, even if I wouldn’t wear the clothes they choose. And in all of these fashion interests, I love to seek out the vintage details and inspirations in those things, whether they are a silhouette, a fabric choice or a special little detail.

You can often pick out the details inspired by past eras in the fashions we see on the runways and the stores today. Even the 1950’s styles, if you look closely, drew a lot of inspiration from the 1800’s with the corseted/waist cinched silhouettes, full skirts, and sometimes even floor length skirts that give more of a historical look. The 1930’s was another era that took inspiration from previous eras, with the rise of the “southern belle” style that gained popularity with the release of the movie “Gone with the Wind”.

However, when it comes right down to it- a lot of the fashions we see around us, just don’t fit into the 21st century idea of “vintage” which generally encompasses the years of the early 1900’s to the 1970’s (although technically the 1980’s and 1990’s are now vintage, though I wouldn’t class them as such in my mind, but I leave that up to you to debate over!) Fashion is constantly evolving though, so it just makes sense that we would be inspired by a wide variety of fashion styles, not only vintage styles.

Sometimes I think that, because I like vintage styles, I have to wear them all the time. I have to “vintageify” every outfit I wear, and always ensure that the period details are correct. But lately, I have come to realize the obvious: there is no need to feel that because you love vintage style you can’t branch out and wear other styles too. The fashion police aren’t holding you to a specific style 24/7!

In fact, I believe that if you love each and every garment you own, even if it doesn’t fit into a specific “style niche”, it will be an expression of your own unique style.

For me, the majority of my wardrobe takes cues from eras past, but sometimes, along comes something that just doesn’t fit in with the rest of my wardrobe. This African Dutch wax dress is one such garment.

Not Always Vintage In Style, the artyologist

This dress is not really vintage in style. Well, it does have a bit of a “prairie” style (hence the wheat field background for these photos!) but the African fabric print totally turns the “prairie” look on its head. It doesn’t look very vintage to me at all- and yet, it is still feminine in it’s shape and pattern. I like it because it is fun, bold, ethnic and colourful. I picked it up at the thrift store a few years ago, and when I got it, the entire bodice was smocked with elastic, including the sleeves. Some of the elastic had broken over time, and it got to a point where it was too unraveled to wear, so I unpicked the entire thing to redo it. I pressed the pieces, and discovered that it had not been cut from a pattern originally, but was actually draped and cut in place, which left some very wonky and crooked pieces! There was a lot of fabric, though, so I was able to recut a new peasant style bodice, smock the waist, and gather the top edge and sleeves with elastic.

Every time I wear this dress, I think to myself, “I could really use a whole bunch more of these” (though I haven’t sewn them yet!!), as this dress is now my go-to for days when I want to be comfortable, or just run around in fields getting my hem “6 inches deep in mud”. I love the long length of this dress, and it is so fun to wear a casual long dress, rather than saving long dresses only for fancy occasions. Because seriously most of us just don’t have enough occasions to wear a dressy chiffon and satin floor length dress, but we definitely do have enough occasions to wear a cotton floor length dress!

The colour choice of this dress is so vastly different from everything else I own. I don’t actually like orange. As in, it is actually the last colour I would ever choose for anything (unless it is a mustard hued orange). I don’t think I own anything else that is truly orange. (Ok, I just went and checked- and the only other thing is a vintage granny square scarf with a touch of 70’s hued orange in it!) So, it is really strange to me that I have this dress, and yet- I love it! It is one of my favourite dresses, and it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe. This kind of dress is one that speaks for itself. I just add some easy flats, and some jewellery and really that is all it needs. It doesn’t need a hat or a scarf, though of course I could add that if I wanted to. So, does this outfit look very vintage? No, not really. But is it still “me”? Yes, definitely.

Contrasts are OK in fashion. Fashion is always changing, and we ourselves are always changing. What we love one moment, might not be what is inspiring us in the next. That is the nature of fashion, as it always has been. Today, we have the choice and the ability to decide what our own personal style will be! My hope for you is that you won’t ever feel “boxed in” by fashion, but will feel the freedom to dress in a way that makes you feel most like “you”- whatever that may be, and even if it changes day to day.  🙂

So, what garments in your closet don’t really ‘fit” with the rest of your wardrobe? Do you struggle to dress in one style all the time, or do you branch out and try new things? Do you tend to lean towards more true vintage looks, or more modern. . . or neither?

Outfit Details:

Dutch Wax Dress: Thrifted

Necklace: A gift from a friend years ago

Not Always Vintage In Style, the artyologist

Not Always Vintage In Style, the artyologist

Not Always Vintage In Style, the artyologist

Not Always Vintage In Style, the artyologist

ps. I would like to assure everyone that no wheat fields were harmed in the making of this post 🙂 This is our neighbours field, and I did not tramp down an area to stand in- it was already squashed flat from the day before when he was out in the field in his sprayer. Also, I wore this long dress, and boots, to make sure that I wouldn’t get any potential chemicals on myself 🙁 And, in case you have ever wondered what it would be like to run through a field of wheat in a long prairie styled dress, let me assure you that it looks a lot more romantic than the reality actually is. In reality, it is nearly impossible as the wheat is planted so close together, that you actually just end up tripping and stumbling around. Oh, well. The pictures turned out nice! 😉

Photography Lately: Autumn Comes

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

It seems like just yesterday the leaves were budding, and the flowers were poking their tiny heads up through the ground. Even just two weeks ago the trees were all still a vibrant green, and the sun was shining in full force (like in my last post). But, in the past week the weather has gotten cooler- there is that telltale chill, the sun sets earlier, and of course the leaves are changing colours quickly. They are no less vibrant than the greens of summer, but are made of a different artist’s palette. Fall, or autumn, (I’m never sure which word I like better!) is special to me. For one, my birthday is in October, so that always makes me anticipate the season. But I also just love the cooler days. I love tossing scarves on top of my outfits. I love the darker and warmer tones in my wardrobe that come out to play: cinnamon, cognac, rust, sage, black, mustard. And, I love not melting in the heat! You can always add a few layers if you are cold, but there comes a point when you can not take off any more layers 😉 I only wish that the season lasted a bit longer. One day you notice the leaves hinting a yellow undertone, and the next they have all dropped to the ground, leaving bare branches reaching for the distant autumnal sky. (Have you ever noticed that an autumn sky is different than a summer sky, or a winter, or a spring sky?)

Anyways. I guess I am rambling now, but really, this season passes by so quickly: you can pardon me for wanting to hold onto it a little bit longer! These photos have all been taken in the last few weeks, and just capture a few moments, unique to the season.

Do you like fall time? Do you call the season “Fall” or “Autumn”? Is it starting to look like autumn where you live?

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

We have a plum tree, with the sweetest little plums!

And mums at the grocery store: what a delicious shade of pink, with an undertone of orange!

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

Some kind of weed seed. Oh well, it’s pretty. 

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

Wash day. 

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

The perfectly situated photogenic bees.

Harvest time in Alberta.

Not your average egg. Above average I’d say. World’s largest Pysanka.

Obligatory, hipster, foot selfie (foolfie?) in autumn leaves. It just has to be done.

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

This road.

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

Sunshine streams.

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

First time I’ve ever seen an acorn in real life. We have two oak trees and they are dropping so many of these!

Life Lately: Autumn Comes the artyologist

More harvest time in Alberta, this time on a smaller scale. 

Autumn comes.

A Limited Knowledge of Alice’s Wonderland

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

To be completely honest, I don’t really know anything about Alice in Wonderland. I have never read any of the books by Lewis Carroll, I only watched the Disney movie once when I was a child, (and was promptly scared by it) and have never watched any of the newer versions for the same reason. This quote, pretty much sums up my knowledge of the story:

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

However, despite the fact that I don’t really know anything about the story, I have seen several Alice in Wonderland inspired photo shoots before, and they have always been rather fun and surreal, so I thought it would be fun to do one myself, and I even had a vaguely Alice inspired outfit to wear. (And my sister had a fun saturated setting on her camera that she was wanting to try out.) I actually had to Google “Alice in Wonderland” to see what it all entailed, before I could do the photos. (I also learned, via that search and from snippets of my memory, that the story involves a tea party, talking flowers, a potion and a rabbit with a clock.)

I decided that this most recent sewing project would be a good “Alice” inspired outfit to wear. This is another skirt made with the same technique as my dutch wax, black floral, and recycled bed sheet skirts. (Definitely a tried and true pattern!) I find them to be so versatile for summer, that I decided to make another out of a remnant of denim I’ve had for a few years. I used to have a dress made out of this cute fabric, when I was 12, and the remnant leftover from that dress was so small, I could never squeeze enough fabric out of it to make anything. However a gathered skirt was the perfect choice. There was just enough fabric to get a gathered skirt, suspenders, waistband and a button placket up the front instead of a zipper this time. (Just so they wouldn’t all look exactly the same!) There was only about a 10″ x 6″ square of material left over. Definitely a stash busting project!

With the outfit ready, I added in a potion bottle necklace, a miniature teapot tchotchke, a clock, an oversized teacup, and “talking” pansies. So, here is the result of my limited knowledge of Alice’s Wonderland.

Outfit Details:

Skirt: Sewn by me

Peasant Blouse T-Shirt: Owned it for years

Shoes: Miz Mooz, This style is no longer available, but they have similar styles.

Bottle Necklace: Thrifted

Headband: Handmade, bought from a local boutique

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist

A Limited Knowledge of Alice's Wonderland, The Artyologist