This is a very long post! We were so inspired and excited about this weeks challenge that we can't contain ourselves. That's why there are so many pictures and words. So... before you get lost, don't forget to look at all the other designers fantastic clothes and vote at Project Run and Play
We had so much fun making and photographing our outfit for the Earth Day Challenge. We have created some fun French inspired fashion completely with items we already owned. These items were all pre-loved clothes used by our families, eaten by moths, partly worn out or stained but still with potential. Redesigned, carefully cut and sewn, Madeleine now has an outfit she just loves to wear. In this stylish outfit, with a satchel over her shoulder and a bagette under her arm she really could be wandering the streets of Paris, past the Eiffel Tower, confident in the knowledge that she is doing her bit for the environment - no new materials were used to make this "new" outfit.
So let's talk about the jacket. We started with Caroline's maternity winter coat (hint - you're highly unlikely to see any more baby photos from The Sew Together Team!!) and one of Bill's old business shirts (unfortunately Bill still has to go to work!!). We found metres and metres of gorgeous red and white striped bias binding at the last Stash and Treasure Recyclers Market
. If you live in Sydney you really should check this Market out. It's a great way to move on some of your unwanted stash and also a wonderful way to replenish your stash by buying what others no longer need.We are not keen to show you the "before" photos (we didn't want it to detract from our fun "after" photos) but just remember the "before"s are supposed to look bad!!
A great principle when upcycling is to use what you have - not only when it comes to the clothes you choose to work with, but also there are often some great features on the original clothing that are worth preserving. The button loops on the front of the coat have become a feature on the pockets of Madeleine's new jacket. The original cuffs have been re-cut to create the new ones and the seaming in the sleeves and the back of the coat create interesting features on her jacket.
When we asked around our family for someone who may have an old navy jumper (pullover) we could use, Madeleine's grandfather started to look wistful! He talked about the best jumper he had ever owned. He bought in Tunbridge Wells (UK) in 1996! Unfortunately (but fortunately for us!) the moths loved it as much as he did and it was no longer wearable.
Before - with moth holes:
This 100% wool jumper was so soft and fine. We used the waist and arm bands to create the casing at the top of the skirt. The seams on the 6 gored skirt are finished with vintage bias binding, giving the skirt some structure and a little pop of colour.
So next the shirt...
Unfortunately, this favourite shirt of Maryanne's had some stains on it that could not be removed:
We wanted to preserve the pretty pin tucking, front button loop closures and the fullness of the shirt, but we also wanted it to be fun and girly. We added some floaty gathered sleeves, cut from the original sleeves to achieve this, and a waist band to create a shape that complemented the line of the skirt. We then trimmed the neck line and sleeves with more bias binding.
And finally the bag.
We felted a very stylish (not!) vest that Grandpa used to wear to work (in the late 90's!) and added some scraps of polar fleece and ribbing to create a satchel for Madeleine. We wanted a leather strap on the bag and came up with the idea of creating loops to feed a belt through. One belt makes it a great hand bag, two turns it into an over the shoulder satchel. And when the bag isn't in use, those belts can be holding up someones pants!
So we are all happy -Madeleine loves her outfit, it cost us less than $5 to make, it cleared out some of our cupboard space and it has had no new impact on the environment beyond the energy it took to sew it all together. That has got to be a good thing!!
And the bagette tasted good!
Caroline and Maryanne