Refashioning Projects

Rather than talk about why I have been absent from blogging pretty much over the pandemic, I am just going to be sharing a few things I have made lately. I am not sure about making a post on my absence. It would be a long one about all the nuances and sadnesses of being disabled in a pandemic as well as my health issues and also what happened in Ottawa in February. I am not feeling comfortable enough to share more (not sure I will), but I know taking smaller steps of sharing my creative projects will help me get there. I do want to share more here, on IG, and other places, but it’s tough for me right now.

A few years ago in 2016 around the holidays, I believe, I made a long velvet dress and then never wore it again in spite of loving the fabric. It’s a lovely velvet fabric with rayon. The base colour is a deep blue but there are greys and other shades of blue making it look lovely and textured. Also this fabric is SOFT AF. It’s basically my autistic stimming dream.

You won’t find it on my blog as the pattern name uses a cultural term in an appropriative and incorrect way. A year ago I removed as many mentions of those terms as possible out of respect and decolonizing my website. I never wore the dress after that holiday party (with the Toronto Sewcialists), because I found it difficult to wear. Its length is far too long and gets tangled in my mobility devices now so it isn’t practical for me to wear. I also found the sleeves tough as they would get caught on things. The bust also could have benefitted from an FBA.

I recently went through my entire wardrobe to figure out what fit, what I wanted to make into something else, and what I would be putting away for now. It was an extremely emotional task and I cried a lot due to the majority of my wardrobe now not fitting me due to my health-related unintentional weight loss. Things are currently stable because of my efforts in changing my diet entirely and the way I eat.

When I pulled out this dress, I knew what to do: velvet sweater time! I am always cold and what is more lush and cozy than velvet? I used the Cashmerette Cedar Dolman pattern which I used to make other sweaters in the past. I find the Dolman sleeves to be very comfortable and easy to get on and off for my shoulders. I wanted some dramatic sleeves, though, so I chopped them off the dress to attach to the shorter sleeves from the pattern. Then I added in a cuff to give the feeling of a Bishop sleeve. They ended up being a bit slouchy, which wasn’t intentional but I am okay with that! They are comfy to wear.

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The main part of the sweater is from the skirt fabric, the sleeves are the actual sleeves, and then the cuffs are from the bodice, and I used the waistband for the neckband and the skirt for the waistband in the sweater. It was quite a lot to figure that pattern tetris out. 

It’s the coziest sweater ever. I made sure the velvet nap went all in the right direction for maximum stimming pleasure as well. Petting velvet is so lovely. (Also hur hur for those that know the double entendre there!)

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I really love the top and feel a lot better giving this fabric a new life! Enjoy these silly pics of me grooving to a song and petting my sweater lol.

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I have been focusing on more mindful sewing lately that supports my needs (chronic illness, autism, energy, garment gaps, etc). I care very little about making things that blend in with the rest of the world or things that are 100% perfectly sewn or fit. If it is comfortable for me to wear, it doesn’t matter to me whether the garment doesn’t look perfect. It’s been over a year of garments not fitting me perfectly due to my health. I much prefer oversized fits anyway. Even before this health issue, I was coming to realise that fitted garments are no longer for me. I am not entirely sure they were ever for me. I put up with a lot of discomfort for fashion/masking for the comfort of the rest of the world (disability, fat, autism, gender, wealth, etc, etc) and I am not doing that anymore. I remember coming home from work pretty often and taking everything off immediately to put on pj pants or something more comfortable. Now that I work 100% from home, I don’t need to wear business casual at all. The pandemic meant that formal clothes were pretty irrelevant for me. So all my creative projects are about comfort clothes. Soft pants, soft tops, soft bras, etc. All oversized, all about comfort. 

I did not wearing makeup or taking off my headphones for these photos (I was listening to music and didn’t want to stop lol). I don’t think any of that is necessary and it just reduces my energy. I don’t wear makeup much anymore except for my Star Trek improv show and that’s mainly because I am a Trill and require spots, but also theeeee-at–er (say that dramatically as if you are a Shakespearean actor) demands it! lol. 

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Here are some seated pictures. 

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The second refashioning is much less work. All I did for this was switch out the waistbands, cuffs and neckband for a more fun fabric. The original was in black cotton lycra. It was fine, but I don’t have too much black in my wardrobe and don’t enjoy wearing it so I switched it out for a coral bamboo knit that a friend sent me. The original also had sleeves that were too short and the length was a bit short for me. I don’t wear this top quite like this, though. I make the waistband sit on my hips more. The sleeve cuffs are a lot longer, but also can be rolled up on my arms. 

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The neckband is a tad floppy and could have used a bit more removed from the length to make it tighter, but I am fine with it as is and not willing to redo it. lol. Perfection is not my objective and for me, it is the enemy of done. I just wanted to wear my bowtie kitty cat shirt again. 

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The pattern is from Burda but not on their website (or at least from what I can see…) since their terrible website redesign a couple of years ago. It’s called the zipper sweater from August 2014 issue in plus size patterns. I used to use the Burda website a lot but it’s so bad since the redesign so I am rarely on there. Anyone else feel the same? I also miss seeing all my patterns in one place on there.

Here is the original version of the shirt:

Much better now and also much more me.

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Those are a couple of things I refashioned from my wardrobe lately. Hope you are all well in these weird times.


10 thoughts on “Refashioning Projects

  1. Hi Andie,
    It’s so good to see a post from you! You brighten up my day. I LOVE your focus on comfort and refashioning – so smart. I have been working from home since Mar2020 and have never been so comfy in my life. I loooooooove it!
    Big waves from the other side of the province (up in snowy Thunder Bay)
    🙂 Erin

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