The Refashioners 2015 – my stripey sleep playsuit!

This refashioning thing is just fantastic! The Pinterest board is overflowing with fun and surprising takes on the challenge, and it’s got me so fired up. There have been babies’ outfits, shorts, aprons, jackets, patchwork; some ladies have managed to make whole dresses out of shirts and get this – even a little dog has a new coat – amazing! It’s probably a good thing I’m going on holiday next week, otherwise I’d end up with an entire wardrobe of refashioned garments. J looked genuinely alarmed the other day when I complimented him on one of his shirts, as though the next time he saw it, it might be a pair of hotpants.

And so here’s what I actually made, crafted from and inspired by the stripey shirt I showed off last week…

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The photos are rather dark and orange because I was experimenting with my new camera!

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Oh, what fun this was! I used my block for bias-cut high-waisted French knickers to cut the shorts; there was enough fabric in the back of the shirt for the back of the knickers and then the two front halves came out of the sleeves. I’ve actually never really bothered with pattern-matching before, but this time it became my pride and joy. And J’s – I quote “As an engineer, those matching stripes make me very happy”. The matched stripes did however mean I had to take care to avoid any unfortunate downwards v-shape on the front…

The bodice is simply a tube, cut entirely from the front of the shirt (with buttons done up). The back is in two halves, as I didn’t want the button band running down the spine – not bedtime comfy. Because the bodice unbuttons to the waist but no further, the important fitting challenge was ensuring I could pull the shorts up over my hips, so I opted for a wider fit (with added side strips) that would gather at the waist.

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I know, I know, that top edge is hurting my eyes too. I straightened it out, I promise.

I had originally foreseen elastic waist-gathering, but realised I wanted more control over where the gathering was concentrated. The tie belt is simply a tunnel formed of strips with edges pressed under and then top-stitched into place, with two tubes of fabric attached to either end of a piece of cotton tape dug out from my stash. The resulting bow at the centre-front threw out my original ideas of bow-tied straps – sad to say it but I’m too old for that many bows!

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The front of the bodice was only long enough to incorporate 3 buttons, and it was gaping badly, so I decided to add in two more buttonholes, replacing all the buttons with new, less pill-like ones in the process. Boy, is it difficult to replicate someone else’s buttonholes! The picture below pretty  much sums this up.

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Spot the professionals…

The other little detail I added in was the scallop-stitch edging. I knew lace or ribbons weren’t right with this particular cotton, but still wanted to incorporate little touches of femininity. The scallop stitch also happily tied in with my seaside-inspiration. I trimmed the shorts back to the stitching line to create the scallop edge; at the top of the bodice it’s simply a decorative way of hemming.

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I’m super chuffed with the end result; the blue and the stripes seem now as though they were always intended for PJs. After my Fifi set, it’s really nice to be expanding my options for non-daggy loungewear. And whilst I personally love wearing mine, I also think a playsuit like this would be a wonderful beach-make for a younger girl, or a romper for a child – you could use a Hawaiian shirt, add pom-pom trim to the shorts, a frill to the top edge, tie straps or a vest-style top, cap sleeves, embroidery, piping… The options are endless! And another alternative for us grown-ups would be to use two shirts for the two halves, a plain and a pattern, opening up a wider world of shirts and sizes.

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J took a sneaky shot of me seeing the finished outfit for the first time – a very happy Nina!

Plus – it’s hard to explain – the challenge of taking something with its own existing design, structure and features, and working on someone else’s drawing board to create your own unique item, offers a completely different kind of satisfaction to that of creating from scratch. It embraces a kind of ‘make-do-and-mend’ spirit which warms more than the fingers as it takes shape. Heck, it’s so much fun that…

DSC_0016Oops! I did it again 🙂 Stay tuned, folks, for Refashion no. 2: Refashion Refuelled…

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7 thoughts on “The Refashioners 2015 – my stripey sleep playsuit!

  1. So lovely to meet you today Nina and great to read more about your refashioned play suit. It’s seriously impressive and probably my favourite garment I’ve seen in the Refashioners series! Hope you win a prize! x

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