Sunday, October 27, 2013

Refashion Runway 2: Winter White

It is hard to believe this is the last week of Refashion Runway,
or as my family has dubbed it, ‘Runaway’, challenge!
 It is true, during this competition it was easy to let an idea runaway with me!
And that was certainly the case with this week’s Winter White project.
Let’s just say, I almost bit off more than I could chew and nearly chocked!
As a pretty new sewist (sewer…? seamstress…?),
I had never worked with silky fabrics before…until this week when I picked up
a huge blue top and a lovely cream blouse which was busting buttons at the bosom.
 I also had a 100% wool pleated skirt which I planned to spice up.

Just a heads up,
this was a very difficult project for me, I was pretty exhausted from pushing so hard last week,
and to top it off, I was fighting off a little cold/allergies.
Translated, this means there aren't very many process pictures.
I was rushing against time and really just wanted to get it done!
Plus I was making it up as I went along!
Not to mention that everything that could possibly go wrong, did.
I had a vision for a two toned sort of illusion top,
 so I set to work tearing apart my shirts.
One of the shoulders was open, so I took off the buttons...
and the tie collar...
and the bottom hem, which had a small strip of elastic at one side,
and more buttons on the other.
Then I removed the sleeves and collar from the cream shirt.

And separated the front from the back.
Some experimenting followed, resulting in a curvy silhouette pattern piece.
I folded my shirt piece in half, laid the pattern on the fold
and cut along the outside curved edge.
After cutting, this is what I had.

Returning to my blue top, I sliced it up the middle.
This shirt was made with two layers,
 so I basted them along the cut edges in an attempt to try and keep things all together.

I know there was some math and figuring involved at this point,
but honestly, it is all a blur.
I basically laid the cream piece over one side of the blue top...

...then traced the line where I wanted to connect it.

This material was fray ca-raaazy! This meant I needed to do French seams on everything.
So, I pinned my pieces together, with the seam on the outside.

After sewing that first seam, trimming the edge,
then folding over and sewing again, this is what one completed side looked this.
This basic process was repeated for the other side.

At this point, I was still working with a very large shirt,
so I pinned on the sleeves (which fit) so I could see where they ended.
This gave me the guideline for how much I needed to take in at the sides.
Even after taking in the sides,
there was still a lot of extra bulk in the back on account of the gathered neckline.
I resolved this by adding a series of pleats in the small of the back.
I also pinned and sewed the shoulders together.
This made the neckline in the front a little too high,
so I measured, chopped some off,
then covered it with bias tape.
This was concealed under the blue tie collar that I reattached.
(This process was tricky, frustrating and involved, so I'll spare you the details.)
After all the fitting changes were made,
it was time to connect the sleeves in earnest.

Because the sleeves were also attached with a French seam,
they ended up a little shorter than they ought to be.
The shirt was a little too stuffy with long sleeves anyway,
so I chopped off some length and made them 3/4 sleeves.
This of course left a raw edge,
with I trimmed with some of the blue scrap which
I collected from the hem of the shirt.
I attached the blue strip just like you would attach bias tape.
Once my shirt was finally done (!!!)
I turned my attention to the cream skirt.

To spruce up my skirt,
I simply straight stitched about a dozen rows around the bottom of the hem in deep blue thread,
varying the distance between each to create the appearance of bands.
I measured how far up I wanted my stitching to start, in my case it was 3 inches.
Then I made tiny marks all the way around so I had a guide for my fist row of stitches.
This was the same stitching method I used on my peplum top.
I really like it, I think it adds so much to a piece!
I'm tempted to go through my closet and do this to all my skirts!
And here it is finished up and paired together!

Here is the back.
With the shirt untucked, here is a better view of the pleats.

 In this photo shoot,
I have the shirt tucked in because it looked better that way with the skirt.
But I made sure to keep the length of the shirt a bit longer, since I have a long torso.
This top would also look great untucked with a pair of jeans or nice slacks!

 I really like how the sleeves turned out, trimmed in blue.
I'm really glad too that I shortened the length.
And here is close up of the hem stitching on the skirt.

Believe it or not, this outfit took all…stinking…week!
I seriously underestimated working with this silky polyester fabric,
which had me scurrying frantically to finish up what I thought was going to be a simple project.

 All in all, I really like the way my outfit turned out,
and I’m more than thrilled that I still have my sanity intact!
Now, head on over to The Renegade Seamstress
The overall winner and final placement of all four remaining
women will be determined by this week's scores and votes,
which will be announcement this Saturday!


  1. This is beautiful also. I just voted :)

  2. I gasped when I saw the finished top - it's AMAZING!!! I would love to wear something like this :) You are a wonderful seamstress and it's so much fun to see what you recreate. Have a good week :)

    1. Awww, your response made it all worth it! Thank you so much, Stephanie!

  3. Desarae, you accomplished a very difficult task in sewing slinky material. You're a great seamstress. I love the skirt.

    1. Thank you, Trish- coming from you, that is a great compliment! You have done such amazing projects this season, it has been great to sew alongside you. :)

  4. I love the pop of blue! Such a great accent color for winter! Excellent job, Desarae!

    1. Thanks, Carissa! I know, I have always loved the blue/white combo for winter. :)

  5. I really love this outfit. You are seriously talented! All the outfits that you created in the Refashion Runway challenges were very feminine and classy. Loved watching what you created.

    1. Thank you!! Your comment blessed me, I'm so glad you liked what I made and I'm flattered that you think my style classy.

  6. What an amazing job! It looks great on you too. Love your 'can do' attitude. I'm off to vote now ;).

    1. Yes- the only way I made it through this contest was with that 'can do' attitude....and chocolate...and hot cocoa...and lots of support from my family and all of you awesome readers! :) Thanks for voting!

  7. I love this outfit; the blue is so nice with the winter white. It looks lovely on you. I agree with you about the contrasting decorative stitching - it is such a nice way to finish a piece. I'm keeping that technique in mind in my future sewing! You've done a wonderful job with all the challenges and I LOVE your signature photo at the end of each one! (Kudos to your photographer again, also - he has done a great job again this week.)

    1. Thank YOU, Jenny, for all of your encouraging comments throughout this competition. Really, it has been a blessing and so much fun to hear from you-- I knew the post wasn't complete without a comment from you. :) I admit, I'm a sucker for blue, and I love the combo with blue. Yes! It is such an easy way to add a lot of detail to a garment. Haha- my signature pose was a happy accident the first time- and it just happened to be the picture Beth used when she introduced me in the RR lineup of bloggers. It was my brother aka 'photographer's' idea to use it every week. :)

  8. Once again, beautiful job and beautiful photography! I love the way you stitched the blue on the skirt to tie it all together. Good luck!

    how difficult this must have been....but you did an AMAZING job!
    props to you because I don't think I would have the patience!
    I love your blog!
    I have been exploring it, and your title DEFINITELY matches it perfectly...I can tell you are so glad of heart.
    you are truly blessed...and a blessing!

    have a lovely day!

    much love,

    p.s. feel free to check out my blog sometime ;)

    short sleeved pants

    1. Wow. I just checked out your blog- thank you for sharing your awesome story, Morgan...I love hearing about how people come to Jesus and what their journey was before that point. The transformation afterwards is always the most amazing, and I can see that a beautiful thing has happened in you!

      Thank you for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment, it blessed me, especially that little bit about the title fitting. :)

  10. It all looks so well put together. I love the pleated back. Congratulations on making to the final 4. Good luck... oh and again, wonderful photos.

    1. Thanks, Magda! I'm so honored that I was even in this competition, and I passed my goal for myself weeks ago already, so to be in the final 4 is far more than I ever expected...I feel like I'm in the presence of movie stars, these ladies are amazing! :)


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