November 10, 2010

Pants to Jumper with Katy from No Big Dill

Today's lovely guest blogger is Katy from No Big Dill.  I'm not sure where I found her blog, but I was immediately captivated by her sewing skills mixed with her creativity.  The woman can't make anything that's not gorgeous - including her five daughters.  (Yeah, I'll have to get notes from her on how to make a girl.)  Her photos are beautiful as well.

Here she is with a great refashion and some great refashioning tips as well.  Welcome Katy! 

When I got an email from Cheri inviting me to participate in the great Refashionista Event, I excitedly said YES!  

Then, I panicked.  

I'll be frank.  Refashioning isn't my favorite thing to do.  It takes more thinking, planning, finagling, and re-working.  So, maybe I'm lazy?  I normally prefer the blank canvas a cut of fabric straight from the bolt offers.  But, from this experience I share this story:

I had this pair of dusty rose corduroy pants I ordered online [I know, my first mistake.]  It was a bargain, and they fit, o-kay.  But, we all know about items of clothes that are just o-kay.  They sit in the closet until we dig them out one day and put them on only to remember how much we want to wear them, but don't feel 100% confident in them.  These cords would find their way to the Good Will bag, and I would even make the drive, pull out the bag to hand to the Good Will employee.  I would get a glimpse of that dusty rose corduroy and fall in love again, snatching it out, just before the bag got tossed onto the mound of other rejects, despite the raised-eyebrow-crazy-lady look from the Good Will guy.  I would smile sheepishly back at him, but the cords would again come home and get shelved once more.

This was my state when I accepted Cheri's invitation.  I began to look around and scope out what I wanted to refashion, not even considering my cords.  I was at H & M and found a spaghetti strap dress for $10 that I knew would make a dynamite skirt.  I came home with my purchase tucked under my arm to find my dusty rose corduroy pants looking at me with those puppy dog eyes that corduroy pants tends to do.  And I knew.  It was the time to give my cords their second chance.

Now I know we don't all have the same pair of ill-fitting pants, nor do we all have a willing 2-year-old, so I am going to offer some refashion guidelines and pointers for a successful refashion.

a   the first refashion I did, I prided myself on the fact you couldn't tell what the new article used to be.  I took a different approach with this project and incorporated and used to my advantage, features already constructed such as the buttons and zipper from the fly*.  You can also omit features from the pattern like the buttons for the straps--I just sewed the straps as the zipper allows the in and out a 2-year-old needs from clothes.
b  I liked the fly, but obviously the whole pattern piece I needed wouldn't fit there, so I added a seam.  Simply cut your pattern piece [or trace on some freezer paper] and add a seam allowance to keep the piece as a whole the same size.
c   the pattern called for a facing, but corduroy is so sturdy, it doesn't necessarily need any additional layers, so I finished the armholes with a strip of bias cut from the bottom of the leg.
d   inspect the construction of the original piece and try to used similar methods, such as double stitching seams, which is often done on pants and jackets.
e   I couldn't fit the two front pieces on a section of the pants without seams.  This really bothered me at first, but then I thought, this is what I have to work with and decided to place the pattern piece right over the leg seam to add visual interest.
f   use existing features to your advantage.  Instead of adding another casing for the elastic in the center back, I inserted the elastic in the sides of the existing waistband.*
g   once again adding seams in order to include the features on the pants, double stitching to match the original construction.

*note: If you use the original finished edges in your refashion, be sure to take out those hem/seam allowances from your pattern piece[s].

not shown in the layout: the straps and the bias strips cut from the lower leg

One more feature:  Claim your Refashion!  Add your own tag, or even sew a contrasting color
ribbon loop in one of the seams

The pattern I used for the jumper is a vintage pattern no longer in print, but you could use this McCall's pattern [view E], removing the leg seam and adjusting the outer seams to an A-line instead of straight.

The model I used was found wandering around, as she has now learned to escape from her bed.

Thank you, Cheri, for making me use my brain.
It was refreshing ;)

Thank you so much Katy!  I love that you used a pattern, but also upcycled your clothing.  Clever.  You guys can visit Katy at her blog.  If you stop over to check it out be sure to look at this, this, and this.  (Some of my recent favorites.)  Have a great day!


  1. Adorable! I wish I hadnt given away that pair of cords I had!

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  3. I LOVE IT!!!!
    I do have a pair of corduroys bored to death in the closet, and I do have a 19 month old girl...
    yep! I'll use my hands soon...
    thank you for this great tutorial. I've been following Katy's blog for a good while. Such an inspiring space!

  4. Wow! that is great Katy. I will be making one of these for sure. My three girls live in dresses and jumpers. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  5. Oh my goodness. This one is to listen and hear you roar.. What a great idea~! so cute.
    Katy is quite a sewer and has vision to what something can be when you redo it.
    I remember my trips to Goodwill and I see something I have put in the bag and I take it out and bring it back home . Oh my,,it's still hanging in my closet. I have decided this morning I'm going upstiars ~ take a picture of it and then put it back into the Goodwill bag.. No redoing project for me. or is there??? m-m-m- have to think about that one.

  6. Seriously amazing!!! Am working on upcycled clothing myself as well! Glad to see others doing it too, and even more glad that No Big Dill led me to your site! Awesome job!!!

  7. I think this is so brilliant!

    Heading over to Katy's blog and check on the links as well. Thanks!

    Adin B

  8. genius! what a cutie little girl too!

  9. Katy, you never cease to amaze me with your projects. Thanks for sharing this! It's so creative!

  10. WOW! Love that model, too!

  11. LOVE this refashion! I have a pink pair of cords that would be so cute refashioned in this way! Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  12. this one gets a major WOW from me. i've been working refashions - women's clothes into girls' clothes, and a jumper has been on my list. thanks!

  13. I like those cords even better as a jumper. Plus it helps to have a cute model. :)

  14. Seriously this is why my Good Will pile is still sitting in my closet! Great idea and now I need to actually start refashioning these items before my husband makes my pile disappear! Cute, cute!

  15. i love pants as a starting point because there are so many possibilities. this is a great project!
    i re-fashioned today as well! gotta love thriftyness:)

  16. Very cute Katy! Fun reinvention.

  17. Wow, that is impressive and so so cute!

  18. What a great idea! I love this dress, it's so cute and refined.

  19. Anonymous10.11.10

    It's wonderful!! Now I know what I'll do this week end. (I keep a pair of pants like Katy) Thanks.

  20. I like your blog information thanks for sharing with us....

    D&G Clothing

  21. Anonymous11.11.10

    love this one!

  22. This is great!!!!
    Thank you!

  23. I love this tutorial! I really needed this! I have some corduroy pants that I've been clinging to as well: a brown, a tan, and a light pink.

  24. I can't believe that. It's so cute. You are amazing!

  25. Very beautiful jumper. And thank you so much for sharing tutorial.


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