Permission to fail – refashioning

I love the concept of restyling clothes, creating a new item out of thrifted old clothes. The process of refashioning can be fun, creative, challenging, this in itself is motivating. Plus of course the finished result is unique, fits you and your style. However it doesn’t always go to plan..! Give your self permission to fail, it is only through failing do we learn.

Fail at refashioning

Refashioning usually starts with an end vision, a concept of where you are going to take the item of clothing or the combination of several items. The finished refashion does not always match the vision.

Personally being a larger size limits the choice of fabric/items to refashion in charity shops. I struggle to visualize where I can take a preloved item of clothing. Plus I have limited experience at refashioning.

Recently I found this beautiful purple knit fabric plus a small navy dress, the colour’s pair beautifully together. 

A good starting point for refashioning is to use an existing garment in your wardrobe as a template for cutting the fabric/old clothing. Using an existing tunic I cut the old clothes to size.

So far my project is going to plan, navy top with purple base to the tunic, making the most of the widest part of both garments and the hem.

But then I failed, I used my overlocker (serger) to sew the two fabrics together. My lack of experience with knit fabrics came to light, somehow the tension is just wrong. The seam is ripply, not flat. The top just does not hang right! It maybe that this is to do with the settings on the overlocker, or the combination of the fabrics. The navy fabric has a ripple to it which may not cope with being attached to a flat fabric?

My reaction was of frustration with myself. Why did my project fail? How can I fix it? My time is limited and precious, naturally my desire is for every creative project to succeed.

” It is only through failure and through experiment that we learn and grow” Issac Stern

When a project fails it is disappointing and can be extremely frustrating. Turn it on its head, what have you learnt? what will you do differently next time?

Practice, practice, practice – this is the way l will learn how to master the tension on my overlocker. The fear of failure can hold us back but failure is an essential part of creativity, its how we learn and grow. As my daughters school teacher says “FAIL means First Attempt In Learning”


17 thoughts on “Permission to fail – refashioning”

  1. Could you try making a wide, sash type belt for it Vicky? Cover up the slight weirdness of the fabric join. I actually like it sleeveless so I wouldn’t worry about putting them back on. Failing that just make them into bags, that’s what I seem to do with my sewing errors!
    And what is this about being a bigger size? Really? That’s not what I’m seeing!

    • Being six foot tall people tend not to realise I’m a size 16!! As I was taking the pictures my father-in-law suggested one of his belts…!

  2. LOL, thanks for posting this. I get so frustrated every time that I make a “refashioning” mistake. But … maybe you can use middle piece to fix this one, like a piece of stretchy.

  3. Always good to give yourself permission to fail – although like Julie commented above, you can re-style with a belt or make it into something different when inspiration strikes again.
    The colours work beautifully together.

  4. Oh Vicky you did not fail just a happy accident. I would overlock the raw edges first then use a stretch stitch on a sewing machine to join together. That usually works as the overlocker can stretch the fabric when seaming a knit

  5. Have you considered doing a fancy stitch on the purple fabric along the seam line – that might take one’s eye away from the ripply seam. Knit fabrics can be tricky but are forgiving – likely the problem is the blue ripply fabric and from experience I know that top stitching of some sort often fixes a problem – give it a go. 🙂 This is the fun part of sewing and/or refashioning – coming up with solutions – ending up with something totally different than you envisioned – experimenting. I love sewing with knits!!!

  6. I really like this outfit….the rippled seam is hardly noticeable in the photo, and I love your father-in-law’s idea of a belt. That purple scarf in your bio pic would be perfect with this top. Or add a sweater, more layers? The outfit looks great with your leggings…so comfy. You are perfect just the way you are!


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