make do and mend 1940s suit

September 14, 2011

09.14.11 | 40s inspired refashion

This isn’t so much a straight-up sewing project, but I felt it would fit with the spirit of the Sew Retro community! I recently was asked to participate in a collective refashioning project by Portia of the Miss P blog. The premise was to take a mystery (thrift store) garment she sent me, and rework it. The challenge would be taking something ho-hum and making it into a garment I’d be excited to wear! I was sent a rather dowdy floral suit, several sizes too large. However, having been on a bit of a 1940s “make do and mend” kick lately, I was inspired by the idea of completely refitting the suit and making it into a cute 40s-inspired number. (Note: in the “before” picture below, I added a few clothespins to the suit to get it to fit my dressform a bit better–it was far too big!)

09.14.11 | 40s inspired refashion

09.14.11 | 40s inspired refashion

I’ve gone over some of my details in the post I wrote for Portia’s blog here, but a quick break-down:
– refit the jacket completely, including removing the original sleeves, recutting those and sewing them back in. I also eliminated the original pockets and sewed those shut (the placement would have been grossly off when the jacket was refit).
– cut a new neckline that was distinctly inspired by the 40s.
– added some snazzier buttons; two vintage glass ones from my stash.
– added a bow to the neckline I made from what was originally the jacket collar!
– recut the skirt into a shorter a-line style; refit the waistband too.

09.14.11 | 40s inspired refashion

09.14.11 | 40s inspired refashion

I love how it came out–definitely am going to be wearing this over the last few weeks of September while I can still get away with it! I’m really inspired now to tackle a few more 40s-inspired “make do and mend” projects. Because as much as I love sewing a dress from start to finish, sometimes it’s just as enjoyable (and challenging!) to rework something with a few well-placed stitches and seams to bring it back to life.

Be sure to stop by my blog!

  1. casey, this is too. fabulous. for. words. excellent job and thanks for sharing it here, on your blog, and as part of the refashionistas project!

  2. I tend to be suspicious of refashioning because one person's dowdy is another person's vintage treasure, but trust you to turn a very ho-hum suit into something absolutely gorgeous!! Love it!

  3. Your refashions are amazing and very creative. You have the patience and amazing skill and eye to transform ugly/dowdy/so-so garments into something beautiful and quite lovely. Your garment transformations inspire me to think outside of the box.

  4. That is so gorgeous! Super improvement on the original. Even the floral print pops better in this incarnation!

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