english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Refashioners Bar Jacket at Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A

Last weekend Phil and I had tickets to see two exhibitions at the V&A, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams and Mary Quant. We decided to make a weekend away of it, and spent the rest of the time having a look in the shops, and generally mooching around London.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A

When I booked to the see the Dior show I immediately knew I wanted to wear the outfit I made for The Refashioners 2018, to the exhibition. Last Saturday morning I got dressed in the full outfit – imitation bar jacket, pleated skirt, petticoat, long gloves – picked up my refashioned fruit-bowl hat, and set off for London.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A

It was fun to wear the full outfit together again for the first time since I got photos for my Refashioners entry in Paris, and to get a photo of the outfit next to its inspiration (first photo). I feel a bit like I’m playing dress-up for the first few moments after putting on the petticoat, but it soon feels completely normal. It’s actually quite a comfortable outfit so long as I’m only wearing a single layer under the fitted jacket, any more than that and I feel squashed in.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A

The Dior show is excellent sewing inspiration and I’m hoping to get some sewing done myself before the end of this weekend. I might even work on the 1950s inspired ‘waspie’ corset pattern recently released by Gertie for Butterick (which I was hoping to wear to the exhibition under my bar jacket, until I decided to use up my potential sewing time playing Pokemon: Let’s Go! instead).

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A

I do find that galleries always make me want to draw, paint, sew, weave, or generally create. Normally I forget that by the time I get home, but i’m hoping to find time for some other crafts in addition to sewing this year. I’ve booked on a couple of workshops, and I’ve set my drawing and embroidery supplies close to hand. I’ve also started a tap dance class recently, to try a completely different creative hobby for the very first time. Sewing is still number one though, and I’m sure all of those other crafts will end up coming back to sewing and to this blog.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A


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Refashioners Shirt Dress

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Just in time, prior to the deadline, here’s my refashioners 2015 make. It’s photographed here at Les Invalides in Paris

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Les Invalides Paris

Les Invalides Paris

The top half of the dress is refashioned from a man’s shirt found in the Coventry British Heart Foundation shop, which is my favourite Coventry charity shop and a favourite place to visit during my lunch break.

Shirt Refashion - Before

To create the top of the dress, I retained a central panel including the collar and button placket, and then attached side panels and cuffs using fabric cut from the sleeves. You can see the three pieces I cut for each of the side panels below.

Shirt Refashion - Before

There wasn’t enough fabric left to make a skirt, so I used some stash fabric gifted to me ages ago by Ingrid. Given that Ingrid was one of this year’s featured refashioners I thought it was pretty appropriate;) To make the skirt I just cut a large rectangle of fabric and gathered it to fit the top part of the dress. I attached a row of elastic at the waist band to create a bit of definition.

Since it was pretty windy and bright at Les Invalides, I took a few extra photos in my garden at home.

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

When I cut the central panel of the dress I retained half the pocket! Not necessarily that functional (although who actually uses their breast pocket?), but I think it’s pretty cute. I replaced the original shirt buttons with ceramic buttons made by a member of my Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers Guild.

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

Refashioners 2015 Shirt Dress

I have another couple of shirts waiting for a refashion; I just need to decide what to try next!