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Refashioners 2017: Teal Suede Sailor Pants

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Indiesew.com | Refashioners 2017 Challenge

I'm equal parts honored and giddy to be participating in this year's Refashioners challenge. If you don't follow Portia Lawrie, you need to start now. She's created this amazing annual event that inspires those of us that sew to look at tired, thrifted clothing in a whole new light.

This year's theme is suits. The challenge is simply to take an old, two-piece suit and make it into a new garment. Well, I didn't go the route one might expect. I didn't search for pinstripes or tweed or corduroy men's suits. Nope.

I went for teal suede. And I'm so glad I did.

Teal Suede Vintage Suit | Indiesew Refashioners

My mom actually found this women's size 16, two-piece suit when she was in Phoenix, AZ visiting my grandma about a month ago. I had been hunting for a bright colored suit for weeks with no luck here in Boulder.

When she sent me a photo of this women's blazer and skirt suit set, I knew instantly it was perfect. When it arrived, I was even more impressed with this duo. You see, it's old. Really old.

James Chen Vintage Suit | Refashioners 2017

I couldn't find much online about James Chen women's suits but my guess is that this suit was likely made in the 60's. It's made from real suede (not faux suede) with a 100% silk lining. It has dolphin-tail shaped appliques along the center front of the blazer, the sleeve cuffs, and the top of the blazer pockets.

Vintage Skirt | Suede Pleats

After I started ripping into the suit, I realized that this size 16 suit set was custom made for somebody. There was foam padding in just one shoulder, which makes me think that its prior owner may have been a violinist or had uneven shoulders. Beyond that discovery, both the skirt and blazer had an incredible amount of hand basted stitches inside. It seemed like the entire thing was hand basted together before it was sewn. It was absolutely stunning.

I initially had plans to make a self-drafted, wide-leg jumpsuit from the suit, but it quickly became apparent that working around princess seams and the skirt pleats was going to make that really difficult. There was a lot of fabric to work with, but the garment had so much shaping with darts and curved seams, that it was difficult to cut a flat piece of fabric for the bodice.

Nevertheless, I started in on the jumpsuit pants. I wanted a sailor pant style, similar to the popular Kamm pants you see today. I knew I wouldn't have enough fabric for the pants to be as long as Kamm pants, but I was able to sew a large cuff onto the bottom of each leg. I stitched the fun applique trim on top of that seam to hide it.

I used the double darts in the back skirt for the back darts and the single front darts for the front darts of my pants. I was unsure if I would still achieve the same fit with those darts varying in lengths from my initial design for the pants. In the end, they fit even better than I could've imagined. Finally, I removed the pockets from the front of the blazer and stitched them onto the front of each leg.

I tried the pants on before I had planned to start in on the bodice and I actually liked the look of the pants as a standalone garment better than my jumpsuit idea. They fit like a glove and I had the perfect vintage silk blouse to pair them with.

So, at that point, I decided a pair of high-waisted, teal green suede pants were going to be the final garment. I sewed an invisible zipper into the side seam (my best invisible zip yet, hallelujah) and pieced together a narrow waistband.

Then we took some pretty photos:

DIY Teal Suede Pants | Indiesew.com

Suede Sailor Pants | Refashioners 2017

Suede Applique | Refashioners 2017

Refashioners Blog Tour | Suede Suit Reinterpreted

Indiesew.com | Refashioners 2017

Teal Suede Kamm Pants | Indiesew.com

Back Darts | Refashioned Suede Pants

Yes, these suckers turn at least one head every time I wear them. But I absolutely love them. The fit of them just feels like me, for some reason. I'll be sewing many more pairs of these, but next time in something a bit more neutral.

To stay up to date with The Refashioners 2017, see all the other inspiring refashions AND find out how you could win an amazing prize go to: http://www.makery.uk/the-refashioners/

Happy sewing!

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