Creative articles about sewing

REFEBULOUS week 2: Refashion Tips

Week 2 is about Suits&Ties. In this next blog in the #REFEBULOUS month I’m not sharing a new project, but I am sharing some of my best tips which I learned by refashioning suits. Did you miss the first two blogs? You can read them on the BERNINA blog. The first is about the challenge in general and the second is about my project for week one about jeans

Refashion skills

Refashioning a garment  is timeconsuming, but oh so rewarding and you’ll be making an one of a kind garment. Refashioning can also be a bit tricky. In the projects I did thusfar I’ve picked up some refashion skills and I’ll share some tips what to look for in the fabric(s) you want to use,  some pattern tips and details to reuse.



It is important to check the quality of the fabric of the garment you want to reuse. For instance in jeans the fabric might be too worn down at the knees, which makes the fabric loose and the end result wobbly. Or it might be stained or even have little holes in it, especially when the fabric is old. So check it properly and mark the unwashable stains/holes you find so you can cut arround it or repair it before using it. It can be a lovely design feature.

When using different fabrics in one garment it is important the characteristics of the fabric are somewhat similar. Like the weight of the fabric, the sturdiness and the amount of stretch. I like to bend the rules here a little bit. It’s a kind off ‘learning by doing’ situation. You can imagine that a lightweighted fabric doesn’t go well with a sturdy canvas fabric when it is used the same way, but it can be used as detailing like ruffles or stitched onto the sturdier fabric. 

Straight grain & Stretch

In refashioning the straight grain is your anchor. Mark this in your original garment, before unraveling or cutting. When the straight grain is not obvious just estimate what is logical. Most garments are cut with the straight grain oriented top to bottom. If there isn’t any stretch, like in non woven fabric, you can turn it arround in any direction. 

When using different stretch fabrics check the stretch of the fabrics. Again take the straight grain in to consideration and make sure the stretch of the different pattern pieces are in the same direction. If there is a huge difference in the amount of stretch you can reinforce both fabrics, with interfacing for instance, at the stitching line or just use a lot of pins before the actual stitching.

If you use non stretch and stretch fabric you might reinforce just the stretch fabric. Or you might use the fact that cutting a non stretch fabric on the bias does have a bit of stretch. Like I did in this jacket.

The striped and the leopard print fabrics are stretch fabrics. The checkered fabric doesn’t have stretch, but diagonally it does. This way I could reuse the pockets too. Win win!

More on this make in this blog.


How to decide which fabrics goes well together esthetic wise? Well just put them together on your manequin or on the table and then decide what you think is a match. For the jacket I made out of trousers I needed to check a lot of options. For the leopard-checkered one I decided more easily.

Original details

To make your refashioned garment even more unique use original details as much as you can. It can be as simple as reusing a label on the outside.

In this suit I went wild. The pockets were tilted and reused. I left the flap on and just put it inside the pockets. At the sleeves the inside pockets were reused. I left in the washing and size label as a fun detail.


The breast pocket went on one of the overlay pieces. And the trim on the inside of the trousers became a nice detail on the outside of the new jacket.

You can read more about this refashioned suit in this blog.


I prefer to work with a pattern and by placing it on the  garment I decide if I unravel the garment or even simpeler cut the seams. It depends on how much fabric I need. Sometimes you just need that extra centimeter. In the bomber jacket made out of trousers I incorporate one of the side seams to harvest enough fabric.

As stated in the previous blog about the jeans biker jacket use a familiar pattern with a good fit, so you don’t have te worry about that. 

Make left and right pattern pieces if it is not possible to cut the fabric folded and mark which side has to go up. This prevents making the mistake of ending up with two left or right side pattern pieces.


Preferable choose a pattern with lots of pieces and if not cut the pattern in smaller pieces if necessary. Mark the pattern so you’ll know which piece goes were. Take into account that if you cut the pattern you have to add seam allowance.

When you have done harvesting all the pieces it now finally is time to assemble your garment!

That being said, I hope you have some lovely Suits&Ties refashion project to share. You might win a prize doing that. Wanna know how? Just check the hashtag #REFEBULOUS  or my Instagram.


Hope to see you there!








Sewing techniques & tutorials: Refashion tipps for sewing clothing

Sewing techniques & tutorials: Refashion tipps for sewing clothing

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