1980s jacket refashion



When my friend Thelma gave me a bag of fabric and clothing for refashioning, this multi-coloured suede jacket was among the goodies. Oh my word! This jacket is amazing. It is clearly from the 1980s and it is boxy with very wiiide shoulders.DSC08213

But it’s a work of art – all that piecing together of the suede. How magnificent is it? I knew that I was going to have to treat it with the ultimate respect.DSC08214

I knew that it would have had shoulder pads, but they weren’t there? Had they been cunningly removed. Ah, no. They were lurking down at the hemline having become unglued from their moorings. I had to unpick the hem to remove them. Then I played about with the jacket and decided that all I could probably do would be to reduce the shoulder width and lift the sleeve cap up. Good thinking…



Or not. I unpicked the shoulder seam and the lining and started manoeuvring. Unfortunately it seemed as though I would then have excess fabric in the body of the jacket. Head scratching. I hung the jacket back on its hook and made a gazillion other things whilst I considered my options (one of which was to have it professionally remade!).

Then this week I got it back out and had another look. I unpicked the hem a bit more and turned the jacket inside out, and pinned (with thinnest pins I could find – which are now all bent!) the sleeve up on to the shoulder taking out about three inches of fabric. It looked ok! Still a little wide but I figured if I took it in any more I would be messing with the integrity of the pattern. Here I am halfway through the process and I think it’s pretty obvious which shoulder I have modified. It is pleasing that the sleeves are now the correct length for my arms!


and the back view

DSC09861Flushed with success, I did the second sleeve and this just didn’t go as neatly. I tried to match the symmetry of the other side, but it really is a case of near enough is good enough.


I did run the sleeves in a tiny bit, but again, I worried about ruining the balance of the pattern, so they are a bit baggier than I would perhaps like.


I feel as though it would still benefit from very light shoulder pads and I may insert a couple further down the track (probably won’t!!).


But if I move about you don’t notice it too much!DSC09869

Just on another note, I’ve teamed the jacket with my refashioned skirt (also kindly donated by Thelma). I decided to make it its own belt, which I fashioned from elastic purchased in Hong Kong with a 1930s shoe buckle doing duty as a belt buckle.

Before I finish the post, I have to mention the silk lining of this jacket. It is exquisite and appears to be some sort of Picasso print (I think). Anyway, another reason to tread carefully rather than do a full blown refashion.


Sooo, it is clearly refashioning fortnight here at Chez Fadanista. I don’t think I’m setting the world on fire, more like tinkering than refashioning, but I’m feeling pretty happy.

The details:

Jacket is unlabelled, but was clearly a handcrafted item from the 1980s. When I took it apart I could see each piece was numbered (forgot to photograph). It is still pretty boxy, but within acceptable limits for 2014.

Dress is my recycled skirt, paired with a belt made from a piece of elastic and a vintage buckle.

Top is my boring orange top made from fine merino.

Boots are Progetto Glam from Marie Claire in Claremont

Thelma: I hope you are as pleased as I am with what I did with this – your generosity still astounds me!





Two scarves make a Coco


The lovely Gabrielle who owns the shop Heaven Wrapped gave me four scarves a while ago to make a top for her and a top for me. Terrifying! They are pure wool, shirred and quite fine and I wasn’t sure how they would make up. DSC09837The label said Dry Clean Only, and how can you have a top which you can’t launder? So I decided to give them a quick wash to eliminate the possibility of shrinkage or colours running. There didn’t seem to be any issues, and I was totally impressed with how quickly they dried, so I thought about what I was going to make with them. I didn’t want to cut the fabric so I spent hours draping and futzing about. DSC09826

I had a notion that I could get a yoke and sleeves in one piece (with a hole for the head) from one scarf and a body doubled over highlighting the fringing. DSC09827Probably looks ok on Doris the dummy (actually, no, it doesn’t) but I knew that it was going to be difficult to pull off. When I laid the fabric along the back of the sofa I could see that the pattern was strong and that I would need to do some matching.DSC09842

I was pulling patterns out of boxes, trying to jigsaw them onto the rather narrow piece of fabric. I pinned the Grainline Scout Tee onto the fabric and went for a walk. I knew that I wanted the frilly edges to be retained, and I thought that the neckline would be difficult on the Scout. Enter the Coco! The appeal of the Coco is the highish boat neck which meant that I might be able to keep the frill around the neck. Appealing. BUT, I have never seen a scout in anything but a fairly firm knit. How would it go in a really light, flimsy fabric? Another walk. I pinned on the pattern. Had a cup of tea. Looked for reassurance from Mark (hmmph!) then I thought about the Hermes scarf that I cut up and that worked ok. Deep breath then, got out the scissors and began cutting, trying not to think that each scarf sells for $70 and I needed two per top. Having messed around with these scarves for weeks, the top came together in a couple of hours (took longer because I kept sewing the French seams the wrong way – not concentrating). I was quite pleased with the result, but what would Gabrielle think? I nervously rocked up to her shop and delivered it. We had her stripped off and dressed in the top in a few minutes. Her reaction was a delight! IMG_0836Front view – check IMG_0830Back view – check IMG_0832And then such excitement! IMG_0839

I generally don’t like making things for other people, but I would make anything for Gabby after this reaction. She truly was thrilled and kept saying that the top would be a lovely reminder of her shop when she eventually closes it down (sob!). IMG_0838The details: Pattern is Tilly and the Buttons Coco top with the neckline altered to take advantage of the edge frill on the fabric. Fabric is two scarves from Heaven Wrapped in Claremont. Model, benefactor and recipient is Gabrielle.

Matching flannos


DSC09779When I got home from all my travels, the first thing I made was another flannel shirt for Tom, as he was about to go camping. Bridgette, his partner, asked (jokingly, I think!) whether I could make Heidi, their puppy, a matching flanno. Er, not too good at pet clothes, but I did offer to make her a matching bandanna. DSC09784Pretty cute huh? Even if I say so myself (Heidi, not Tom!) DSC09777The shirt is my old fave, Kwik Sew 3422, which I can do with my eyes shut (just about). I did this one in 5 hours, beating my previous personal best (not that I’m competitive or anything :) ). I had the usual issue of the checks being off grain, but I cut each piece out separately and managed a pretty good job of the pattern matching.DSC09778You’ll note that Heidi is growing – she is going to be a monster, I think. I’d rather keep her for a week than a fortnight! Tom was totally thrilled with this shirt. I left his on his doorstep when I went for a walk, and he put it straight on and called me round for photos – be still my beating heart! DSC09776The details: Pattern is KwikSew 3422, fabric is flannelette from Homecraft Textiles. Buttons are from my stash. Models are Tom and Heidi, the pup.

Recycled skirt take two


I accidentally published this post a couple of days ago and then had to delete it because it was incomplete, so this is my second attempt. Apologies!

This was a skirt given to me by my friend Thelma. This is what it looked like when it was donated last year (being modelled in a paddock at Margaret River for those of you who are interested). I took it camping back in January so that I could unpick it and think about what I might make from it.

DSC07053…and the back view. My own dog has no interest in being in photographs, but Asher, who belongs to Tessa, my stepdaughter,  was shadowing me all day.

DSC07055Interesting pleat at the knees, no? I could put my lunch in there! The fabric however is gorgeous and I love the subtle blue print, so I decided it wanted to be a pinafore dress. The problem was that I didn’t have a suitable pattern, so did a bit of self-drafting. I cut the skirt off at the required length, leaving the hem and side split in situ. Then I cut out a bodice and joined the two together. The skirt was quite a bit too big, and I didn’t cut it down too much as I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get the dress on if it was too fitted. However, I think I might just take it in a bit, having looked at the photographs.

I used a bit of the middle section which was surplus to requirements as binding for the neck and armholes.


You may be able to see the pocket – that was actually the piece cut from the neckline at the front and I couldn’t bear to waste it so hemmed it and sewed it on to the side.

The top is made from fabric also donated by Thelma and I made the dress with this top in mind.DSC09833

Not sure why my tights look so weird – they are quite shiny and I think I have a strange reflection. I also don’t like the boots, on reflection, so will need to explore some different shoes to wear with the dress.DSC09835

The details:

Pattern for dress is self-drafted, fabric is from a recycled skirt donated by my friend, Thelma. Top is Vogue 8793 from fabric also gifted to me by Thelma. Belt was a gift from my friend Sophie. Boots are PK from Soletta Shoes, Mt Hawthorn.






Miette cardigan


This is my second Miette cardigan, knitted from wool I bought from Litet nystan in Stockholm (and finished with buttons from Hong Kong). This is fabulous wool, soft and easy to knit. It is Alta Moda Alpaca – baby Alpaca.


I extended the length by two pattern repeats and also added several inches to the sleeves to make them full length. For those of you new to the Miette, it is knitted in one piece – no seaming required – yay, BUT, when doing the sleeves the use of a single circular needle can prove tricky. Some people use double pointed needles, but I hate them, so I use two circular needles and this works brilliantly for me.


Most of the cardigan was knitted on long plane flights – I began it on the way home from Sweden and finished it in Hong Kong, with a bit knitted in the car going to and from work. By the end of the project there is a whole cardigan hanging off the needles!


After my little sojourn in Hong Kong I had many buttons to choose from and struggled to decide which to use. Which ones would you choose? I got all conservative and chose the one third from the left, but I may still change them.


One of the things that I am quite bad at is picking stitches up evenly, so I divided the neckline into four and only had to juggle a quarter of the stitches at a time. This worked really well and I’m sure you all do it, but just thought I’d mention it…


This was a lovely project and I enjoyed making it, and wearing it even more.

Details: Miette cardigan from baby Alpaca, buttons from Hong Kong, teamed with Gabriola skirt. The setting is the Mt Eliza lookout in Kings Park and the treetop walk, also in Kings Park, Perth.


Fabric shopping on Hong Kong Island


Having given a run down on shopping in Kowloon, I thought I would now broaden the discussion to include HK Island.

A must visit is the Western Market on Des Veux Street. Take the MTR to Sheung Wan station and leave via exit C.  Turn right and wander along the street until you see this building. Hold your breath – it’s very exciting!


Apart from the fact that this is a beautiful, iconic building, the entire second floor is full of fabric! It is impossible to get a good shot of the fabric stores, but you can see that they line the perimeter of the second floor. DSC09610

They are all little booths, owned by different people (some people seem to own two or three booths), and the fabric is packed in. If you say what you are interested in, fabric will materialise.   DSC09602

I was still looking for good quality flannelette for shirts and it was in this market that I found Viyella, which is a British version and very high quality (and can be seen on the left – the red tartan – yep, bought some of this!)

It was at this market that the photos of my second Bronte were taken. I’m not going to own up to all the fabric that I bought (instead I will do a slow reveal via this blog), but here is a small sample


I think my favourite piece is this silk by Prada. How could I resist it? I can already guarantee that I am going to be too scared to cut into it! I had a shirt in my head for this fabric.


This market is a must for everyone interested in buying fabric. You won’t get anything else in the way of sewing notions, etc, but boy, you will find yourself in fabric heaven!

Next on the agenda was a shop rather uninspiringly called “Tailor and Alteration” and here is their website. This shop sells everything – fabric, yarn, notions and they even offer classes. Here is Bea having a browse. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t add to my stash!DSC09611This shop is at 467-473 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay Commercial Building, 19th Floor, Tak Fung. I think we hopped back on the MTR and went one stop to save a bit of walking. They also have a store in Kowloon – 12th Floor, Room 77, Yip Fat Industrial Building, Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon – but we didn’t get there (thank goodness!).

Hong Kong Island has very charming trams – double decker, which I’ve only ever seen in Hong Kong.


Normal service will now resume – until my next trip which thankfully is probably not for a little while!

Fadanista’s guide to fabric shopping in Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Before leaving for Hong Kong I did a fair bit of googling to check out what’s what and found the excellent post by When Kath is blogging which I used as my basis for some of the shopping I did.

I did find a shop called Gala Fabrics in Nathan Road and paid them a quick visit. Quick, because when I enquired as to the price of a lovely floral printed wool, I was told that it was HK$1500 – hmm, more than $200 AUD. No thanks.

So, it was off to the hinterland. Our (the intrepid Bea jointed me) first stop was Sham Shui Po, which was an easy MTR ride from Nathan Road. It is on the red line and was five stops from our starting point of Tsim Sha Tsui.

We left the underground via Exit A2 (this is important!), and walked through to Yu Chau Street where the bead shops are. If you are into beading this is the place for you! Bea managed to spend here


and she was quite intrigued by the bling


We walked to Yu Chau Street where we found a shop called the Flying Dragon, owned by a lovely lady called Margaret Chung. This shops sells ribbon – you cannot believe the ribbon…


sorry, I have to show one aisle of this store:


The average cost of the ribbon was HK$10 per 3 yards (that’s around 47 cents a yard), so yes, I bought ribbon. This is the very accurate way that it is measured out – an arm span is clearly a yard:


Next stop was buttons. Button shops look like the ribbon shops – miles and miles of little drawers filled with delectable buttons the likes of which I have never seen in Perth (I have seen polka dots, but these were nicer quality). I took some photos before I put them all away but for some reason they didn’t work, so here is a sample of some of my favourites.


It is worth noting that I simply wanted 10 buttons to put on my new Miette cardigan and a couple of these are candidates. I haven’t decided which yet.

I also thought I had a photo or two of the button shop but haven’t managed to find it. Most of my buttons were bought in Yu Chau Street, just along from the ribbon stores (it is worth noting that there are whole blocks selling ribbon, then blocks selling buttons, etc). I bought buttons in two different stores – the first was Wing Fung Industrial where I was served by the owner, Danny. I collected all my buttons in a little basket trying to calculate the cost in my head (you will need cash in most of these stores, although some take credit cards). I gave up counting at around HK$300, but Danny took one look at all the sorting he would have to do and offered them all to me for HK$50 – er that’s AU$7 for more than 100 buttons! I also bought some bra making bits here.

We then found another button store in Ki Lung Street called Global Button Manufacturing Ltd, where the buttons looked like lollies. More were purchased here!

I had heard rumours of cheap zips, but unfortunately it was now lunchtime and some of the stores were closed. However, we found one that was open – Wai Hing Zipper Button Mfy in Shek Kip Mei Street and I bought the odd invisible zip (chronic understatement) for HK$3. This is less than 40cents. I bought a variety of colours and sizes and am now set for several lifetimes!

In Nam Cheong Street we found elastic and I bought a small selection to make belts. I found leopard skin (drool), blingy, studded, knitted, all sorts of elastic.



We then turned to the fabric stores (yes, the purpose of the post and the visit!). Oh my word, the stores, the stalls, the fabrics!


Many of the shops had samples to be selected from, ordered and the buyer would need to go back to collect the cut fabric. Some also had minimum purchases of 5 yards.


I knew this would be impossible (although knitted denim was very appealing!) so we found a stall selling some dodgy flannelette (my sole mission) and the man took us upstairs to the warehouse and cut whatever we (the royal we, I was the only one buying) fancied. I was reasonably restrained. Don’t worry, the restraint didn’t last! My next post will explore fabric buying on Hong Kong island. You’ll be pleased to know that it will be a much shorter post.

If you are going to Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po is a must destination. We were probably the only westerners there (I only realised this when reflecting on the day), but everyone left us alone, we felt safe, and very welcome in most of the shops. This is in complete contrast to Nathan Road where we were hassled endlessly to buy watches and bags. We were also able to cross the road without taking our lives in our hands, and did spend most of our time there zig zagging across the various streets (and clutching each other in sheer delight). This suburb of HK is also home to lots of other sewing notions, but I managed to stay away from them. However, if you are wanting/needing cord, needles, pins, thread, etc, this is definitely the place for you.









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