Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

HelenMy Makes, Refashion27 Comments

The Refashioners 2018

The Refashioners has been one of my favourite community events since I discovered the online sewing world. I love seeing how people take unwanted clothing and repurpose it into something truly unique. I think this challenge pushes the limits of a traditional home sewing and encourages participants to get really creative!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

Here are the details of the Refashioners challenge this year. I hope you participate!

  • Take an image that inspires you (see examples here) and re-create it using unwanted garments.
  • Blogger Element: Running from 3rd Sept to 28th Sept this year.  A month of inspiration posts to get your creative juices flowing.
  • Community Challenge: This will run right from 1st Sept to 31st October. There will be the usual phenomenal prize package for the winner(s) at the end. You can share your creations any time between those dates to be entered into the competition. To enter, you’ll need to SHARE your refashions (including your original inspiration image) in one of the following ways:
    • On Instagram: Share a pic using the hashtags #therefashioners2018 #inspiredby
    • On Facebook: There is a community board here where you can post your makes (You will need to request an invite to join)
    • Only entries shared via the above 2 methods will be entered into the competition. Closing date for entries is 31st October 2018 Midnight GMT.

My Refashioners 2018 Project

This year, the challenge was to take inspiration from an image as a jumping off point for our refashions. I already had some articles of clothing I had set aside for refashioning over the years, so I had these garments in mind when I was looking for an inspiration image. All of these fun prints had a similar colour palette and I wanted to mix them together. Would it look crazy? Almost certainly!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I discovered images from Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM Pre-Fall’ 2012 Collection and I knew I was onto something. The use of print mixing was so much fun, and while my prints weren’t quite as bold or geometric, the concept of mixing them and embracing the crazy was what inspired me. I also enjoyed the way he placed the prints on each piece and the square bib-like shape on many of the designs. I decided to try to replicate this shape for my project!

Massimo Giorgetti's MSGM Pre-Fall' 2012

I started by sketching. I planned out the design and flagged some sewing patterns I could use to accomplish the look. I also laid out my garments in various configurations until realizing I needed digital assistance.

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I ended up making a digital illustration of the dress and masking off the different parts of the garment so I could play with print placement. I photographed all the textiles and had fun experimenting digitally before settling on a final arrangement.

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I ended up using a pattern mashup of a self-drafted bodice, the Archer sleeve and yoke, the Kalle back and collar, and an Alder/Kalle dress hem. I drafted the floating bib as well and split the yoke into several pieces to have the bib look as though it continues to the back of the dress.  The pattern preparation took a while but it was worth it to get the look I wanted!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

My final dress is pretty out there. I have been lovingly referring to is as my ‘clown nightgown’! I love how the different prints compliment each other while still being completely unique. The length and shape of the dress are perfect for me and my preferences, and the prints make it outrageously fun!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

We couldn’t photograph this piece on your everyday sidewalk or street, it really needed something special. This colourful mural is on the wall of our neighborhood track and it suits this dress perfectly! I feel like I just got sucked into a cartoon. Thankfully, I am wearing the right dress for the occasion!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

The biggest challenge with this dress was the floating panels on the front. I hand sewed mitered corners so it would look great from either side. It is attached at the shoulder and sewn into the front placket.

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I also decided to have the ‘bib’ continue on to the back yoke. This involved splitting the yoke into 5 pieces and sewing it just right so the shoulders would match perfectly. I am really proud of the work I did here, and hand sewing played a huge role in the success of this garment!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I love the way these prints play off one another. The colours are all incorporated into these vastly different prints! It is so much fun to look at and dissect, and really fun to wear, too!

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

The hem of the dress is finished using a black bias binding. I used some scrap fabric for this, so it is the only place on the garment where ‘new’ fabric is used.

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

the buttons were all part of the older garments, too. I had four pink buttons from the pink silk dress, which I used on the cuffs. I used the black buttons from the pleated skirt on the front placket.

Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet Refashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's ClosetRefashioners 2018 Dress by Helen's Closet

I hope you enjoyed checking out my crazy Refashioners project! I had a really good time making this dress and feel like I stretched my creative muscles in the process. There is a month of inspirational projects happening over on The Makery, so you can get ideas for your own project! You can participate in the contest by sharing your makes using the guidelines provided for the contest. I hope you consider joining in the fun!

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

27 Comments on “The Refashioners 2018”

  1. Oh, this is so much fun! Just looking at these photos makes me happy so I can imagine how great you feel actually wearing this madcap creation. It must have been a ton of work to plan–bravo!

  2. Wow, you look fantastic! It looks like a designer creation for sure. Also it looks fun to wear! I’m inspired.

  3. Beautiful work Helen! I’d seen Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM Pre-Fall’ 2012 Collection work somewhere before and was struck with it too. I wasn’t sewing at the time so of course it never occurred to me that I could make anything like it myself and here you are – reminding us of all the wondrous things we can do. I don’t think your dress is clownish in the least (although I loved your pic with the caption that you feel like you’ve fallen into a cartoon!) I think your beautiful dress exemplifies all that couture stands for – handsewn details/embellishments, creatively visioned for just one woman and then created just for her in fit and design. Thank you for all you do for the sewing community – this is the icing on the cake 🙂

  4. I think this is one of the most beautiful makes, by anyone, ever. One of my favorite designers is Duro Olowu and he does a print mixing thing which I love, so I often set pieces aside for a similar purpose. I just can’t ever seem to put them together in a pleasing fashion. Now that I’ve seen your masterpiece of lush color (I think Matisse, not cartoon), I think I might have been too timid with my combinations. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration.

  5. I love it! It is so wacky, but all those prints go together really well. Loving the front bib, too. I may have to try that sometime!

  6. BAM! You win! Everything else is just for show. I hope by naming it your “clown nightgown” doesn’t mean you aren’t going to wear it out in public. This dress looks like you spent thousands of US dollars on it! It looks like it was made by a Very Big Name Designer! Frankly, I WANT it. I NEED it, and I LOVE it…three out of three ain’t bad!

  7. Needs some either ankle boots or high boots. Where’s the planned first outing in it? Great eye putting it together.

  8. Well done!

    This is an inadequate comment, so I’ll let previous commenters speak for me. Others have said it better than I can.

  9. Yes! Wow! Man, you knocked it out of the park! What a happy explosion of colors! I love that this is stuff you had collected, and they work so gloriously together! This is some *serious* refashion inspiration. Just… speechless! (though, clearly not, because look, words. :D) Yes!

  10. OMG what an absolutely gorgeous dress, and fantastic creative achievement. Bravo! Very inspiring.

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