Despite having signed up to the Wardrobe Refashion pledge for life, I actually do hardly any refashioning of existing garments per se. The last time I made a garment that started out life as a different garment (as opposed to a flat piece of fabric), was back in June when I made a top out of a crazy blouse I found lying on the street next to a bin. Even then I'm not sure that counted as a refashion as I almost completely deconstructed that original blouse before cutting the new pattern pieces, using only the buttonholes and hem when making the new garment.
Over the last year and a half, I've been attempting to make an increasing variety of garments, particularly since getting over my fear of using stretch fabric. My initial Me-Made-March challenge, in which I attempted to get through an entire month wearing only things I had made myself (excluding bras, socks, tights and shoes) proved a massive catalyst in this process. To complete this challenge, I quickly realised I would have to get to grips with making all kinds of previously unattempted items (like a coat and underwear) if I was to succeed without freezing or being excessively uncomfortable. Well, I succeeded, if you can call rotating between two tops for a whole month a success, and was spurred on to repeating the challenge (Me-Made-May). So I hit the sewing machine to create a wider variety of garments so virtually no outfit repetition would ensue during May and I'd enjoy the challenge more.
I guess I kind of got hooked on the challenge of pushing myself further and further, relying on the fruits of my sewing more and more, to the point where now I have created the vast majority of my wardrobe. I'll admit, have been toying with the concept that if I can't make it, maybe I shouldn't be allowed to wear it. But I've recently started to question that potentially overly evangelical approach. Perhaps it's because Winter is well on its way and I still haven't really mastered knitwear and I'm getting really cold that a more pragmatic approach is starting to seem more appropriate. I'm starting to think that it may be better to have had a hand in forming every garment I own rather than having made every damn item completely from scratch, and allowing more refashioning projects back into my life and wardrobe.
Aside from the desire to avoid freezing my arse off and going back to a two-top rotation, I have recently been (re-)reminded that refashioning has some significant benefits over making all garments from fabric off the roll. For me, the main benefit is that by using a previously loved garment, it is possible you are extending that original garment's lifespan, possibly even preventing it from ending up in a landfill. Also, by not using new fabric from a fabric shop for your project, you are not creating a need for and directly supporting the production of more new fabric, which we all know by now can be a frighteningly destructive process, environmentally speaking. By refashioning, you can be one in a chain of individuals to have used and enjoyed a garment, the thought of which may gross many people out but which I personally love. Also, if the project allows, you can often retain necklines, fastenings, seams, hems or a combination of the above from the original garment, therefore removing some of the sewing processes and speeding on your creation no end. Who doesn't like a quick-fix, wear-it-that-evening sewing project from time to time?
Don't get me wrong, I'm still thoroughly committed to making my own wardrobe and encouraging others to do so. I am more so than ever, but basically I have got off my high horse about feeling the need to have stitched every single damn stitch I'm wearing at any given moment. I'm just relaxing a little and taking the opportunity to mix my stitching up a bit. The creativity required to turn an old hideous garment into a wearable thing of beauty is, after all, a slightly different set of talents compared to those needed to concieve of something and make it from scratch. It's time I flexed some of those muscles, before they lose their strength all together!