Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October Refashion Challenge // Refashion #20 :: Ashley

So ... this started out as a brilliant purple crewneck Merino sweater, plus some blue/purple floral fabric first used in this project. I love the sweater's color but rarely wear it because the color is so vibrant that it's hard to wear with anything but neutrals [or at least any other clothes I currently own], but the basic crewneck means I always felt a bit plain when I wore it. Seems like the perfect candidate for a refashion, eh?


I had originally envisioned this as a sweater-with-bib, one of those fads that was really popular 4 years ago (and isn't that the beauty of handmade? Doesn't matter how late you are to a bandwagon, you can still get your arse up on it long after the rest of the riders have jumped ship). I started by removing the crewneck, after which I panicked that the subsequent neckline was too wide to make a proper bib and, once the panic died down, hastily invented Plan B.


Enter the peter pan collar, complete with improvised drafting and numerous revisions (envision me standing with a muslim collar pinned to sweater, looking in the mirror and marking with pen directly onto the muslim. Classic.)


Somehow these photos don't do justice to the strange effect this combination has upon the resulting refashion. My dad, who normally doesn't have much of a fashion opinion, took one look at me in my new sweater and, well, convulsed. My mom uttered a noncommittal, "Interesting ..." and after several seconds of speechlessness, said, "Well, it's kind of Laura Ashley." Personally, I feel like I tried to drag the 1950s into 2010 and got stuck in 1990 instead.


Let's talk about this one, shall we? My theory, and chime in if you have a different one, is that the peter pan collar, already quite feminine, becomes over-the-top feminine in such a girly, flowery fabric, and as such begs to be paired with a girly color and fabric, something like a soft lavender cabled twinset. Like, playing up the retro look, instead of trying to drag it towards "modern." Yet the saturated purple color moves in the opposite direction, and the result is stuck in the sadly familiar "not quite a girl, not yet a woman" no-mans-land of Epic Wadders.

OK, but I do like this detail of how I dealt with the too-long sleeves. Simply tuck them under to halve the length, and then secure with 2 fabric-covered buttons. Mimics, a tad, the buttoned detailing on coat sleeves.


So now we move on to how to proceed from here. As usual, I'm torn:

1) More is better. Somehow, I tempted to think that if I just added a fabric-covered belt in matching fabric, all would be healed and somehow this entire look would be pulled together. I think that I barely have enough leftover fabric to pull this off.

2) Double the risk, double the reward/failure. I'm also tempted to think that my initial instinct was correct and that this fabric combination works better as a sweater-with-bib, in which case I would unpick the bias binding, remove the peter pan collar, and attach a bib instead. The collar would then be saved for another project [hm, eBaying lavendar cabled cardigans, maybe?]. Truth be told, I'm not sure I have enough fabric for this, unless of course I carefully match seams and piece together the leftovers.

3) MMM/SSS lessons, silly! And of course, there's that realization by many of you after MMM or SSS that once we wear our handmade "eh" pieces several times, we come to forgive their sins, so maybe I should commit to wearing this out of the house 3 times before I pass final judgment. Ali? I think you're going to drag me out of the house in this one though, because I'm not sure I can actually bring myself to be seen in public in it.


Augh! How to proceed? What would you do??? And where do you think this project went off the tracks? Would any peter pan collar work with this type of sweater/color? How do you balance factors like pattern, scale, color value, style, and retro elements when planning projects ... or what else do you take into consideration? This is super nice fabric and a super nice sweater, and I hope to 1) salvage it somehow, and 2) learn from my mistakes so that I don't repeat them.


Speaking of not repeating mistakes, here are my raw materials for this week's project in the October Refashion Challenge ...

15 comments:

Violet said...

I quite like it, esp. now that you've repeated the trim (sort of) in the sleeve cuff buttons.
But I do love a low peter pan collar - I just never wear them because I'm far to old for them.

poet said...

Mhm... I thought it was cute, especially with the buttons. But I agree, a belt of the same fabric or maybe an appliqué in one bottom corner of the sweater would probably improve it. Or you could over-dye it in a shade of blue-gray so the whole thing becomes more somber and the floral pattern doesn't stick out as much...

Cheers,
poet

Katie said...

I think this is a really cute idea! Maybe try dressing it down a bit with some dark jeans - for a weekend look? I love the purple - so pretty! Looking forward to your next refashion!!

Zonnah said...

Here is my two cents for what it is worth. Keep in mind I am not a fashion diva. How about making the sleeves three quarter sleeves and then take the bottom ribbing off the sweater and use the left over fabric to make a delicate ruffle at the bottom, not a large one. Oh and keep the buttons on the shorter sleeves. Just an idea.

Lindsay said...

I love how you adjusted the sleeves, very clever and cute!
I feel you on the feeling plain in a crew neck sweater. Since I often wear sweaters to work, I've started to try to dress them up with necklaces or scarves (since I lack your awesome talents).

And can I just say, this line "I feel like I tried to drag the 1950s into 2010 and got stuck in 1990 instead," is the most awesome thing I've heard all day!

Alexandra Mason said...

I really love it! the collar, the colour, the buttons...everything. I think a belt in the same fabric would look great.

quietandsmalladventures said...

actually i really like it, but my style tends towards "cute vintage"...

Whitney said...

I like it just as it is. If I owned this sweater, I would wear it with dark jeans and boots, a dark denim mini with tights or black pants with boots to make it a little less "sweet". I'm not bothered by the floral collar with the deep plum color, I just would style my bottoms to be less cute to balance it out.

Tilly said...

Hello, just got here via Wardrobe Refashion. I like the sweater! Don't listen to your parents! A belt in the floral fabric might be a bit much... maybe it would look less Laura Ashley with a black pencil skirt or with trousers?Very chic, I imagine. I really like the buttons on the cuffs. I'm going to bookmark this page in my inspiration folder.

Marissa said...

Hi, jumping over from WR. Maybe try a tiny ruffle added to the edge of the collar or a thinner shaped collar might help to make it a little more modern. But I must say, I LOVE the idea of buttons on the sleeves! I will definitely do this!

Catherine said...

Hello - love your blog (came over from Wardrobe Refashion). Love this sweater - the collar and buttons are gorgeous but I would love it even more if it was short sleeved or 3/4 sleeved. Catherine

Tasia said...

I like the concept but it does look a little prim in the photo..maybe it's the skirt and sweater combo? Perhaps with different bottoms, say dark jeans or trousers? Like Whitney said.
I think adding the fabric belt might only add to the cutesy-ness but that's just my two cents :)
Love the button-cuff detail though!

jessica said...

Thank you so much to everyone's who offered comments, opinions, or just plain encouragement! I really appreciate it. Even my parents have asked - "So, what's the verdict on the blog?" :-P.

It sounds like I need to wear this out a couple times and style it differently to see how I truly feel about it ~ and I'm going to ... tomorrow! Heh.

Violent - I think we need to throw out a blogosphere challenge to come up with a peter pan collar that any age can wear!

Poet - I had never even thought about overdyeing. Very clever!

Zonnah - I am super intrigued by this idea ...

Tilly and Tasia - trying to decide if this suffers from "too prim" [which it does] or "not sufficiently over the top yet" ... and which way the belt would take it - "DEFINITELY too prim" or "sufficiently over the top"?

Marissa - A tiny ruffle edge! Now there's a thought! If I don't use it here I am definitely storing that one away for future inspiration.

Anne K. said...

I think it's adorable! But then, I'm a sucker for a Peter Pan collar. You're young and cute - why not rock the look! :-)

I've enjoyed your blog for a long time - I wonder if you'd like to be a guest on my podcast. I would love to have a guest interview with a younger crafter who isn't afraid to experiment while exploring and developing her personal style. Maybe e-mail me and we can discuss? Thanks for considering it!!! :-)

annekenlon AT gmail DOT com

Stephanie N. said...

Hi, Jessica. I would definitely make a matching belt. And I would totally wear it!