REFASHIONERS 2016 – A Fish Called Elisalex
Let me begin by stating for the record that denim is not my jam. In fact, thinking back over the last two Refashioners challenges I’ve been a part of (thank you Portia!), menswear is also not really my jam, and needless to say, denim menswear is the least my jam. For that, I’d like to extend my deeply heartfelt gratitude to Portia for pushing me well and truly as far away from my comfort zone as she possibly could!
All joking aside, that’s one of the things I look forward to most with The Refashioners. Although we, as a community, are united by our mutual love of fabric and sewing machines, we couldn’t be more diverse in terms of aesthetics – yet we manage to appreciate and celebrate each other as a whole, without siphoning ourselves off into bitchy sub-cliques (I’m looking at you, Fashion Industry) – and it’s that wonderous diversity that really shines through when a bunch of women – and man! – who essentially do the same thing, and are given the same materials to work with, come up with such an inspiration smorgasbord! Fabulous.
Anyway, where was I…? Right, me no likey denim. Having said that, the dress I made from the denim shirt two years ago, and the off the shoulder top I made from a man’s shirt last year have both been much loved and much worn, so I wasn’t worried in the slightest about the #jeanius brief. I headed straight for Pinterest and started thinking in terms of how to make denim work for me and my aesthetic ideal. While I love the unstructured off-duty look, and could definitely rock a floaty chambray trapeze dress, we’re talking jeans here – heavy duty fabric, built to last not drape – so I found myself drawn to an uber feminine silhouette, immediately excited by all the curves and figure sculpting potential of panelled jeans denim…
As I was hatching my plan, a favourite 80s film suddenly sprang to mind, and one scene from A Fish Called Wanda in particular where Jamie Lee Curtis meets John Cleese for the first time and pretends to be a nerdy law student in order to strike up a conversation with him, and happens to be wearing a knockout denim dress that barely contains her bosom so what hope does the poor man have anyway? And so it was decided – I set out to make the Wanda dress….
I came home from the charity shop with three pairs of men’s jeans – two mid blue and one a darker indigo, with a view to making a panelled wiggle dress contrasting the light and dark denim in order to further accentuate the curvaceous silhouette.
Luckily our Kim Dress pattern could not have been more perfect, and with a little hackaroo to the petal skirt I had me the perfect pattern, and better yet, all the panels fit perfectly on my limited supply of fabric harvested from the jeans.
The construction was pretty straightforward, although when I say it took me all day to turn the bodice out to the right side, having joined the shell to the lining (a pretty printed cotton I snaffled from Amy aka Almond Rock’s recent destash), I literally mean exactly that. The summer holidays had just begun so I had sewn up the lining and joined it to the bodice one morning while my son was watching post-breakfast cartoons. I started trying to turn it out to the right side through the shoulder straps before heading out to the skatepark, but quickly realised it would be one of those that gives you a bit of hell before it magically pops out and you have yourself a bodice, so I took it out with us.
I wrestled with that bodice, I fought, I gnawed and clawed while my son skateboarded, throughout lunch, back at home, back out at the park… I had a break over dinner then hit it hard again at bathtime (not mine of course), and by God it was 10.50pm by the time I got the whole thing out, minus two nails and having significantly compromised the integrity of my front teeth. That lonesome beer I found lurking at the back of my fridge must have been heaven sent.
After the bodice debacle, the rest of the dress came together super quick and was a dream to sew.
The finished dress fits like a glove, and feels like a pair of super-Spanx with bonus in built lower back support, but in a really sexy way. I have never received more wolf-whistles, propositions and “Corrrr, blimey!”’s in my life, and so my conclusion is this – me likey denim now!
Finally, and in homage to the image that inspired me to make this dream dress come true, I felt it would be rude not to try and recreate that scene. I’d like to thank the two random blokes we dragged away from the pub for being such great sports, and my sister for her flawless direction and photography skillz.
Thank you Portia for having me on the Refashioners again! It has been a meaty challenge, as ever, and one that has left me with a newfound love and respect for denim as well as a killer dress – score and score!
Sheesh Elisalex!! I’m not even sure what to say to this one except maybe….AROOOOGA! (Another 80’s reference Jessica Rabbit is the only clue you’re gettin’!) I am literally speechless. Such a well conceived and brilliantly executed idea. I can only apologise for the strain caused to your nails and teeth trying to turn that bodice and in terms of pushing you out of your comfort zone…you are most welcome!
You can find Elisalex here or here. And if you’re inspired to get your refashion on and enter the Community Challenge and be in with a chance of winning some epic prizes…DO IT! Deadline for entries is 30th Sept. Midnight GMT.
….I think you’ve got the idea now right? Essentially we want you to refashion some jeans! (You can find the full details/small print of the brief here). BUT, if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these amazing prize packages you need to SHARE that refashion with us in one of the following ways:
- On Instagram: Share a pic using the hashtags #therefashioners2016 and #jeanius
- On Pinterest: There is a community board here where you can pin your makes. (You will need to request an invite to join)
- 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 3 methods will be entered into the competition. Closing date for entries is 30th September 2016 Midnight GMT. Good luck!!