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Guest Blog - Portia from The Refashioners

blogger guest blog sewing

We are very excited to have Portia Lawrie, founder of The Refashioners writing our guest blog today! We were blown away by some of the amazing clothes people have upcycled for the challenge and wanted to know which have been some of Portia's favourties from the past 5 series.

So, over to Portia for more about the challenge and the amazing projects...


10 of my favourite The Refashioners makes

The Refashioners

Hi there! My name is Portia and I am the founder of the annual blog series The Refashioners. It’s a challenge that aims to inspire and encourage sewists to look at old clothes with fresh eyes; and demonstrate just what can be achieved by reworking old garments to give them a new lease of life. Aside from the obvious gratification of having a new me made to wear, there is so much to be learned in the process of refashioning old clothes. Both in terms of construction methods and in pushing ourselves to overcome the obstacles that an existing garment can throw at us (as opposed to the blank slate that is a flat piece of fabric).

Each year we run a month long extravaganza of refashioning inspiration from sewing personalities across the globe and THEN we throw the challenge over to the entire sewing community for a further month. At the end of which we pick a winner and furnish them with a HUGE prize packed full of sewing goodies for their efforts!

Super excited to be guest posting here today and sharing with you just some of my favourite refashions from the past 5 series of The Refashioners. Here’s hoping some of these inspire you to give refashioning a try!

1. Joost – The Refashioners 2016 - #jeanius challenge

The Refashioners

Last year we tackled refashioning old jeans. And I am still blown away by this make by the very talented Joost. Look closely. It’s not just the waistcoat that’s made from old jeans….but the tie and….wait for it….the SHOES as well!

Check out Joost's blog.


2. Sasha – The Refashioners 2016 - #jeanius challenge

The Refashioners

Of course refashions needn’t be completely transformational. Jeans can still be jeans! But with added style, fit and va va voom courtesy of some relatively simple changes. This refashion by Sasha is a case in point!

Check out Sasha's blog.


3. Megan – The Refashioners 2016 - #jeanius challenge

The Refashioners

Using techniques from other sewing disciplines such as the piecing used in patchwork and quilting is an awesome way of eeking the most of the fabric available to you when refashioning. This make by Megan Nielsen is a masterclass in that approach!

Check out Megan's blog.


4. Ute – The Refashioners 2015 - #getshirty challenge

The Refashioners

What I often find is that the simplest of changes to a garment can be utterly transformational. So if you’re intimidated by refashioning check out the simplicity of Ute’s men’s shirt refashion here. Sometimes genius lies in the simplicity of an idea!

Check out Ute's blog.


5. Erin – The Refashioners 2015 - #getshirty challenge

The Refashioners

Contrary to what some might think, you don’t have to be a sewing ninja to successfully refashion clothes. Erin was essentially a complete novice to garment sewing when she took part in this challenge and created this beautiful wrap back top from a man’s shirt. There are advantages to being a beginner sewer when it comes to refashioning. You can look at things with fresh eyes and are less aware of “rules” which can sometimes be mentally restrictive and actually CAN be broken. (Don’t tell anyone I said that!) So throw caution to the wind and just jump in!

Check out Erin's blog.


6. Sasha - The Refashioners 2015 - #getshirty challenge

The Refashioners

I love the creativity that refashioning unleashes once you start examining, deconstructing and reconstructing a garment. It can make for truly one off pieces. This make by Sasha for the 2015 series is so creative in it’s use of fabric to stunning effect.

Check out Sasha's blog.


7. Liz – The Refashioners 2013 – Blind Challenge

The Refashioners

The first 2 series of The Refashioners were structured slightly differently and involved my sending “surprise” garments to participants. I think Liz must have been pretty surprised to receive these 80’s vintage leather trousers. Without being refashioned though, I can’t see that those would have ever been worn again. But just look at them now! What a way to rescue something destined to go unloved and unworn!

Check out Liz's blog.


8. Casey – The Refashioners 2011 – Blind Challenge

The Refashioners

Taking you right back now to the very first series of The Refashioners in 2011! Refashioning is SUCH a good way of imprinting your own personal style on a garment. And Casey’s strong vintage aesthetic utterly transforms what was once a VERY frumpy ladies suit. Wait till you see the before photo!!


9. Wendy – The Refashioners 2017 - #suitsyou challenge

The Refashioners

Bang up to date now with the challenge we ran recently. This year we’re tackling suits. I’ve been blown away by the entries and blogger makes so far. But on a personal note…I would steal this coat in a heartbeat! Refashioning affords us the opportunity to access high end fabrics at charity shop prices. Also, in this case, all that time consuming and super skilled tailoring has been done for us! We just need to use our creativity and sewing skills to tweakk them. This coat is made from pure wool fabrics….not to mention the quirky style….this coat would cost a fortune if bought rtw or as raw materials!

Check out Wendy's blog.


10. Toya – The Refashioners 2017 - #suitsyou community challenge

The Refashioners

This challenge is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. There is a huge prize to be won. And THIS my friends was one of the very first entries that popped into my feed and I was blown away. There is more to this make than you can see here . It’s truly brilliant! I love it when usually formal fabrics are used in unexpected ways and this is a fabulous example of that!

Check out Toya's blog.


So if all of that has got you itching to get refashioning then….YAY! I promise you….you’ll love it way more than you can possibly imagine!


The Refashioners 2017 ended in October but for more about the challenge and details of how to enter (and what you could win if you do!) head over to


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