Velvet Two-Piece Refashion

Hello all! This ensemble was conceived in August 2018, inspired by the Refashioners challenge hosted by Portia. However, the months passed and so did the challenge, but finally the work Christmas party provided me with enough motivation to hunker down and get the job done.


The image below was my starting point. Inherited from my Grandma, this burgundy velvet two piece ensemble consisted of a wide necked top with a dropped waist, grown on sleeves and a hem band that tied into a bow. The trousers were wide legged, with a waistband and an invisible zip down the side seam. My original plan was to leave the top half fairly undisrupted but an unfortunate Christmas tree applique (for a christmas jumper day, now removed) had left a lovely Christmas tree shaped outline bang in the centre front of the top. Either I could embrace the tree or avoid it. I chose to avoid it. This drastically reduced the fabric I had to work with, which meant that I ended up with a much tighter garment than I had initially anticipated.


The neckline is a design detail that I’ve been playing with for a while now. I love the definition the gathering gives as the fabric is twisted around the throat. I unpicked the ties from the hem of the top and that long rectangle gave me the base for my twist. Unfortunately it is not the most practical of necklines, giving that I kept the twist in one piece. I essentially popped a square of velvet in the middle to fill in the gap and pinned the twist to the insert until I had the triangular shape that I wanted. This was all then hand sewn together.


The top just fastens in a knot in the centre back, which I don’t like too much because a) it causes bulk and b) if anyone is feeling particuarly cheeky, one tug will reveal everything to the masses. If I wear this top again I’ll get rid of the ties and replace with hooks and bars for a smoother back line.


This two piece set was originally going to be a jumpsuit, but I think keeping them separate did give me slightly more freedom of movement. The trousers were less fun than the top because the velvet was very very shifty. I used my trouser block as a base but took them in again and again for a more fitted look. I wish I’d cropped them just a couple inches shorter as well. I ended off leaving the waistband but maybe it would have looked better with slightly less tummy on show.


All in all, it’s always good fun to be limited by making something from an already existing garment (or two). It forces you to be creative in ways that you might not be otherwise. I can’t quite decide how I feel about this outfit. I think perhaps the top would look better with a gold toned full skirt. I don’t know. Anyway, it all got worn to the Christmas party and who knows, maybe at least one of these two pieces will see the light of day again, although paired with what I cannot say.


Thank you so much for reading and to Sam Chapman for the photos!

Lauren xx