Top Stitchers: "Hamlet"

Prepare to have a seriously silly grin frozen on your face! You're about to witness the most adorable sew-down yet. Magda and Ajaire have the most charming daughters, and today? They're make-believing they're grown up versions of themselves in a couple of epic upcycled outfits. Behold, our "Hamlet" challenge:

 "We know what we are, but we know not what we may be"
It's a fact that Shakespeare had upcycling in mind when he wrote this line in Hamlet.* And while it is true of your stack of re-fashionable goods, it is also true of the child you will sew for. Imagine what your child may grow to become, and refashion her an outfit to match that future.
*It's not a fact, that was entirely falsified.

Magda's Entry

When I signed up for Top Stitchers and then saw the list, I knew exactly what my specialty was: Upcycling of course! Then we got our prompts, and it took me so long to picture what my daughter would grow up to. I pictured a lot of things in my mind, but the answer came from her. She's always singing and dancing, like a true rock star. So, I thought, would I like her to become a rock star? I wouldn't! As long as she was down to earth, a strong woman, a sensitive person, true to herself. All I really want is for her to become whatever she will want/wish to. And I went with the rock star look.

I used 8 existing pieces of clothing to create this look. I first pictured a complete outfit, from head to toe including 8 new pieces. Unfortunately that was over my head and not possible to make. I ended up with 5 item and one unfinished that didn't make into the challenge. The 5 items I finished include a pair of briefs, socks, shorts, t-shirt and one jacket. I used 1 men's leather jacket, 3 women's shirts, 2 women's button shirts, one girl's skirt and a women's jeans. 

I started by making G. a new pair of big girl's briefs, using Serger Pepper's pattern, I did the smaller size, of course (3), and I did them using bits of the striped shirt and the solid red t-shirt. They fit perfectly, and I swear she was wearing them in the photoshot, but I just won't post any pictures of my girl in underwear. You'll just have to take my word as I tell you they fit her perfectly. You can see photos of the briefs (and more) in my blog today

Then I did the t-shirt. I adapted an Ottobre's 1/2015 pattern #25. and turned it into a wide neckline top (as was but) sleeveless. I finished the neckline with bias tape and the arms holes with slim bands. It looks pretty as a one off shoulder top. I used the white t-shirt to resize it to her size and patched a lovely girly skull into it. I google for an image like so and then I free hand drew it to paper and cut into fabric. it was the kind of thing I used to do a lot a while ago, and now I don't do that often. That was something this challenge made me realise, and that's why I loved taking part even more. I was able to stretch my imagination, my creativity and make things I really, really wanted, as the jacket, something I did as I was going... but more on that in a second. Because I still had a lot from the striped shirt and I love such prints, I decided that adding a pair of socks to the look would be fun. I used The Sewing Rabbit's tutorial to do so. I tried to make my stripes match, but I couldn't because I was re-using the existing hem and there was no way to make them match. 

The next thing I finished from my list was my favourite one (although I really loved the shorts too). I made my little lady a leather jacket. From all my endless pattern stash, I didn't have a single jacket pattern that I would like for this project. At least not a single one that fit her size range. I didn't worry though and embraced the challenge. I din't do this for so long, start with nothing, no pattern and then make exactly what I had in mind. I actually used Titchy Thread's Rowan tee pattern as a skretch for my jacket. I did all the changes and adjustments, such as shortening the lenght, and making it a two assimetrical front pieces. I changed the collar too. I finished the jacket's sleeves and waistband with ribbon knit bands saved from a refashion from the past. To close the jacket on the front, I used a zipper on the left side of the piece, and underneath, on the center front, I attached 4 kam snaps to make it easier for G. On the shoulder bands I stitched a few lines forming squares in a contrasting thread, red in this case. I finished the inside of the front flap with bias tape. 

The last thing were the shorts, of course. I had just tested Petit a Petit new pattern, the Morocco Pants and Shorts and I just knew I had to use it. The pattern is just about to be launched and I asked Celina permission to use it for the challenge and post even before it's out. But don't worry, it's not long until you can get it, and you will want to. I love all the details, and the professional finishing touches. So, I used jeans to make this pair. In the front pockets and the back welt pockets, I have used the light denim button up shirt, and the other button up shirt as lining. I had plans to make a sleeveless button up shirt for the look too, for layering, but there was no time and it was left unfinished. Back to the shorts, they have a zipper, a snap in the front, and an adjustable elastic waist. I used a lace band from the white skirt to add it to the shorts hems. 

I didn't get all the 8 pieces done, but I am pretty happy that I got these done because they were big hits in our house. And I had fun, really lots of fun for participating in this challenge. I felt free! So thanks Becca, Ajaire, readers and all the rest involved in this. 


Ajaire's Entry:

Hi everyone!  I'm Ajaire from Call Ajaire and I love the idea of Top Stitchers.  I'm always up for a sewing competition, but the themes and prompts for Top Stitchers are so good that I HAD to be a part of it.  It's really exciting to be here and when we were given the Hamlet quote prompt my head was full of ideas.  Add refashioning to the mix and I was off and running with this Top Stitchers challenge.

I always have a pile of old clothing and textiles for refashioning so I immediately went to look and see what I had to work with.  Since the challenge was specifically for Upcyclists I didn't want to purchase anything new to use - even if it was from the thrift store.  Luckily my pile was extra large so I had lots to work with.  I chose an old purple knit dress, lilac knit tank sweater, old pair of my husband's kakhis, a green top I later decided not to use, and a fun paisley duvet cover I made years ago out of sheets (sort of a double refashion hehe).

When I thought about what my daughter will grow to become I knew something equestrian had to be included.  She is heavy into a horse phase and talks incessantly about riding.  However, she has a very analytical mind so I'd imagine in terms of a career she'll be involved with some sort of engineering.  I wanted to make her an outfit that could go from the office to the barn.  She could keep a pair of leggings and her riding boots in the trunk of her car and within minutes of the workday be dressed for horseback riding.

The just released FREE Vasilisa Top by Kid Approved was perfect for a billowy office top that could also work for riding.  I used the paisley side of the duvet for the main fabric and the green solid side for the ties.  For the office I imagined her in a pencil skirt to offset the flowy top, so I used the Rose's Skirt by Filles a Maman which is a fun and comfortable take on the classic pencil shape (I mean, those pleats, right?).  The purple dress and lilac tank worked perfectly upcycled to the skirt.  And of course I had to use Jennuine Design's Dressage Leggings for the equestrian look.  I was originally going to use the green top (pictured with the kahkis earlier) for the outside edges of the leggings, but once I realized I'd have enough purple left over from the skirt I stuck with my girl's favorite color.  I thought the purple with the kahki interior pieces would pop and love how it turned out.

And finally after a long day at the office and then having a chance to unwind at the barn, any girl needs an icy-bar treat.  The perfect end to a full day.  I am so thankful for this challenge because not only did I weed out some of my upcycles, but my girl now has three great pieces added to her wardrobe.  It was fun imagining what this just-turned-four-year-old will become and sharing those ideas with her, so thanks to Becca for hosting this series and coming up with these AMAZING prompts!


Before you give your ratings, here's a quick refresher of the rules!

  • You will rate rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here) New to Season 2 - 50% of the vote will come from 3 Top Stitcher Alumnae who volunteered to judge this season's creations!
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!
Rate Magda's Technique *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate Magda's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate Magda's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate Magda's Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Rate Ajaire's Technique *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate Ajaire's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate Ajaire's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate Ajaire's Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Leave some love!
Let this week's challengers know what you liked best from each look!

Inspired to sew your own "Hamlet" look? Stitch it up and enter it in the season 2 Sew Along linky!