Fabricista Fashion Challenge, Round One: 1940’s Scrap Lace Peplum Blouse

Well, this has certainly been a challenging first challenge!  I have been very sick and it was difficult for me to make this considering that I would have rather been laying in bed.  I forced myself to get up and sew for a few hours a day and did one last big push on Sunday to finish up and sew up another piece for my outfit (yes… I did…).  I can tell you that it sure does suck to be sick and have a deadline, but I’m not a quitter, so I suffered and powered on through high on Theraflu.  This last week I had also planned on making a Cambie for my MIL for her b-day, but ya know, the best laid plans of mice and men….. If I make it through this round to the next, I sure hope I will not be sick with the plague!  What’s even worse is that I have not been sick with a flu or cold bug for a few years now and am not used to being sick…. of course my husband is an elementary school teacher and brings home some viral gifts from the kids…..and yes….. he’s been sick, too… thankfully, it seems to be about over. :)

Anyway…… back to the program!

The first challenge was a Recycled Challenge:

First Challenge: Recycled Challenge
You have one week to complete this challenge.
The challenge: Make a garment out of recycled materials or materials that would have otherwise been thrown away, such as scraps from your sewing room or grocery bags. You can reconstruct a garment to make it more fashion forward and utilize unconventional items to add accessories and embellishments. Be creative!
This challenge will be judged first by the Fabricistas on creativity, functionality, personality, and fit.
Then our readers will get a chance to vote for their favorite design.
The winner will receive a pair of Mundial (right/left handed) scissor set.
1940's scrap lace blouse and cotton denim pencil skirt

1940’s scrap lace blouse and cotton denim pencil skirt

I got the idea for making the scrap lace from the current issue of Threads, and at the time, I thought:  “wow, that’s a lot of work, not sure if I want to do that.”  And then of course this challenge came along and here I am doing it!

This is what I started out with:

Fabric scraps and a kitty

Fabric scraps and a kitty

I went through my bin of fabric scraps and chose these jewel tones that all kind of blend together.  The article said to use fabrics of a similar weight. I used an emerald poly “dupioni” from Joann’s that I made into a kimono dress, turquoise blue Marc Jacobs lining from Fabric Mart I used to line a raincoat, purple china silk from Fabric Mart that lined a never worn tiered dress, purple poly chiffon from Hobby Lobby that also went with the never worn tiered dress, an aqua and a purple poly pongee from FM that lined my Christmas Dress and my silk faille dress, a pink/purple plaid silk dupioni from FM I used for this dress, and a grey china silk from FM used in this dress.  There were not enough full remnants to make anything, so I knew I had to piece things together (literally!).

I thought of what to make, and since I am a novice in this area, I figured a shirt would be the way to go.  I looked through my shirt and blouse patterns and decided to use Simplicity 1590, a 1940’s peplum blouse pattern.


First, I made my underlining with the purple china silk.  I only had scraps of this and had to make a crazy quilt “franken-fabric” to be able to use it.  I zig-zagged a bunch of pieces of fabric together until I had enough for my pattern pieces.  It was basically a pain in the a@@.  It took me a long time and I would not do this again unless there was an apocalyptic event and I did not have any fabric but what was in my scrap bin.  However, this was a challenge and the process was indeed challenging.

After I was done with my franken-fabric underlining, I started on the scrap lace by cutting out pieces of water soluble stabilizer for my scrap lace.  Originally, I intended to make the whole blouse out of scrap lace, but after seeing how short the width of the stabilizer is and how time consuming the process of making this lace is, I decided to only use a portion of it for my blouse and use the emerald poly “dupioni” for the rest of the blouse’s fabric.

The fabric scraps are layed out on the stabilizer with pieces of embroidery thread (the tutorial used yarn, but I used what I had).  Another piece of stabilizer cut in the same pattern piece is then layed on top and pinned together.  I then sewed all over it, thus “quilting” the pattern piece and it looked like this:

Scrap lace in utero

Scrap lace in utero

Then I dissolved the stabilizer in a sink full of water and dried the lace and voila!

Scrap lace sewn to the main fabric

Scrap lace sewn to the main fabric

Then I cut pieces of the emerald poly to complete the bodice front and back pattern pieces.  I just barely had enough fabric scraps to make the bodice in complete pieces and not to have to make more “franken-fabric”.  I did not, however, have enough to make the peplum in whole pieces and instead had to half each one.  I tell ya, this whole process of making fabric took me most of the week.  It took longer to make all of this fabric than it did to sew up my blouse!  Like 10x as long!  At times it felt so laborious, which being ill definitely did not help.  It also seemed to be such a mess, but it seems to have turned out all right in the end.  What do you think?

Scrap lace 1940's blouse

Scrap lace 1940’s blouse

The buttons are from my Grandma’s button tin and happen to match the fabric.  I would have rather had larger buttons like the pattern suggests, but as I was using what I had, I made do.

Back of scrap lace blouse

Back of scrap lace blouse

Scrap lace detail

Scrap lace detail

I dislike facings and did not put them in my blouse.  Instead, I sewed bias tape around the edges, turned it in, and top-stitched.  I usually omit the facings in a pattern and if I don’t line it, I use this method.

Underlining and bias tape

Underlining and bias tape

1940's peplum blouse

1940’s peplum blouse

outfit side 2

outfit back 3

And, yesterday, as I was powering through, I also made a skirt to go with this blouse.  It was on my to-do list anyway and it’s a very quick and easy pattern (McCalls 3830).  It only took me a couple of hours from cutting to finish to make it.  I made a few of these last winter in a red plaid wool boucle, pink cotton velveteen and a grey silk tweed (all fabrics from Fabric Mart!).  This fabric is a cotton denim that I just bought from FM and received a few days ago.

outfit front 2

outfit back 1

outfit back 2

Hopefully I will make it through the first round with my entry, especially since the next challenge is one that I very much love. :)  Fabric Mart should have all of the contestants’ entries up on their blog in the next few days. I, of course, would appreciate your vote, but as the other contestants are very talented and have some fabulous recycled and refashioned makes as well, please vote for which garment you like the best.

Addendum: Unfortunately, I did not make the cut and was voted out. I’m not too happy about that as I don’t think I deserved last place, but I’m not in charge of this contest. Congrats to the winner Kathy, and to those contestants who created interesting and unique garments.

Happy Sewing!






Blouse:  Simplicity 1590 in recycled fabric scraps, made by me

Skirt:  McCalls 3830 in indigo cotton denim, made by me

Shoes:  Nine and Co.

Sunglasses:  ebay

Earrings:  gift from my mom

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  • Joy Dorr

    Hi Tanya, saw your blog as I’ve been following up the article in Threads. I’m planning to make something in scrap lace, for my evening class in sewing in Wales, UK. Pictures of your blouse are now included in my folder to illustrate what can be done with scrap lace, thanks Joy

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Joy. I hope you have fun making your scrap lace!

  • http://deconstructaltercreate.blogspot.com/ Peg sewer

    Thanks Tanya! I think you gained many followers and people who appreciate your creative style. Keep on sewing and I will be checking your blog

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Peg, for the words of encouragement. You are definitely the nicest person I’ve met through this contest

  • kd

    wow. your entry was amazing. In my world you were way above last! The “winner” was certainly not one I even gave a second thought to…(like where is the embellishment, etc.??)

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, KD. I thought that Peg’s was the most well made and creative garment. Kathy’s was very nice and actually the only other garment I would wear other than my own, however, not all of her garment was recycled. I just couldn’t believe I was last….

  • http://thesewcraticmethod.blogspot.com KC

    I’m sorry you were eliminated, Tanya. But I’m glad the contest introduced me to your blog! I’m very impressed with your entry. I saw that article in Threads and I thought it looked interesting but very fiddly and time-consuming, with the success depending on the good taste and skills of the maker. Your version is really beautiful!

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you very much, KC!

  • Shams

    I’m so sorry, Tanya! I thought your piece showed creativity and panache. You showcased a very interesting technique.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Shams. I am very disappointed and do not think that my entry deserved to be last. But someone has to be voted out. I won’t be entering another fabric mart contest. This is the second time I’ve been overlooked and both times were with vintage 40s patterns. Not sure they are into vintage, but I’d rather create things that are my personal style. Oh well. On to bigger and brighter things.

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  • http://gravatar.com/natalulu Natalie

    I love the lace! That is such a fun technique, I need to try it now.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      It has so many possibilities, too!

  • http://quitereasonable.blogspot.com Kimberly

    Your efforts definitely paid off. The top is beautiful.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Kimberly! I wasn’t sure what I thought about it as a wearable garment while in the process of making it, but I do love it now. :)

  • http://thegarmentfarmer.wordpress.com the Garment Farmer

    Wow! The scrap lace is amazing! And I can only imagine how long that took to make. Bravo. Very creative.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you! Yes, it was a bit of a process and quite a lot of thread!

  • http://www.moonthirty.com Susan

    Hope you’re feeling better! That yoke looks so effing cool… I am in awe. It sounds like a lot of work, but your efforts definitely paid off…

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, Susan! It is an interesting technique, that’s for sure! :)

  • Shams

    What an interesting technique, Tanya, and you showed perseverance to sew through an illness. I hope you feel better soon!

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, Shams! :)

  • http://deconstructaltercreate.blogspot.com/ Peg sewer

    Really an interesting technique and came out looking great. Looks like you are really good at fitting yourself too. Hope you feel better soon! Peg

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, Peg! :)

  • http://aebgledhill.wordpress.com Amanda

    Wow! That is fantastic lace! Looks really good. Sounds like hard work!

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Amanda! It’s not hard work, just tedious! It is fun to do and quite interesting to watch it emerge as the plastic stabilizer disappears!