I’ve read The Renegade Seamstress for a long time now, and I’ve always enjoyed Beth’s Refashion Runway. I had hoped to compete this year, but this season is an All-Stars edition. I’m in the middle of just getting my sew jo back post baby and starting to sew for a couple of local boutiques who like my work. I might be biting off more than I can chew to try and sew along with the contestants, but I’m going to give it my best because refashioning is very much the theme of my work for the boutiques. This kind of challenge really fires up my brain in the right direction. My contribution to this week is this very 80s zipper top.
This week’s theme is velvet. I asked, and Beth mercifully granted my request of using velour instead. I say mercifully because velvet is not a fun fabric to sew with. The high pile makes for layers that shift continuously. It also has very little stretch, so you can’t really ease the layers back together when they shift like you can with other fabrics. Velour on the other hand is not so terrible to sew with. Being a knit, it does ease relatively well, and the layers don’t shift quite as badly as with regular velvet even though they can stretch out of shape. Plus, I had a velour hoodie on hand. It’s missing an arm because I used it for another project. I decided to go for a top that would use the velour plus some rib knit from a maternity hoodie that I bought at the beginning of this pregnancy. I liked the color and had already planned to refashion it after my daughter was born.
80s zipper top
I started this project with my base t-shirt (Jalie 2921). I sketched some style lines on the front and back and decided to incorporate the zippers from the hoodies as much as I could. Playing with possibilities is probably the thing I enjoy most about refashioning. You get a chance to look at what you have and totally transform it into something completely different.
Zipper Top Front
I cut the front piece of the rib knit with the zipper not at CF. I wanted to cut down on bulk at CF and also just wanted to play with the placement of zippers.
A cutting error on my part left me with the right front side of the rib knit having a big rotary-cut diagonal slash. Rather than abandon ship, I slashed the front further and inserted a nylon zipper into the breach. Whether it was a “happy accident” or a “design feature”, I think it turned out looking a lot more purposeful than it actually was.
All of the pieced sections are glued into place with Steam-a-Seam by overlapping the pieces right at the 1/4″ seam line and fusing. The overlapped pieces are simply zigzagged together along the line. I could have seamed them normally, but the overlapped seams were much faster to sew and cut down on bulk. Rib knit and velour also like to grow as you sew, and the Steam-a-Seam cut down on this considerably.
Zipper Top sleeve and back
The velour’s center front zipper shows up on the right sleeve and the center back.
I didn’t have enough rib knit for a full sleeve cap. Instead, I cut sleeve cap tops in a sort of shape like on this motorcycle jacket and zigzagged them into place on the rib knit. After trimming away the excess rib knit, I cut the full sleeve pieces I needed.
Using the hood as binding
I started out cutting a V-neck shape from the velour for the CF piece, thinking that I could make a big binding kind of like in the Denver Tunic. I did not have enough yardage for that kind of neckline. Instead, I cut another piece of velour from the hood to add some height and depth to CF.
I cut off the velour hood casing 1/4″ beyond the casing’s edge, so I could use this as the neck binding. Sewing just one shoulder together first, I bound the neck with the casing, gathering it to the shirt. The ties that used to sit at CF on the velour hoodie now sit at the left shoulder seam. I also cut off part of the ties from the velour hoodie and tied the rib knit hoodie’s ties to the ends so that only the blue ties are visible from the outside. I couldn’t take out the original ties completely because they were anchored at CB so they don’t fall out in the wash.
The resulting sweater was feeling very 80s to me as I was sewing it, so I decided to go full Jane Fonda and add a headband from the leftover rib knit and leg warmers from the remaining velour sleeve. This is a very cozy sweater, the kind perfect for family hikes. I promise I won’t embarrass my children with the leg warmers and headband!
Overall, I’m really glad that I could reuse both of these hoodies with very little waste and incorporate the zippers I might not have otherwise.
Check out more Refashion Runway fun at the Renegade Seamstress.