Friday, March 28, 2014

Black Silk Tent: Refashion #2

Talk about the pair of pants that just keep giving! This is the second of three refashions that I've made from this pair of black silk 'pants'. Number three is in the works and will be posted another day, but let's focus on the middle child, shall we? 

So, quick refresher, I found this pair of silk pants for $4 at the thrift store and snatched them up. I then made them into a pair of pretty shorts. But what happened with all of that extra fabric after I cut out my pattern pieces for the shorts? Well, notice on the right, I've laid them out on the floor along with a tank top I'd initially planned to copy. I definitely have enough for two from each leg! The scoop was the crotch, the notches on the sides are where I cut out the shorts crotch and the bottom is the remainder of the leg (which means its a loop of fabric). 

I decided right away that the shape lent itself to making an easy top. So, I grabbed one of the legs, pinned the 'straps' over onto the backside of the 'leg' gathering one of the straps and leaving the other wide. I wanted to get an idea of what I'd prefer.

Not bad from the front...a bit loose, but definite potential! The back made me realize immediately that I'd go with the gathered strap. What you can't see in this picture is that under my arms are huge gaping openings because I pinned the straps more towards the center back seam. I'll be adjusting that.

I gathered each strap, pinned them, then folded the top in half to make sure that each 'notch' was equal...a little overlap was fixed by a quick snip. Then, I repinned the straps, but this time I did so making the arm openings much smaller and leaving more space between them in the back.

Ok, definitely better from the front...from the side, not bad either...but the back is a little too scandalous for me ;).

So, I pinned the back to see how that would help...I'm liking how its still low, but not too revealing.

Up to this point, all I've been doing is pinning, trying it on, adjusting, pinning, trying on again, etc. Now I need to start sewing. My first step was to finish off the raw edges of the outer 'strap' and all along the new back over to the other strap. I wanted to challenge myself with learning how to do a nice baby/rolled hem without needing a special sewing machine foot for the job (cause I don't have one). So, I googled it and came across this tutorial that showed me how! There are actually many ways of doing this and various tutorials (super helpful), so I could have tried many of them and gotten similar results. This is just the first one I came across. First step was to straight stitch all along the edge of the fabric about 3/8 of an inch in. Next, you fold that over along the stitching and sew as close to the edge as you can. Trim away the excess as closely to the stitching as possible, and then fold over one more time (tiny fold) and stitch as close to the edge as you can. Here's how mine turned out sans pressing. It actually is beautiful how even my hems are and how tiny, though without pressing them its hard to tell ;).

Next, I sewed along where I'd pinned the back in (my measuring tape shows the line as you can't see the stitching). Then, I zigzagged the ends of the straps, folded them over and straight stitched across.

I finished off the raw edges of the new back seam with a zigzag stitch and the neckline with a double straight stitch (just ran it through my machine once, close to the edge, and again 3/8 from the edge) since it's edge was already finished and folded. Remember, the neckline is the previous crotch...or maybe we should forget that! Haha, oh well, I'm not worried cause it's been laundered and the crotch showed no wear at all (being as it was so low hanging in the original garment).

Next, I sewed the straps in place. I had marked where they'd be attached, and a simple straight stitch does the job.

My final step was to repeat the process for a rolled hem on the bottom of my top. That edge was much easier to finish off as it wasn't quite as curvy as the straps. And here's the final product! I love that its nice and simple in the front and a little bit sexy in the back. I want to start creating different bandeau tops to wear under this from my scraps :). Now, into the pile to be ironed! And hopefully out soon to be worn...if our weather would move past cold and now, rain. But at least its not snow!

I'm really pleased that I went with the initial shape of the piece of leg instead of cutting and trimming to get a specific shape. The process felt very organic and that's cool when the remnant determines its own outcome, so to speak. I'm excited now to see how the other leg will turn out!

Here's a final look at the before and after:

Hope you enjoyed this one!


  1. I must practise a rolled hem. I did it once and the material kept moving out of the special foot. I got a bit frustrated and haven't tried to perfect the technique again. I would like to use on scarves but the slippery fabric kept slipping out of the part of the foot that rolls the hem.

    You are really doing some unique refashioning which is inspiring. Thank you for sharing. From Karen at Facebook group Bowerbirds Journal and also at

  2. I'm so impressed by how you just kept working with the shape and came up with this pretty and unique top. I'm sure I would have given up in frustration. Now I'm really curious what you are going to do with the other leg!

    1. Thanks so much, Jenny_o :) I'm hoping the other leg turns out just as its own way!

  3. Love this! The back's just gorgeous, and I'm feeling inspired by your rolled hem success... Thank-you! :)

    1. Thanks Gema :) and you're welcome! I appreciate your comments!