Shine Bright Like a Diamond...

METALLICS are making a big comeback on the runways, set to be THE look for Autumn/Winter 2016 - so I found plenty of great inspiration both online, and in fashion mags, for this week's Refashion Runway challenge, and on top of that I'm feeling disco..! 

What better way to celebrate than with a 70's disco track..? I think Boogie Oogie Oogie covers it nicely! (and if you happen to watch the music video, you'll see plenty of sparkling metallic inspiration..!)

Thing is, as much as I love that era, and that look, metallic fabrics can look a little cheap. It's strange that lurex, which has such luxurious connotations, can look a little...tawdry... but it's true... and something I encountered a couple of years ago, with a metallic dress I refashioned.
In fact, here's a dress I've had for an age in my stash, that I very nearly used in this challenge;

Not very flattering, eh?! SO - that's my way of saying, as well as wanting to hit the challenge of 'Metallic' this week, I also set the private challenge for myself of looking 'Classy'. Hey - I'm looking for a wardrobe staple I'll wear, not a one-trick-pony for a sewing competition! (although I was very much tempted to make a Studio 54 inspired outfit, with skates and everything; that will have to wait for another time...)

Whilst Mum was staying with me last week, we popped into a few local charity shops (one of our favourite pastimes) - and as Mum picked up some collectables (she has a real eye for antiques, and vintage bits and pieces) I was keeping an eagle eye out for something to meet the 'metallic' brief, and I found
 a sarong made from cream organza, with embroidered silk leaves all over it, outlined in gold thread. 
It's also lined, and handmade - I love it when I find a one-off handmade garment in a charity shop! AND - it looked classy, expensive, special - ALL the qualities I was hoping to include in my metallic make. 

Thing is, even though I pinned it, sewed it, and stared at it for hours, I ended up with something that just didn't feel 'me'. So, although I haven't given up on it entirely, it is now back in my stash, waiting for inspiration and a new opportunity to arise.
I promised myself I wouldn't blabber on this week - following last week's dithering post! And here I am, dithering. No more of that! Moving on to what I ACTUALLY submitted for the second challenge in the Refashion Runway...

I started with a sequined tunic I found in a charity shop... not exactly what you'd call 'understated', but hey - this IS the 'Metallic' challenge!

That picture doesn't show the length - it stops JUST out of shot. Some people (with slim legs) could probably get away with wearing it on it's own - but I would have to wear it with trousers, if I was going to wear it unaltered. Here's a shot of it on the floor, inside out, showing the lining, before I got to work on it...

It had rather a wide opening for the neck - wide enough, in fact, that it almost matched my waist measurement! So that got me thinking... what if I could use the full length of the tunic, as a skirt..? Imagine that tunic, for a moment, without the sleeves... 
I wanted to keep the zip down the centre back, so I slipped the tunic down onto my waist. carefully shaped the top with pins over my hips into a pencil skirt, before taking it off for sewing...

But that baby did NOT want to go through the machine without a fight..! I used plenty of needles to do it, they kept snapping in half! Even the denim needle, which I thought would be more hardy, had trouble with the multiple layers... but in the end, the armholes were sewn up - and the skirt was born! I had a few fitting issues, but after trying on, pinning, taking off, and sewing up again (on repeat), I finally ended up with the high-waisted sequin skirt you'll see at the end. :D
Someone posted on Beth's site that they hoped I'd worn protective eye wear whilst sewing up the sequins! This is a very good point I forgot to mention - sequins can be hazardous to work with... Although the machine needles snapped in half, and stayed put in the fabric, care is needed to remove the garment from under the sewing foot - and to remove the needle from the fabric. I also found cutting the skirt to be quite a challenge - the sequins fly out in all directions, and I've read online that people have had accidents... I positioned my scissors, closed my eyes, and cut. Not the most clever of techniques (!) but I was in a rush - the better thing would be to use clear glasses/goggles. End of Health and Safety rant! Back to the refashion!

To go with the skirt I wanted something a little less... razzamataz. I found a top with metallic shoulder accents in my wardrobe that I haven't worn in ages owing to the peplum - it just doesn't seem to work for me any more. 

So, I measured the point where I wanted to shorten the top to, cut an inch longer than that, turned up a narrow hem twice, and hemmed using a twin needle.

I was so eager to wear this in 'real life', I took it out last night for a whirl with with my best friends, for a meal and a bit of dancing (for the first time in AGES, I just don't seem to get out any more..!). I had a few people saying they liked my skirt, they didn't even get to finish their sentence, I was like "I made it!". I really need to work on being a little more 'cool' about my craft, haha!

Suffice to say, I'm really happy with it; I've been meaning to make a sequined skirt for a good while, it seems like a party staple - and whatever happens with the competition, whether or not I make it through to the next round, I'm happy I've come away with a new skirt and top that I'll actually take pride in wearing. The top I can wear with high waisted navy work trousers (yes, I've been experimenting!) - and the skirt is just ASKING for a slouchy t-shirt or sweater in the winter months. In the meantime, the sunshine meant I ran the risk dazzling innocent pedestrians - so we went to a secluded spot by the river to take the photos... which is how I know the skirt even glows in the dark, even walking through the shade, I'm like a human glitter ball!

And in the daylight..? 

Yes - the wearing of sunglasses near this skirt, is compulsory... even passengers in a far off plane pulled their blinds down..! (*maybe not)

I've just found out we've ALL made it through to the next round, so it's lovely we're not having to say goodbye to anyone this week :) Well done to Susan for her winning velvet outfit!
This does mean, of-course, that you're just as spoilt for choice, in terms of fabulous outfits to vote for in the metallic round! Read all about everyone's efforts, and head to the bottom of The Renegade Seamstress's post to vote for your favourite - click here! Remember to click on the dot next to your favourite, and then scroll down a bit to click on the Vote button. I'm now going to concentrate my creative efforts on the 'Buttons' challenge for next week, until then, thanks for reading - and have a wonderful weekend!! 

Gema x


  1. Well done, looks like it'll catch the light at noon or midnight, what was playing at the disco? MetallicHer? I sure you turn heads anyway but they must have been rotating wildly when you walked in..��

    1. MetallicHer?! Haha! It was quite a vibrant crowd, so I didn't look too out of place in my glow in the dark skirt... I blended right in! :)

  2. L.O.V.I.N.G the sequins! Have voted! Looking forward to breaking some needles when I tackle such a fabric soon for a ball gown.

    1. I'm so CHUFFED you like it!! Thanks so much for visiting, and commenting, Ghislaine... Can't wait to see your ball gown! :)

  3. What a great outfit, you look wonderful in it! Great video, too! I really like how your personality shines through your blog posts! Good luck!

    1. Ah thank-you so much Susan!! I do love a bit of a dance........ but maybe I should stick to doing it in the kitchen, haha!
      Thanks again, and good luck to you too x

  4. I LOVE this. Seriously. Sequined skirts are so fabulous. You'll be the talk of every holiday party (or just anywhere...) you attend this year :)

    I'm anxious to see what you'll come up with for the buttons challenge... that one would be the most difficult (in my opinion).

  5. Thanks so much Laura! :D
    I'm also 'anxious' about the buttons challenge....although for some reason, I'm more concerned by the 'Tunic' challenge... Don't know why, as I'll be out by then, haha! Such talented ladies, loving all their efforts! X


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