This is my first upcycling project where I’ve taken a me-made garment and turned it into something completely different more than a year later. (I have repurposed UFOs before, but this is the first real upcycle).

The original “make” - a dress with pockets
You can’t see it too well, but there are
pockets on the front skirt panel. Love how the
fabric print is used here, I gotta say.

I made this dress last year in hmm February I think? I loved the fabric SO much and yet I did not love the dress I made out of it at first… so I restyled the bodice of it. Then I added pockets. But I unfortunately did not pay attention to the direction of greater stretch on this scuba knit. I cut it on the cross-grain so the stretch was up and down, not around, As a result the dress was awkward to get on & off, and just didn’t flatter my body. That made me sad because this fabric is sooooo glorious.

I was working on a bra & knickers set that I’d planned to make out of a men’s t-shirt I found on the Free/Exchange table in my condo building. It was a camo green thing, and I was wickedly pleased with the idea of using hot pink elastic and trim to turn it into matching knickers and a sports bra top. But as I started working on that project, it became apparent that the t-shirt had been rejected because it was crappy fabric. There’s no call for using crappy fabric – my sewing time is precious and deserves good fabric! Then I was looking through a box of projects I’d put aside as UFOs (unfinished objects) and found this dress again. Some of the seams had pulled out and I’d put it away after its first time being worn to work.

It turns out that scuba is pretty good fabric for making bras; it has the right amount of stretch. It’s not terrific for knickers because of the whole polyester thing, but the goal here was just to make something a bit entertaining and sassy. This dress fit the bill perfectly. I also had some Power Net (stretch mesh) and various assortments of elastics I thought would go with this stuff.

Here are the pieces for this set,
cut out and laid flat.

I wanted to remake the Barrett Bra-lette again, because I liked how it turned out. And I discovered a tutorial from Liz Sews on how to draft your own panty pattern from your measurements.

I drafted the basic block for panties, and then modified the style lines to be comfortable and cute on me. They aren’t intended to be super-sexy – just comfy to wear. At first, I cut them out of the hideous green t-shirt fabric, and that’s when I realized the fabric was no bueno, but I digress. I cut apart the skirt of the dress and managed to fit the whole set’s worth of pattern pieces onto the skirt fabric, leaving the bodice for another upcycling project in the future.

voila, the front, showing that peek-a-boo
mesh panel. Cute!

As I worked on the Bralette (which I modified again for a better fitting cup; more work still needed) I decided that it would look really cool to make a front center panel out of power mesh. I traced off the pattern piece and worked out a way of cutting a hourglass-shaped piece out of the mesh, then sewing the rest of the front cups onto it to enclose the seam allowances. The rest of the Bralette construction went fairly smoothly, aside from three separate trips to the Makehouse to get the right colours of elastics for various things. The back is also cut out of power mesh, and it looks like a really don’t-mess-with-me kind of sports bra.

The knickers also needed some power mesh, I decided, so I traced off the pattern pieces and made a panel at the sides that I could cut out of scraps of mesh (I had some cutting mishaps). I was pleased that I could sew both the scuba knit and the power mesh with a basic Klasse stretch needle, on my regular sewing machine.

The legs and waistband of the knickers are finished with pink fold-over elastic. I used a three-step zigzag to attach the garment to the elastic, open and face up, then folded over the elastic and attached it down with a regular zigzag.

I ran out of my thread colour right at the end of the second leg elastic, and frantically tried borrowing thread from friends but it was really late. I slept on it, got up this morning, and found a near-match in my thread box so I could finish it up.

Alas, I am not really comfortable with showing my body in knickers only – sorry, everyone’s body image has their limits. I should have taken a pic of the finished set but it’s after midnight now and I just want to post this! I’ll try to remember tomorrow.