It was a bit of a gamble, but thankfully, I was able to complete the pattern test garment on time - and I even managed to sew a pair of shorts to go with it during that first weekend home.
I arrived home from Japan on a Friday morning. I was exhausted, but I needed to stay awake most of the day to get myself back on U.S. time instead of Japan time. Thus, while forcing myself to stay awake and drinking lots of coffee, I printed out the test pattern and assembled it. Then I located the fabric I wanted to use for the project.
After a solid 10 hours of sleep Friday night, on Saturday morning I cut out the pattern. Saturday afternoon, I helped my grandpa fix a fence where his cows were escaping. Saturday evening, I sewed up the pattern.
After another good night's sleep in my own bed and church on Sunday morning, I decided to whip up a pair of shorts from a tried-and-true pattern to complete the outfit for pictures. Thus, on Sunday afternoon, I made a pair of shorts.
First thing Monday morning, I had my sister photograph my new outfit, then I emailed the pictures and my feedback to the pattern designer. It was a pattern worth testing - even while slightly jet lagged.
So, the real question is, what is this pattern I couldn't resist testing and what made it special enough to entice me to commit to sewing when jet lagged?
It's the Joey Tank by Made Again Patterns, and I just had to test it because it's a pattern specifically designed to use for refashioning/upcycling thrifted or otherwise unappreciated garments!!! (Also, it's a woven tank top, and I'm always on the lookout for woven tank patterns since I wear tank tops all summer long and happen to have a large stash of woven fabrics.)
I love refashioning, and hate the idea of textiles being thrown out until they are well and truly worn out (and even once they reach that stage, they've got to be used as rags for a while before I can even consider throwing them away.) Thus, when I read about the launch of Made Again Patterns on Instagram, I was instantly excited. This is pattern company is focused on designing patterns with the purpose of refashioning in mind and the pattern instructions walk you through how to "harvest" fabric from your source garment or other thrifted textile. This is an idea I was instantly behind and more than happy to support by volunteering my time to test this initial pattern and give my feedback on it.
Now you may be wondering exactly what my Joey tank began as. Well, it came to me about two years ago, while I was in Ghana, as a pencil skirt.
The skirt was gifted to a squad mate, who wore it for a while then gifted it to me. It got crammed in my over stuffed pack when I left Ghana specifically because I liked the fabric and hoped to use it for something, some day. The skirt itself wasn't my style and didn't fit me - but the fabric! Oh I like African fabrics!
Once I seam ripped all three seams and the darts out, there was just barely enough fabric in this skirt to make my Joey tank.
The front of the tank fit on the front of the skirt. The back of the tank fit on the back of the skirt. The facings were nestled into corners. The "excess" fabric was turned into bias tape for binding the arm holes and making the straps.
The resulting tank top is soft and wonderful! I love that I finally got to turn this African skirt into something I'll wear often! It reminds me of the season of my life where I spent three months in Africa, and my desire to go back and explore more of that continent one day. It reminds me of the dresses the ladies wore to church every Sunday, and how wondrously colorful the clothing was! American garments are so dull and boring by comparison. There is something wonderful about giving a garment new life as something I'll wear regularly!
After I finished the tank I decided it deserved a pair of matching shorts to go with it. I just so happened to have a bit of brown denim in my stash which would serve this purpose admirably!
I picked up the brown denim from an antique mall last fall, with no real plans for it. It was a narrow yardage and I definitely didn't have enough of it to make a pair of pants. Thus, it was the perfect thing to turn into a pair of shorts. I paired the denim with Kwik Sew K3854, view B.
Making these shorts gave me an excise to try out the buttonhole chisels I brought home from Japan!
The whole outfit is quintessentially summer - and has a story to tell! It was very much worth signing up to test the Joey Tank even though I knew I'd be slightly jet-lagged while sewing it.