Friday, January 12, 2018

Feeling Blue (Dye)

Hello Readers. I love thrifting and refashioning and I am always on the hunt for clothes I can make-over. Some of the things I find are amazing and some are just ugly and sad. The clothes I started with today were some of the saddest. I used some Rit dye to transform these sad off-white clothes into something that didn't make me want to cry.
Here they are, get some tissues ready, they are awful. The shirt is a plain men's dress shirt. The skirt is a sweater type knit fabric. The dropped waist was big decades ago, now it is just dated. Both of these items are a weird, faded off-white color that just looks dirty and dingy. They aren't quite beige and they aren't a pretty cream color either. I couldn't leave them this yucky color.

Here is the cure for this sad situation. Well, it is the first step. I used this denim blue dye in my washer. It was super easy, and I got clothes in a fun color when I was done.
Why did I choose blue? I already had it on hand. Any new color would have been an improvement.

Here are clothes after their dye job. The shirt didn't absorb as much of the dye as the skirt did, but they both look a lot better. Now that the color is better, I can work on the style.

I decided to cut off the elastic waistband of the skirt. I saved it and used the bottom of the skirt to make a simple straight shaped skirt. I wanted the finished edge at the bottom of the skirt so I wouldn't have to make a new hem. Hemming this thick material would be bulky and probably not work out well. It is better to use the lower portion of the skirt to get a nice looking hem. Using the bottom of the skirt also allowed me to get rid of that dated style of dropped waist.
I have to be honest, I think these clothes have been drastically improved. I would never wear the original outfit but I would wear this blue ensemble. The shirt just needed to have the sleeves rolled up to improve the fit and the skirt is totally different now. The shorter length and new fit work much better and look more modern.
I was pleased with how my use of the dye paid off.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Bomb Cyclone Sweatshirt

Hello Readers. My part of the world is freezing in some crazy winter weather? I think most of North America is cold. And some of us are in the middle of a "bomb cyclone". I had never heard the term before. It seems to be a winter hurricane with ice and snow instead of rain. Long story short; it is colder than cold and super windy too. Everyone is wearing multiple layers and style is taking a backseat to survival and warmth.
I decided to make the biggest and warmest sweatshirt I could. I thought for sure that it would keep me warm and cozy. I started with this long black velvet cape. Is this cape from someone's Halloween costume? Is there a vampire out there wondering what to wear because I have this cape? I don't know but it has been sitting in a pile of clothes waiting for me to give it new life.
I also had this gray sweatshirt that fit but was very stiff and had no stretch at all. It wasn't very comfortable to wear. If a sweatshirt isn't comfortable, why bother wearing it? I decided to cut off the thick hood, the waistband, and the pocket and use the parts in my new super sweatshirt.
I thought that by adding these gray pieces I could take some of the vampire out of this cape. I wanted a casual look.
I stitched the gray hood into the velvet hood. It is sewn into the cape at the neck and the front edge so it is very secure.
I needed to use something as an inside layer and I chose this big navy blue sweatshirt. It is soft and comfortable.
I did some comparisons and measurements. I didn't realize how narrow the shoulders of the cape were. Are vampires very thin? I was surprised but I would work it out.
Then I just started cutting. I copied the shape of the blue sweatshirt. I had to make some sleeves from the bottom of the cape.
This is a picture of my sewing the blue sweatshirt into the cape. I stitched through the navy blue sweatshirt, the edge of the gray hood and the black cape. I had to connect all the layers to keep it all stable as one shirt.
I attached the gray pocket to the front. The crushed velvet is not very casual but I thought the gray helped tone it down. I also added gray cuffs to the sleeves.
I went out in the cold and the wind to test the sweatshirt. It was very warm but the wind was still harsh when it hit my face.

Friday, January 5, 2018

What to Wear to The New Star Wars Movie?

Hello Readers. What did you do over the holidays? I get together with friends and family every year. I also have a tradition I have followed the last couple years. After Christmas my mother and I go see the latest "Star Wars" movie. I went to see the first "Star Wars" in 1977. We saw it about 15 times. I don't know why my parents took us to see it so much, but they started a life long love/obsession.
(In 9th grade I was home for a month with mono and watched "The Empire Strikes Back" dozens of times on cable. This may be a factor in my love of Star Wars as well.)
Anyway..... I had about 5 minutes to get ready to go to the movie with my mom. I really wanted to wear something appropriate for the occasion. My teen son gave me this men's size medium shirt with Master Yoda on it. I forgot until the last minute that I wanted to wear it to the movie.
(Spoiler Alert: Yoda makes a small appearance in the latest movie.)
Here is the shirt. It was a medium men's t-shirt. It was a little big and shapeless. But look at that Yoda! He looks really tough. I don't like the fit of men's shirts. I usually alter them with the method you can read about below.

I was in a rush but I wanted the shirt to be more flattering and more fitted. T-shirts for men have a very straight and boxy cut. I made a new shape on the sides. I made a curve on each side because I have a more curvy shape. I made the sleeves a little tighter as well. This was a very easy way to make the shirt as flattering as I could in a short amount of time. I didn't want it tight, just less baggy. I find that very baggy clothes, especially shirts, make me look very heavy.
I paired it with this black knit skirt so it looked like a dress. (It was December and I was wearing dresses all month for Dressember.)

Fast and easy T-shirt alteration right here!
I was super comfortable and SUPER EXCITED to go see this movie. I can give you my review, it was good. Rogue One is still my favorite but this was a good one too.

My mom liked the movie too. We were both big fans of Princess Leia, and she had a big role in this movie.

Thanks for reading and...
May The Force Be With You!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Choir Robe Part 2; The Dressy Shirt

Hello Readers. This is the first post of 2018. I wish you a happy new year full of successful sewing. My post today is part 2 of me working with this long black dress. It looked like a choir robe or gown from when I was in school. I wasn't in a choir, I just saw the robes/gowns. I decided to break the dress up into separate pieces of clothing.
This picture below is very over-exposed so you can see the sheer sleeves and sheer trim at the bottom. They were my favorite part of this dress. It was a very pretty black dress but a little over-whelming in length.

Are those leopard print Crocs? Yes, yes they are.
After my last post involving this dress, this is what I was left with. There is still a lot here to work with. You can see where I cut the dress in half and now I have the top half and the under lining with sheer trim.. I thought it would make a cute dressy top. I had a little work to do to make these leftovers into a nice shirt.

I decided to add the sheer trim at the bottom to the raw edge of the dress where I cut it off. This finished off the raw edge of the new shirt. It also added some length to the shirt and made a cute flowy ruffle. I thought my daughter might like it too.

I cut the lining out of the dress and used a zigzag stitch to attach the sheer trim piece to the bottom edge of the shirt. And I was right, my daughter did like it.
Thanks for reading this blog post, now go make something fun for yourself.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Dresses For December Part 9, The Choir Robe

Hello Readers. It is hard to believe but this is the last dress refashion for the month of December. I did them all in honor of Dressember. They work to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking.
It has been fun trying to make so many dresses this month. I have to be honest, I was really stretching to come up with all of them. That was the fun part. My whole blog is built on finding freebies and hand-me-downs. Unless I tell you otherwise, These were all free dresses. (I don't count the cost of thread and notions.) If I bought something from a store, it was really cheap and I try to let you know up front. I think fashion is fun and it can be free, or close to it.
I know what you're thinking, yada, yada, yada, back to the dress. This long black dress was pretty but it is a little too much on me. It reminds me of the long choir robes from when I was in school. They were great for the choir but not great for every day wear. Could I make it more casual?

No. I wasn't in a choir. I can't sing.
I cut off the bottom of the dress. What you see here is the upper portion of the dress and the lining. It has a nice sheer edge at the bottom of the lining. I can save it for later. This big cut was an easy first step to make my new dress.
I also had this black and gray sweatshirt/sweater hybrid. I liked it and it fit but it was a bit short to wear with jeans. I don't like to show my stomach. (It's pale mess of stretch marks.) My tummy is not for public viewing at all. I needed to find a new way to wear this cozy knit top.
I attached the bottom of the dress to the waistband of the shirt. I thought the waistband would hold the skirt up and the stretch of the shirt would act like an elastic waistband. It worked pretty well. I liked it but...
Full Disclosure; My son said I looked "goth" and depressing. I guess this much black is a fashion risk. You can't make everyone happy all the time.
Tune in next time to see what I did with the rest of that dress. Thanks for reading this post, now go make something fun for yourself.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dresses For December Part 8, Using Dye

Hello Readers. 2017 is almost over and I am going to keep these dress refashions going until the end of the month in honor of Dressember. Dressember is an organization formed to fight human trafficking. You can go to their website to learn more about them.
 Today's dress just needed some dye to wake it up.
This is a basic cotton dress. It is shapeless and not suitable for winter at all. I have a plan for that though, don't worry. This dress is in good shape and it fit well but the colors have gotten a little dingy and dull. The white isn't a bright white anymore.
Making the dress a darker color will make it more appropriate for winter too.
I used some denim blue dye and my washing machine to dye this dress.
 I also added this sweater on top so I would be warmer. The sweater would help define waist to the dress.

This was easy, I love using dye. You add it to the washing machine and you get new clothes. The blue color makes this dress look like denim, a little more appropriate for the winter. The dress is comfortable and with the sweater and some tights, I will stay warm enough.

I was able to play outside with the little guy on his new slide. My neighbor was giving this slide away. We didn't have a swing-set to put it on so we put it on our deck. It is a lot of fun for the whole family.

This dirt at the bottom of the slide is my 2 year olds favorite toy.
It's all fun and games until someone can't handle the landing. That's me, graceful as a newborn deer. HA!

Thanks for reading, go make something fun for yourself.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dresses For December Part 7, The Dowdy One

Hello Readers. Yes, I am still deep into a pile of dress refashions in honor of Dressember. They do their big fundraising effort in December (December/Dressember, get it?). Dressember estimates that 2 million children are being exploited. It's heartbreaking and we all need to be aware of the problem.
Today's dress refashion started as a simple black dress. It was in nice shape but the style and length was more than dowdy. It was almost depressing. Black is a great color to have in your wardrobe but it can look severe and bland sometimes.
Here is the black dress I started with. It was not bad as far as size but the length was very matronly on me. It was ankle length on me and that long skirt isn't doing me any favors. I look a little lost in this dress.

I decided to give it a BIG cut in the length. It needed to be shorter and hopefully it would be more fun. I gave it a quick hem and I was finished with this dress.

I really liked the shorter length and it was easy to wear once I was not tripping on the hem anymore.
This is my little guy refusing to look at the camera and refusing kisses too.

Thanks for reading this post, I send you my best wishes during this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dresses For December Part 6, Shrunken Lace

Hello Readers. This month of dress refashions has really been fun so far. I wanted to focus on dresses in honor of Dressember. Dressember is an organization that works to fight human trafficking and rescue and rehabilitate victims. They estimate there are 30 million victims worldwide. It's a huge issue, you can go to to learn more about what they do.
My dress refashion today was a simple one. Sometimes a piece of clothing just needs a little help to be great.
I started with this nice burgundy lace dress. It was a loose little shift dress. I liked it but the lace overlay had shrunk.

Look at the shrinkage! The dress was in nice condition but it looks pretty bad. I thought about making the lining shorter. It would have become a VERY short dress. I decided to try and add some length to the dress instead.

I ordered some black lace from and attached it onto the bottom of the dress. It was a fast way to add some length. I would have liked to add burgundy lace, unfortunately I couldn't find a matching shade. I thought black matches everything so I went with it. Navy blue or gray would have worked too.

The sleeves of this dress were much too long on me. They were loose bell sleeves and I thought the way to make them fit would be to add elastic. I used very narrow elastic and added it to the seam that ran around the wrist. It doesn't show from the outside but it changed the shape of the sleeve.

This made a little ruffled cuff at the edge of the sleeve. The elastic is comfortable but keeps the sleeves up and out of my way.

The dress hasn't changed drastically but it fits better now and the lining is the right length too. I think this color would be great for winter.

Thanks for reading this short refashion story, and happy sewing to you.