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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dresses For December Part 5, The Shirt Dress

Hello Readers. It is freezing cold out there and I am still working on dresses. I am wearing tights and lots of layers to stay warm while I am wearing these dresses in honor of Dressember. You can go to and learn more about their work to fight human trafficking. They are raising money all this month and it starts with wearing dresses. Or bow-ties.

My dress today started as a 2XL men's dress shirt. It was really big on me and just long enough (I hoped!) to make a little black shirt dress.
Here is my beginning. This shirt was in great shape and I love black. But as you can see it is way too big and those arms are ridiculous on me. This was a great shirt to work with though, so I was happy.

The first thing I did was remove the cuffs from the sleeves. I used my seam ripper to pick out the stitches. I took them off the sleeves and left them to the side for later. I had a plan for them so I wanted them intact and in their original size.

You can see here what I cut off the shirt. I removed about half of the sleeve length and then reattached the cuffs. They will end just past my elbows. The cuffs make the sleeves look neat and nicely finished. I also took the sides of the whole shirt in to make it more narrow. It is pretty straight and boxy in shape. That's OK, This isn't a fitted style dress. I wanted a loose fit.
I planned to belt this little dress when I wore it. My dress form is wearing it here. It's so cold even she needed a scarf.

I wore this out and about running errands and when I added some extra layers I was able to stay warm but it was not easy. Yikes, it was frigid and windy.
***   BONUS PROJECT   ***
How did I stay warm? Fleece-lined tights. they look like basic opaque tights but inside is warm soft fleece. They are so cozy and warm. They are like sweatpants. I bought these without realizing they were footless and open at the bottom.
Here is the thing. They were so long on me that when I pulled them ALL the way up they were still hanging down on my feet. I didn't like the fabric all bunched up around my ankles like this. And I would like my feet covered and warm too.
I turned them inside-out and started stitching a rounded shape at the bottom of each leg. I was going to close them up and pretend they were meant to cover my feet.

Here is what it looked like when I was done. I cut off the corners so it would fit around my feet and I wouldn't have a bunch of extra fabric bunched up in my shoe.

I turned them right-side out and tried them on. It worked! They are closed and warm and now they do what I needed them to do, keep me warm.

Thanks for reading, I hope you stay warm where ever you are today.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dresses For December Part 4, The Big Vest

Hello Readers. I am still refashioning dresses this month in honor of Dressember. You can go to to learn more about how they are fighting human trafficking and assisting victims as they begin new lives. What I read was eye-opening to me and I wanted to try to call attention to their work. 
 My project today began a big loose vest.
Is this a big vest? Or a sort of shawl? Whatever it is, I never wore it. It was soft and pretty but it was too big and it hung all over. I think on a tall woman this would look dramatic and elegant. On my 5' body it looked like a blanket. But I loved the design of it. The black and white make such a strong contrasting print.
I began by putting it on my dress form inside out and pinning it into a dress shape. You can see the pins in the pictures below if you look really close. I used my machine to stitch the two front sides together. This made a seam from the neck to the hem. That seam won't look very nice on the front of my dress though.

I turned the dress around and used the back as the front. That seam will be less noticeable in the back of the dress. I cut off the excess and tweaked the fit here and there. The length was a little on the short side.

I used some of that excess and cut thin strips to add to the bottom of the dress. It added a couple inches in length. That helped a lot.

Here is a look at the front and back of the dress. I tried to match up the design in the back but I couldn't get it perfect (That's OK!) and get the fit I wanted the dress to have. I wanted it to be comfortable and not too tight. I was happy with how it turned out. I was able to make a soft cowl neck at the top of this little sweater dress.

This was really fun to put together and to wear.

Thanks for reading, now go make yourself something fun.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dresses For December Part 3, Two Shirts or Not Two Shirts

Hello Readers. This is my third dress in honor of Dressember. You can go to and learn more about their to stop human trafficking. It is an international issue, and we can all help. I hope I can help by raising some awareness of the issue.
My dress refashion today started as 2 shirts. I put them together and got a cute, casual, and comfy dress to wear.
Here are my two shirts. One shirt is olive green and the other is a mix of olive green and off white. They were both nice and stretchy but neither fit me very well. The heathered green shirt fit well in the sleeves but the body was huge. It hung on me in a very pregnant way. I am not pregnant so I didn't like how this shirt looked. The solid green shirt was too tight across the chest and I couldn't wear it at all.
Here is the olive shirt up close. It has some elastic in the front and the back. I thought the lower part of this shirt would be loose enough to make a skirt, so that is what I started to do. I cut off the sleeves and shoulders above the elastic. I wanted to save the elastic and use it in my new dress.
You can see in the photo below what I removed from the light colored shirt. I left the sleeves alone and made the body a little more narrow. I also cut off some length so it would bunch up under the skirt. The elastic that was already in the dark shirt acts as a kind of waistband. I stitched on top of it when I connected the 2 shirts. I used a zigzag stitch to keep some of that stretch in the waist.
I really liked how this dress turned out (It just needed a cami under that low scoop neck.) and I love a stretchy knit. Casual and comfortable is always the best feeling.
Thanks for reading, and happy sewing to you.