Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Twin Tops

Hello Readers. I am always on the lookout for clothes to add to my refashion pile. I got a couple of nice tops from a neighbor. They were a little too big but they were SO soft and cozy. You can see how much weight baggy clothes seem to add on me in the photo below. I don't believe in baggy clothes hiding extra body weight. I think it just seems to add more weight on so I avoid the big baggy look.

I had the same top in 2 colors. I liked the dark wine color and the rosy coral color too. They both had several fluttery, asymmetrical layers and a seam down the front. That front seam would be helpful.

I first wanted to make the shirts less low cut. I turned them inside out and took some fabric out by sewing a new seam down the middle of the front. I used the front seam seam to follow as a sewing guide. I turned them right side out and cut off the excess fabric.
And they looked ...exactly the same really. They were a bit smaller but they looked just the same as they did before. That was fine because I liked how they looked, I just didn't want them to de so low on me.

I also had to take some excess fabric out of the sides and the arms. It made the shirts fits so much better on me.
I didn't really like the asymmetrical hemline so I cut it off. There was just too much going on with these shirts. I wanted to simplify. The shirt originally had raw edges so I did the same thing. I cut the length I wanted and left the edges unfinished. Having no real hem made the front layers light and fluttery. This knit material doesn't fray at all so I didn't need to worry about it.

I now had 2 new soft and cozy shirts that fit well. And I can layer a sweater on top of them for cold weather. Both of these shirts ended up looking just like this one.

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

*Year end update- I thought I would wear these shirts all the time but the dangling ruffles got old and I didn't wear them anymore.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Shawl Skirt

Hello Readers. Today's post is about a shawl. That is a really old fashioned sounding word isn't it? It makes you think of granny in a rocking chair on the porch. This shawl had a modern look, and bright cheerful colors but I still never wore it.

Check out this bright green and navy blue pattern. It's great. It was a soft, thick knit material. It needed to be worn and used, but I never wore it or used it. It just didn't suit my life of playing in the dirt with my toddler.

It had a sort of triangular shape when it was worn.

I unbuttoned it and put it on my dress form inside out and started pinning to make a skirt. That's right, I am making a wrap style skirt. I just had to make the waist fit well. I wanted a high waist because I think they look nice. I wanted to make sure the waist fit well to hold the skirt up because I wasn't going to add any elastic or make a real waistband.

Here is what I came up with. It was easy to work with and the knit had a nice stretch to it. That made it easy to fit and comfortable to wear. I thought I wanted a wrap skirt but I remembered that I hate wrap skirts. They blow open in the wind and flash everyone.
 (Yes, it happened to me at my old church and then we moved. True story.)

I stitched it closed to prevent it from opening up at all. It still looks like a wrap skirt but I can wear it without fear of embarrassing myself and flashing others.

This was quicker and easier than I thought it would be. And the knit is soft, warm, and cozy in chilly weather. I'm sure I will wear it as a skirt more often than I did as a shawl.

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

*Year end update- This skirt is still a favorite. It is soft and warm, bright and cheerful. What more could I want?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Staying Warm In White

Hello Readers. It was still chilly (But not freezing.) in my part of the world and I was still working on refashioning warm clothes for cool days.

I had this big white poncho style sweater with some fun fringe on the bottom. I know ponchos are made to be shapeless but I felt a little lost in this big white sweater.
(I realized too late that the white background was not helpful when the sweater was white too.)

I took a little fabric out of the sides of the sweater. I made more distinct sleeves and a more narrow body. I didn't change the length but it looked shorter when it was done because it was more narrow.

(I didn't intend to make the cut off material look like stingrays. That was just a fun accident. But can you see a stingray shape? Is it just me? Am I seeing things?)

The sweater has a closer fit now but I left a little bit of the original poncho shape. It is very comfortable and a nice layer on top of another shirt. It is also great for lounging outside in a big upholstered chair. 

Why am I sitting on a chair outside? Who puts an upholstered chair like this outside? It just doesn't make any sense. The reason for this weird picture? My husband was working on this chair in the garage. I used it as a prop. I sat down on it and made him take my picture.  
Thanks for reading this post, now go make something fun and warm for yourself.

*Year end update- I really liked this sweater but I never wore it again. I don't know why.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Staying Warm In Blue

Hello Readers. I hate to be cold, winter weather is difficult for me because I can never seem to get warm enough. I am refashioning a big pile of warm clothes in the hopes that they will keep me warm. I wanted to do something with this cozy soft blue sweater. As you can see it had really tight skinny sleeves and a big loose body. These sleeves were really tight, and the body was really loose. It didn't make sense to me, they didn't seem to go together. The difference was too extreme.

I decided to alter the body and make it more compatible with the sleeves. I made the body more narrow. I wanted a more traditional shape.

I also had a pair of black pants that were too big around the waist. I don't know why women's pants are always too big around the waist. If I want them to fit around my caboose then the waist is too big. If the waist fits then the hips will be much too tight. I usually try to find clothes that fit the big parts of my body and alter the parts that are too big.

My favorite method of taking in the waist is to make 2 tucks in the back of the pants.

I make the tucks as long as I need to take in the excess fabric. Sometimes I just need to take in the waistband. Sometimes I need to extend the tucks lower and they can end somewhere behind the pockets.

When I am done with the tucks in the back of the pants the waist lays flat against my back.

Now my cozy blue sweater is fitting me better and my pants are not gaping out in the waist.

Thank you for reading, now go make something fun and warm for yourself.

*Year end update- I didn't wear these often. I always wound up picking other things from the closet.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Staying Warm In Green

Hello Readers. It is the middle of a deep cold snap where I live and all I want to do is wear layers of cozy sweaters and hide in a pile of blankets. I gathered all the sweaters from my refashion pile and made them all a priority. I need sweaters ASAP! As usual, I was starting with clothes that didn't fit well.

My mom gives me hand-me-downs sometimes. This sweater was one of them. (Thanks Mom!) I loved this shade of green. I didn't like the fake shirt attached to it and it was too big and loose in the body. Could I take the sweater in and remove that shirtless collar?
(And why is there just a collar? Why wouldn't I want a whole shirt under the sweater? Am I unable to choose a shirt to wear under this sweater? Someone somewhere doesn't trust me to dress myself.)

I used a seam ripper to take the collar out of the sweater. It was easy to remove. I took the body in on the sides and arms. This made a fitted style sweater that I really liked.

I was also given these brand new pants quite a while ago. (Thanks Kathy!) They don't look like it but they are actually cropped Capri pants. They are a great length on me because I am very short. I really liked these navy blue pants and decided to try to improve the fit.

I really liked the zippers on the hip pockets. They seemed a little cool and edgy. Well, as cool and edgy as a suburban mom can try to be.
I wanted to make sure not to damage the zippers. I would need to take in the sides and keep the zippers and pockets intact. I wound up removing fabric from the back of the legs along the side seams. I didn't remove any fabric from the front of the legs.

I narrowed the pants and made them into a skinny fit. I thought they would tuck into boots nicely and that would keep me warm.

The sweater and the pants now have a nice slim fit and the zippers are still there. I thought if these clothes were more fitted I could wear a big long cardigan or jacket on top for even more warmth. Layers people, I want lots of layers!

I bundled up and went out to a movie with my daughter. Actually she took me! She wanted to see The Greatest Showman. It was a cute, slightly cheesy musical. We liked it.
(It is possible that while at the theatre I walked into the clearly labeled "MENS" room. It is possible that I made a weird surprised squeak sound. It is also possible that this is not the first time that I have done this.)

Thanks for reading this post, now go make something fun and warm for yourself.

*Year end update-I still wear these pants a lot and I like the fitted sweater because it isn't bulky.

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.

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

*Year end update- My washing machine ate this sweatshirt for lunch. It was caught in the edge of the wash drum and got shredded. I got a new washer soon after.