Friday, September 28, 2018

Going Gray On Purpose

 Hello Readers. The title of this post doesn't refer to gray hair. I didn't choose the gray hair, but I do have some. I try to hide it. My post today is about using gray fabric dye.

I had this old white shirt. It wasn't torn or stained but it was a little yellowed and a little blah. The white wasn't really a crisp white anymore. It was more of a dingy off-white. I wanted to cover that up somehow. What could I do to fix this shirt? Rit fabric dye was my first step.
(I was not paid to say that, they don't even know me.)

Here is the dye I had on-hand in my laundry room. It is "Graphite Gray" for synthetic fabrics. My shirt was cotton. Would this dye work on my cotton shirt? I was going to try it and find out. I thought that even if it only worked a little, it might still improve this shirt.

Here is the shirt. It took the dye really well. The dye really made the shirt look fresh and even left a little bit of a sheen on the fabric. It was a big improvement.

The color was better. I liked the gray but this shirt was big and baggy. I was sure I could do something better with the fit of this tunic style shirt.

I decided to make the shirt a little more narrow. I also wanted to save those scrap pieces to make a belt to tie at the waist.

I made this long tube by connecting all the pieces. I didn't like the way the connection points looked so I added a couple buttons to the belt hide the sloppy spots. 

I was happy with how the belt cinched in the waist. It looked more flattering.

This was a great shirt with leggings because it was long enough to cover the caboose. It is also great for some casual biking.

I had extra room in the washer when I dyed the shirt so I threw a pair of shorts in too. I had added some gray lace to the shorts but the color of the lace was much lighter than the color of the shorts.
Here are the shorts after the dye. The lace on the shorts is darker than the un-dyed lace on the roll but it is not quite as dark as the shorts.

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

*Year end update- I have this shirt in the front of my closet and the shorts are waiting for next summer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pretty, Pink, and Looking Pregnant

Hello Readers. Have you ever just fallen in love with a piece of clothing? Even if it was all wrong for you? You just did what you could to make it work. (It sounds like a bad relationship.) A little sewing can make a difficult shirt into something better. (I have no relationship advice. Sorry.)

This pink shirt was so pretty. Look at the embroidery and eyelet lace edges. And that coral color! I was in love. This shirt was too big and shapeless for me. I was looking a little pregnant in this picture. Don't get me wrong, pregnancy was/is great. But I am not currently pregnant.

This shirt said it was a medium but the fit was more like a large. It was just too full. That big ruffle was a problem. It was adding some unwanted bulk to my midsection. But I wasn't ready to end things with this shirt, I wanted to try and work it out. (Bad relationship again.)

I decided to take some fabric out of the back of the shirt. I couldn't just take the shirt in on the sides. It was shorter in the front and longer in the back. The side seams wouldn't match up. By making a new seam in the middle of the back of the shirt I could make it smaller without changing the general shape of the shirt.
I took less from the top of the shirt because it wasn't too big there. I thought it just needed to be smaller in the waist and ruffle.

The new seam in the back of the shirt didn't alter the look at all. I just have a slightly smaller shirt. It still has a nice loose fit, I just look less pregnant. That is what I wanted so I think I am finished here.

 We had a warm day and I wore this shirt out to get a hair cut, but I don't think I will wear it again until next summer. It's getting to be fall now, it is too cold to wear it.


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

*Year end update- I still loe the color of this shirt more than anything else about it.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall Colors; Green, Red and Orange

Hello Readers. It's fall already. I know that for sure because we got some cool weather and pumpkin spice flavored drinks are everywhere. I love how the trees explode with so many gorgeous colors. This shirt and sweater made me think of the orange and red of the trees.

This shirt and sweater came from my daughter. That means they were probably from the junior section. Everything in the junior section is made for people younger, thinner and taller than I am. The sweater was too long and the sleeves were ridiculously too long.
 The tank underneath was what I loved most, but it was cut very full around the body and stuck out in front. 
It's a good thing I like to try to alter anything and everything, so here we go.

Here is my method for shortening clothes when I want to keep the ribbed edge at the hem. I folded the sweater up on itself, with the right-sides touching. I stitched a new seam along the ribbed edge and then cut out the excess material. 
I used the same idea to shorten the sleeves. I folded the sleeve up on itself, again with the right-sides touching and stitched over the ribbed cuff. I cut off the excess material from the inside and I was done.
This sweater was a tight knit, it wouldn't fray and was easy to work with.

Here was the tank. It just needed a little of the fullness removed from the body. I didn't love the skinny little straps but the green sweater would hide those. I was just crazy about these colors!
Who designed this fabric? I love it!

I made this sweater into more of a bolero length and made the sleeves 3/4 length too.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.

*Year end update- I still love this combo. It is just too cold to wear it right now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fall Colors; Easy Alterations

Hello Readers. Are you ready for Fall weather? I really like the changing colors of the leaves. Today's post is about embracing the colors of fall. It's also about finding clothes I liked and making them work for me. These are easy alterations for a sewing beginner to do.

This red and gold shirt was simple in style but the colors were warm and deep. It was perfect for this time of year. My mom handed-it-down to me. (Thanks Mom!) It was just a little big and the neck was a little revealing. It just needed a little help to fit me.

The shirt needed a simple size adjustment. I used the side seams as a guide to make new side seams. I made the new seams about an inch inside the old seams. It was an easy way to change the size of the shirt without changing the shape or style of the shirt. Keep your new seam along the old seam and it is hard to mess up.

These pants were a great golden color. They had lots of pockets that actually worked and that's unusual in woman's pants. I hate pockets that are not real pockets. I have stuff to carry.
These pants are also a little too big. And a little too long. I wanted to take the sides in but there is a big pocket on the side of one leg. I would need to move that pocket out of my way if I was going to take the pants in on the sides.
(I could take the pants in on the inside of the legs but that wouldn't make the hips and waist any smaller. That wouldn't work here.)

I used a seam ripper and took the pocket off the leg and then did my sewing. I took the sides in and made the legs a little shorter. There were zippers at the bottom of each leg. I just removed them with the extra fabric. I didn't need ankle zippers. Again, following the existing seams will keep your new seams on track.

Once the sides were finished I reattached the pocket over my new side seam. There old stitch marks were still visible and easy to use as a guide for getting the pocket back in the right place.

I liked the new outfit. It was perfect for early fall. Alterations don't need to be scary. Try it.

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

*Year end update- This wasn't the most exciting outfit but I wear it to work a lot.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Removing Ruffles and Ripping Seams

Hello Readers. I love hand-me-downs more than I can say. You just never know what you will get. I got a lovely blouse and skirt that were a lot of fun to refashion.

Well, maybe you can see what first stood out to me about this blouse. It fit great, but there was a little something that I wasn't sure worked for me. I don't like things around my neck, and this blouse seems a little overwhelming with this neck ruffle situation.

I felt a little bit like I was choking but don't get me wrong this was a great blouse! Who doesn't love J. Crew? And these soft fall colors are gorgeous.

My first thought was to remove the neck ruffle. I investigated inside the shirt and I could see where the ruffle was attached to the shirt. The seam ripper is pointing to the seam in the photo below. I just picked out the stitches and took the ruffle away. It was easy and didn't damage the shirt at all.

 Well, I took most of the neck ruffle away. This little ruffle turned out to be attached separately, it was like a collar. It was longer in the back of the neck and fell over. The front was standing straight up and I thought it should be more uniform. Either stand or fall flat, one or the other.


I used my machine to stitch it down and I really liked how doing that opened up the neckline. It will stay in place nicely now that it is sewn down.

I saw the colors in the blouse and thought I had a good match for this skirt. I have had this skirt in the refashion stash for ages. I couldn't figure out what to do with it. I didn't like the tiers of ruffled fabric very much and it wasn't very flattering on me. What could I do to change it?

Again I turned to my seam ripper. Could I remove the lowest tier of fabric? That would shorten the skirt to a more flattering length. I found the seam that connected tiers of the skirt together and removed the stitches. It was easy and didn't damage the skirt. The skirt was finished and hemmed at each tier so I didn't need to do anything else to it.

Here was my less ruffled outfit. It still had some pretty ruffles. The ruffled skirt really complemented the blouse's ruffled collar. It was very feminine and pretty. I couldn't wait to wear it.


I really liked this outfit the way it was but the weather turned much cooler suddenly. I was going to freeze in this outfit if I wore it. I really needed a second layer. I had this light weight white sweater but I thought the white was too much contrast against the muted fall colors of the outfit. 
So I got out some dye.

This white sweater wasn't 100% cotton so it needed dye for synthetic fabric. I didn't have any dye for synthetics that would match, so I used what I had. I threw the sweater in the washing machine with this brown dye and hoped it would be strong enough leave some brown color on the sweater.
 This was what I got. I actually really liked the color, it wasn't a dark brown like on the bottle. The dye couldn't get that dark on this synthetic material, but I think the lighter brown worked well here.
I still haven't even been able to wear this!

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

*Year end update- I love this whole outfit. The skirt and blouse are personal favorites.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Another Dress to Shirt

Hello Readers. Sometimes a dress just isn't what you need. Well, It wasn't what I needed. I needed a shirt instead. I really liked this patterned knit dress but I was willing to sacrifice it. I would like it as a shirt too, right?

This dress had stretch so it would be comfortable and I would never need to iron it. Those were great features for me. These big bell sleeves did not really work for me though. I know they are meant to be big but they just seemed too big on me. I would fix those too.

I took quite a bit of fabric out of those big sleeves. I didn't change the size in the body of the shirt. I just wanted more fitted sleeves.

I cut the dress to the length I wanted. I saved that bottom hem too. I wanted to put it back on the bottom of the shirt so it would have that blue stripe back at the bottom. I thought that would make it look nicely finished.

Here is the blue stripe in place at the bottom of the new shirt. I really liked that blue color.

 I also had this classic blue cardigan that seemed to do with the dress/shirt colors so well. My mom passed this sweater on to me. (Thanks Mom!) The sweater was a little big and the sleeves were too long. I couldn't wear it because the sleeves wouldn't stay pushed up so I needed to make the sleeves more narrow. If the sleeves were tighter, I could keep them up off my hands and I wouldn't have to shorten them.

I didn't change this sweater drastically. I just made a new seam on the sleeves and sides of the sweater. I took off a little more after this picture was taken to make sure the sleeves will stay up. If they will stay pushed up I won't need to shorten them, I could just push them up. Using the existing seam made this an easy alteration.

The new shirt and sweater worked out well and work well together. I like the layers for the cooler weather we are getting recently. Autumn is here, I think.

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