Friday, December 31, 2021

Dying Formal Wear

Hello Readers. Sometimes clothes are a little ... meh. This black and white dress just didn't "spark joy". The lace applique was very pretty and it was the only thing it has going for it. What can we do to liven things up a little. 

Before and after.
This dress wasn't the greatest quality fabric and I wasn't super in love with it. It was cheap polyester blend material. If you lit a match next to the dress it would probably melt down in less than 10 seconds. It fit really well and the black lace was really pretty. I also liked that it had shoulders and sleeves. A lot of formal wear is strapless and that isn't my favorite style. 
 I started this refashion by shortening the dress. It was way too long for any party I was going to attend. My plan was to dye the dress. (I actually dyed this back in November when I dyed a shirt. I wanted to get all I could from that bottle of dye.) I thought gray dye would cover the top but leave the black skirt unchanged. I thought some added color would make give the top more depth. 
The new gray color was a nice change. And the shorter length made the dress a little less formal. I wish you a happy new year. 

***It is not too late to check out They are working to fight human trafficking. I have been refashioning (And wearing.) dresses all month to raise awareness about the issue.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Blue Formal

 Hello Readers. Are you going to celebrate on New Year's Eve? You might be going out, or going to a party, or going to the living room. Whatever you do and where ever you go, I wish you a happy 2022. I wanted to create a party look in case I had a party to go to. I was not counting on Covid/Omicron showing up and messing up plans for a lot of us.

Before and after.

This dress is obviously dated. (I prefer the term "vintage". I am almost 50 so I will not be describing myself as old, I am now "vintage".) I loved the light blue color. The material was very soft as well. It seemed home-made. I loved that. Some woman somewhere spent a lot of time to create this outfit. I wanted to honor that but also make it wearable for today. 

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the matching jacket. Let's just focus on the dress. It was very long and formal looking on me. I am not a formal person so how could I make it more casual and wearable. 

I started with a huge cut in the length. It was just too long on me. I wanted the length to be just above the knee.

It just needed a quick hem. Sometimes easy fixes are all that is needed. 

It looked like this when I was done. 

I was ready for a party. 

I could also dress the dress down with my favorite striped sweater. Happy New Year!

***I have been raising money all month by wearing dresses or ties everyday. Why? I do it because the impact of human trafficking and forced labor on our modern world is staggering. 
1 in 10 children worldwide is hurt by this issue. We need to change this situation now. Go to to learn more.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Belt

 Hello Readers. Red and green are so strongly associated with Christmas that a little can go a long way. 

Before and after.
This jacket was a lot of red and green plaid. I liked the idea of using the fabric in another way. 
I decided to make a wide fabric belt. I cut the sleeves off the jacket. 
I marked them because I wanted to make them more narrow. 

 I cut off the excess fabric and connected the two sleeves at the cut edges and that was my belt. 

 The buttons at the wrist were going to be part of my belt but how would I connect the front of the belt. This is also how I would take the belt on and off.

I was going to use these hair bands to make the connecting piece. 
I tied them together and they added some stretch to my belt. 
It was a fun touch to the dress. Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Sweater Dress

Hello Readers. It's almost Christmas and my 6 year old is SO EXCITED! I think this is the first year that he has gotten super excited and counted down the days. I really hope you are having a happy holiday season. Let's talk about sweater dresses. They can be soft and cozy but they can also be shapeless and bulky. 

  Before and after.
This sweater dress from my daughter was soft and could be warm with some layers. It was thick and kind of shapeless. It wasn't a horrible dress but it wasn't great. It was... fine. We can do better than "fine".

I wanted to cut the dress into a top and a skirt. I tried it on and decided how long I wanted the top to be. I wanted a "standard" length top. (My belly button is my business.) You could make this into a shorter cropped length if that is your style. It's your top, you can decide. The sweater will fray after you cut it. 
Be ready to stitch on some ribbon or bias tape to keep that cut edge together. I used this ribbon because it had the same off-white color and it was in my stash of sewing stuff.

This is a look inside. The ribbon is stitched on the edge and it was easy to attach. It hides that cut edge when I am wearing it. The ends will fray a bit in the wash but the ribbon will hide that from view.
 I also added an elastic waistband to the bottom piece of the dress. Sewing the elastic to the skirt keeps it from fraying and also keeps the skirt up at my waist. This skirt has more of an A-line shape because it is from the bottom of the dress where it was the biggest.
I used a zigzag stitch right at the edge to control the fraying. The zigzag stitch will allow the skirt to give and stretch with the elastic when I put it on. I measured my waist ahead of time so I knew how long the elastic needed to be.
The new 2 piece dress has a new shape. It fit my hips better and looser. I am short so this is a better length on me. Win. Win. Win.

The ribbon and elastic waistbands do not really show when I have the outfit on. But I wanted to show you where they were. 

I can also break up the set and wear the top by itself with other clothes. I liked it as a warm layer with for cold days too. 

*December is almost over and that means Dressember's awareness campaign and fundraising drive is almost over too. They work to fight human trafficking and forced labor around the world. They have outreach programs and partners around the world. You can learn more about the work they do at

Friday, December 17, 2021

Black Corduroy

 Hello Readers. It is cold outside and what is better in cold weather than corduroy. It is thick and warm. It's perfect right? I got this black corduroy dress at a swap and I knew it would be the makings of a great refashion. (And if you are counting this corduroy dress is the fifth refashion in honor of for this month.)

Before and after.

This dress wasn't perfect. It was shapeless and boxy. It didn't flatter me in any way. Honestly, it was pretty boring. That corduroy was really nice though. And black is always great. It goes with anything and no matter what your kid or dog smears on you it probably won't stain.
I cut the bodice off and separated it from the skirt. I kept the seam attached to the vest. That gave me a short vest and a big piece of fabric that was the skirt.

The vest seemed very short so I used a denim jacket to give me an idea of the length I would like. I knew I liked this jacket length so I knew it would be a good "pattern" to follow for lengthwhen I was making this new vest.

I cut some fabric from the bottom of the skirt so I could add it to the vest and make the vest longer. I used the center of the skirt so I could line up the opening and save myself some time.

I connected the additional fabric to the vest and I had the length I wanted. It opens down the middle, just as it should.

What about the big piece of fabric that was left over from the skirt part of the original dress? I wanted to make a skirt to go with the vest. I thought I had just enough leftover after the vest to make a new shorter skirt.

I didn't have enough fabric to make a casing so I had to sew the elastic waistband to the skirt and leave it visible. This elastic was not cutest but, it was black and I didn't have anything else I could use. I have been trying to avoid shopping all year and I have definitely run out of some supplies. 

The vest and skirt are much more fun and flattering than the old dress was.

My new corduroy suit is ready for wear. I really liked the new look. And I can break it up and wear the pieces separately too. It's like 2 for 1.

*Every December there is an organization that does a fundraiser to fight human trafficking. The organization is called Dressember. The challenge is to wear dresses or ties everyday this month to raise money. The funds go to help rescue and care for victims. This is a worldwide issue. Human trafficking is a billion dollar industry.  You can learn more at

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Denim on Denim

 Hello Readers. This refashion was so much fun to put together. Sometimes when I know the look is going to be very casual, I have less worry about the outcome. I had a clear idea in my head for this one.

Before and after.

This dress started off as a very frumpy depressing kind of dress. It was too long and the faded flowers were just a little blah. I love flowers as much as the next person but these were not doing anything exciting for this dress.

I started by cutting off about 8 inches of dress at the hem. It was going to be shorter anyway so I might as well get it out of the way at the start.
The flowers around the neck line were going to be difficult to unpick stitch by stitch. I decided to just cut them off. This cut edge was going to fray like all denim does so I decided to embrace it. I would let it fray and let the hem of the dress fray and it would be casual and fun.
The flowers on this dress just didn't stop. They were climbing all over these pockets like poison ivy. I was going to remove the whole pocket but then I realized that the big pockets from men's jeans could cover them easily.  I just used my sewing machine and stitched the new pockets over the old pockets. They are still there but no one will know.

If you don't want to sew the pockets on, I recommend some iron on hem tape. It is easy to use and quick too.
  My fun denim dress was done and I love the big dark blue pockets. I can fit my phone in one pocket and your phone in the other! I can layer for winter and just wear the dress with a t-shirt in warm weather. It's the perfect dress. 

I know I talk about the Dressember organization every December.  They raise money to fight human trafficking and forced labor all around the world. Victims need medical care, emotional support and even legal assistance. You can learn more at my Dressember page.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Christmas Jammies

 Hello Readers. Red and green are the traditional colors of Christmas and if I see red and green together that is all I think of. Christmas!

Before and after. 
I found this 2 piece dress at a swap ages ago. I was never able to think of what to make with it because it was so red and green. I realized it would make perfect Christmas pajamas.
These shoulder pads were the first thing to get removed. I do not need shoulder definition while I am sleeping.
The waistband on this shirt had lost all it's stretch so I cut that off too. I hemmed that cut edge at the bottom of the shirt and gave the shirt a nicely finished hem.

I cut the waistband off the skirt as well and I ironed the fabric from the skirt so it was flat. I used a pattern I had that was for loose pajama shorts. I was going to extend the legs and make pajama pants. There was plenty of fabric in this skirt to make pajama pants.

I used my serger to put the leg seams together. I added a fresh elastic waistband and hemmed each leg. 
My new pajamas were done and ready to wear. My youngest helped me with this photo. That is why there are 2 little hands holding those pants.

I am ready to go sit by the Christmas tree with a cup of cocoa. This paisley set was perfect for a  refashion in honor of the Dressember organization. I am refashioning and wearing dresses this month to raise money to fight human trafficking. Visit their website to learn more about how wearing a dress can help.