mom’s old shirt made new

I went home to visit my parents a few weeks and discovered a pile of my mom’s old clothes that she was planning to donate. Of course I went through and tried things on and decided to take a few of them home with me.

A couple things I took for sentimental reasons because I remembered my mom wearing these items back in the day and didn’t want them to vanish forever. But I didn’t take anything I wouldn’t wear or try to refashion. This is my first refashion attempt from my mom’s stuff.


This shirt had no shape and a weird, crowded 13-button placket with an unflattering neckline. I didn’t want to mess with the placket so I flipped it around to the back and used the old back, which had a very high neckline, as the canvas for my new front.


I tore out the large facing on the back and along the neck down to the seams where the front and back are sewn together. I took the sides in using french seams to give it a better fit. Then I cut the scoop of the neckline down using a shirt whose neckline I liked as a pattern, turned the edges under, and sewed a very narrow hem.


The neckline was wavy after the narrow hem and the fit still wasn’t great. I wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe use elastic in some way?

Then I considered gathering it and my problems were solved! I used one line of stitching to gather it and then sewed on top of the gathering twice with a regular stitch. The fit was better and the neckline wasn’t gaping.


I might have to adjust and regather it, but it’s much more wearable now.


There’s the new back. I’d like to replace the yellow buttons with grayish-black ones when I find 13 buttons of the same color on the cheap, but it will do for now. I can see wearing this with a black or gray sweater for fall/winter.

The other item I’ve worn from my mom’s stash is this pink and white sweater. Totally 80s. I was planning to cut the front open and turn it into a cropped cardi, but I decided to leave it alone and wear it as is. I just had to do a little bit of hand sewing on the bottom to secure the threads that had come loose over the years.

I wore it last weekend and it was super comfy and just right for the in-between fall weather. I did layer it over a tan cami since this top was most likely meant for high waist 80s jeans.

My mom is awesome so I enjoy wearing things that remind me of her. A big part of the reason I started this blog was to show her all the crafty things I’ve been up to lately. 🙂


flannel rabbit

I’ve been wanting to try out this faux chenille bunny since I saw the tutorial by Sew Much Ado back at Easter time. I liked the idea of her pink one, but my flannel remnants pushed me towards green. I had some lime green plaid leftover from a pair of pajama pants (that haven’t made it to the blog yet) and some mint and kelly green remnants I got on the cheap at Hobby Lobby. I wasn’t sure how they would all look together, but I think it turned out well.

I used the lime for the outer layer, then kelly, then lime again, then mint for the base. Since my fabric came from remnants I was short an inch or two on each block, but the bunny pattern still fit on the amount of fabric I had so it worked out okay.

Preparing the fabric took awhile with all the sewing diagonal lines and cutting, but once I got into the rhythm it was kind of soothing. I did use my fabulous walking foot to help me out.

I liked the way the fabric looked after all the lines were sewn, and almost didn’t want to cut into it. I’m thinking that quilting four layers of flannel together could be used to make placements or something of that nature.

cut vs. uncut

I do wish that the bunny’s front foot would have stuffed better, but the rest of it looks good. I gave it to its intended recipient, the 2-month-old Levi who I’ve mentioned before, this past weekend. His cousin, three-year-old Jace, kept talking about the green “fish” I’d given him. I’m not sure what kind of fish looks like a large-eared rabbit, but at least he’s got a good imagination!

(family photo I took while I was there)

The leftover rectangles of sliced fabric looked too cool to throw away, so I sewed them into a cat toy/pillow.

Jackson was pretty happy about it. He always snuggles up with the weirdest things (remotes, my kindle, my SLR, etc.) so now he has a softer option. Or he can just attack it instead of going for my feet.

And as I’m writing this post Harvey goes over to the cat toy and starts really messing with it. Moments later, she refuses to play with it for a photo.

Oh well, that’s all for now folks! With some finished project photos taken I’m hoping to get back into a more regular blogging routine.

jungle print shirt

I finally started photographing the items that I’ve finished over the last couple months. This shirt is one of my favorite makes so far.

I got this fabric towards the end of 2011 on a Jo-Ann’s trip with my mom and picked up New Look 6110 to go with it (though my pattern is labeled 0140). The fabric was so slippery and seemingly fragile and way too pretty to cut, so it took me a few months to work up the nerve. Even after I cut it, it took me a little while to get around to sewing it, all the while worrying that it would fray into oblivion.

The pattern went together quickly and I’ll definitely be using it again. (I opted for view E.) I had some issues with attaching the placket where the two sides join together that I can hopefully resolve next time. I also had to gather more than it said to in some areas so the pieces fit. The pattern recommends using French seams, which I did all the way through, and I’m very happy with the results.

The “crazy” print covers up some flaws that might be more visible on a plain colored shirt. The fit is great and my favorite part is the sleeve construction. I also like how one of the sleeves ended up with blue stripes on it.

It’s a breezy top that doesn’t look overly baggy and is easy to wear. And here I am modeling it with an adorable accessory.

It’s Emma!

I visited my parents a few weeks ago, and my aunt and uncle and Emma were there visiting at the same time. Thanks to my uncle/her father for taking these pictures.

getting skinnier (jeans) for fall

Since I moved I’m having to find new thrift stores. I started out by checking out one of the Goodwill stores around town. In the main section of the store I found a pair of black skinny knit pants and a blue tank with a subtle crocheted top for $3 a piece. (I hope to feature these in a later post!)

Then I looked around in the new/designer section with higher priced items. I found a pair of American Eagle jeans in my size (priced at $9), but when I went to try them on they were missing two of the three buttons. I asked the lady at the counter if I could get the price marked down, and she got approval to knock $6 off the price! Score!

My button stash came to the rescue, and I had the buttons replaced that evening.

Then I tried the jeans on again.

The jeans fit through the waist and the hips, but got baggy around the knees and flared out. They were also too long, but pants usually are on me.

Cotton & Curls has so many great refashioning tutorials, and this one about turning jeans into skinnies was my inspiration for this jeans refashion. I didn’t really follow the tutorial but just kind of hacked this pair into what I wanted it to be.

I measured and marked the amount I wanted to take out of the leg while trying them on inside out and sewed a new seam. I tried them on to check the fit a few times while pinning/sewing.

You can see the difference between the two legs here. I pinned the sides of the pants first so that I was taking an even amount out of the front and the back. I ended up losing three inches around the bottom of each leg. It amazes me how much more of my foot you can see.


After taking the sides in, chopping off the excess, and zig-zagging to prevent fraying, I hemmed them up by hand just by turning up the previous hem. I tried machine stitching the hem first, but it didn’t look right.


They turned out to have more of a straight leg fit than a skinny fit, but I was okay with how they ended up and figured I can always take them in more later. I’ve already worn them several times and they are very comfortable.

I was glad I tried something new in taking in these jeans. I don’t think anyone would suspect that these jeans didn’t come straight from the store without stopping at the sewing machine.