shirt to shirt dress

My friend Crystal came to visit last weekend. It has been way too long since we saw each other last, and it was a blast.

She’s mentioned to me that she wants to start shopping at yard sales and thrift stores, but got overwhelmed when she tried it on her own. We were heading out to do some non-thrift shopping Saturday when I saw that there were two yard sales on my block.

The first one was a wash, but at the second one there were lots of plus sized clothes. Neither of us is plus sized, but I know you can get a good amount of fabric to work with in one shirt. I found one in a fabric I thought she would like and convinced her to buy it. For $0.50, I thought I could make a cute skirt with buttons in the front and get it done before she left.

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When I brought the garment up to the sewing room after a marathon day of non-thrift shopping, I realized it had dress potential.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but here are the steps I took.

First, I removed the sleeves. You can see just how big this dress was on Crystal initially. It fits around her twice!

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Next I took off the outer bodice panels. In the previous photos you can see where the bodice seam goes all the way up to the top.

After this step, we had what looked like a jumper. Thankfully I had a model to try it on at each stage of the process!

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I took the skirt in on the sides, and realized the the bodice just needed a few inches on each side to make it wearable.

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I took a piece of the extra fabric that I cut off the sides and stitched it in place on the bodice, then did the same on the other side. From there, I cut a rough armhole and did the rest of my fitting.

There was a good bit of tweaking on the fit. I basted my stitches so the dress could be easily adjusted in or out. Crystal often has trouble finding clothes that work for her, and a lot of time she needs things taken in at the tailor, so I really wanted to make her a dress that fit well.

Once I got the fit and armhole shape looking good, I showed Crystal how to make some bias tape. I also had her help on the ironing, pinning, and cutting because she wanted to get some insight into the whole sewing/refashioning process. I cut the bias tape, and she ironed it all quite nicely. I attached it to the armholes, and voila!

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The dress turned out even better than I thought it might. I contribute it to the fact that we made an awesome team 🙂

She was so pleased with her new dress, and especially the fit. I know because she kept it on for an hour after we finished it and wore it when she left the next day!

I was happy to show Crystal the process of refashioning, though at first I was a little nervous to have someone watching me while I was working. I wish she lived closer so we could get together and sew. She’s sewn some simpler projects, like aprons and basic dresses, and they’ve turned out great, so hopefully now she’ll try her hand at refashioning!

I made her a lunch bag and snack pouch to take with her, so I’ll post about those next time.

I did manage to snag a photo of her wearing her new dress with her new lunch bag, so here’s a sneak peek!

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And doesn’t she make it look fabulous ladies and gentlemen? I wish I had a willing model around more often!

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post new job thrifting

So I got a new job, and with that job comes the need for a professional wardrobe. I’ve been slowly accumulating pieces, but it is harder than I thought it would be. I really want to present myself well since I’m in PR and I don’t want to buy a bunch of clothes I won’t like in a few months because I’ve done that in the past. Here’s what I’ve found on the cheap that I really like.

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This dress is my favorite and most expensive purchase. Don’t believe the price tag that was still attached. I found this Banana Republic suit dress with tags at Clothes Mentor, a consignment store, for $16. It was more than I wanted to pay, but the fit and quality of the dress convinced me.

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These tops were $3 each at one of my favorite Goodwills. Target, boutique label, and Gap, left to right. I think I can make the lilac and gray work for the office. The cardigan is practically essential in my icy office, and the blue sweater I picked up for winter lounging.

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I found these two $3 shirts at two other Goodwills in town. Ann Taylor LOFT, Express and the last one was a freebie from Amanda’s mom. I wore it to work yesterday and got lots of compliments! It is an interesting color palette.

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This rayon top from Target via Goodwill would be a favorite because the fabric feels amazing, but there’s a hole in the front. I almost didn’t get it, but I want to make this top work somehow because I love the fabric.

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This last item was from the same Goodwill as the Express shirt. I really didn’t like the store overall and don’t think I’ll go back, but I picked this up for $0.25 so it was worth the trip. It’s holding produce in my kitchen.

I haven’t been in a yard sale mood when it comes time to wake up on Saturday mornings, and not finding what I want at Goodwill is driving me to the clearance racks at regular stores. These finds are from the past month or so.

I have been sewing a lot of things for around the house, so once I get those rounded up and maybe finish some more curtains I’ll be posting pictures. I found a great coupon last night on Joann’s for 60% off a single cut of regular fabric and bought some really cute curtain fabric that I can’t wait to share.

jeans into cuffed shorts

I often give my friend Amanda and her mom dibs on my clothes when I’m ready to donate because they’re about the same size as me. Last week, Amanda returned the favor and gave me some of her mom’s clothes. They all fit (!) and I think I’ll be able to use all of them as is or with modifications.

My first project is with these jeans that were in the bag. I really liked the back pocket details, but there were issues below the knees.

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shiny gold pockets!

I’m betting you can guess where I’m going with these from the placement of the pins. See the worn spots by the knees?

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So I cut off the bottoms using this tip and had a pair of shorts.

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They were a bit long for my taste, so I cut again.

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Getting there.

I didn’t want to cut them too short because I knew I wanted cuffed shorts and that would take a couple more inches off the length.

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I rolled them up to where I wanted (about a 1″ cuff), turned the tops 1/4″ under so no frayed bits were showing, and pressed and stitched. Tip: I stitched my side seams first so they weren’t flaring out, and then stitched around the top of the hem.

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Bam! New shorts.

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I think the gold embellished pockets are even more of a feature now.

The stretchiness of the fabric means these shorts are very comfortable for hanging out in. I’ve been wearing them around the house all weekend and, in fact, I’m wearing them right now!

I tried a pair of longer length, snug fit cutoffs a year or two ago that were very washed-out and fraying at the ends. The boyfriend said they were the most redneck thing he’d ever seen. Cute cuffs, a shorter length, a darker wash, awesome pocket details and no fraying ends keeps this pair away from redneck territory. (The boyfriend noted that he never would have thought these were jeans before.)

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So a quick simple refashion got these jeans off the shelf of the sewing room and into wearing rotation. Hope you all are having a productive weekend!

blue summer cardigan

This summer cardigan pattern was so easy and quick.

I knew it wanted to try it, but I wasn’t sure about the style so I made the pattern pieces fit onto a piece of thrift store knit.

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I quite like the color, but the quality of the fabric wasn’t great so it worked to try out this pattern.

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Finished results: front view. What do you think? I skipped the sleeve bands because I ran out of fabric but I might prefer the sweater without them. I don’t want something that gives me T-rex arms.

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Here’s the side view. (I need to press that shoulder seam and have since pressed the back hem so it lies flat.) It would probably help if I modeled it with a shirt that wasn’t a graphic tee as I like the side view better. I do think the fit is good and it’s very comfortable.

But other than that, what are your thoughts readers? I have mixed feelings on it, so I’m going to let it sit in the closet while I decide. If I like it enough I might make one up in a fabric that I like more than this one. Maybe a fun gray and white chevron print?

Editor’s note: This cardigan was modeled at the old place. I’m still working on organizing and cleaning the new place and then photos will be forthcoming. 🙂 I’m looking forward to have more places to take pictures at the new place! I just have to finish some projects…

striped summer shorts

Even though I sent off her birthday package, I haven’t stopped sewing for Emma yet. I found a cute piece of fabric in the magical endless bag of goodies from Kathy’s mom and I wanted it to be a pair of striped shorts for Emma. I used this tutorial from Caila-Made.

I made this pair reversible like the popover sundress I sewed for her; the fabric definitely needed a lining so why not finish all the seams the easy way by hiding them on the inside?

To make them reversible, I tried to place outside and the inside right sides together, one inside the other, and sewed the bottoms of the shorts together. This did not work.

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What did work was sewing them right sides together at the cuffs this way, without having the two pieces inside of each other.

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I encased the elastic between the two layers at the top of the shorts.

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The inside of the shorts. They aren’t totally “reversible” because the outside fabric sticks out a little at the top and cuffs.

I cut my elastic about an inch smaller than suggested because otherwise my shorts would have had no give at the waistline. I guess the waist is higher up because I didn’t turn down a lot of fabric for the casing since they were lined? (I just figured that out as I was writing this post.) I also extended the leg line a bit.

I hope they fit, but they turned out cute even if, unfortunately, they aren’t wearable. That’s the disadvantage of long-distance sewing. I might have to try this pattern again in a darker fabric that won’t need a lining.

I like how the shorts have more rise in the back, and the tutorial had good instructions. I was easily able to get a finished product.

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Voila! Love that striped fabric.

I’m adding these to Shorts on the Line even though I’m sure their simplicity won’t net me any awards.

It’s kind of like my entry for Skirt Week; I participated and got a cute final product and a chance to share my stuff with the sewing community. That’s good enough for me! I hope to work my way up to sewing more complicated items with fun details soon.

jumpsuit to summer top

I’ve been able to tackle some new projects and some that have been on hold for awhile thanks to a bit more free time and being relatively organized and motivated. Here’s piece I picked up a year ago that took very little time to refashion once I sat down and worked on it.

I bought this jumpsuit last summer. I remember the guy selling at a yard sale it tried to get me to pay a little more, but honestly, what would you have paid for this atrocity? I paid less than $1.

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head removed to protect the innocent. thanks to my former roomie Kendra for snapping this shot one Saturday morning last summer.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous thrifted thing I’ve bought. Aside from the design, it was so horribly unflattering.

The first thing that had to go was the pants. There’s a peplum-y top hiding in there somewhere. Then there were a few nips, tucks, and additions.

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Here’s what I did: – I cut off the legs, took the front and back seams in where there was extra fabric, and gave the whole thing a narrow hem. – I let out one of the sides that had been taken in and finished the fraying edges inside. – I removed the belt loop from the front. – I added a triangle of black in the center to offer more coverage. – I also added a few stitches on the black stripe to secure the pleats.

I was excited to use my narrow hem foot for the first time. I’d gotten it awhile ago for a project but hadn’t taken it out of the package until a few days ago. It worked out really well on the lightweight fabric of this jumpsuit turned top.

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The pleats aren’t exactly how I’d like them and it’s not quite a peplum, but oh well. It’s an easy, wearable summer top and way better than it was when it first came into my hands. The fabric isn’t what I would normally go for, but it drew me in for some reason; I see it pairing well with neutral colored shorts this summer.

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So there you have it. From horrible jumpsuit to not too shabby woven summer top.

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I realized my striped jumpsuit fit the theme for last week’s Refashion Runway sew along so I’m linking it up over there. A lot of blogs I read regularly are contestants so I’ve been following along closely. Here’s a link to more info about the competition, or just go over to Chic Envelopments to catch all the action. I’ve got this week’s denim refashion in mind and hope to have it ready for the sew along too!

goodwill trip: June edition

I’ve been to yard sales more than Goodwill lately but I needed a quick fix to look for summer tops the other day and came home with a few things. As usual, all things were $3 a piece.

The first find was a pink floral button-down from Talbots that caught my eye as soon as I walked into the store. I also found these Old Navy jeans with a cute pocket detail. I’m going to have to modify them in some way. I don’t know if I want bermuda shorts, another pair of capris, or to keep them as jeans and modify the hem or make them narrower.

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I have one sleeve rolled up, which is probably how I’ll wear it, and the other long just to compare.

I quite like this Old Navy exposed zipper skirt with pockets. It’s a very soft, lightweight fabric.

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On a recent shopping trip, my great-aunt was talking about how odd it was to have visible zippers without coverings. I told her that style was called an exposed zipper. She replied that it just sounded scandalous. Lol. Either way, I like the look and this skirt.

I’m also excited about my other skirt find. I’ve been wanting a skirt with buttons down the front. I thrifted a couple before but they looked old-ladyish when I put them on. I tried to make one from a shirt, but it just looked like I was wearing a shirt on my lower half. This one I actually like. I think I’m going to change out the buttons for something more fun, but otherwise I’ll keep it as is. And it has pockets too!

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My last item was a simple summery top. I like the detail and the print and it will be easy to throw on and wear this summer.

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every thrifted item I bring home has new and intriguing smells for the cats.

Well, only two of the things I came home with were summery tops, but I found some good staple pieces for summer. I had been wanting some new skirts that weren’t gathered waists to give balance to my summer skirt wardrobe, and I find it hard to resist jeans with a good pocket.

If anyone has button ideas for the denim skirt, or thoughts on what I should do with the jeans, let me know!