Refashions Round Two

So my second trip to the Goodwill Blue Hanger Outlet here in Austin yielded an even larger haul! Here are some of my first refashions from that set:

I LOVED the print on this dress, but it was an Old Navy XXL, and I’m an Old Navy small!

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This one took a lot of time because I needed to do some resizing of the cups beyond just chopping of 4 or 5 inches on each side.

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Preliminary chops. I took this in a lot more later on.

I really like resizing from larger sizes because it is easier to get adequate boob coverage (at least on the sides) and I can choose the fit through the hips/stomach as well. This one is planned as a beach/pool coverup, or maybe something for a laid back cookout.

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I am in love with this next top! I was immediately drawn to the print and neck details.

Neck details
Neck details

It became immediately clear why someone put this top up for adoption though: the arms were elastic and way too tight for a large (has Charlotte Russe ever heard of pushups?)

You can't tell too much, but my arms are in some serious pain!
You can’t tell here, but my arms are losing circulation.

Luckily, removing elastic from its casing isn’t difficult! I also took it in an inch on each side, as the very wide peasant look isn’t flattering on my body type.

LOVE THE PRINT
Before and after
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Pinning inside-out.

I was really unsure what to do with the last top in this batch of refashions. I like the orange chevron print, but the shirt had a lot of issues. To start with, it had hideous pockets on the front.

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Second, it had obviously been previously refashioned by someone who was too lazy to snip their seams afterward!

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Why couldn’t you snip that seam?

The pockets had to go first. I took in the sides in quite a bit. Then I ripped out the previous refashioner’s shoulder seams, and used a long stitch on my machine to gather the shoulders a lot. Then I used the pocket flaps to gather the shoulders and give the neckline a unique look. All-in-all… I don’t hate it and I’ll probably wear it occasionally. Success!

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A bit smaller, a lot more fashionable, and still relaxed.

My Coffee Date Dress

I was super excited to find the free Coffee Date Dress pattern by elainemay and make it as my first from-scratch sewing project in a long time! It came in (what I thought was) my size too! I started by making a muslin from an old, grass-stained sheet that I thought might have a similar feel to the sea-foam green fabric I bought:

Making a muslin.
Making a muslin. (no hem yet)

It was immediately clear that the waist was too large, so I took it in (crudely) about an inch total. I didn’t see on this really light fabric that the hips were also too large! That showed up on the final piece.

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So my next move was to undo all my lovely french seams and take it in a bit more at the hips. I also needed to make it about an inch shorter! I decided to avoid the ruffle because I was afraid the red hair+seafoam green + ruffle combo would make me look like a mermaid.

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I still have no idea what is going on with the fake nipples the darts are giving me! If someone knows how to fix that, let me know!

First Refashions

I was incredibly inspired by Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and as a consequence I have spent many hours looking through the Refashionista blog, daydreaming about creating my own beautiful, eco-friendly (and sweat-shop-free) refashions. I’ll admit some of my work has been more attempted tailoring than true refashioning, but I think I still captured the basic premise of the “reuse, don’t buy new” philosophy. So here are a few first attempts, in all their mirror-pic, no-make up, messy hair glory.

I started with a simple too-big-to-my-size dress refashion. I was originally drawn to it because of the subtle grey print and the pintuck detail at the neckline. It was fairly simple to take the dress in about 4 inches on each side and rip out all the ugly green bits.

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I’m pretty sure this was intended as a nightgown…

Then I moved on to a faux-wrap top that actually fit quite well. I was originally planning to wear it as-is, but my boyfriend said it looked like the top half of a bath robe (you can’t un-see that), so I carefully ripped the sleeves off and shortened them, preserving the lovely ribbon detail at the bottom. I used the original sleeve top (what is the technical word for that?) as a template when I cut the shorter sleeves, and then inserted them like the usual set-in sleeve.

Much more summer weather appropriate!
Much more summer weather appropriate!

Finally, I did some work on a nightgown. It was a tags-still-attached Victoria’s Secret brand slip.

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It was probably donated due to the bizarre boob shaping pictured below (I promise this is PG, I put another modest bra under it):

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See how it sticks out all funny?

I simply sewed that odd seam into a straight line instead, and the slip turned into the perfect nightgown!

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So much better!

All three pieces cost only $1.50. I think I might be hooked on thrifting!

Chiffon Top Tutorial

Two weeks ago, the only fabric in my stash was a gorgeous pink chiffon and an old, grass-stained sheet.

Pink Chiffon of unknown origin
Pink Chiffon of unknown origin

I wanted to make the chiffon into a delicate infinity scarf, perhaps with a crochet lace border. And then, to my infinite horror, I found these imperfections.

HORROR!
HORROR!

The infinity scarf was out of the question. I could not both avoid the imperfections and keep enough material to make the scarf. Thus, the easiest top in the world was born.

Tutorial:

1. Cut two rectangles of the chiffon that are about a foot wider than your shoulder width and long enough to reach from your shoulder to your desired length. I did this by first cutting the rectangles from the sheet, and then using them as a pattern/practice for the chiffon.

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2. Hem all of the edges. I did this by hand because the fabric was extremely delicate and I felt a little unsure of my ability to use the machine on it.

3. Sew together at the shoulders. Don’t forget to test by safety pinning and trying it on first!

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4. With the top on, pin at your waist and hip height.  Folding the fabric in half width-wise, make symmetrical markings at the waist height, but at the width of your bust (so you can get it over your head). Mark at hip width at the hip line.

Pinning on my body to desired measurements.
Pinning on my body to desired measurements.

5. Stitch between your two marks wrong sides together. There is no logical way to turn it right-side-out if you do not.

Measuring the folded pieces at the waist line!
Measuring the folded pieces at the waist line! I have a 36 inch bust, so I needed the smallest part of the seam to be at least this large to go over my head.

6. Press and enjoy 🙂

How I'm going to style it.
How I’ll style it.
The fit when finished.
The fit when finished.

So “easiest top in the world” was probably an exaggeration.  It does require a lot of hand stitching and a little time to test the placement of the shoulder tacks and side seams. However, it is very conceptually simple.

I apologize for the silly mirror photos. Those will be present for my first few posts, then I will figure out something better.

A Creative Space

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new blog. I have been contemplating a switch from my crochet blog to one that includes all the things I love, and I have finally created that reality.

My usual choice of title would be a pun or something silly, but nothing came to me. I finally realized I wanted something that represented my creative energy. I love to work in quiet, restful spots where I can fully engage in the project and my aesthetic is feminine (ribbons and laces).

I have accumulated quite a few pictures and projects while I was trying to come up with a title, so I will get those up ASAP. I am also moving my crochet/knitting posts over from blogger slowly. I expect the blog to feature projects of the following types: crochet/knit, from-scratch sewing, refashions and miscellaneous adventures into other areas.

I recently read this book and was incredibly inspired to work with used clothing to help reduce the unethical consequences of fast fashion, so many of my early posts will show my attempts to turn my $1.39/pound (yes, by the pound) Goodwill finds into something wearable.

I welcome your opinions about my work in the comments, regardless of their harshness, but I request that you are kind to the other guests on my site. Thank you for spending a little time in my world today!