Archive for November, 2008

Refashion: Slimming boxy purple cotton sweaters

Lousy purple is IN this season.

Boils my blood to no end since I’ve loved purple for many long years so I’m already sick of everyone looking like me. Went to a wedding last weekend in a fave purple dress — there were at least four other women all purpled up. Grrr.

A smart lady in my life said to shut up and stock up so when the trixies moved on to teal or yellow or whatever, I’d be all set. It’s pretty good advice. Since I haven’t bought retail since August 2007, I continue to stockpile purple at the Salvy.

Purple cardigan - before

This winning XL cardigan is a stunning shade, a solid lightweight cotton and sweetly long. It was too wide and shapeless though,

Original buttons are boring 

and the buttons were terrible.

1. Try sweater on inside out. Pin up sides. Fit, repinning as necessary.

2. Using a zig zag stitch, sew up the sides.

sweater purple cardigan side seam

3. With sharp scissors, cut off the sleeves at the shoulder seams.

sweater purple cardigan cut sleeve

4. Find the middle of the top of each sleeve. About 1 inch, 1 1/2 inches on either side of the middle, baste about 1/4 inch from the edge. Pin the bottom of the sleeve to the bottom of the armhole, and the top to the top. Keep pinning from the bottom.

5. Pull the basted threads slowly from each side until the sleeve fits the armhole with a little gathering. Pin, fit and sew.

sweater purple cardigan gather sleeve

I stitched in a little folded netting to support the little puff. 

sweater purple cardigan sleeve close

sweater purple cardigan buttons

I also replaced the original boring brown buttons with vintage yellow domed buttons, after much debate between yellow and pink.

The purple acorns and green discs wouldn’t fit. Boo.

sweater purple cardigan after

So much better now.

And check out a similar slimming sans sleeve enhancements. Such a fantastic cotton knit with a boatneck and cheeky sneaky silver buttons up the front of one side, before:

sweater purple cotton before

And after:
purple cotton sweater after

The change is subtle; the fit is just better now that the sides have been slimmed.

Refashion: Ratty awesome t-shirts transformed

Courtesy of my sister in Philadelphia, who transformed a classic Led Zeppelin shirt that had seen better days into two shirts. Zeppelin thrifted by me for $.99 at my favorite Salvy in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. New backing shirts purchased by her on the Kohl’s clearance rack.

brown zeppelin refashion

brown zeppelin refashion-close

green zeppelin refashion

green zeppelin refashion-close

Check out the how-to here.

how to… sew in a t-shirt logo under another t-shirt

My sister and I really like this technique where you chop out the part of an old t-shirt that’s cute — the logo, a photo, whatever the design — and sew it under another shirt. Then you can recycle the logo part if the old shirt is disgusting, too small, partly bleached, etc.

1. Cut the design off the old shirt, leaving about 1/2 inch around the part you want to show. If the material’s flimsy or really threadbare, feel free to reinforce it with a little fusible interfacing.

2. Decide where you want the logo to go onto the new shirt. Turn the new shirt inside out, and pin the right side of the logo in place on the wrong side of the new shirt.

3. With the new shirt inside out, sew the logo on, about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around. I like to use thread that stands out from the new shirt but maybe compliments the logo.

4. Flip the t-shirt right side out. Carefully with sharp scissors, pierce the fabric covering the logo and trim 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch away from the stitching inside the seam. Be so careful not to poke through the logo.


Now check out the new shirts my sister made using this technique.

Refashion: One ugly necklace into two winners

I always forget to take the “before”. So kindly use your imaginations.

Imagine the teal necklace without any of the silver beads. And imagine three green drops smooshed between each beautiful carved round teal bead.

So sad.

A coworker — the lady who keeps the office humming and makes my life a whole lot simpler — won the necklace in some sort of raffle. Brought it in to me, horrified about the combination but hopeful the beads could me made into something else. She also brought me tiny glass silver spacers and I dug into the stash for clear glass with silver insides.

And voila!

Silver spacers between the teal shell pieces and round beads stretched long enough for a new necklace.

The spiral in the green necklace wire is a happy accident.

I was pulling the teal cord as taut as I could before crimping the ends and didn’t realize yanking the cord through such small holes would act like a blade on curling ribbon.

But in the end, I think it’s winning.

so long, stylish woman

So long, Mama Africa, who made this Xhosa wedding song famous, and rocked long leopard print and glorious South African dresses and jewelry.

And Miriam Makeba sometimes was the lady voice with Paul Simon on his Graceland song, Under African Skies.

Today I am listening to music online nonstop because the small-minded banter on the job is more than I can stand. And due to Makeba’s sad passing this morning, the options are plentiful.

A friend is about to take his annual vacation with his four siblings to South Africa. Let’s hope he reports back well of the massive mourning for Makeba, who stood up hard against Apartheid.

I include this clip, too, since I think I have a chunk of the fabric that made her dress.