Archive for March, 2009

Lousy March

I am putting away the turtlenecks.

Enough already.

I leave for Philadelphia Saturday morning for the weekend, and when I come back, I don’t want to deal with the heaviest winter woolies.

So there. I don’t mean the sweaters, or the flannel PJs. The down jacket remains a wardrobe staple. It’s only March, for crying out loud.

But the turtlenecks are going away until the days are shorter than they are long.

I had popped into a “new” thrift on my way back from an assignment, since it was lunchtime and I’d had my eye on the spot a while. Had a red vintage Hawaiian dress in hand and red slippers with fur pom poms on the toes when the phone rang. Assignment desk calling with a new job to run out on.

Big news for my neck of the woods. So much for that.

In the end, I have a closet so full already of things selling on the etsy, and stuff waiting for little fixes.

A la — waiting to become a cap sleeved tunic
sweater-black mesh

And this one you already know about
Metallic brocade skirt before

And this one, the seams cut so it’s ready to work as fabric for another top—
top leopard-cut for fabric 

Also this silk sweater set, still too big—
red silk sweater set before

Not to mention the stuff in a bin under the bed I haven’t decided about – whether to sell or adjust. All for the best, really.

how to…cheat a hem

You can shorten a pant hem by unpicking the existing hem, measuring, cutting, folding pinning… or you can sometimes cheat like this. This little technique works on fabrics that aren’t too heavy – then you end up with too much bulk. I used it the other night on the thrifted gray flannel babies you see below. 

Here, you pin, stitch, press and tack. 

1. First make sure this’ll work. So fold the existing hem up and check the length. If it does, you can rock the shortcut. If not – if you need to shorten less – you’ll have to go the long way.

pants gray

2. Fold the hem under. Then fold the whole thing up to the outside. Flatten the original hem so it’s a hem-length away from the folded edge. Pin.

pants gray

3. Stitch along the finished edge of the original hem, which should be about halfway between the original hem and the fold.

pants gray

4. Fold over. Press.

pants gray

5. Pin the new hem down flat.

pants gray

6. Tack it with the machine or by hand.


Help me…turn this skirt into a top

This skirt is fun, thank you, Markham half-price thrift.

Metallic brocade skirt before

It’s a metallic multicolored brocade knit with a gold embroidered band at the bottom. There’s no slit, there’s just elastic at the waist and the whole thing is just too big for me.

I don’t want to wear it as a skirt. I want to transform this little guy into a top, keeping the bottom band intact and wearing it around my hips. Thought about pulling out the elastic and sewing/cutting appropriately to end up with cap sleeves. Tube top isn’t an option. I don’t like to be naked. And if I have sleeves on, I’ll happily don the over-the-top fabric.

Any suggestions? Any pattern in mind?

Refitting = decluttering

I can’t stand the clutter in my apartment and closet anymore! It’s been dragging me down and occupying more mental energy than it is worth. Plus it’s that time of year in Chicago where I’m itching to put on more than my winter black turtleneck and dark cords.

Of course, I’m all supposed to be working on this other little project, but I’ve reached a point where I need another set of hands. And I’m too germy tonight to ask her, new mama of a teeny baby, to risk infection.


So this eve, I’m home with Svengoolietonight showing The Blob starring Steve McQueen and a sweet Burt Bacharach theme song all from 1958 — and the sewing machine, wrapping up all those little oddball repairs and fixes that have rendered so much clothing a total drag to wear.

This little sheer purple thrifted blouse had its ugly old button stuck on by the previous owner for ornamental purposes replaced with a cutie little flowered one.

Purple blouse w ugly button

Purple blouse after close

Purple blouse front

It’s really see through and needs its own proper slip to wear underneath. I’ll table that for the next time SvenG shoes the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Purple blouse after

Some gray flannel pants needed a good hem. I shortened them with a little cheat technique I’ll post soon.

Gray pants hem

I started taking in a black top with some gold and purple irises on the front. Started pinning in some darts in the back to give the thing some shape. Then I thought about maybe just posting the thing on etsy as is.

top purple iris

Iris shirt during pin darts

And some black knit thrifted pants that were too big got taken in by the rear seam. Not a glamorous enough repair to photograph.

Must say that Svengoolie makes for excellent company.


I didn’t grow up here with him on Saturday nights. In Philadelphia, we had a similar cheeseball horror show called Saturday Night Dead featuring a busty hostess called Stella. Only Svengoolie has better songs than I remember on SND. And he starts at like 9 p.m. instead of 1 a.m.

Here’s hoping somebody ponies up the cash for the glow-in-the-dark Svengoolie t-shirt in time for my birthday. Though I think I’ve blown my t-shirt karma around here in a stack of boxy shirts destined for refashions but still sitting in the pile.

Svengoolie opening