Archive for June, 2009

A top from a skirt!

I had one of these:

skirt metallic brocade before

Remember? I didn’t want a shiny tush.

So now I have one of these:

skirt to top after
Here’s how to make a top from a straight skirt.

Unpick the elastic waist. Remove the side hanger loops. Open out the waistband casing.

skirt to top refashion

Unpick the skirt’s side seams far enough to comfortably fit your arms, the same distance on both sides.

skirt to top refashion

Turn the skirt inside out. Press down the seam allowances to sew — don’t open them out. I used a long stitch set to wide zig zag.

With the skirt still inside out, pin a few inches at the top of what used to be the waist. These are about to become your shoulder seams. Keep fitting and pinning until you like the way it looks and fits.

skirt to top refashion

skirt to top refashion shoulders

Stitch both sides.

Press down the seam allowance at the neck, what used to be the waist, between the shoulder seams. Stitch both sides or finish as you like.

I used a knit skirt with a little stretch so the top fits over my head. You could also put in a keyhole closure in the back if you need to get the thing over your noggin. I might try that on the next one.

In the end, since the skirt had some curves in the sides to accommodate hips, I ended up straightening the side seams a bit so the thing wouldn’t poof out.

skirt to top refashion

skirt to top after

Dresses make good presents, right?

dress hawaiian front close

I owe my sister-in-law a birthday present and had bought her this vintage Hawaiian dress to wear at my mom’s beach house, where us ladies like to roam the joint in muu-muus. That’s a true story. Mine’s green. Sister’s is red and white, our mom’s is leopard print.

dress hawaiian

SIL, who loves pink, didn’t have one, so I thought about hemming the original maxidress a little to fit her. It’s really good heavy fabric and has this great scoop back.

dress hawaiian back close 


What if she and her 4-year-old had the same dress? What if I hemmed the thing to the knee, a length she’s more likely to actually wear, and use the *good* foot of fabric at the bottom to make a dress for my niece?

I pulled out my little girl patterns and found a handful of possibilities for my niece.

Ruby dress patterns

The halter patterns on the left are very summer, but I think in the spirit of the muu-muu, I’m going with the dress on the right, the one with the ruffled skirt. I think it’ll fit the fabric I have better, too.

Ruby pattern 1

Thoughts while I hem the original dress? 4-year-olds still like to match their moms, right?

How to… slim a sweater

I’m not scared to alter sweaters anymore, having practiced a bunch now, and I’m not even using a serger.

Here’s how to do a sleeveless shell I just refashioned from a giant silk sweater set:

Try the thing on. Measure how much needs to come in on both sides. Pin it up.

sweater set-red silk refashion

Line up the underarms and the bottom edge when pinning, ok? Stitch, using a good zig zag.

sweater set-red silk refashion

Trim close to the seam. I like to stitch the same way again finish the edges.

sweater set-red silk refashion

For the outer cardigan, or any sweater with sleeves, you do the sides first, then the sleeves. The amount you trim off the sleeves will likely taper as you get closer to the wrist.

sweater set-red silk refashion

Silk sweater set only cuter

I bought this silk sweater set at the Salvy even though at a 1X, it was too big.

red silk sweater set before

red silk sweater set shell before

The silk was lovely, the muted red color is fantastic and sweater sets are in fact perfect for my work. Also, the bigger size meant the whole thing was longer than normal. And I’ve bought August Silk sweaters before – they last forever if you don’t dry the hell out of them.

red silk sweater set tag

Seemed like a worthwhile refashion.

Of course it took a while to get to fixing it. Pathetic: what an easy fix! Used the same technique as this purple sweater

Pulled in the sides. That’s it. Go see the how-to if you like.

sweater set-red silk refashion

The wide neck turned into de facto cap sleeves so I don’t need the top layer in the office.

sweater set-red silk refashion

Thinking now about adding ruffles using the scraps I cut off the sides and this trusty how-to.

Making… decay?

I have been itching for a compost pile for quite some time. Like a couple of years. I grow all kinds of crap year-round.

And I hate waste, shy from throwing *anything* away and also despise stinky garbage taking up the whole alley. Landfills are sad enough without junking ’em up. Also, buying dirt is stupid. You know.

When you share a yard, though, it’s hard to make your neighbors deal with a pile of rotting food and leaves no matter how much they’re into gardening (which they are). Tried a quiet depressed corner of the new yard, but a soggy cantaloupe was my own final straw. Leaving organic decay out in the open is Just Not Done. Plus, it was drawing over rats from the impromptu frat house on our other side.

So I finally got around to making this urban composter courtesy of You Grow Girl. Mister was pitching a fit about the scraps languishing and growing fuzz on the kitchen counter, even in this cutely countertop composter we got for our wedding.

counter composter

Sadly all I needed to do was get my hands on a tub, an opaque tub with a lid on it.

compost bin

Thanks, Menard’s, for a $3.33 sale last week on a blue plastic tub with lid. Believe it or not, the thing’s made in the U.S.A. Dug out the drill, and within about 10 minutes, I was in business.
compost bin lid all drilled
With two reporters in the house, there’s newspaper galore lying around. And we cook a ton, so there’s lots of scraps, too.

inside the compost bin

All my plant clippings, all the junk that falls off the trees in the neighborhood, all the coffee grounds that otherwise just end up in the stinky alley garbage, and all the scraps from beautiful summer produce will now make my growing richer.

I feel so much better about getting rid of things when I know they’ll be useful and not wasted.