Archive for the ‘ Thrifted it ’ Category

How to… shorten blouse sleeves???

black blouse beforeWhat a winning little blouse, all black and ruffled and wrinkle-proof. The lightweight polyester-blended fabric will be great once the Thaw comes. The cuffs are ornate and adorable. The front has black-on-black stitched detail.

Except it’s hardly little.

I’m not teeny, but I’m not this unshapely, either, so I wanted to find a way to rock this in spring. Thanks to the Joann for having a sale on cone thread, and now I have enough black cones to run this thrifted little guy through the serger.

black blouse cuffsThis blouse needs its sides pulled in, and the sleeves yanked up rather than hemmed, so the lovely cuff detail remains. Tightening the sides will require resetting the sleeves anyway so the shoulders don’t droop. I think I’ll puff them, since there’ll be plenty of fabric to do so. More to come. Work has limited not only my free time but my attention span to deal with proper sewing.


pink @ fitzfab @ ebay

I don’t do pink. Period. Don’t like it. Don’t like what it means. Yet I find the most fabulous dresses that happen to be pink. Here’s the latest casualty, now featured on fitzfab on ebay:

hot pink jackie-o dress

Look at that Jackie-O collar! And the charming diamond shape sewn into the simple front! You can almost feel the wool boucle fabric. And here’s the heartbreaker, a sassy side pleat fastened with covered buttons. I love it:

hot pink jackie-o dress - detail

And I hate the pink. I think, “Dye that sucker. Dye it darker and enjoy it. Dye it anything darker.”

One time in high school I bought an amazing orange dress. Bias-cut long a-line skirt. The top had frog closurs and a keyhole over the bosom. H-O-T, except for the orange which in HS I also wasn’t into. Tried to dip it red. Failed miserably. Ruined the poor little dress. Guess it’d dye black now if I tried harder and with the patience and budget of an older woman. But that stunner of a dress left me scarred and scared to dye again. Asked the refashioning ladies what to do in terms of dye. Whatever they decide I will respect.

Meanwhile, I wave good-bye to Jackie-O in hot pink. Maybe she’ll finance something in a darker shade of purple.

fitzfab @ ebay

Posted and reposted on ebay today during the fee sale. Few sweater dresses too fabulous to go unworn, and cute, cute thrifted dresses that just aren’t me. I’m having doubts about selling this one — can’t say I wear a lot of shirtdresses, but this one comes with a lot of cheek:

red shirtdress

Last time I sold a batch of stuff, these poor little thrifted Bill Blass jeans piped in white were left over. They wanted to be worn by me, with their dark, dark color and fabulous trim details of silver tags and embroidery, but they were just sloppy long and the legs were too big. Just begged to be retooled. Thanks to pop’s serger, I now wear ’em proud.

So I guess ebay will decide whether the red dress sells or goes back into the closet to await spring weather.

How to… flip the sleeves on a baggy sweater

Beautiful chocolate cashmere sweater with Banana R. label, thrifted at Chicago’s best Salvy for $.90. Special mister declared it too girly for him. I’m cuter than shapeless brown, so I declared it too frumpy for me. However, the lovely cashmere and dark color were gorgeous and worth salvaging. So I decided to alter the heck out of it until I liked the way it fit. Once I had it pinned, I was confused about what to do with the sleeves, since the shoulders were too broad for me. It was my mister who came up with the solution — flip the sleeves so the kimono style contrasts with the fitted bodice.

sweater After

Here I am, wearing the Before, inside out.


But before you flip it inside out and pin it up, carefully cut the shoulder seam holding on the sleeves.

sweater 2-cut shoulder seam

Then carefully cut off the ribbed cuffs.

sweater cuff

Now put on the sweater body inside out and pin it up to fit as you like. I started with my waist measurement and pretty much drew straight lines up to the sleeve line and down to the bottom. I wanted a snug fit. Baste your chalk lines, try the thing back on and then sew. Serge, or use a long narrow zig zag so you don’t pucker the stretch knit. Worst case, slide a strip of newspaper under the seam to prevent the fabric from stretching, the tear it right off after sewing.

sweater sew bodice

**With sweaters, try to sew before cutting any fabric; the knit is less likely to unravel. Once you like the fit, trim away the seam allowance. Finish the edges as you like; I did a wider zig zag close to the original allowance.

Grab ahold of one excised sleeve. Matching the existing seams and right sides facing each other, pin the skinny end of the sleeve to the armhole. Gently stretch the sleeve to fit if necessary. Baste, fit and sew it. Trim the allowances as above.

sweater sew sleeve in

Trim the bottom edge of the sleeve , fold or roll it under, and sew as unobtrusively as you can to hem it fast. I made facings from the bits I chopped off while tightening the bodice — trimmed off the existing seam and sliced each bit down the middle so I had a 1-1.5″ strip. Guess you could also use pretty ribbon or something to face the edges.

sweater make facing

Two strips faced the side seams, and the cut off edges became a facing for the flat edge that nearly covers my hand.

sweater finished facing

Oi! Cute cashmere with the kind of sass that’ll go anywhere.

sweater after sides

Still thinking about scooping out the neck… someday.


The pink wool Jantzen halter suit

I hate Chicago’s western suburbs. Sadly, this is where I work several days a week. Can’t walk anywhere, and many of the people there think they’re pretty darned entitled. I say “darned” because I’ve just given up profanity for Lent. Monday was a terrible day for many reasons, among which I couldn’t walk to the strip mall next to my office building because there are zero sidewalks. Had to drive the .12 miles to Trader Joe’s for a few bottles of wine.

All that aside, I took myself to the only Salvation Army I know out there in the DuPa, which is somewhere along Roosevelt Road. Struck gold there. White roller skates. Various cashmere sweaters. Jumpsuits. A vintage pink Jantzen wool bathing suit with a halter top. A red angora hat with a button on the top. A black velvet vintage hat w feather.

Some of this is going straight into my wardrobe. Some will have work done before becoming part of the daily repertoire- the light green sweater dress will have to be darkened, beaded purple cashmere sweater taken in a bit. The rest is destined for fitzfab @ eBay as soon as I pull my act together to post it all.

Oy, up on the blogs now

Writing about facts all the time for money made me hesitate to write for free in my spare time about my inner workings. Then 2002 called and told me to go home already; I was beginning to stink.

Writing all the time for money using my real name and accurate facts and news judgment and deadly serious (Important) topics seemed so different from spouting off about the other things I love: public records, lady turtles, growing stuff, making stuff, cooking pots of stuff, eschewing squareness and blatant consumerism, yard sales, Chicago, the Iladelph, foiled corruption, shaking it and leopard printed anything. And by different, I mean not at all the same, maybe in an OK way.

Now I get an outlet for The Fluff I’d die before writing about professionally but which occupies a lot of my brain. There’s time and space for Fluff, of course. There’s just also Important News that can be boring to sit through, but which makes for job that America needs and I kind of like. It’s that Making News Relevant, that Sitting in Court All Morning to Tell You How Many Years the Crook Got, that Digging Through Mountains of Forms and Numbers that I like a lot. It’s translating those languages for you, the taxpayer, that gets me out of bed every morning.

i grew cotton

Enough of that already and onto the Cotton I Grew Last Summer, the little cotton plant my Mister gave me as kudos for landing a new job.