Posts Tagged ‘ wardrobe refashion ’

Bound: purple sweater dress

Bound and ready to go.

scoop neck dress done

The scoop neck came out great.

purple sweater dress scoop neck

The only think I don’t love is the buttons.

buttons i don't love

Will give them a run, maybe change them out after wearing.

Bias binding strips pinned right on.

purple sweater dress bindings pinned

Sewed right on, about 3/8 inch from the edge, with a little zigzag.

purple sweater dress bindings sewn

Trimmed and voila!

A T-shirt from…pants?!

Thrilled with the first T-shirt success, I started thinking. And remembered these red velour pants handed down from the same cousin who gave me this gem.

The seams could have been a problem…

pants red velour

But the fabric is so lustrous and has a little stretch…


…so the lines could go down the middle of a T-shirt, right?

Yup. Here’s a long fitted T-shirt made from a pair of secondhand velour pants.


The lines came out straight down the back, too.


I just can’t quite get the hand of the neck band.


DIY T-shirt from a turtleneck

The big kids’ T-shirt pattern I bought (the one w the hoodie) fits me after all. Looked like it was going to be a tight squeeze, but the final dimensions are a touch bigger than listed on the pattern. And I don’t mean the size dimensions, either, I mean the finished garment ones.



Banged out a sample Saturday from a super giant ladies’ top whose leopard I liked. Thrifted that thing at least a year ago for like $1, thinking there’d be an easy way to suck it in. I swore I took a picture when I got it. Alas.


Turns out there’s no redeeming a mock turtle. Cut that sucker up and lined up the pattern pieces.




The only little glitch was that I couldn’t quite get the long raglan sleeves cut from the top’s standard sleeves. So I made short sleeves instead.

Sewed it all up pretty quickly, zig-zag style.


top-leopard-knit-hem pinned


(I got lazy and didn’t pin enough. Crooked hem serves me right.)
top-leopard-knit-lazy pinning

Sweet! Ok, I still need to work on necks, getting the V point in the binding just right.

top-leopard-neck 1st try

But otherwise, it worked so well, I can’t get raglan T-shirts out of my head.

Am thinking of the many possibilities to be made from two shirts, or one shirt plus fabric – plus small scraps, really.

Or pants?

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


Get out of Jail

Time to play this card. I bought a few new things from a retail store. The Filene’s Basement near my job is closing, and the sales are amazing. I confess I got sent there to talk to shoppers about how they were resisting or succumbing to going-out-of-business sales, and while in the shoe department, fell in love. 

So I walked out with black leather shoes with heels I’ve coveted that at $35 are a whole digit less than the Nordstrom originals. A WHOLE DIGIT. Like a zero on the end. The teal was cute but impractical. You can imagine my excitement at spotting these.  

New leather shoes

New leather shoes

A swingy square neck black knit dress with inbetween sleeves in year-round weight that was $6 when all the discounts kicked in

New black knit dress

Also various brand-name underwear. Truth is, I might go back for more.

Though I have to put my card down, there’s no guilt for this girl. Because I still thought like a Refashioner while choosing these few things. They’re well-made and only cost so little because the store is liquidating. All three are needs – the shoes will go to work, the dress is super versatile, underwear speaks for itself – and all three are beyond my skill set as a crafter. 

Sure, I could focus on sewing knits, but  I’ve decided to sew my own wedding dress (more to come on that process), and am making that happen as we speak, so time for any other sewing just doesn’t exist.

In fact, my big refashion this week is a pair of brown leather boots that needed a tiny adjustment to be comfortable again. A lousy $1.35 is all it took. How lazy have I been, really?

You ready for this one?



How to…make one maternity T out of two Ts

mama shirt-after

This surgery makes a cute maternity top with hip sash from a small plain T-shirt and a giant logo-printed shirt. You use the logo shirt as a sort of pocket for the big belly.

Make sure the top T-shirt fits the top of your lady’s frame. mama shirt-base
Measure where the belly starts to protrude (right under the bosom) and mark with chalk. Carefully cut across the front (only the front) of the shirt. To open the sides up, measure about an inch away from the T’s side seam on the front and cut.

Figure out where you want the logo to go.
mama shirt-logo
Cut across the giant T right below the arms, and slice up the back to open up the fabric. Fit the logo into the front and trim accordingly. The logo fabric should hang down below the hem of the plain T a few inches.   

Chop off the hem of the giant shirt. mama shirt-hem
If you have room, chop  off a few inches at the bottom of the giant shirt and put that fabric aside to reuse the finished hem.

Gather the logo. mama shirt-gather front
With a long basting stitch, baste the top of the logo piece and along the sides. Pin the center top of the logo piece to the center of the plain front. Pull the gathering threads until the it fits. Pin. Baste in place if you like.

Fit the sides. Pull the gathering threads on the sides of the logo piece, too, fitting the fabric along the base T’s sides. Pin. Baste if you like and sew into place. Sew the top, too. (I used a wide zigzag.) 

Finish the bottom. If you chopped off the hem of the giant T, pin roughly the center back of it to one side of the shirt. Pin along so you have a sort of sash at the bottom, easing so the sash ends up longer than the shirt. Remember the front of your new shirt is a lot bigger than the back. Stitch.


mama shirt-after

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.