Last month I told you about my “biggest refashion ever” . . . making a first communion dress from a wedding gown. It’s done! I would never attempt a tutorial, because every gown is different, but here is a summary of the steps that worked for me:
- I used the bodice from the Butterick 3350 pattern, cutting it from the gown train.
- I also used the Butterick 3350 sleeve, cutting it from the beaded top front of the gown.
- I was able to use the gown’s skirt (taken in at the side seams and shortened, of course) and preserve the back of the gown (including the original zipper!) by stitching it right onto the new bodice.
- I made a sash from the extra buttons going down the gown’s back through the train.
- Finally, I snipped the beads from the remaining remnants and handstitched them around the front neckline.
My only advice is to (1) spend quite awhile thinking, planning, and sketching before you start, (2) baste everything (and let your special little girl try it on!) before sewing anything permanently, and (3) keep every little bit of fabric and embellishment, because you might use it. Thank you for joining in my excitement over this once-in-a-lifetime project! P.S. I couldn’t resist using the “Radiance” effect from PicMonkey on the photo below. ♥
I am the VERY excited winner of the recent one-year blog anniversary giveaway by Linda (aka LubbyGirl) of the REmissionary! From a pair of jeans, Linda created this cute bag with two pockets on the front, a big pocket on the back, a zippered pocket and a snap pocket inside, and a tab and button closure . . . and I love the way she attaches the strap to the front on one side and the back on the other to make it lay perfectly flat against your body when you hang it over your shoulder. Linda doesn’t have an online shop yet, but I hope she opens one someday with her fun creations like this and this and this. She has also inspired me to start saving old jeans that family members no longer love so I can do some projects of my own. Besides collecting jeans, I’ve been collecting links from my blogging friends! If you have a jeans refashion/upcycle project that I don’t have on my list yet, would you be kind enough to put a link in the comments so I can add it? Thank you! And thank you to Linda for the lovely gift! ♥
This beautiful bride, Christin, now has an amazing 8-year-old daughter, Allyson, and I’ll be transforming Christin’s wedding gown into Allyson’s First Communion dress!
Allyson chose Butterick 3350 with sleeves, scalloped neckline, and straight hem.
I’ll admit I’m a tiny bit nervous about working with and on two such important dresses, but I’m excited about it, too!
And I have a cheerleader! My dear friend Faye transformed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress into the stunning First Communion dress below for her adorable granddaughter, and she’s only a phone call away if I need advice and encouragement.
Watch for the big reveal in April . . . and wish me luck! ♥
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday! When I taught first grade, we always celebrated by wearing Dr. Seuss T-shirts, cooking green eggs and ham in the classroom, and reading all the kids’ favorite DS books. But now that I’ve moved on to a different career, I decided to use this well-loved T-shirt for my next “What can you make with a . . .” refashion.
- First, I used the bottom of the shirt for the no-sew spaghetti t-shirt scarf that I shared last month.
- Next, I used the “Sam’s Ham” graphic and back for a pillow (which is now on its way to some sweet little guys in Florida along with a copy of the matching book). I love that the T-shirt had a Dr. Seuss label that I could stitch into the side seam of the pillow!
- The fabric from the shoulders became a travel neck pillow with “Ahh . . .” embroidered for a-la-mode. (You’ll find a fabulous tutorial at The Cottage Home!)
- The rest of the scraps were stitched together into a rectangle and paired with a colorful remnant to make a little mat to put under a centerpiece or plant.
- Oh, and did you know that a t-shirt neckband makes a perfect no-sew headband for around the house or working out??? Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! ♥
I got this bright red, gently-used sweater along with a couple of other items for free at a consignment store with a Groupon gift certificate! It was too wide and too short and stretched out here and there, so I immediately knew it was going to become my next What can you make with a . . . project.
First, I made the heart mini-pillows I shared in this post. Then I made the big sweater pillow I shared in this post. After that, I made a business card/gift card/credit card/reward card case with floral pockets and a vintage earring button closure (click here for a great tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard) and three flower brooches with vintage earring centers. The neck and hem ribbing I hadn’t used up as ruffles on the big pillow will be package wraps (picture a small box wrapped in kraft paper with these pretty red buttoned bands stretched around them). Finally, I cut all the little bits into triangles and made bunting by stitching them onto the fun button-design ribbon I recently bought from Lizzie Rose Jewelry.
Another fun haul! ♥
I recently received a bag of vintage sweaters for pillow making, and I just fell in love with this fun print. I used everything from the armholes down, leaving the zipper in the middle for a-la-mode, stitched, and stuffed. It still has the side-seam pockets, too! I think I’ll give it as a birthday or Christmas present and tuck a gift card in the pocket. Then the recipient can use the pockets for . . . hmmm . . . the TV remote? Earphones? Tissues for a sad movie? Or . . . M&M’s??? (OK, I’m still thinking about chocolate after that last post!) ♥
In the spirit of Valentine week’s focus on pink and red . . . how cute is this??? It’s a little girl’s bag upcycled from a little girl’s smocked dress that will make a perfect gift for a little girl in my family! You can see creations like this one at my blogging friend Vicky’s Etsy shop called Vicky Myers Creations, including drawstring bags, corsage bags, messenger bags, shoulder bags, bucket bags, and knitting needle cases. As Vicky describes her business, “I love making new items out of recycled materials, upcycling fabric remnants and old clothes into new bags. Using many textures, colours, and patterns, I create unique handmade bags. Each bag has a label describing where the fabric has been sourced.” Please check out Vicky’s blog, her shop, and her FB page from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Thank you for my adorable purchase, Vicky! ♥
Last week I had a work-related training meeting in NYC. By the time I came home to Kansas I’d been in four planes, one train, and numerous cars and cabs, including a four-hour airport layover. Luckily, I’d brought along a project that hardly took up any space in my bag . . . hand-stitching little hearts made from the sleeve of an old red sweater. (If you predict a What Can You Make With A . . .? post coming up, you’re right!) I cut the shapes at home using a small cookie cutter for a template, then joined each pair together with a blanket stitch on my travels, leaving a small opening for stuffing and closing when I returned. What will I do with them? So far I’ve thought of:
- adding a pin to the back for a Valentine brooch,
- tying them onto baker’s twine for gift-wrapping,
- displaying them in a pink heart-shaped bowl,
- sewing or tying them onto a small wreath,
- sewing them onto a pillow, and
- stringing them together for garland.
Your ideas are welcome! ♥
My sweet daughter-in-law Christin is getting SO crafty! She made this beautiful blue no-sew spaghetti T-shirt scarf for me after seeing a how-to video on TV. I LOVE it! And, of course, I HAD to figure out how to make one myself! I found a tutorial on Margo Is Crafty that matched it perfectly, and believe it or not I finished it in TEN . . . yes TEN minutes! If you have old or extra T-shirts lying around, try this! And if you’ve already posted a tutorial for a T-shirt scarf, will you please comment with a link so I can add it below? I know there are lots of styles and techniques out there that will be fun to try. Thank you! P.S. Christin used pinking shears to cut her strips to add extra texture, and I used my regular sewing shears. I love it both ways! ♥
Other T-Shirt Scarf Links:
My blogging friend Sheri of Awesome Sauce and Asshattery was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of her new book Confessions of a Refashionista: Life on the Zig Zag. Sheri autographs the books AND includes an item to refashion to get you started! My gift was a beautiful thrifted scarf, which Sheri suggested making into a scarfigan (page 6), crisscross vest (page 63), infinity scarf (page 64), or even a new neckline or sleeves for a shirt (pages 44 and 58). How cool is THAT??? You can read all about her book (and see fun photos of Sheri!) in this post . . . but here are some of my favorite parts:
- You can learn to refashion/redesign/embellish shirts, pants, shrugs, skirts, and flip-flops and make amazing accessories like ruffled flowers, scarves, wristlets, and bangle bracelets.
- You can learn to make a dress form from duct tape, sleeves from socks and aprons, a boho blouse from a vintage nightgown, a skirt from a tablecloth, and an amazing tunic from a BEDSHEET!
- Do you have neckties . . . doilies . . . dishtowels . . . lace? You’ll use them in amazing new ways!
- You’ll even learn to make an instant, no-sew skirt from a man’s shirt!
You can read a review of Sheri’s book at Designers Against AIDS (where Sheri donates a portion of each sale) and purchase Sheri’s book at Sew Much Fun or Dawanda. Oh, and Sheri has another store, too: Mensch T’s. And remember that you can find Sheri’s book anytime in my Shop Love! page above. THANK YOU, Sheri! ♥
No, I didn’t refashion my BFF (really my sister Susan!) . . . I love her just the way she is! But I DID help her turn something beautiful but too-big into something fun and fashionable. This Eddie Bauer dress is a gorgeous color with a velvety touch and drapey, travel-friendly fabric. But . . . it went almost to Susan’s ankles (even though she’s 5’10″ like me), was too big around the middle, and left her neck out in the cold. To move it to the front of Susan’s closet, I:
(1) removed the skirt from the bodice,
(2) widened the two front and back darts by 1/2 inch each and did the same with the two front and back seams of the gored skirt,
(3) sewed the skirt and bodice back together,
(4) shortened the skirt by a whopping 17 inches and rehemmed, and
(5) made an infinity scarf from the fabric I cut off by reading several different tutorials I’d bookmarked and adapting them to the size and shape of the fabric I had to work with.
I think it will be super-cute with tights and boots this winter. Enjoy, Susan! ♥
Awhile back I wrote a post about my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy and how she inspired me to do the Good Neighbor Award project and refashion for my one year blog anniversary. Laura has been traveling, and I’ve been sewing, but she’s home, and I’m finished . . . so today is the reveal! Laura, your coat is now on my “What Can You Make With A . . .” page, and your package is in the mail! I was able to make:
- A pillow . . . of course!
- A fabric flower with beads from a vintage earring in the center
- A coffee cup cozy
- A tissue cozy (Thank you, Little Bit Funky!)
- Two jacket-sleeve notecard pouches
- A Chanel pouch makeover
- An embroidery-hoop wall hanging with Laura’s blog name
- A framed fabric-under-glass for writing notes, menus, or welcome messages for guests
- A garment dust jacket for one of Laura’s lovely outfits (Thank you, Schlosser Designs!)
- A tote bag with a jacket pocket on each side and a braided leather belt handle
- And, last but not least, all the leftover bits made into mini-bunting! ♥
As you know, I’ve been having tons of fun with my “What Can You Make With A . . .” series (see page in header), so I MUST share who inspired me to offer a “makeover” for my one year blog anniversary prize! Following one of my posts, I had the following comment conversation with my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy:
Laura: Okay, that’s it. I can’t take it anymore. Either you are going to have to adopt me or I am sending you all my old clothes so you can turn them in to cool new things. Of course you’ll have to send the new things back to me.
Me: Actually, now I want to do that!!! Because you have such a beautiful wardrobe, I can only imagine what fun I’d have! Send me an item you no longer wear . . . and I’ll work my magic and mail it back to you, and we can both blog about it. Okay???
Laura: Seriously?! That is so cool! Now I will be up all night thinking about what I can send…but I have a thought. I’ll email you tomorrow. I’m soooo excited!!
Me: Yay!!! Can’t wait!
So, I thought if Laura would think this was fun, maybe someone else would, too. Thank you, Laura! And check out the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G jacket Laura sent (and click on the photo to see the beautiful embroidery!) . . . all the way from Australia to Kansas, USA! I’ll be posting on it sometime in November . . . stay tuned! ♥
For my one year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world whom you would like to have as next-door neighbors . . . and to tell why. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came in from all around the world! The blogger with the MOST nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?,” “What can you make with a lace tank?,” and “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. The winner was Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! Kelly said, “After the shock wore off I ran to my closet to decide what I was going to send. I chose a little sundress that has a lot of happy memories attached to it, but now that I’m a mama seems a little, well…SHORT. I know that I will never wear it again, so I am very excited to send it off!” So . . .today is the big reveal! In addition, this project will have a permanent home on the “What Can You Make With A . . .” page on my header.
- I couldn’t resist using the bottom of the sundress with its lacy underskirt for another dress . . . this time for Kelly’s adorable daughter Annabelle! A bright pink T-shirt from Target made the perfect top. (Click here and here for more little girl’s T-shirt dress ideas.)
- The zippered back of the sundress was perfect for the back of a pillow cover, and I added the pretty label and butterfly that I snipped from the inside neckline. The pillow front is a combination of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, a vintage hanky, pale pink lace, and lime-green embroidery.
- The bodice of the sundress is now a jewelry pouch! The ribbons form the casings, and the dress straps are the strings. The lining of the pouch is made from the dress lining for a soft, shiny finish.
- With seven circles of fabric, three stacked buttons, and a bit more of the lace from the bottom of the sundress, I made a fabric flower to pin onto a jacket, hat, or headband.
- A small rectangle of dress fabric and T-shirt fabric along with a bit of green dotted fabric and some buttons and ribbon were just the right ingredients for a Christmas mini-pillow ornament.
- While pondering Kelly’s blog name, I thought of embroidering three C’s onto a bit of fabric and framing it. Suddenly I thought, “Hmm . . . if the Scrabble letter C is worth 3 points, I could use that instead.” I ran to look it up, and . . . it is! I KNOW Kelly didn’t choose “Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons” based on this fact . . . but I was excited! After several experiments, I ended up with a collage of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, and a paper Scrabble tile in a hot pink frame. (The back of the frame is also magnetized for a frig or file cabinet.)
- Finally, I was down to a small pile of random scraps. Not ready to give up quite yet, I decoupaged them onto a plastic bangle bracelet.
Done! Kelly . . . your package is in the mail! ♥
This is my third “What Can You Make With A . . .?” blog post, so maybe I’ve inadvertently started a new series! The first remake was a flannel shirt and the second was a lace tank. This time, my sweet husband Dave donated an old polo shirt that he no longer loves, and as usual, I went a little crazy with it! I’ve already blogged about the scrabble tile pillows, which required four 8-inch squares from the front and back. Here’s what I did with the rest of the shirt:
(1) The sleeves are now fabric bins for my embroidery floss. After cutting them off the shirt, I simply evened up the sides and bottom, stitched, and made triangle corners at the bottom so they will stand up. (If you’re not sure how to do these corners, you can read about them on this tote or bracelet purse tutorial.) I previously had my floss in a large, pretty bowl, but I’ve been wanting to use the bowl elsewhere so this worked out perfectly!
(2) The ribbed collar and top-stitched hem are now a scissors pocket necklace to wear when I’m sewing or crafting, since I move from the sewing room to the dining table to the kitchen island and my scissors are always in the wrong place. (Does anyone else do that???) First, I cut the collar into thirds and used the parts with the finished ends for the bag and the other part for a flower. Then I used red buttons for the flower center and to attach the shirt-hem strap on both sides of the stitched-and-turned bag. I love it!
(3) Two random remnants are now a coffee cup cozy to take when I meet my friends for coffee or lunch. I used the cafe’s cardboard version as a pattern, cutting the fabric big enough to allow for seams, padded it with some soft quilt batting, and sewed in a red hairband at one end. After turning and pressing, I top-stitched in red and added a vintage red button. I can’t wait to try it out!
(4) One more random remnant became this pyramid bag I’ve been wanting to try from Craftser. The tutorial says it takes fifteen minutes. It does, and it’s super-cute, too!
Someday I’ll embroider over the frayed spots on the placket and pocket and reuse them along with the other small scraps I have left. When I do, I’ll be sure to share. ♥
When I found girls’ T-shirts on an amazing sale (like the one I used for this dress), I also bought a coral and a gray/white striped version to combine into another dress. The gather in the bodice is simply a skinny piece of elastic threaded between the seam attaching the top and bottom and the topstitching that keeps the seam edges facing down. I love these colors together, and I found some pretty orange buttons in my stash to use on the fabric flower a-la-mode. (Click photo for a larger view.) Plus, since I used the top of one T and the bottom of the other, I have more lovely remnants to use for a future project. I can’t wait to give this to a special little girl! ♥
I found a hot pink girl’s T-shirt on sale at Target and thought it would be lovely with some of my necktie fabrics! To make the skirt, I cut off the wide ends of the neckties, unstitched them, took off all the linings and interfacing, evened them out at the bottom, stitch them together, then stitched them onto the bottom of the T-shirt. I also made a mini fabric/button flower for a little a-la-mode. Here it is! (Click photo for larger view.) Oh, and here are a few other necktie projects to try! ♥
Necktie Ruffle Pillows
Necktie Flower Pillows
This was a perfectly nice flannel shirt . . . soft fabric, pretty colors. But it didn’t fit quite right, and I didn’t like the roll-tab sleeves, and even with the ribbon belt that came with it I felt more lumberjack than feminine when I wore it. So, rather than sticking it in the back of my closet, I took my scissors to it!
Vest: Remove the collar, button and buttonhole plackets, pockets, and sleeves. Roll under the raw edges (using lace seam binding for the armholes to help with the curve) and topstitch. Sew pretty buttons into the buttonholes on the pocket flaps. Cut the ribbon belt in half and stitch the pieces to the top fronts of the vest for a tie . . . great with a white T-shirt and button necklace!
Placket Pillow: Stitch the button placket to one piece of coordinating fabric and the buttonhole placket to another. Button the two pieces together to form the pillow front. Cut a piece from one of the shirt sleeves for the back. Sew right sides together, turn, and stuff.
Pocket Pillow: Sew the tabs from the sleeves to a piece of coordinating fabric, then stitch the pockets under them so that the buttonholes on the tabs fasten to the buttons on the pockets. Fold right sides together, sew, turn, and stuff.
Fabric Flower: Cut out seven circles from the sleeves and form them into a flower. Add a pretty button in the middle and a pin on the back.
Fabric Gift Bag: Gather the bottom of the collar and wrap it into a flower shape. Add buttons in the middle for a-la-mode. Then stitch up a simple bag with a handle from the shirt sleeve fabric and sew the flower on the front.
Mini Origami Lotus Bag: Add a square of coordinating fabric to a square of sleeve fabric plus a complementary color of craft string for pull cords . . . just like the larger version, but a perfect size for a tiny gift or piece of jewelry. ♥
I was in the mood for some new curtains for two skinny bedroom windows, and I had some fabric that would work perfectly . . . a tablecloth and napkins!
- Cut the tablecloth in half to make two curtains.
- Cut a strip off the bottom of each piece.
- Cut two of the napkins into fourths and sew the strips together to make long, narrow borders.
- Sew the napkin borders to the tablecloth fabrics.
- Hem all the unfinished edges.
- Turn the tops under and stitch to make casings for the curtain rods.
- Hem all the way around the two extra strips and use them for tie-backs.
- Make a matching pillow with the other two napkins.
I love the new look! ♥
Have you ever lost one earring from a favorite pair? That’s happened to me several times lately. I’ve been wanting to incorporate the saved mates into a different piece of jewelry, and I finally figured out how!
At a craft show last fall a lady had the ingenious idea of attaching the round part of a bracelet closure to a necklace latch that could clip onto any necklace chain or cord and then attaching charms to the bar part of the closure that slips into the circle. I bought the latch and one charm (with some miniature scissors, a flower, and two crystal beads), and I love it! So, to make my “lost earring necklace,” I removed the earring findings, bought another bracelet closure the same size, attached the pretty parts of the earrings to the bar with a little wire circle, and closed it up with my needle-nose pliers. Now I can exchange it out with my other charm whenever I like . . . YAY!
P.S. I’ve never made jewelry so I’m probably using all the wrong terms in this post, but hopefully the photos will help. ♥
I just finished six new necktie wristlets . . . so easy and fun! The only thing I changed from the original tutorial was to sew the decorative button on the front flap and use a snap closure rather a button/buttonhole. Now I can’t wait to give them to some special girls in the family! ♥
After using the skinny ends of some ties for necktie onesies and the fat ends for necktie wristlets, I still had the middle parts left . . . so what better way to use them than pillow ruffles! ♥
In between my writing projects and sewing/crafting obsession, I’m going through my closet piece by piece to update the items I don’t wear often . . . or ever! I loved the feather-weightiness and 3/4 sleeves on this plain white cardigan but not the high, round neckline, so first I changed it to a V-neck following the same technique I used here and here. Once that was done, I dumped all my trims on the bed and found a length of pastel lace that was exactly the right length for the front, with about 1/2 inch to fold under at the top and bottom. Next, I removed the buttons and machine-stitched the lace along the button line. Finally, I found a variety of buttons the right size to replace the original white ones. I love how feminine it looks . . . but I think I’ll try a bright trim and buttons on the next one. ♥
My latest refashion project involved a too-large and out-of-date Tencel denim jumper and a too-large-but-good-as-new jersey tank with a funky print from my closet archives.
First, I cut the bodice off the jumper. Then I took LOTS of fullness from the skirt by taking in the four seams, starting with one inch at the top and diagonaling down to four inches at the bottom. I also shortened it several inches. Yes, this jumper could have doubled as a parachute!!!
Next, I cut apart the tank to make a bodice and sleeves (using a sleeve pattern from another dress I’ve made). After sewing the sleeve seams, I sewed the sleeves to the bodice and then sewed the bodice to the skirt, matching side seams and the center front and back and stretching the bodice to fit. Finally, I stitched the sash that came with the jumper to the bodice/skirt seam most of the way around, leaving an opening for tying at the front. (Click on any photo in the gallery for a larger view.) I can’t wait to wear my new dress with my lime-green cardigan and Aunt Vitha’s fun bead necklace. ♥
I noticed two shirts in my closet archives that could be cousins . . . different fabrics, but very similar colors and patterns. The first shirt was there because it’s too short. (I could only wear it if I didn’t plan on raising my arms for any reason, which is a little silly!) The second shirt was VERY well-loved, but it had some snags thanks to a clothes-eating teacher’s desk I once had in my classroom, so I decided to sacrifice Shirt 2 to save Shirt 1. I love the result, and now I wear it all the time! It looks great with jeans, denim or khaki capris, or a brown skirt. Of course I had to make a flower out of the scraps, too, using one of Aunt Vitha’s (more sedate) earrings for the center. (Click on gallery for larger photos.) Thank you, Shirt 2! ♥
Adding on . . .
One of my favorite new blog discoveries is Refashion Co-op, which I discovered through another new favorite blog called Chic Envelopements, which gave me the courage to take my scissors to a brand-new sweater! Here’s the story. A year or so ago, I was on my way to the cash register at Kohl’s after buying a gift and saw a beautiful pastel pink sweater, light as a feather, in my size, on a sale rack for $10, and just had to have it. I was pretty pleased with myself . . . until I got home and tried it on. It had a too-high neck that looked dowdy buttoned all the way up and sloppy with the first couple of buttons undone, and the sleeves had tight bands at the wrist which made it feel hot and uncomfortable. So, I stuck it back in my closet until this past weekend. Taking a deep breath (and forgetting to take a “before” snapshot), I cut a diagonal line from just above the third button to the shoulder seam and around to the middle of the back just under the neck ribbing, and then I used the piece I’d cut off as a pattern for the other side. Next, I used an elbow-length-sleeved sweater I like as a pattern to cut off the lower arms. Then I rolled and pinned all the raw edges under and hand-stitched around them with tiny hem stitches. Success! It’s perfect with a white tank, brown belt, skirt, and ballet flats . . . plus I made a pin-on flower out of the ribbed cuffs I’d removed and brown embroidery floss and beads. Look out closet, here I come! ♥