REFASHION: ADDING COLOR AND A BUTTON

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I weeded out some old shirts from my packed closet, and I found two identical blue shirts. I don’t remember buying them, but I’m pretty sure the price had to be super low if I bought two. Nothing was wrong with the shirts — lovely blue color and my favorite V-neckline — but I didn’t wear them too much. So, both shirts went into my refashion bin. I pulled out one of the shirts and gave it to a friend who had spilled something on her shirt before an event. When she said the shirt was super comfy, I told her to keep it since I had an identical one anyway.

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Thanks to Pinterest, I found inspiration to refashion one of the shirts. Last Christmas, I received a vintage colorful scarf in a white elephant exchange. I fell in love with the bright colors and kept the scarf instead of throwing it out with a trashy romance novel also received. The refashion was pretty simple and would have been quick, but the movie “If I Stay” distracted me more than once.

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What I did:

  • cut the scarf in half and created a two-layer triangle
  • made a straight cut halfway up the back of the shirt
  • inserted triangle into the open space of the shirt
  • created a bow with colorful border from the scarf
  • threw away the bow because I didn’t like it
  • sewed a red button at the top of the triangle insert

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Nothing was really wrong the shirt to begin with, but I really love the addition of the vintage scarf and red button. And my friend still loves the other shirt and wears it whenever do lunch together. Win-win situation for both shirts. Yay!

REFASHION: SHORT GIRL SOLUTIONS

Cynthia Rowley Black Leaf Print Tops and Leggings

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Summer may be ending soon, but the warm weather will continue to linger for a few more months. With enough pretty shirts in my closet, I finally summed my courage and motivation to start sewing shorts. I’m really good at turning my husband’s old pants or jeans into shorts, but oddly enough, I only have three pairs of casual shorts and one pair of gym shorts I depend on.

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I wanted a photo of Kenai with my semi-destroyed sweatpants, but Sophie needed to be part of the picture.

During a recent weekend keeping an eye on three dogs, I had to turn a pair of sweatpants into shorts because I didn’t keep a closer eye on one of the dogs. *sigh* I love Kenai so much — he’s a huge Golden Retriever who has so much energy and love but he likes to chew on towels, socks, sweatpants, etc. I had my back turned when he cleverly started chewing on my sweatpants.

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Fortunately (?), he started chewing on the bottom leg of my sweatpants (which I took off to try on some shorts and left off when I worked on the shorts). When I realized I was running around without my sweatpants and Kenai was suspiciously quiet, I discovered the unexpected refashion project. I simply marked my preferred length for shorts and cut off the legs.

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So, now I have TWO pairs of super comfortable gym shorts that I can around in. Yay! But after rummaging through my refashion bins, I found two pairs of too small sweatpants I could refashion into shorts and make them my size. I started with the red pair and cut off the legs at my preferred length, and I inserted a new panel (from the cast off legs) on each side.

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From the cast off legs, I cut them open and sized it appropriately with an extra inch or two to add to the waistband. I cut open the side seams on the shorts, including the elastic waistband area, and added about two inches of new elastic to the original drawstrings. With the sewing machine, I simply sewed the panel sides to the shorts and then hand stitched the waistband closed.

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The red shorts turned out perfectly! They’re comfy and roomy, and I love them! I can’t wait to wear them all the time. I was just about to follow the same process with the green sweatpants, but when I tried them on, I realized why the sweatpants were in the refashion bin in the first place. Waistband was way too low for my preference. The sweatpants were tossed in a new bin: the donation bin.

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Next up is a pair of men’s red shorts I found for a $1. I love the color, but the shorts are too big and too long. The first step was sewing new side seams, whittling off a few inches on the waistband. The second step was sewing a new inseam because the crotch area was way too long and baggy on me. After that I cut off an inch or two from the legs and created and sewed down the cuff.

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Just like that I have another pair of casual shorts I can add to my small stack of shorts! Yay! I’m really happy with the color red because I have a few shirts with hints of red that will complement the shorts. Now with a few more gym shorts and casual shorts on hand, I just hope the warm weather sticks around for a little bit longer … just a little bit.

REFASHION: PEACH PERFECT

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I found this simple peach striped shirt in the men’s department for $3.50. The shirt fit just fine, but it was a little boring. Also, please ignore the the small red stain in the picture — I had a cherry popsicle earlier in the day.

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With a few fixes here and there, I added a touch of femininity to a men’s plain tee. I shortened the sleeves a few inches and added three white buttons on each sleeve. I was going to call it a day after that, but then I found some lace remnant in my stash and thought it would be perfect to create a V-neckline.

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Easy peasy. I love this shirt even more! The shirt may look “tunic” long, but it’s not. I dramatically shortened dress form and found it was much easier to work on it. So, shirts may look a little long in pictures, but really they’re not.

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REFASHION: SIDE TIE FIXES EVERYTHING

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Earlier this year, I refashioned a plain purple T-shirt by adding a super cute multi-color trim to the bottom. Well, I curved the bottom hem and then added the trim, and I really liked the refashion. But I felt the shirt was missing something — I couldn’t figure out what the shirt needed. To add matching trim to the sleeves or the neckline was too much, in my opinion. So, the shirt sat in my closet for months until I figured out the missing element.

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Even months later, I still stand by not adding more fabric to the sleeves neckline because that would look too matchy matchy (if that makes any sense), but what about a decorative side tie on the higher portion of the hem? The tie wouldn’t be used to cinch or tighten anything because the shirt fits just fine. The side tie would be purely decorative. I totally visualized the idea in my mind and believed my purple shirt could be saved. Yay for brilliant ideas and second chances!

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What I did:

  • snipped open about 6 inches on the higher hem side
  • created two narrow stripes with the same multi-color fabric (about 12 inches long)
  • sewed a strip to each side of the new opening
  • added a red button at the top of opening
  • added a small panel of fabric underneath the opening

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Love! That’s the first word that popped in my mind when I looked at the finished work in the mirror. I just needed to fix one more tiny little issue — the open space between the ties. When I move around in the shirt, I don’t want to feel self conscious about the gap so I decided to cover the gap with a knit remnant from my sewing stash. Beautiful! Now, I can show off my refashioned shirt at work! Woot!

REFASHION: FROM BAGGY TO SKINNY

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Sitting in front of my sewing machine feels good and bad. Good because I finally put away my painting supplies and returned my little sewing buddy to the table. Bad because my back shoulders feel the pain as I hunch over to inspect my work. Anyway, I needed to store my painting supplies because I will start teaching painting classes soon (think: sip and paint events).

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Plus, I started a new part-time job with a local company and I will again spend a few months at a local apple orchard, teaching young kids how apples grow and giving the stink eye to the volunteer parents who feel a field trip is a time to socialize with each other and not keep an eye on their child who is touching everything in sight.

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Anyway, I am in love with new part-time job because the dress code is jeans and a T-shirt! JEANS AND A T-SHIRT! If I can’t wear sweatpants to work then jeans is the next best thing. I have five or six pairs of jeans in my arsenal, but I know two pairs are too small and I should throw them into my refashion pile. I have another two pairs that are my favorite because the fit is perfection.

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And the last two pairs I’m too scared to try on, thinking they might be too small and fearing I’ve gained a few pounds. Instead of trying on the jeans, I went shopping instead — logical thinking, right? After rummaging through the clearance sections, I didn’t find any pair of jeans I liked but I found a pair of nice dress pants and pair of men’s drawstring khaki pants.

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The men’s drawstrings khaki pants were too long, too big, and too baggy on me. No problem. Fixing the baggy issue was very simple — I sewed a new inseam. Normally, I slim down jeans or pants by sewing new side seams but the crotch area was really low. The new inseam solved the baggy problem AND the low crotch area! Yay! A new hem to fit my short length was a piece of cake.

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I tried on the refashioned drawstring pants, and I love it except for one issue — the dumb side pockets. The pockets drastically poof out at the sides, making my hips look really wide and weird. Hmmmmmm. I took in the side seams around the hip area, which made a small difference but not enough. When I tried the pants on, I tugged at the pocket fabric and looked for solutions.

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Buttons. I think. Very carefully I folded some of the excess fabric and sewed the adjustment in place. The nips and tucks don’t look very pretty, but the buttons cover up the fixes nicely. I sewed two buttons on each side and would’ve sewed on more but couldn’t find more matching buttons after the fourth button. Even without more buttons, I still like my new pants and now I just need more appropriate work shirts.

REFASHION UPDATE: THE FINISHED KIMONO

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With a little more black bias tape, I decided to cover the rest of the raw edges because the process was more simple. A rolled hem is usually an easy method with normal fabric (flannel, cotton, etc.), but the scarf was gauzy-ish, thin, and unstable. A ton of swear words and my thin impatience would definitely be involved if I attempted the rolled hem. To avoid the frustration and curse words, bias tape was the best solution. I’m happy I took the route because the solid color breaks up the pattern. I love it!

REFASHION: TIE IT TOGETHER

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I apologize for posting so many refashions during the past few days, but the month of May is ending way too quickly for me. And I am determined to complete my Me-May-Made 2016 goal — finish five refashions. Unfortunately, procrastination and my upcoming schedule has forced me to work on the refashions as quickly as possible before June rolls around.

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A failed refashion with a casual shirt and complementing paisley tie led to a simple and wonderful refashion. On a lucky day at my favorite consignment store, I scoured the clearance racks (like normal), looking for the 80% off tags, and found some amazing stuff! When I walked toward the registers, I noticed a sign that read “extra 10% off clearance items.” Hello, savings! Instead of saving 80% off the original price tag, this girl scored 90% off! Woot woot!

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Two of the items in my haul included an oversized men’s T-shirt and blue dotted men’s tie. During my failed refashion, I had a brilliant idea to create a new neckline with a men’s tie. Previous refashions had me using bias tape, lace or the original neckline to create a v-neck. Why couldn’t I use a men’s tie?

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What I did:

  • created a v-neckline with the tie
  • pinned the tie to the shirt
  • carefully sewed the tie around the shirt
  • cut the fabric inside the tie v-neck
  • slimmed down the sleeves
  • shortened the shirt length a few inches
  • fiddled with the hem for hours (see explanation below photo)

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I shortened the shirt’s length by cutting a rounded edge, taking off a few inches. I used the remaining bit of the tie to the front edge but the dumb tie wasn’t long enough and it just looked weird. After picking off the tie, I looked at the shirt’s original hem that was cast off from the cut. Unfortunately, bits and pieces of the original hem couldn’t be reused, making the original hem about six inches shorter. Sad face. So, I turned to my favorite solution — bias tape. I ran black bias tape around the bottom edge and added a white button to the neckline and one side.

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I wanted to add a white button to the other side of the shirt, but I created a hole when I picked out the dumb tie binding. With the leftover black bias tape (the color looked much better than the dark blue bias tape), I made a cute little bow and sewed it over the hole. A white button in the middle of the bow would have added more cuteness but the black bow middle contained too many layers. Oops. By the way in the picture, the new hemline looks crooked but it’s not. The bias tape made the hem billowy not crooked. Honestly! Four down one to go!

REFASHION: A MUCH COOLER SHIRT

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I pulled out a red long-sleeve shirt from my refashion bin. The shirt was boring and too form fitting for me. What my closet needs is more cute and casual tops for the spring and summer. During a recent trip to my favorite consignment store, I found the perfect companion item for the red shirt! For less than $1 I scored this beautiful men’s button down shirt.

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What I did:

  • removed a portion of the back shirt
  • cut out a large rectangle portion of the men’s plaid shirt
  • created a center pleat in the plaid shirt
  • centered the pleat to the raw edge on the red shirt

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  • pinned and sewed the plaid fabric to the red shirt
  • cut the plaid fabric at an angle to give the shirt a little breathing room
  • pinned and sewed the sides to the red shirt
  • created  and sewed plaid cuffs to the sleeves
  • slimmed down the sleeves

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The process was simple and took a few hours (NCIS distracted me). I love love love the new shirt but I think I made it a little too big. I’ll probably fix the very minor issue later down the road. My closet is ready for another cute and casual shirt. Yay!

REFASHION: THE KIMONO BANDWAGON

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So, this is me jumping on the kimono top bandwagon. Lately, I have been wearing dresses with lightweight cardigans because the weather has been a little cooler. What happens when the sun starts shining brightly and I still prefer to have a simple cover-up? I don’t want to be the idiot wearing a cardigan during the summer. So what’s a girl to do? Create a kimono top out of a $2 scarf found at my local consignment store.

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I’m not quite sure how to explain my process with words — so, I created a pretty graphic. I hope the graphic is easy to understand. I basically wanted to keep as much of the original scarf hem, keeping my hemming to a minimum (I’m lazy like that — or genius).

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As soon as I made my cuts and sewed the side seams, I tried on my almost-completed kimono top. Hello, my new love, except … the kimono is way too long for me. Poop! What was supposed to be a simple refashion turned into a little more work. If the kimono wasn’t super long, I just needed to hem the center cut and neckline and the refashion would be complete and I would be twirling around in it. In reality, I need to drastically shorten the kimono and hem all the new raw edges. Argh!

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So, I threw the kimono top of my dress form, Delphine, and chopped off a fair amount of scarf fabric. With the kimono at my preferred length, I found some old black bias tape to run around the bottom hem. I kind of figured the bias tape would add a tiny bit of weight to the kimono, and the tape kind of broke up the pattern. Now, I’m at a crossroads — should I add more black bias tape around the neckline and opening or complete a simple rolled hem? I’m so torn! Suggestions would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

REFASHION: THE BIG GREY STRIPE

“I, Jennifer Elliott at jenniferelliott14.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least three refashioned items per week and refashion five new garments in May 2016.”

Holy poop! How in the world am I in the middle of May already?!? The simple part of my Me-May-May 2016 pledge has been wearing refashioned clothes every day this month because most my sweatpants, shorts, and jeans have been altered or refashioned in some way. The more difficult part of the pledge has been refashioning five new items during the month. I have attempted a few refashions here and there but most turned out disastrous unless I can count all the new “screen printed” shirts (the book snake, the cat outline, etc.).

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Between doing a few loads of laundry and trying a new pull-apart dinner roll recipe, I sat down and quickly sewed a simple shirt refashion. I took a cute purple shirt that was a little too small and made a straight cut about an inch below the armpits. I had an old grey tank top with a stain on it, cut a wide band out, and inserted it into the shirt. The stretchiness of the grey tank removed the snugness of the shirt and made it way more comfortable and cute. One refashion down four more to go — am I sure I can’t count the newly painted T-shirts?