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!

GOODBYE, PRICKED FINGERS AND CURSE WORDS

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I have been slow to learn everything about my sewing machine that my husband bought me almost a year ago. I have figured out the embroidery feature, which I just love and adore. A few months ago, I tried to teach myself how to use the button feature — creating the button hole and sewing on a button — with the dumb instruction booklet, but I just failed miserably. Even with words and pictures, I couldn’t figure out how to attach the button hole foot.

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So, I just gave up and returned to using my trusty needle and thread. Hello, pricked fingers and a slew of curse words. However, in a previous post about sewing hanging dish towels, I was not about to sew buttons and create button holes by hand. Nope. No way. So, I turned to YouTube and found a brilliant guy showing me the process. This guy taught me what I needed to know in 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure I wasted 30 minutes with stupid manual.

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Within in 10 minutes I learned how to create button holes with my sewing machine and sewed button holes on everything I could find. The guy suggested cutting a hole with a rotary cutter or seam ripper, but I couldn’t immediately locate either tool within an arm’s length. I found my husband’s box cutter and decided it would do the job (it worked just fine cutting a thin line inside the thread). Once I mastered the technique of button hole making, I was ready to attach buttons!

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The same guy showed me how to sew on buttons within 10 minutes! I haven’t quite mastered how to knot the dangling thread or find a few strays with the seam ripper. With a few tugs and pulls, I don’t think the button will fall off anytime soon (fingers crossed). Until I can figure out how to knot the thread, I’m fine with leaving the dangling thread as is. With my newfound knowledge, I put the finishing touches on a refashioned skirt.

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The skirt had plain boring buttons, and I jazzed it up with some pretty bird buttons. Thank you, sewing machine, for making my life so much easier. Speaking of plain boring buttons, I need to keep an eye out for more pretty decorative buttons because my stash is severely lacking. Not to mention, I can’t believe how expensive buttons can be! $3.99 for two buttons? $5.99 for one button? No thank you. I would rather spend $6 on something else.

REFASHION: FUN WITH PILLOWCASES

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Bless my niece’s heart because she wants to learn to sew and started asking me at the beginning of summer. Between vacations and various activities, Tova and I had trouble finding time for quick sewing sessions. On a rainy day, Tova and I worked on two pillowcases from my refashion stash.

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Tova carefully cuts apart a pillowcase to make a simple wrap skirt. I’ve made two or three wrap skirts in the past, but I just wasn’t super confident with my sewing skills back then. Now, I’m definitely more confident when creating cute elastic waist skirts, but Tova had her heart set on a wrap skirt.

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So, how hard can a wrap skirt be? I chose the grey pillowcase for two reasons: the fabric is a little heavier (no liner needed) and the fabric is jersey (no fraying equals no hemming). Tova picked out cute blue flower embellishments to cover up the black stitches (I was too lazy to change the thread).

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How cute are the drawstrings at the side? Very cute. Tova cut apart the pillowcase and used one panel for the skirt and the other for the drawstrings. I added a button for more security and created a loophole for one of the drawstrings. If the flowers fall off (I just used glue), I’ll probably replace them with matching buttons.

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With the second pillowcase Tova wanted a cute little cross body purse. Hmmmmmm. I tried to create a purse a long time ago, but my patience and attention span distracted me from the project. A small purse for my niece? Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Make a few cuts, fold some fabric, and sew some stitches.

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Luckily, Tova is not too picky so I went simple and cute. I cut the pillowcase in half and folded it half. Tova made a few marks to indicate the size she wanted, and I sewed the base of the purse. Although she wants to learn to sew, the TV and her brothers kind of distracted her from learning.

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Cute and simple. The best two words to describe the purse. I created the strap from the rest of the pillowcase and sewed the strap ends to the body of the purse. I glued two magnets inside the purse for an easy closure and sewed a button for decoration. I’m actually pretty impressed with myself.

SKIRT REFASHION: ANDERSEN AUGUST

I’m a little weird. I love names. I love organization. I love chronological order. Yup, I’m definitely weird. During one free weekend, I decided to work on a few skirts that needed some extra attention. I absolutely love this roomy black skirt that I had found on clearance about a year ago. The skirt – nicknamed Andersen August – was too long for my short little legs and too big for my fat waist (oxymoron?). No big deal because I was pretty sure my beginner and limited sewing skills could somehow remedy the minor flaws.

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NICKNAME: ANDERSEN AUGUST

At one point during the many, many adjustments, I had created a modest slit to make the skirt more flowy and breezy and less “this skirt is too long for my short legs.” After studying one DIY skirt tutorial, I decided to add a high waistband with ties. I don’t remember too much about the process of adding a new waistband and creating cute ties to match. I wore the skirt a few times with the new waistband, but I still felt the skirt was still too big and the waistband and ties were too bunchy and kind of weird.

Instead of throwing the skirt out, I tossed it in my project box, hoping a brilliant idea would strike me. First, I was extremely proud of myself for even completing the new waistband project because I attempted something new and actually completed the project. Because of that, I was really reluctant to admit that I didn’t like the results but I just felt the skirt really didn’t look that good on me. So during my “I have nothing better to do” weekend, I decided to try the easy elastic waistband method that I’ve read on several different blogs and tutorials.

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PRETTY PREVIOUS WAISTBAND

I found 2-inch black elastic at my favorite fabric store along with some other items that were either on sale or clearance (I love a good deal). I wrapped the black elastic around the area I wanted it to rest on me – the tummy area. From all the tutorials I had read, I couldn’t remember what measurements I needed to take to make sure the elastic would fit so I just “chanced” it. Expert sewers are probably mentally screaming at me, “Noooo! Find the tutorial! Take the measurements, you idiot!” Sorry, my laziness kicks into overdrive on the weekends.

GOODBYE, OLD WAISTBAND

GOODBYE, OLD WAISTBAND

I bought two yards of elastic and cut it in half – so I had two one-yard long pieces of elastic. I overlapped the elastic ends by about an inch and sewed it together. Because I’m lazy a rebel, I didn’t even change the thread on my sewing machine since this really was a practice run. Sorry, expert sewers who are probably mentally screaming at me again. Per the directions I remember, I needed to pin the elastic to the top of the skirt. I used the “clock” method, placing a pin in the middle front (6) and a second pin in the middle back (12).

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ELASTIC BAND — TOP OF SKIRT

Then I placed pins at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. (right and left of the skirt). After the those four positions were secured, I started pinning in between each 15-minute increment (does this make sense to anyone but me because I feel like I’m babbling and using an unbreakable code). Because the elastic waistband is smaller than the top of the skirt after cutting off the old waistband, I carefully folded the extra fabric in two areas within the 15-minute increment (I guess kind of making a pleat or something). Need I remind you that I’m a beginner sewer.

Once the elastic was pinned to the skirt, I started sewing! Yay! I actually sewed two zig-zag lines – one close to the bottom elastic border and the second just a few centimeters above the first one. Annnnnnd, the skirt fits me perfectly!!! PERFECTLY!!! Cue the fireworks! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! The length is perfect. The elastic waistband is perfect. The drape of the skirt is beautiful. I could probably twirl around in the skirt for hours. I am so happy I could successfully pull off the 2-inch elastic waistband method!

DONE! YAY! LOVE IT!

DONE! YAY! LOVE IT!

The method was easy, and I love the result. I will definitely try this method again on other items I want to refashion. A few months ago, my sisters and I went through our mom’s closet and we each kept the dress she wore to each of our weddings with the idea of refashioning into something for us. Also, earlier this year, I pulled a few items out of my wardrobe that needed some minor adjustments. So, I plan to go through my project box and figure out which items would make a cute skirt with an elastic waistband. Yay!