Monday, March 31, 2014

Black Silk Tent: Refashion #3

Happy Monday! Mine started out poorly so I'm working on turning that around...and finishing up a refashion definitely helped my mood :).

Let's take a look at how I decided to use this last leg from the black silk tent pants. First off, it's going to be a top. I could have made a skirt with a gathered elastic waist, but I wanted something that I'd be sure to wear often. So, I started by unpicking the leg's inseam by about 4 inches. This will be my neckline.

Then, I trimmed up the straps a bit, and tried on my 'top', pinned in the sides and took them in creating an a-line shape. The scrap of fabric in the first shot is just to show the angle at which I stitched down each side. You'll notice that the seams are actually more towards the back, and that is to flow better with the sides which will become the armholes. I trimmed off the excess, and zigzagged the raw edges to finish.

Then, I finished off the raw edges of the straps and back by repeating the same process that I used on the other top for a baby/rolled hem. Worked like a charm :). The leg hem was still intact, no work there. I pinned the straps in the back, determining where they'd best cover my bra straps, and then sewed them in place. Next, I folded the neckline under to see if the V would work.

I finished off the neckline by folded the edges under and topstitching in place. Now, I've got an easy V-neck tank top (that looks much better tucked in the front).

But, I still had that original waistband left over. I quickly stitched the bottom of it shut again, and then buttoned it around my waist, and now the top is much less casual and definitely more figure flattering. Love it!

I'm definitely a fan of black, and the good thing is that I've got plenty of colorful skirts, shorts and pants to mix and match with these last two tops. Can't wait to be able to wear them! At least the rain has stopped and the sun is shining brightly today.

Here's a look at the before and after:

And, a quick review of the before, after, after & after!

Can't beat three pieces for $4, can you? Well, maybe you can, but I'd say I did pretty well ;). Hope you are enjoying good weather and good health...gotta get back to my spring cleaning (looks like our apartment exploded, but its all for the good as we purge and organize). Happy Refashioning!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Black Silk Tent: Refashion #2

Talk about the pair of pants that just keep giving! This is the second of three refashions that I've made from this pair of black silk 'pants'. Number three is in the works and will be posted another day, but let's focus on the middle child, shall we? 

So, quick refresher, I found this pair of silk pants for $4 at the thrift store and snatched them up. I then made them into a pair of pretty shorts. But what happened with all of that extra fabric after I cut out my pattern pieces for the shorts? Well, notice on the right, I've laid them out on the floor along with a tank top I'd initially planned to copy. I definitely have enough for two from each leg! The scoop was the crotch, the notches on the sides are where I cut out the shorts crotch and the bottom is the remainder of the leg (which means its a loop of fabric). 

I decided right away that the shape lent itself to making an easy top. So, I grabbed one of the legs, pinned the 'straps' over onto the backside of the 'leg' gathering one of the straps and leaving the other wide. I wanted to get an idea of what I'd prefer.

Not bad from the front...a bit loose, but definite potential! The back made me realize immediately that I'd go with the gathered strap. What you can't see in this picture is that under my arms are huge gaping openings because I pinned the straps more towards the center back seam. I'll be adjusting that.

I gathered each strap, pinned them, then folded the top in half to make sure that each 'notch' was equal...a little overlap was fixed by a quick snip. Then, I repinned the straps, but this time I did so making the arm openings much smaller and leaving more space between them in the back.

Ok, definitely better from the front...from the side, not bad either...but the back is a little too scandalous for me ;).

So, I pinned the back to see how that would help...I'm liking how its still low, but not too revealing.

Up to this point, all I've been doing is pinning, trying it on, adjusting, pinning, trying on again, etc. Now I need to start sewing. My first step was to finish off the raw edges of the outer 'strap' and all along the new back over to the other strap. I wanted to challenge myself with learning how to do a nice baby/rolled hem without needing a special sewing machine foot for the job (cause I don't have one). So, I googled it and came across this tutorial that showed me how! There are actually many ways of doing this and various tutorials (super helpful), so I could have tried many of them and gotten similar results. This is just the first one I came across. First step was to straight stitch all along the edge of the fabric about 3/8 of an inch in. Next, you fold that over along the stitching and sew as close to the edge as you can. Trim away the excess as closely to the stitching as possible, and then fold over one more time (tiny fold) and stitch as close to the edge as you can. Here's how mine turned out sans pressing. It actually is beautiful how even my hems are and how tiny, though without pressing them its hard to tell ;).

Next, I sewed along where I'd pinned the back in (my measuring tape shows the line as you can't see the stitching). Then, I zigzagged the ends of the straps, folded them over and straight stitched across.

I finished off the raw edges of the new back seam with a zigzag stitch and the neckline with a double straight stitch (just ran it through my machine once, close to the edge, and again 3/8 from the edge) since it's edge was already finished and folded. Remember, the neckline is the previous crotch...or maybe we should forget that! Haha, oh well, I'm not worried cause it's been laundered and the crotch showed no wear at all (being as it was so low hanging in the original garment).

Next, I sewed the straps in place. I had marked where they'd be attached, and a simple straight stitch does the job.

My final step was to repeat the process for a rolled hem on the bottom of my top. That edge was much easier to finish off as it wasn't quite as curvy as the straps. And here's the final product! I love that its nice and simple in the front and a little bit sexy in the back. I want to start creating different bandeau tops to wear under this from my scraps :). Now, into the pile to be ironed! And hopefully out soon to be worn...if our weather would move past cold and now, rain. But at least its not snow!

I'm really pleased that I went with the initial shape of the piece of leg instead of cutting and trimming to get a specific shape. The process felt very organic and that's cool when the remnant determines its own outcome, so to speak. I'm excited now to see how the other leg will turn out!

Here's a final look at the before and after:

Hope you enjoyed this one!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thrift Scores: Vintage or Something Like It

I decided to hit up my local thrift store a couple different times this month and came across a few homemade pieces that I just had to bring home with me. I can't attest to age so we'll call them 'vintage' or vintage-inspired ;).

This first dress was so well made, that despite the dark colors, I decided to snatch it up for $5. It will most likely end up as a refashion, though I'd like to retain as much of its original details as possible...maybe change up the sleeves and neckline a bit? We'll see.

This next baby doll dress is orange...obviously, but I don't normally 'do' orange. So, I'm excited to try this out this spring and summer. I'll do a slight adjustment at the sides (it zips up the back), and I'll complete some finishing work on it that was never done. It looks vintage to me, but it could simply be vintage-inspired and made more recently. Got it for $3!

I really love this next one. It looks like a vintage fabric and indeed a piece made some time ago as there is some discoloration around the neckline. The good news is that I plan to open up the neck a bit. I got it for $2 (instead of $3) because of said discoloration and I just can't get over the print and tiny buttons on each sleeve...they're my favorite part!

Finally, I grabbed this strawberry print apron to add to my vintage apron collection. It's actually unfinished, so I will take care of that, and looks to be more vintage-inspired, but who knows. I paid $1.50 for it. I also "bought" this $.25 pattern that they ended up giving me for free because they didn't want to charge me $.13 on half-off day :). Score! I have plans to make something from a pattern...and I figured I'd scout out the few that show up in my local store from time to time.

Hope you enjoyed these happy finds! I'll update you once I've made the changes that I'm planning with each piece. Until then, happy refashioning, crafting, sewing, whatever you do for fun!!!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Giveaway Scarf

Yay! I finally finished the giveaway scarf for Lauren :). She initially said that she loved the combination of the mustard yellow scarf with a braided scarf over top. When I asked what type of color combo she'd like, she asked for gray and mustard...but I had a hard time finding mustard! So, upon asking for other colors to go with the gray, she said Tiffany blue or greens. Well, that's more like it! I had the perfect Tiffany blue knit fabric that I'd thrifted 3 years back (I found a huge length at a large thrift store where textile companies donated fabrics and unfinished/damaged new garments).

So, I got started! I had this pair of leggings that I'd found (tagged/brand new) at the thrift store but they were too big and instead of taking them in I figured I'd hold out for the perfect project to remake them. Unfortunately I got excited and took them apart before taking a picture, but leggings are leggings. The only thing 'special' about these is that they had a stretchy lace waistband that I'll be able to use later on :). So, I deconstructed them and opened up each leg along the inner seam.

Now, I wanted to recreate the same shape and drape of the mustard scarf. It used to be a tank top with a drapey front (I basically cut off the top and rounded the drapey part). Laying the legs out I started to work out how I could make this work. I folded the end of the legs over by about 6 inches and cut along the fold.

I flipped the cut bottom portion of the legs so that the angles mirrored the angles of the top portions. I've folded over the edges to meet the smaller pieces here to show where the seams will be.

I just used a straight stitch to sew up each seam, trimmed the raw edges so that they were even and then turned it right side out.

Next I needed to get the shape cut out. I folded the scarf in half and cut a curve leaving as little scrap as possible.

This is what's left! Most of it usable and therefore heading to my stash :). And all I need to do to wear this is to fold the top inward and draping does the rest. No need to finish off raw edges; a good basic lightweight scarf.

Now, to make the braid, I cut the blue knit fabric into long strips and braided them into a plait long enough to wrap around twice. I sewed the ends together and wrapped with more 'yarn' to finish off. The two are separate from one another so that Lauren can adjust and wear them as she wants. Here's how the final product looks!

Anyone else wondering what happened to the other leg (since it only took one to make this scarf)? Well, now I have my own gray scarf to use as a base for all of my different braided scarves :). So, thank you Lauren for liking the scarf you did which prompted me to recreate it and afforded me my own version of your scarf! Oh, and to complete this post, a couple of 'outtakes' so to husband was talking to me as I got these shots and I just had to share how I look mid-word and mid-blink ;). Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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Black Silk Tent

Seriously, yes, a tent...these pants could've been dismantled to make a tent...or a parachute! ;) But when you see this much silk for $4 then, you gotta go for it.

Now if I were more adventurous, I might have kept these as they were and just wore them because they give the functionality of pants and the look of a skirt. Win, win, right?! Instead, I decided to take these apart and just before starting I decided on what I'd want to make...

First up, I took the waistband off and separated the legs from each other. One leg could totally be a dress all on its own!

Now, one of the things I liked about the original piece was the high waisted fit but all of that pleating was just too much, which is why I unpicked the pleats. It did leave a lot of lines, but I feel that they end up blending in.

I took some freezer paper and traced out the inseam and crotch of one of the legs and then cut out the 'pattern' piece. I had already measured the desired rise (from waistline to crotch plus a bit for seam allowance) and my desired waist measurement (several inches bigger than my own in order to allow for some gathering at the waist). I laid it on the individual legs lining up the outer edges so that I could maintain the pockets and that makes less work when putting these back together :). I ended up cutting the length of each piece to be a few inches shorter than my pattern piece.

So, yeah, I'm making shorts (hopefully you've figured that out by now, lol). I sewed up the inner leg seam by using a french seam...nice and neat for straight edges. Then, I sewed the two new legs together using a straight stitch and finished off the raw edges with a zig zag stitch. I gathered the waist by measuring out a piece of elastic a couple of inches shorter than my waist measurement and stretched it as I zigzagged it onto the waist. Next, I thought to reattach the existing waistband, but it didn't end up being as substantial as I wanted. So, I cut off the hem of one of the original legs and used it to make a casing to cover up the elastic and raw edges.

Next step I had to decide what to do about the waist. I wanted it to be thick, so I got to looking through my stash for just the right piece...pieces. I came across this black sash and a length of lace that I had thought to sew onto the sash to wear as a belt. Perfect for this project :). First, I sewed the sash onto the waistband. Sorry for pic quality here, this project took me way longer to complete than I'd expected and daylight didn't last.

Next, I sewed on the lace along the top flat edge of it. I finished off the back by adding snap buttons and folding the edges over and sewing in place. Now, I didn't sew the black sash all the way around. I left around an inch and a half open in the back to allow for a bit of stretch so that I could put these shorts on, while not leaving too much slack causing gaping when they are buttoned up. For the moment, I've finished off the bottom hem by cutting across them with my pinking shears...that will probably change but I hadn't decided how I wanted to do the hem.

Here's the new waistband!

And here are the shorts! I'll be able to dress them up and down and I'm loving the flowy light feel. And they have pockets :). 'Nough said.

 Here's one last look at the before and after:

The only thing left to do is decide what to do with all of the leftover silk! No worries, I'm pretty sure I'll be turning that into a top :). Hope you like this one. I sure do :).


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quick 'Fix': Pants...

I've been working on my pants today. I've been lucky enough to have to take the waists of my pants in lately :).  And I had a few more to give the 'treatment'. In case you need to do this, I've compiled the four simple steps that it takes to slim up the waistband of your pants in about 5 minutes! Time for a quick 'fix'.

First, you'll determine how much your waist needs to come in. I usually try my pants on, then pinch two different spots in the back to eyeball it, but you can pin them if you want specific measurements. Once you've picked the two points at which you'll be doing this (I pick spots equidistant from the middle back belt loop), pinch towards the inside of your jeans/pants. You can mark it, put a pin in it, or just jump to the next step. Second you'll throw this in your machine lining up how much you'll be taking in. Third, stitch it up! Starting at the top of the waistband, simply angle out towards the edge of the pinched fabric anywhere from 1-2 inches down. The fourth step varies: you can trim off the excess, finish off the edges and open up the seam and press, OR you can press the pinched fabric to one side (without trimming anything). This will depend on how it feels wearing the pants. Cool? Ok.

So, along with the waist, I had to slim up the legs from the knees down just a bit (only because I wanted a more fitted look). With time, jeans start to give and stretch and don't always bounce back after you've had them for a while, so I was taking in some of that slack. And here's how they fit now!
Quick disclaimer: I haven't pressed the seams on any of these yet...too lazy ;)
This next pair I just picked up. I love the bright colored jeans that I see all over, but thrifting in a very small shop makes it difficult to always find just what you want. Well, I snagged this pair of Anthropologie jeans because the color is AMAZING and the fit is super great! Minus the waist ;). No big deal, though, right? Repeated the same process for taking in the waist, and voila! A super cute pair of colored jeans for spring...

I came across this pair of J Brand jeans the same day as the colored jeans. Again, they didn't fit so well in the waist. Five minutes fixed that problem. However...

the length and shape of the lower legs was weird! I slimmed up that portion and now I have a pair of cigarette length jeans! Pretty hot with a pair of heels.

And, not that you need to see yet another picture of my butt in pants, BUT I am actually looking for your ideas on this next pair. The waist is ok, I think I can go without an adjustment there for a bit, but I'm not a huge fan of the extra fabric in the front and how it lays. Also, I've got a couple of grease spots on the front of each thigh (only one pictured) and am not sure what I want to do about it my question is:

Seriously, what would you do? I love the color and like I said, the fit is pretty okay. I've thought of reverse appliquéing some contrasting fabric (think floral) in different spots to take care of getting rid of the stains, but am not sure.

I'd love to hear your ideas! So send them my way :)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Giveaway Winner

Between FB and the blog, there were 5 entries to win the giveaway your chances were good!!! :) In the end Lauren was the winner. She said, "I love all of them but especially the mustard yellow and braid accent. So pretty!!" Well, now we get to work on recreating something like this for you...Congrats!

The good news for those that didn't win, is that I'll be having another giveaway next month! So, stay tuned, and feel free to send me your ideas for things you'd like to see me do. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Scarf Tutorial: The Finale

Update: The Giveaway is now closed!

Yeah, you read right, a giveaway! I totally missed February's giveaway, so I'll make this month a good one :). But first, let's get down to business with all of these scarves! What on earth am I going to do with so many? Well, I'd planned on spending the morning going 'style' crazy, but plans came up (yay for time spent with other adults!!!) and my time got cut short. So, here are a few of the looks I came up with for some of these scarves, and a round of mixing and matching.

Let's start with the mix-n-match, shall we? I started out with this gray silk (thrifted) top as a base. Basic, easy, perfect for brightening up. I threw on a mustard 'scarf' that I'd made by cutting off the neck and armholes of an old top, and paired it with the sweater turned scarf. I love this, and will wear this combo in the fall.

Then I got going with my braided/t-shirt yarn scarves. I love the lavender and pale pink together (so pretty) as well as the two floral silk scarves! Another fave combo is the lavender braid over this purple scarf seen on the right...

Or is it a scarf? Nope! I thrifted this nightgown brand new but never wear it...though I'm liking it belted and bloused. I think I love it more as a scarf, though ;).

Then I got to styling. I started with the lavender and polka-dot mix and decided I should throw another print in there with this thrifted floral maxi. An army green jacket tones it down for cool days, or I can go bare arms in the summer and let the scarves stand out!

Next, I put on this thrifted silk my favorite color!!!! But, I didn't love the scarves as much with this one. I threw on the cobalt blue, which was fine, another bold silk scarf layered with polka-dots, and then the mustard and blue floral braid. Meh. I think I'd love the floral silk scarves with this, but I didn't try that combo.

This next scarf will be less conducive for the mix-n-match aspect as it already has so much going on. And I like it just as it is with this silk coral top (thrifted and refashioned).

As I ran out of time, I threw on a pair of jeans I'd bleach tie-dyed, a blush sweater that I thrifted this week, and the sweater/braid/lace scarf, then the tribal/lace infinity scarf. I'm kind of in love with this sweater...the loose knit makes it perfect for the days that are cool but warming up, the color is just so pretty and scarves bring it all to life :).

And now, for the giveaway!!! Ok, so all you need to do is leave a comment letting me know what you liked, didn't like, whatever (though, make it constructive, please) ;) and you will be entered to win your very own scarf! You can pick a certain style, or mix-n-match a couple of pieces that you like and give me specifics on colors/patterns/prints that you like. And I'll custom make a scarf for ya! This is only open to readers in the U.S. (for now, I'll go international eventually, promise!) and you have until Tuesday, March 18th at 9 a.m. EST to enter. Good luck!