Monday, April 28, 2014

A Button Clutch and April's Giveaway!!!

I am so excited about today's post for a few, because I made something that I think is really cute inspired by the giveaway, two, because I get to introduce and highlight a very talented and beautiful friend, and three, because I get to give away one of this friend's amazing creations!!! Happy Monday to me and all of you! 

Let's jump into the refashion first and get that over with so we can move onto the most exciting part...(though, I hope you protest and ensure me that the refashion is just as exciting ;) right?) My inspiration for today's project was buttons. Makes sense as you read through the rest of this post.

I started out with this small woven mat that I found for $1 at the thrift store. I don't wear yellow much as it doesn't flatter my skin tone, but I love a pop of yellow in an outfit and I knew exactly what I'd make it into as soon as I saw it.

I pulled a random collection of buttons and beads and started laying them out to get an idea of what I like best and decided on whites/ivories. I folded the mat in half, straight stitched up each side and made a pouch.

I played around with some different layouts and decided on my favorite...

Pulled out some vintage snaps and sewed everything in place.

And made myself a cute little button clutch! My little black wristlet that I use as a purse/wallet on an everyday basis fits perfectly inside with a little extra room if I need to throw a little something else in there :). I'll probably fashion a wristlet strap that I can detach in case I'd rather just carry it around as is, which is what I'll do for now.
Vintage button love!
 Super simple, but oh so cute and now, whenever I want a pop of color, this is my go-to accessory :).

Now, onto meeting my friend!

This is Betsy :)
Meet Betsy...isn't she stunning!?!
I am a 32 year old single mother, of a fabulous little boy named Devyn. Challenging...but worth every bit. The three things that keep our household going are fun, laughter and most importantly love!

I work full time between two jobs. One, being manager of the marketing department at a local restaurant. The other, tending bar for a beautiful wedding venue. I have a very fun loving, independent and open minded spirit. I like to think I possess equal parts of sass and class. I appreciate the simpler things in life. If anything stands out among others, I'm interested. All that is unique. Different. My style.
Any color, any style!

I started designing my button bracelets during the Fall/Winter of '12. It all just started as a hobby. I would hang out at my folks' often. Noticed mason jars galore full of buttons my mother had displayed all around the house. Asked her what her intentions were with them...was less than thrilled with her answer of "nothing". They looked great as decor and all, but were screaming at me to do something. I picked the buttons I adored and from there went to a local hobby store. Came across a DIY button jewelry book. It was love at the first turn of page/cover! I made a few pieces and introduced them to my friends and family. They turned out to be a big hit. So, I began shopping at thrift shops and flea markets. Boutiques. Estate, yard and garage sales were great places to hit, as well. I frequent Goodwill and other consignment shops. Buying apparel simply for the buttons.
These are too beautiful for words!

I currently have my bracelets in three gift shops. Plan on getting more on board as soon as possible. Have attended a couple craft fairs/bazaars in surrounding towns. Looking to get involved at a couple local farmers' markets, as well. 
Bracelets are $10. S&H $3.25.

I can be reached via e-mail or phone. Facebook, as well. I'm always happy to customize. I'll design to your request. You tell me colors and styles you have in mind...I'm on it!

Aren't her bracelets amazing!? And I love that she's using vintage/secondhand buttons because they truly make each finished piece unique <3.

Now that you've had a chance to learn a bit more about Betsy, I get to show you the awesome giveaway!!! One lucky winner will be taking home one of Betsy's bracelets...and here are your choices :).
Blue or white...white or blue?
You can either chose the blue or the white as your favorite, and if you win, it'll be making its way to your wrist!
Which would you choose?
I love how well these are made and how sturdy they feel but how delicate they look! So easy to wear and light as air. I've been drooling over her bracelets for a few months now and am so excited to see them in person! I love them for myself, of course, but these are also amazing gifts for Mother's Day (coming up soon here) or any special occasion you'd like to celebrate.

Ok, here are the details on how to enter. First, its open to the U.S. only. Second, you have to leave a comment here on the blog. You may comment on Facebook, but if you want it to count, gotta leave one here too. Tell me which color you'd like best and if you could customize a piece what your color combination would be :). The giveaway is open for one week, at which time I will announce the winner!

Remember that Betsy's contact info and pricing info are included in the pic above with her business card, so if you want to get moving on designing your own piece, make contact! If you send a quick email she has a ton of photos of her work that she can direct you to in no time at all :).

Thanks, dear, for letting me feature you! Hope you all enjoy looking at these as much as I do and I can't wait to see who the lucky winner will be...


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thrift Scores: April Edition

Time to spill on all of my thrift scores this month! I'd been stalking this set all month, just waiting for the half-off sale...and I got it! It's silk ;) and the blouse buttons down the back (looks so cute with just the top button done up and a bandeau-style bra underneath). The skirt fits ok on my waist, has pockets, but definitely needs to be shorter. Refashion and styling posts to come on this :).
$7 for the set!
These next two pieces were also half off. I'll use the top for it's lace and the jeans will go skinny and a bit shorter.
$4.50 for the two.
This vintage dress was my favorite find this month and I'm still wrestling with what to do...keep it and refashion it or sell it. It's so unique and made in Hawaii. What to do?!?!

I grabbed this housecoat for the embroidery and the color and is absolutely in line for a refashion...we'll see which direction I take this one!
This vintage pinafore style piece is about a size large/extra-large and I bought it for it's fabric alone...can't you see this as little girls' sundresses? Reminds me of clothes I had when I was little :).
Another vintage dress and this time a floral housedress. I like this fabric and plan a refashion at some point, though it may wait for the fall ;). And the men's shirt will become a skirt...maybe another reversible skirt!
This top was bought at the same time as the tops for the reversible mini. I've got a couple of ideas on how I want to rework it...but that'll have to wait for later. This sequined piece is just the front of a top that someone either removed or made but then never I get to finish it off! I'm thinking some sheer fabric will go great with this for a nice date-night piece :). Love the ombre effect!
Now for some crafting 'supplies'! I snatched up these purse handle things and some doilies...
a small woven mat and more doilies! The jewelry is just my style and I've already been wearing these pieces often.
$7...they doilies they threw in free!

All told I spent $39.25 on this (not counting the shirts for the reversible mini). Plus I had a pretty lucky find yesterday that I posted about on FB and Instagram

Not a bad month ;) I also did one of my semi-annual purges and donated three large bags of clothing, shoes, and household items. Did you have any great thrift/tip/op shop scores this month? I'd love to see/hear about what you scored and what you plan to do with it :)


Friday, April 25, 2014

#InsideOut Fashion Revolution

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh that killed so many and left many others broken. In an effort to not only remember the human beings that were killed, maimed, and experienced incredible loss, but to shed further light on the conditions behind some of the biggest fast fashion brands in the world, a project was put together. Inside Out. Simply wear your clothing inside out and know where it came from...consider what that means, consider who that means, and share it!!! I didn't wear anything inside out until the very end of the day :( I also didn't really go anywhere yesterday. Sick boy at home all week. But I did snap a pic of the shirt I was wearing and shared it on Instagram, and sure enough, it was made in Bangladesh. I bought it second hand and refashioned it. Even so, it originated in a place very like the Rana Plaza building...

Who made your clothes?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mix & Match Bathing Suits and a Beach Coverup

So I should have included this tidbit at the end of yesterday's post, but it was beginning to feel a bit long ;) so I decided to hang on and save this part for today. That means that I was inspired to add a little something extra to beef up today's post...more on that later!

Now that I have completed the 'fixes' on my two bathing suits, why not take a look at how I can wear them? As matching sets...
Matchy-matchy: love all three!

or mixing sets! I think my favorite of the mixing sets is this one in the middle...the strapless top actually covers the top of the high-waisted bottoms and looks like a one-piece :o) Love the different looks I can achieve with what started as two separate suits!
Mixy-mixy: love 2 & 3 best :)

And how shall I complete my beachy/poolside look, you ask? Well, whether you do or not, I'll show ya! Here's what I started out with:

  • a thin gauzy scarf...depending on the width you could use two, but mine was super wide so I only needed the one (thrifted, of course)
  • elastic (I chose matching)
  • matching thread
  • scissors

Because I had an extra wide scarf, I laid it out folded end to end. The fringy ends become the bottom of my coverup. I folded this in half sideways and cut along the fold down about 10-12 inches. This becomes the neck hole. If you have two thinner scarves, you'd simply sew them together front and back leaving a large enough opening for your head at the top where I've cut mine. Example here. Her's is finished differently than mine (and I'm kind of wishing I'd done what she did...). Oh well! Great excuse for trying out her version ;).

I next determined where the elastic needed to be placed by putting it on, measuring how far down from the v I wanted my waistline, then added that to the length of the cut to get my total distance from the top edge. I marked my line with chalk on both sides, then used embroidery floss to gather the front and back. Next, I sewed the elastic in place with a zigzag stitch and pulled the floss out.

Here's how it came out. The sleeves ended up being very long, so I've simply folded up the ends onto my shoulders for the pics and may tack them in place later...still deciding. It can also be worn as a 'skirt' coverup by taking off the top half and tying the sleeves together in the front as a bow.

This is my favorite look with the new coverup and a peek at my 'one-piece' option with the coverup I made in January.
Mixing it up with my animal print and palm/leaf print coverup, what! 
Coverups can be a great intro to refashioning as there are some that are no-sew, and some that require minimal sewing/cutting/sizing. I, personally, love a quick project now and then and this one fit the bill today :) Here's the final before and after shot!

Happy Refashioning...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bathing Suit Modifications (1-Piece to High-Waisted 2-Piece + a Halter Top)

Two modifications today :) First, let's review the original refashion of this black 1-piece that I did last year. I cut it just below the bust, finished off the raw edges with elastic and that was that.

However, the leg holes on these bottoms were a little snug and when you have a rear and hips that are not toned, a small leg band will cut into your skin (fat) quite uncomfortably (and IMO unflatteringly). So, I unpicked each leg band and found this rubber strip was overlapped by about an inch, meaning that if I only overlapped the ends by a smidge I'd be gaining almost two inches around each leg. Perfect! I zigzagged it to the leg opening and at the point of overlap my machine had a bit of trouble and I couldn't get a clean stitch. Oh well!

It didn't matter much as I then folded this in and zigzagged yet again all around the hole to get my finished edge.
Outside and Inside
My next step was to replace the thin elastic I'd originally placed at the waistband with this super wide elastic for better tummy control. I sewed it into a tube, then zigzagged it right sides together with the top of the waistband. By folding it inwards I now have a high-waisted pair of bathing suit bottoms with tummy control that are also super comfortable!
Finding so many uses for this elastic!

Here's how they came out. The leg openings are much more comfortable and don't create that 'double' butt by digging into my rear :).

The gratuitous before & after:

Next up is the halter top from yesterday's bathing suit refashion! Post refashion it was a halter with a gather in the center that I took out before taking this next 'before' shot.
A small preview of the mix&match potential of these two suits ;)

After wandering around Pinterest looking for the perfect neckline, I landed on something similar to yesterday's but halter style (obviously). I started by folding the front in half and cutting at an angle where it started towards the straps. I then unpicked the edges in each direction from each cut by 3-4 inches and resewed the edge to create a slight curve over each side of the bust. This also allowed the straps to set farther out on my sides (which was my goal).
Notice the difference in stitches? Yeah, shoulda checked that before I sewed each new section...:-/
I sewed the bra that didn't work yesterday into this top using a straight stitch along the top edge and tacked it in place along the bottom. I also made a small gather in the center top by pinching and tacking a few stitches.

And that's that! The reshaping and the insertion of the soft foam cup bra were exactly what this top needed and yet again, I feel like I have another great option that flatters and gives me confidence.

Again, one last before & after shot!

Neither of these fixes were overly involved but I feel the results are quite dramatic...especially in how I feel post refashions in each piece! Hope these give you some more ideas on how you can manipulate clothing/bathing suits to work for you!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Modifying Bathing Suits (For the smaller-busted)

I've mentioned before that I'd like to share a bit more about me and my struggles with self-image as I work through refashioning clothing to suit my style and my body. This week I decided to tackle a bathing suit that I'd refashioned once, but still haven't felt confident enough to wear (I did this refashion around this time last year and don't believe I wore it once last summer). Part of that has to do with insecurities surrounding my no longer flat stomach, but more so it has to do with being small-busted. No matter what size a woman's breasts, a bathing suit needs to flatter in order to effect a feeling of confidence, and I've rarely had a suit that elicited confidence rather than self-consciousness.

Unfortunately, I was teased all through adolescence for being 'flat' chested. Even into adulthood people made comments on my chest size and likened me to a 14-year-old girl because of it. Tough stuff to let go of... Such is life, and being as shy and self-conscious as I was it just sank in and became truth for me. Nobody was negating it, so there was obviously something wrong with me. Wow! How messed up, and how sad to know that so many people who are bullied about their looks, appearance, bodies, etc feel this way. 

Thankfully, I have actually advanced to a higher level of confidence in general (my husband is to thank for that!). But I still have moments when I simply feel unattractive and one of those is when trying on bathing suits. Time to take control of the suit and make it work for me instead of feeling I need to just have bigger breasts, or a slimmer waist, or thinner thighs...blah! If I can make clothes that flatter, then I will try my hardest to make my bathing suits flatter my body, as it is. Let's do it!

Now, I received this maternity suit by way of my sister who had received it from our sister-in-law. It is as old as my nephew (at least), and therefore around 7 or 8 years old. The first refashion consisted of removing the fabric that would cover the belly and creating a gather in the middle of the halter top to give it a v-neck. I finished off the bottom edge with elastic and the cutoff portion (after a bit of folding and sewing in place) became a sort of convertible piece so that I could either wear the bikini bottoms solo or make them into a high-waisted vintage inspired pair of bottoms. The original bottoms had their waistband removed (as it was larger to accommodate a baby bump) and I created two darts and inserted new elastic to take them in a bit. Here's a look at the before and after of that first refashion:
Sorry about the poor photo quality. The two on the right were taken at night.

The bikini bottoms actually work fine for me, so I decided that in this next revamp, I'd let them be. I'm also setting the halter top aside for now, though it needs help, for sure. I did grab that 'skirt', high-waisted thingy though and took it in along the back seam so that it would be the same width, top and bottom. Then, I pinched and pinned a gather along the top front. This will become a new strapless top. My hope was to create a top that didn't flatten me out, but also wasn't ridiculously padded.

I tried to use one bra that I'd bought specifically to either sew into a backless dress or something (like this), but it didn't have enough structure to stand up to the stretchy fabric and ended up flattening out. So, I rooted around in my bra drawer and came upon this old strapless bra that I've had for more years than I can remember. The back band's lace was ripped and it had stretched out so that it no longer stayed up. I cut off the back band, cut a length of this extra wide elastic that I thrifted last year (still have tons left!) and sewed it to each side of the bra. I also sewed down that right side that is sticking out in the pics... ;)

My last steps were to make the gather permanent by sewing it in place, then sew the bra+elastic inside the animal print top. I used a straight stitch along the top edge of the bust, then zigzagged where I sewed along the black elastic. Here's how it came out!

Not only do I feel confident in this top, I feel supported and comfortable! And, I think it's pretty sexy...even if I do say so myself ;). I love that the molded foam cups are enough to give me the shape I wanted to achieve, but are also true to my size. I think for far too long I felt that I needed to hide my size by wearing padded push-up bras but I'm FINALLY (thank goodness) finding that I can be content with my size. Finding bras (and creating bathing suit tops) that fit me well and look great is so empowering after a long adolescence and adulthood of being teased and belittled. Phooey on the bullies! Cause I feel and look beautiful :-D.

Now, if only I could get over the tummy issues...;) we'll save that for another day! Here's a last look at the before and final after. Hand-me-down maternity suit no more!

What do you all think of this one? Have you ever considered making your own bathing suit or customizing one so that you get the perfect fit for YOUR body? You may have the opposite 'problem' and may need more coverage, stronger/wider straps, or any number of 'issues' fitting into mass produced bathing suits. I always have issues with the waistband and leg holes of bikini bottoms fitting ...if the waist fits, the leg holes are too small and vice versa. I'll show you how I fixed that (on another suit) and the halter top to this one tomorrow! If you've got an old suit with 'potential' why not get to work and remake it? I dare ya!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reversible Mini

Finally! I made this refashion over the weekend and now I'm getting to post about it :) We had unbelievably lovely weather up until Monday, so apart from throwing this together, all of my time had been spent out doing stuff. Then, Tuesday, it rained....ALL day. Then it started turning cold and overnight, it snowed :(. The least I can say for our weather today is that it is sunny. It is also windy, cold, and I had to wear winter gear all over again, but it's sunny. Which means I have enough light to take pictures!!! Hence, the posting of this refashion...

How about getting down to it? I found these three pieces at my local thrift store not long ago and paid $9 total.

I started to get an idea of what I'd want to do with these two tops as I was trying them on at the shop, though I had also considered just taking them in so that they fit better. The pajama pants I grabbed for the use of the pale gray fabric for another project. Once I got home, I set about my work. I'm making a skirt...but not just any skirt! It'll be reversible :) I laid out my floral top inside out, laid another jersey knit skirt on top and cut out around the edges. I then sewed up the sides and zigzagged the edges before turning it right side out.

I followed the same steps for the next top as well.

This is where the pajama pants come into play. Seeing as I really only bought them planning to use the legs, I went ahead and cut off the waistband to use here. I first sewed it to the top of one skirt using a zigzag stitch to allow stretch, wrong sides together, then did the same with the other skirt on the other side of the waistband. It looks like one long tube until you fold one skirt to the outside. There! Floral on one side, and gray and white abstract print on the other!
The gray patterned waistband is showing a bit of the floral and I'm still working out how I want to address that.

Here's the floral side: nice and casual and oh so comfortable! But also really cute and versatile, as it could be easily dressed up.

Now, the gray patterned side! Again, casual and cute, but I can see this with black heels and a bit of leather on a date night ;).

The hems line up so that if I tug the outer one down a tad it stays in place without riding up and showing the under layer at all. The fabrics aren't slippery, so they catch enough to make this super easy to wear either way. I can also see playing with patterns as I style this skirt when warm weather returns. I've got the perfect navy and white striped top to wear with the floral side, and I'd love to try a bold print with the gray side. I need to go play in my closet for a bit to get some ideas :).

Here's one final look at the before and after!