Thursday, October 23, 2014

ThriftStyleThursday: Pinspired

This #ThriftStyleThursday post features outfits inspired by ensembles found on Pinterest. I decided to create a couple of looks, as I couldn't decide between two. The first is more of a 'match', where I tried to imitate the specifics of the 'pinspired' outfit. I started out with this pin. It's an outfit by Kathleen of & Kathleen (click over to read her post). I tried my hardest to find pieces that were closer to the original outfit, but did the best with what I have...I still want to find a closer match to her look though. It is so cute!

Outfit Details: Scarf - Target; Cardigan - Target; t-shirt - thrifted; belt - thrifted; skirt - thrifted t-shirts refashioned into reversible mini; boot socks - thrifted leggings refashioned to socks; boots - free at a community swap!

This next look is more of a loose interpretation: the pins can be found here and here. Both looks include a floral midi, button-up top, belt, & purse, with either boots or heels.

My outfit details: denim fitted button-up - thrifted; belt - thrifted; skirt - free with purchase of prisms at antique store (it was balled up in a box and the owner threw it in for nothing!); boots - thrifted; purse - thrifted.

I love the navy base to this outfit and the rich cognacs, reds, pinks, and greens that accent in the skirt and boots/belt.

Now, check out the other Thrift Style Thursday bloggers who've created their own 'Pinspired' looks!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Altering a Wedding Dress

Ok, so from the title you may think that I got myself into some heavy duty alterations...I mean, a wedding dress! Thankfully, the alterations were not extensive. Though, I will say from the get-go, I wish I'd dedicated more time and attention to detail on this project. Having a week to do it, seemed like plenty, but I think my son got wind of me having a special sewing project and made it that much more difficult to sit down to work on it for more than a few minutes at a time ;). However, I took this project on for a very dear friend, and she didn't complain one bit about some of the, erhm, imperfections in my work. Let's just say, it was a learning experience...and I have a lot more learning to do!

Shall we take a peek at the project? Ok, here's what we started with. My friend found this dress on one of her trips out to visit me, shortly after they'd decided to have a small legal ceremony and party for family and friends stateside. She is from Japan, and they will be holding a more 'traditional' wedding there with her family and friends very soon. We did some quick shopping around on a day trip to the city (NYC) and happened upon this dress. It was two sizes too big, she didn't like the sheer top, but  she loved the rest and we thought we could work with it.

The first, and simplest step, was to remove the sheer fabric. I did this by trimming it off right along the top edge of the bodice, getting as close as I could so there'd be no fraying.

Next, I marked where it needed to be taken in, planning to do so at the back zipper. Then, I found some staining on one side of the dress and decided that instead I'd take in each side of the bodice.

I removed the flowers from the area to be taken in along each side and then unpicked the seams. I then trimmed off the excess fabric and closed them back up topstitching to do so. I took in the lining of the bodice first, before pinning everything in place with the outside and stitching closed. It kept going wobbly on me where the layers of fabric were thicker, but I figured after resewing the flowers I'd removed along each side, the seams would be hidden anyway. Well, the following weekend, I traveled to Michigan where we met up for a bachelorette weekend, and where I could do any final adjusting/fitting with my friend. The waist was perfect, but the top was just a bit too big still, so I took it in. Then it was too tight, so I let one side out a smidge. We kept going back and forth without getting the perfect fit, and all of this was done by hand. Now, I am by no means a neat seamstress when it comes to hand stitching. So, even though it came out wobbly on the machine, it still looked better than what I was doing by hand. :-/ We reached a point where it was 'good enough', and I covered up the side seams with the flowers, concealing now very ugly work.

In the end, I think that if I'd taken it in along the darts on the back of the bodice, as well as the sides, shaping it a bit more, it may have fit much better. She had to do a bit of readjusting :( throughout the day, but even so, she looked absolutely beautiful! I'm honored that she asked me to do this for her, and that I was able to be there to celebrate their big day! Here's to hoping this is just the first step in learning more about altering for others, and improving my hand sewing skills ;).

The timing of this project was also perfect in sharing an article that a fellow refashion enthusiast put together about recreating formal dresses, whether bridal, prom, etc. I've already pinned several of the ideas, and some of the projects featured are from refashionistas that I know! If you haven't come across this yet, please stop by Paris Ciel and take a gander at all of the inspiration for remaking those 'one and done' types of dresses! (Carissa's winter white party dress is my absolute fave!!!)

I know my thrifted/refashioned wedding dress could be the perfect candidate for a remake one day, so I'll be keeping this post in mind for when I work up the courage to tackle that project ;) Here's what mine looks like:

I had to take the top in/up a bit and tacked the train up so that it created a draping effect in the back. I had it shortened by a professional seamstress and cleaned as well. I paid $20 for the dress, but including the hemming and cleaning it went up to $100 total. Not bad for a wedding dress, if I do say so myself ;). It's 100% silk...might be where my obsession with thrifted silk began, and I wonder what I should do with it to make it wearable on future occasions. I'd love to try dyeing it (though that scares me), or creating a dramatic skirt with the bottom portion, or something, but taking that first step will definitely be the hardest! I'd love to hear your ideas on what you would do if faced with the task of refashioning this dress to be a more versatile special occasion leave me some comments!!! Any and all ideas welcome :)


Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday's Quick 'Fix': Hemming and Patches

Just a quick 'fix' for you today...I had a pair of pants that needed to be shortened up. I wanted to keep the original hem, and the thin fabric made it easy to match everything up and topstitch through the layers. I started out by marking where the length would be:

I folded the pant hems over, pinned them in place, then ran a straight stitch around right along the edge of the hem. I trimmed off the excess, finished the seam edges, folded the hems right side out and topstitched just above the seam (not the typical way, but I wanted my seam to lie flat that way). Done!

The extra 'bits' were the perfect size to create patches for my son's favorite pants...he blew out both knees in the first week of school. And three weeks later, I'm fixing them :-P hahaha, yeah, it takes me a while with mending jobs that just aren't very fun.  I put the patches on the outside, creating a two-tone pair of gray pants that I hope will last a bit longer. And since I have two more pairs of pants with blown out knees (added in the second week of school), I may share a couple of different patching methods in the following days ;).

Hoping to work on some 'fun' sewing this weekend, and I may even push to have a post up tomorrow! So, stay tuned ;)


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thrift Style Thursday: Sporty Chic

I've joined a group of super rad thrifting fashionistas and will be posting thrifted outfits following certain weekly themes every Thursday. Thrift Style Thursday! You can check out our Facebook page here or follow the links at the end of this post to check out the other members' posts. This week's theme is Sporty Chic. I can definitely handle that! I was a pretty 'sporty' dresser for many years as it was comfortable and fit my tomboy personality. I did eventually discover my girly side, and that's where the chic side of this look comes from :).

I started off with this oversized white blouse that I thrifted last year. Underneath I have a simple black tank top from Wal-Mart. My exercise leggings are also thrifted, and I wear them more often in my everyday outfits than for actual exercise...I have other leggings for that ;). My gold bangles are thrifted and my other jewelry is from Forever 21. My shoes (and socks) are from Marshall's. All in all, a sporty chic, mostly thrifted outfit that cost under $40 (the shoes being the most expensive on clearance for $20)! I love how comfortable this is, yet put together as well. I wore this on my bike ride to pick my son up from school, playing in the park after, and doing chores around the house. Oh, and the ponytail totally fits in, too!

Check out the other Thrift Style Thursday posts here:

I'm out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cargo & Polka Dots

Today I've got a refashion, and an alteration. Let's get started with the refashion! I found this polka-dot blouse at my local thrift and picked it up for $2. First things first? Cut out the shoulder pads!

As I am a major 'wing it' kinda gal, I got down to it. I turned the blouse inside out, chopped off each sleeve, put it on, then pinned where the armholes would need to end. As you can see, I not only removed the sleeves but cut halfway down each side at an angle, and I needed to close the sides back up.

Now, as I was just 'winging it', I ran into a couple of small issues...I decided to finish off the arms with bias binding. My first time ever! Aaaand it went well until this happened (notice the shoulder). I redid it three times...yeah, and this was the last cause then I thought, "It's my first time finishing off this way and it should look like it was my first time." ;) I was basically done trying to fix it. To 'make' the bias binding, I simply cut a section of the cutoff sleeves that was long enough to finish off the armhole. Oh, and did you notice the bust dart? Yeah...didn't realize I needed one until I'd already done with the bias. So, I thought, "Screw it! I'm gonna add it after and not care...again, its my first time."

The alteration comes into play with this pair of pants I thrifted while in MI last month. They're a size 8, and I normally wear a 4 or 6, depending on the brand/cut/style/etc. I could have simply always worn them with a belt, but even for that they were a bit saggy. And without a belt, they created 'droopy crotch'...not. good. So, what method did I use for taking them in the required amount?

First, here's the after:

Starting just above the cargo pockets on each side, I took them in by about a half an inch (measuring from the waist in). I also ran them through my machine 3 times to get a super strong seam. Because I only took in a small amount on each side, I didn't trim the excess fabric. It doesn't create any extra bulk and isn't uncomfortable. And if I ever gain weight I can simply undo the process. ;) Not planning on that!

 I decided to wear the two pieces together, and added a faux black leather jacket I got for $30 at Uniqlo last year, a yard sale statement necklace ($2), and my thrifted cognac leather booties ($6). I'd prefer this with black booties...but I haven't had any luck in finding them at the thrift store and I seldom find myself at any type of shoe store. They're on my thrifting wish list :).

I feel like I might like this top better under a jacket or cardigan as long as I'm wearing a belt...seems boxy. But that could just be me. Here's the before and after of the top:

 Happy Refashioning!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blue & White Floral

I posted this pic on Instagram showing a piece I'd picked up in Michigan, posing the question, "What would you do?"

A fellow refashionista, ChiChi, (aka @itschichibaby on Instagram) suggested cap sleeves. Another, Carissa, suggested mixing it with a chambray (totally love this idea!!!). I decided to start by removing the sleeves.

I then put it on inside out, pinned it to take in the sides a bit tapering out towards the bottom. After running each side through the machine (and trimming off the excess) I tried it back on and used pins to mark the waistline.

I laid it out and cut straight across.

Then, I sewed elastic to the bottom of the top half, creating a gathered waist. Next, I attached the bottom half, gathering it as well. I did this by simply stretching the elastic as I zigzagged around.

Once the waist was complete, I took my sleeves and started playing around with them to see how short I wanted to go. I definitely wanted to do a cap sleeve.

I repinned the sleeves right sides together, and zigzagged them in place. I trimmed off the excess and tried it on, but I'd left one sleeve a bit longer than the other and had to redo it ;). They aren't quite a cap sleeve, but give a similar effect. Though, I may remove the sleeves and redo them at some point. Either way, I love the outcome! I fell in love with the print, and now I love it even more :).

Here's an idea of how I'd style it while out and about...but you'll have to imagine I've included a statement necklace and arm candy. Also, super cute with a cropped leather jacket and a scarf!

Here's the obligatory before and after shot:
 Oh, and here's how I'm actually wearing it today as I do laundry!!!

Hope you enjoyed this one :) Happy Refashioning!

Friday, October 3, 2014

MI Thrift Score

Long time no post!!! I've missed blogging and sewing lately...but I seem to have lost my sewing mojo, temporarily, I hope. So, I figured I'd share the awesome pieces I picked up while in Michigan last weekend for a bachelorette bonanza...two brides-to-be, a group of besties, and even a bit of family time thrown in. That's where the thrifting comes into play. I got to spend some time thrifting with my sister, and we found some pretty awesome things! She's been on a bit of a weight-loss journey and in desperate need of clothes that fit, while I had recently done some purging in my closet and have 8 bags of clothing, shoes and accessories to donate to the Veterans of America tomorrow morning. I love that I can schedule a pickup (no car means its a bit tricky when I'm ready to donate in bulk), and I love that I am giving to a good cause. 

Here's the shot of my haul that I posted on Instagram earlier this week.
These vintage purple leather kitten heels were only $3.15 and fit like a dream :).

All told I paid $43.15 for everything pictured, and I came back with a suitcase as full as when I'd left (even though I'd packed it halfway with things to pass on to my sister...). This Mossimo dress is a size 2 and cost me all of $3.50!!! I love it: the color, the fit, length, style, everything! The gold heels are Bandolino and such a good heel height that I was able to wear them salsa dancing ;) They were $3.

This blue and white floral t-shirt is a bit boxy and was chosen for its potential as a more fitted top or a pencil skirt...not sure which yet. $3.50. The jeans are pretty amazing...imo! They have the perfect amount of stretch, they fit the way I like and are super comfy! $4.

This Zara blouse still has the tag on it and though it is a palm tree print in a color I don't normally wear, I'm kinda diggin' it! It was $7, which is higher than I'll normally pay, but this is no normal blouse ;).

These next two follow in the theme of printed blouses...the first more geometric and $5, the second sheer (in case you failed to notice my sports bra underneath...) with a fun bird print and costing $3.50.

I seem to be drawn to purples/magentas, as you can see with these next two pieces. The t-shirt was the perfect kind of drapey top to wear with leggings at $3.50 and the jeans (also $3.50) were the perfect plum shade. They fit snugly on my thighs, so I will see if I can let them out a smidge.

This next pair of pants fulfills a Thrifting Wishlist item that I've been keeping an eye out for for several months now. They are big in the waist/hips (notice the weirdness in the crotch area), so I'll be making adjustments there. Otherwise, for $3.50, they are perfect!!!

Now, I also had a sackful of tops that I'd gleaned from my VA donations packed in my suitcase for my friend to try out. She doesn't have a lot of 'going out' wear, and I thought I'd bring a selection for her to try. Her and her sister decided to take them all, and ended up wearing a couple the night we went out! In the process, she pulled out a trench coat that no longer fit her and had her sister try it. But it was a similar story as they have similar builds. Soooo, they asked me if I'd like to try it...having a smaller bust proved to be a plus, because I came home with the trench coat! Thank you Jess!

I actually have more pieces I could share with you that haven't been photographed...I hit up a 50% off thrift sale the day before leaving for Michigan, then I went thrifting this Wednesday and earlier today...yeaaaah, I may need to stop. Now. The purple silk blouse I'm wearing in the picture I shared over on Facebook and Instagram earlier this week was one of those items I grabbed last week, and it is one of my favorite pieces. Here's the pic:

I'd forgotten how much I love this color on me, and am stoked that I've found a few pieces in this and similar shades just in the past week. Lucky me :).

And to make a long post even longer, I'm hoping to have a refashion/alteration up next friend is having a small ceremony and party where she lives here in the states before traveling to Japan for a more traditional/formal wedding ceremony with her family, and we picked out a dress together when she was last here. The only problem is that it was a couple of sizes too big, had a stiff sheer top, and at the time she had less than two weeks before the small ceremony.  I took on the challenge of removing the top (making it strapless), and taking it in to fit...I hope I've succeeded, though it is not as neat and professional as I would have liked since I had to do some hand stitching... :-/ Not my strong suit. But it was great practice and I think she likes it (fingers crossed!). Anywho, I'll be at the ceremony next week, and with her permission, I'll post the before, a bit of the process, and an after shot on the bride herself! 

Ok, done. Promise. Happy Refashioning! Hopefully I'll be doing some soon...