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Category: Refashioned

Plaid Dress Re-Fashion!

Plaid Dress Re-Fashion!

I will admit that this dress was a bit of a project. I attempted the transformation for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I loooved the fabric! Yellow plaid flannel?! Whoa! Secondly, and very importantly, the dress was basically free. I found it while sifting through clothes at a stuff-a-bag-for-$5 rummage sale. Couldn’t go wrong, right?

At least the first step to dress improvement was simple. Remove those shoulder pads!

Since the dress came from a rummage sale, I wasn’t able to try it on until I got home. Upon try-on, I discovered that the cinched waist was a bit too tight and actually hit me below the waist at a poochy place. Uncomfortable!

I found that the waist cinch was created by a band of elastic encased in a tube of fabric. Using a thread ripper, I open the tube so that I could removed the elastic.

Once the elastic had been cut out, I had to re-sew the tube closed so that the waist wouldn’t hang strangely. In the picture, the tube to the left of my finger is still open. To the right of my finger, however, the tube has been re-stitched closed.

The next step was to trim down those huge sleeves! I realized that the shoulder seam was actually long enough to become a cap sleeve for me. I marked 2 inches from this seam to create a seam allowance.

I cut along my marks to remove the sleeves.

I tried on the dress and realized that the waist was still lower than my waist. In an attempt to fix that, I raised the shoulder seams. I used a ruler and disappearing pen to mark where the new seams should be.

After pinning, I stitched along the line I had drawn.

I laid the dress out flat, removing the wrinkles as much as possible. I then pinned the front and back of the bodice together so that they wouldn’t move, and then I folded the dress in half.

I placed an existing dress on top to use as a pattern. The pattern dress had a similar style and was of a similarly non-stretchy fabric as the flannel dress. It was also important that the pattern dress have a somewhat roomy fit, since I did NOT want to cut the flannel dress too small!

As a added precaution, I traced about an inch and a half extra around the pattern dress. I then cut according to my marks.

I pinned the side seams and stitched them closed, leaving the sleeve area open. (I will want to fiddle with those sleeves later.) Ta-da! The dress is getting whittled down to size!

After trying on the dress again to test the alterations, I moved on to hemming the sleeves. I rolled the hems, pinned them in place, and stitched. I also extended the side seams up into the hemmed sleeves.

Finally, the top part of the dress was fitting better. I left the skirt alone, since I liked the fullness and length! (I also didn’t want to mess with that button placket extending from the bodice to the skirt!)

I decided to try the dress with some fall layering! A wide belt helped adjust the waist, while lace-up boots and a plaid beret added highland flare.

The dress turned out to be super comfy and somewhat warm, due to all that fabulous flannel!

I played with the color skeme a bit by adding a thrifted corduroy jacket and vintage purse. I love how both pieces coordinated with my beret, which came courtesy of Scotland!

Costume Time: Across the Decades!

Costume Time: Across the Decades!

Halloween is almost here! Today we are showcasing some of our favorite costumes from across the decades! Click on each photo to see the whole post and outfit DIY!

Happy costuming, Everyone!

Costume Time: 1920’s Style!

Costume Time: 1920’s Style!

I used the think that 1920’s costumes were challenging to create. Over time, I have found that it’s very possible to turn thrift store garments into “mod” looks! Today’s post features some of our favorite 1920’s outfits and a range of crafting commitment. Bring on the flapper flair!

I was so excited about these first outfits, that Lindee was given no choice but to do a photo shoot with me! The drop-waist dresses from the 1980’s required next to no alteration, other than the mandatory removal of shoulder pads.  The addition of a sash and flower pin were totally optional.

Less optional were the long necklaces (Lindee’s was actually two strands of pearls of different lengths), cloche hats, and vintagy shoes. You can find links to similar items at the bottom of this post!

These dresses were surprisingly comfortable and fun to wear!

Even our photographer got into the act!

Of course, you may recognize the blue dress from our earlier post “Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1920’s“! A faux fur wrap from the thrift store and some wooly tights added warmth on a cold day.

For a more formal evening look, check out Lindee’s transformation of a plain dress into fabulous flapper duds in our post “DIY 1920’s Costume“! Fabulous, Dahling, Fabulous!

If you can’t find a drop-waist dress, you can make your own from an over-sized shirt and coordinating fabric! Our post “1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt” will show you the step-by-step process! For these pictures, I channeled my inner “modern” and had *fun* with contrasting accessories and lipstick!

We love the 1920’s!

Here are some fun 1920’s-inspired accessories to get you started!

Costume Time: 1940’s Style

Costume Time: 1940’s Style

With Halloween around the corner, it’s the perfect time to create vintage fashion magic! This month we will feature some of our favorite tutorials for turning thrift store clothes into old-time fashion statements! Wear them to a costume party or wear them everyday! Today’s post highlights dresses that were originally made in the 1980’s but have lots of of 1940’s flair! My first dress needed very little work to give it swingin’ style!

Remember this dress from our “Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses“? The only alteration it needed was the obligatory removal of the shoulder pads. (Hey, the 1980’s called and wanted them back!) The puffed sleeves, fitted waist, and below-knee length are 1940’s-ready all on their own!

Of course, it’s the accessories that really take this dress back in time! The hat, bag, and belt are vintage finds from a local thrift store called Crossing the Jordan! Coincidentally, that’s also where I found the dress!  

I was so excited to find this vintage enamel jewelry while thrifting, as it’s hard to find! The statement flowers play well with the statement flower print of the dress. Fashion Tip: The 1940’s ladies loved their brooches and clip-on earrings! The shoes are also a thrift store score from years ago, but you can find similar here. 

My next 80’s dress needed a little more love before it could really shine. Check out the tutorial here to witness the full transformation! This dress is now one of my favorite refashions!

My fabulous friend Katherine agreed to dress up for a 40’s-style photo shoot! Believe it or not, her outfit is NOT vintage but has lots of vintage flair! Fashion Tip: 1940’s ladies loved fitted blouses, skirts that reached around knee length, and snazzy belts! And you know what they loved even more? Red Lipstick and lots of it! Check out this fascinating article from vintagedancer.com for historical makeup tips and tricks!

If you can’t find a 1940’s hat or simply want to cover a modern haircut, you can make your own “snood” hair net! Check out my tutorial here for what may be my favorite vintage accessory DIY! Daisies are optional extras.

Ok, Vintage Fashionistas- time to get thrifting! And sewing! And quite possibly dancing…

Here are some 1940’s-inspired accessories to get you started!

1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt

1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt

I *love* re-fashioning thrift store staples into unique, historically-inspired outfits! Oversized polo shirts are ideal for such projects, since they are easy to find and are practically dresses already! With the addition of some coordinating fabric and elbow grease, my polo shirt will become a drop-waist dress inspired by the 1920’s. Calling all flappers: it’s time to get sewing!

Step 1: Find a big men’s polo shirt at your local thrift store. The longer the shirt, the better! Look for a shirt that is a color/pattern that can easily coordinate with other fabric. Also watch out for stains and signs of noticeable wear. Step 1.5: Goofily pose in your shirt after washing it!

 Gather a skirt-sized piece of coordinating fabric, and make sure it is washed and somewhat wrinkle-free. This fabric will become the “skirt” part of the drop-waist dress.  Lay your shirt out flat and smooth out the wrinkles (iron if necessary).


Now it’s time to re-fashion that polo! I folded the shirt in half, being careful to smooth out all wrinkles. I pinned the side and shoulder seams to keep the fabric from moving around.

Next, I got out a loosely-fitting Tshirt  to use as a pattern. A word of warning: DO NOT use a snug or even perfectly-fitting shirt as a pattern, or you will cut your polo shirt too small! This dress is meant to hang loosely on the body, so cut bigger than you think you will need. (Learn from the voice of experience, People!) You can see in the picture that I measured about 2 inches of EXTRA fabric around the body of the T shirt before cutting the polo. I did cut off most of the polo’s sleeves.

Next, I needed do some prep work before hemming the side seams of the polo. First, I used the Tshirt to help me guess how high the side seams should be sewn under the arm. I marked this with fabric chalk. I also measured several inches up from the bottom hem of the shirt and marked this spot on both side seams. This marking will remind me to not stitch all the way to the bottom of the shirt.

I sewed the side seams using a large, loose stitch and standard seam allowances. (Be sure to use the right kind of needle for your fabric, which in my case was knit!) I stopped stitching several inches from the bottom of the shirt, as I had marked off earlier. I tried on the shirt, and found that it was too big and the seams needed to go higher under the arms. I used rulers and chalk to measure where I thought the seams needed to be. As before, I sewed the seems and tried on the shirt. Better this time!

During all this trying on, I found that the sleeves were way too long. I left about an inch of sleeve beyond the shoulder seam, then cut the rest off.

After another just-to-double-check-try-on, I determined where the finalized side seams should be. I then stitched the seams using a stitch designed to both bind and serge the seams in knit fabric. In the picture, you can see how many tries it took me before I liked the placement of the seam! You can trim some of the extra fabric off after you sew the final seam.

Once the shirt portion of the dress fit, I turned my attention to the skirt. I laid the two pieces of skirt fabric out flat, then folded the double layer in half. I lined up this skirt fabric with the folded shirt. I cut the skirt so that it began the same width as the bottom of the shirt, and then increased to a slight a-line towards the hem.

Here are the skirt pieces once cut. (The pieces appear to be slightly different sizes in the picture, but they are actually the same.)

Next, I pinned the skirt pieces to the bottom hems of the shirt. One skirt piece got pinned to the shirt front, the other to the shirt back. (Remember: the side seams of the shirt were not yet stitched all the way to the bottom of the shirt. This allowed me to work with the front and back of the shirt individually, since they were not fully attached to each other.) I liked the look of the shirt’s hem, so I kept that as a flap with the skirt pinned behind it.

I pinned and stitched the skirt pieces to the shirt pieces. 

With the skirt pieces sewn to the shirt, it was finally time to extend the side seams all the way to the hem of the skirt. I pinned and sewed!

After trying on the dress, I decided to shorten the skirt a couple inches so that it reached right below my knee. I saved the trimmed fabric for later use!

Now to finish those sleeves. I simply folder under the extra fabric extending beyond the shoulder seam and pinned it in place. Stitched that in place and the “sleeve” was done.

I had just enough fabric trimmings left to make a couple accessories! (Nothing like some custom detailing to make a re-made dress look vintage!) The strip of gray fabric became a sailor-like necktie. The blue circles would morph into a flower that could be clipped to my hat.

I cut out petals from the circles and cut small pieces of black felt for the backing. I stacked the flowers from largest to smallest, attaching each new flower layer with hot glue.

A cute lil’ button became the center of the flower, while a piece from the shirt’s hem acted as leaves.


The circle of felt became the base of the flower, while the rectangle secured the hair clip to the base.  I used my E6000 glue to attach the hair clip to the felt.

I couldn’t wait to style my newly-made dress! The addition of my favorite cloche hat and vintage-y shoes completed the look!

Find similar styles (here)!
And here!

Of course, I also added my homemade accessories and a LOT of eyeliner! Check out this historically-inspired 1920’s makeup tutorial (here) for more ideas! Much fun!

This 1920’s outfit makes me want to dance!

Hey, Flappers! Who’s ready for a polo shirt dance party?!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

I wasn’t kidding last week when I said that I loved my newly refashioned button-up shirt! Although the refashioning took time, I was able to make a custom top from something that didn’t fit before! (See the tutorial here!) Now, I love the shirt’s length, comfiness, and styling options. I was certain I could use it to create some vintage inspired looks! First up, an outfit inspired by the 1930’s…

 

 

 

This outfit made me think of the comfy “beach pajamas” from the 1930’s! Wide-leg pants, a breezy top, and a big hat equaled summer sun readiness!

 

 

 

My earrings, hat, and pin are favorite thrift store finds. The scarf was a gift from the fabulous Heather!

 

 

 

Next, my top and I visited the beach by way of the 1940’s! I left out the matching belt this time and instead tucked the top into an A-line skirt.

 

 

 

I love the nautical feel of those stripes! I just wish it was slightly less windy!

 

 

 

My skirt, belt, and earrings were thrifted, while my hat was a homemade project based on a vintage pattern. More on that later!

 

 

Ship ahoy, Matey! Be on the lookout for more refashioned projects coming soon!

“Refashioned” Button-Up Shirt

“Refashioned” Button-Up Shirt

 

I love the idea of button-up shirts, but I have a hard time finding ones that fit… Enter the button-up refashion- a project that utilizes a large shirt and transforms it to your specifications! Although this project is pretty straight forward, it does take time. Be sure that you actually like some feature of the large shirt! My shirt came from a fabulous family member who, like me, has a thing for red! I love the color and nautical stripes!

 

 

 

I started out by laying the shirt flat on my work surface and then folding the shirt in half. (In hind sight, I should have put a few pins in strategic places on the shirt when it was laying flat. The pins would have kept the fabric from moving around as much when the shirt was folded.) Next, I used a button up blouse as a “pattern.” Note: Do NOT use a form fitting or stretchy shirt for the pattern! (The button up’s fabric won’t stretch like a T shirt’s fabric would.) You want to cut the button down bigger than you need, then sew it smaller! Notice my ruler in the picture? I used that and a disappearing fabric pen to mark roughly 2 inches extra around my pattern shirt. The added inches will hopefully give me enough fabric for seam allowance AND for adjusting the fit. Better to cut too big than too small!!

 

 

 

 

Turning our attention to the sleeves! I made the decision to go sleeveless after noticing that the shoulder seam of the shirt was long enough to create a cap sleeve length on me. I used my handy dandy ruler and pen to mark about an inch and a half from the shoulder seams. I did this all around the arm and then trimmed the fabric at those marks. Note: In hind sight, I would probably have left 2 inches of fabric past the shoulder seam. Would have made life easier in the next step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what the shirt looks like opened up. The side seams have been cut, and the sleeves have been removed. At this point, it’s a great idea to pin the side seams of the shirt closed so you can (carefully) try it on. You want to make sure that the cut shirt is big enough to fit you before you put more work into it. (Have I cut a shirt too small before and had to abandon the project? Yes!)

 

 

 

Now to finish those arm holes! The 1 and a half inches of extra fabric will become a rolled hem around the arm holes. First, I folded the extra fabric until it met the shoulder seam. Then, I folded the folded part over on itself and pinned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the arm hole in its pinned stage and its finished, stitched-up result!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now for the body of the shirt! I pinned the side seams closed and quickly stitched with big, loose stitches. At this point, I just wanted to know how the shirt fit. There would be plenty of time for finalized seams later.

 

 

 

The next step took a couple tries. After trying on the shirt, I took the side seams in a bit, stitched them quickly, then tried on the shirt again. I repeated this process until I got a fit that I liked. Eventually, I ended up curving the seams inward slightly near waist level, creating a gradual hourglass shape. I also decided to open the seams several inches from the bottom of the shirt to allow a little extra leaway over my hips and bum. I used the seam allowance to roll mini hems for the openings.

 

 

 

Once I was happy with fit, I made my final hems of the side seams. YIPEE!!!

 

 

 

I could have stopped there, but decided to create a belt for the shirt for a little extra shaping and style! Yes, it was more work (sigh…), but I thought it would increase the ways I could wear the shirt. (Check out next week’s post to see if I was right!) To make the belt, I cut open the sleeves, and attempted to cut 2 strips from each sleeve. I marked off strips that were (I think) 4 inches wide and as long as the sleeve fabric would allow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After cutting the strips to the same length, I pinned the ends right sides together and stitched.  All that work to create a piece of fabric long enough to become a belt!

 

 

 

I folded the long piece of fabric in half with the right sides together. I pinned and then stitched the fabric into a long tube. It took a while, but I eventually turned the tube right side out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To finish the ends, I rolled the raw edges into the tubes. I pinned the openings closed and stitched them. Viola belt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wore my cute (and comfy!) new top with some favorite homemade cut offs! (To learn how to stamp the strawberries on the hem, check out this post here!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this new top so much, that I have worn it repeatedly since making it! Stay tuned for some vintage-inspired red n’ white looks next week!

 

DIY Fashion: 1980’s to 1940’s Dress

DIY Fashion: 1980’s to 1940’s Dress

Ever notice how old clothes often reflect trends from the even more distant past? Take dresses from the 1980’s, for example. Many of them are basically replaying the greatest hits of the 1890’s, 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, albeit with the addition of synthetic lace, crazy fabric, and chronic shoulder pads! Believe it or not, this is great news for those of us who love vintage fashion, are too broke to buy everything we want, AND are too lazy to make our own retro clothing from scratch! Just check out this dress from our “Vintage a la Thrift Store-1920’s” article (found here)! This thrifted dress has a waist line from the 1920’s but fabric from the 1980’s!

Sometimes, these dresses just need the right accessories to help them shed their 80’s aura. Others need a little more help, and by “help” I mean some DIY alterations! I got the 1980’s-dress-bug hard when I found this gem at Goodwill.

Before you say I’m crazy, listen to my 1980’s dress vision! Firstly, I loved the fabric (polka dot’s in white, black, and red)! Secondly, and most importantly, the dress was basically my size. The shoulders fit pretty well, especially for an 80’s dress with puff sleeves. The bodice wasn’t that huge either. These two features allowed me to MODIFY the dress without having to take the whole thing apart. With that longer-than-knee-length skirt, wide shoulders, cinched waist, and retro print, Imma thinkin’ this dress could take me back to the 1940’s! Still think I’m crazy? Read on…

First things first- remove that overtly sweetsie lace detail!! I used my thread ripper to pluck out the stitches holding the lace in place.

Unfortunately, the collar and lace were sewn into the shoulder seams and front button placket… I had to open those seems up a bit to remove the lace, then re-stitch them closed. I probably could have avoided this fun process had I foreseen my eventual modification of the collar, but stay tuned for that. Next, we must move on to other distasteful features, such as those shoulder pads and sleeves! The pads had to GO!!!

Next, gotta shorten those sleeves! I tried on the dress and used tailor’s chalk to mark the length I thought the new short sleeves should be. I turned the dress inside out and marked this on the sleeve (the pen in the picture shows where my marks were). Next, I made markings about 2 inches longer than my desired length. This created my seam allowance and is shown in the picture by the scissors. I then cut off the sleeve at this point. The pins in the picture were used to keep that darn slippery fabric from moving around when it was cut!

I used the cut sleeve as the template for cutting the other sleeve off. I folded the dress in half so that the cut sleeve lined up with the uncut sleeve. After the necessary pinning and marking, I cut the second sleeve to match.

I tried on the dress and found that the sleeves were still a bit too long, even with the needed seam allowance. I went through the trimming process again. After trying the dress on one more time, I was ready to hem and haw! Er, I mean I was ready to hem the sleeves! To keep that crazy fabric from raveling, I dabbed a bit of Fray Check on the cut edges.

Dress inside out, I made markings where I wanted the final length of the sleeves to be, about an inch and a half from the cut edges of the sleeves . I brought the cut edge to meet that marking, making a fold. I then folded the folded bit over on itself  to make a rolled hem for the sleeve. I used a ton of pins to hold that in place.

I used my iron on it’s “synthetic” setting to attempt to iron the pinned hems down. I opted to stitch the hems by hand, since that would give me a bit more control. It still took a while…

At this point, I would have been finished were it not for that collar. Still too big! That super high neckline was a bit tight and fussy too!

To minimize the problem, I folded under the curved edges of the collar to make straight edges. I also folded the edges of the front neckline under to create a v-neck. (I removed the top button before folding.) All of this was pinned before being stitched in place by hand. The white paper in the picture helps the modifications be seen in the picture.

And after much ado, that’s how we got short sleeves with a coordinating neckline and collar! Hurrah! We only needed period-appropriate accessories and makeup to take this dress back in time! Luckily, I not only had the necessary thrifted accessories, but I also had the help of a hot photographer (my hubby) and my fabulous friend, Katherine! Together, we forayed into a funny, fantastic, forties fashion shoot! Say “cheese”!

Both my dress and Katherine’s outfit are not vintage but have lots of 1940’s flair! The only vintage items are my belt and earrings! The “snood” hair net that I’m wearing was actually a DIY that will be featured in next week’s post! These 1940’s fashions made us want to dance!

We can’t wait for more fabulous 1940’s fun! Stay tuned!

Shirt-Lengthener Skirt

Shirt-Lengthener Skirt

Let me introduce you to a garment that has become a closet MVP since I first made it this fall! At first glance, it appears to be a skirt. However, I think of it as fulfilling the higher calling of “shirt lengthener”! Shirt lengthening is needed when your favorite t-shirt or baggy sweatshirt lets you down. Picture this- you’re all ready to go with your comfy yoga pants or leggings, but you discover that your shirt is a couple inches shorter than your butt! AAH! I require butt coverage for leggings/yoga pant use! What shall I DO?!

 

 

At this point, the shirt lengthener comes to your rescue! It covers your butt, extends your legging/yoga pant outfit potential, and looks cute doing it! Go to the thrift store immediately and find an old, knit skirt! The skirt needs to fit your waist (unless you are willing to adjust it) and not be too tight on your booty (because that defeats the purpose). I was super excited when I found a skirt with an elastic waist band and stretchy fabric! (Vintage 90’s, anyone?)

 

 

 

 

 

Since the skirt fit and was made from an unraveling knit fabric, the road to shirt-lengthened-salvation was simple. Measure the skirt, cut off unwanted length, reinforce the cut seams, and bring on the outfits! I started by attempting to measure the length I wanted and marking it with chalk. (Butt coverage was a priority!)

 

 

Then it was time to cut the extra length off. To ensure that I didn’t cut the skirt too short, I marked off two length measurements, one at my chalk mark and another a bit longer. I then cut trimmed the skirt to the longer measurement. After trying the skirt on, I found that the longer length was actually just right!

 

 

Since the knit material didn’t ravel, I didn’t have to do any hemming. (Yay!) I did, however, want to make sure the side seams that had been cut did not come unstitched. After turning the skirt inside out, I used a zig-zag stitch and a knit needle to secure the seams. (This could easily be done by hand.)

 

 

And that was it! I tried the shirt-extending-skirt on with different tops and loved the results! I like how the black of the skirt blends with a dark top and/or  black leggings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I now need to find modifiable thrift store skirts in every color so I can make this again!

Jegging Scarf

Jegging Scarf

It’s probable that I am not the ONLY gal out there who has a few pairs of ill-fitting jeggings or leggings lurking in the closet. (Seriously, WHO designs these things?) They don’t fit well,  but still I keep them. Well, the moment has come to either toss or craft! I chose some thin gray jeggings and got started on a project that had been bugging me for a while.

 

That thin, stretchy denim had been teasing me with project potential. I finally settled on the simplest possible transformation- sew the legs of the jeggings end-to-end to create a scarf! I started by marking a straight line at the top of the pant legs and under the pockets. I cut along this line to free the legs.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I turned the legs inside out and pinned the raw edges right sides together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stitched this up using a zig-zag stitch and a needle for heavy knits, since the fabric was stretchy.

 

I then trimmed the thick hems off the bottom of the pant legs. After turning the pant-legs-turned-tube of fabric right side out, I stitched the bottom of the legs closed. I left the edges raw, since I liked the frayed look.

 

And that was that- my scarf was stitched! I really like the denim look, although I think a thicker denim would have been too bulky. I definitely recommend using thin material for this project! I also think a slightly longer scarf would be nice, so next time I will steal jeggings from my tall sister! 😉 I did feel pretty accomplished for getting an unused piece of clothing out of the closet and onto the craft table! To celebrate, I took my scarf on a walk in the park!