Category Archives: Wardrobe Redux

Skirt refashion

Second refashion of the month!  Recycling old clothes is like putting money in the bank.

I took an old cotton flannel skirt, and cut off the top 10 inches or so.  I ironed out all the pleats that made me feel as if I were wearing my old Bishop Kearney HS uniform skirt, and ended up with a big loop of fabric.

I added two darts to the back, so that the skirt fit my waist better.  Then I folded over the front, kilt-style, added a buttonhole and button, and stuck in an old kilt pin from the ’70’s (can you say “pack rat?”)  I’ve already worn it to work, where everyone laughed at my kilt pin and asked me where my knee socks were…


Knit dress refashion

The first project of the new year!

This tunic began life as an old Lands End knit dress that belonged to my daughter.  It’s been languishing in a laundry basket for about three years, but I couldn’t bear to throw it away, because it was nice knit material.  It was (ahem!) too small to wear in its current state.

I cut it down the front and added a border to the opening.  The border is made from two folded-over strips of cotton fabric that covered the rough edge.  I top-stitched the border so it would lie flat.  I haven’t decided if I’ll do anything to the sleeves, which are three-quarter length, but it’ll work in warmer weather over a tank top & jeans.   And I have that nice glow of virtue (I recycled something!) to keep me warm in this freezing weather.

T-shirt refashion

In my drawer are a few Lands End long-sleeve t-shirts that I’ve had absolutely forever. I can’t wear them anywhere but at home, because of the little stains, holes, and tears. I’d been wanting to make some “half gloves” from a tutorial on Stitch Lounge, so I decided to see what I could come up with for the rest of one of my workhorse shirts.

I cut off the sleeves, and made the “half-glove” arm-warmers. Then I cut off the sides and neckline of the t-shirt (including the stains under the arms–bleah.) I added strips of funky fabric to the sides, and then made some double-fold bias tape for the armholes and neckline. The point of the neckline in front caused me a bit of worry, but I sewed that thing flat…

I’d love to report that I did this all very scientifically with measurements and all, but in truth I grabbed another t-shirt from a drawer and used it as a rough guide. I also must be truthful and say I screwed up the hemline of the shirt by (arrgh) cutting the first fabric strip even with the existing hem, forgetting about adding 5/8 to turn under. So I’ll have to put bias tape over that, too.

I’m very pleased with how it came out. Not that I can wear it any time soon, as it is currently 5 degrees F here in upstate New York. I have lots of t-shirts that I can convert this way. Next time I’ll make the armhole binding thinner, and I’ll have a better hemline. I think I need to make the top of the arm-warmer smaller, too. It won’t matter if I’m wearing it under something, but I don’t want them to slide down my arm when I’m wearing them with the t-shirt.

Sweater refashion

One of my second-hand finds was this cotton cable-knit sweater. Though very comfortable and warm, the shape is a bit strange. It’s about 3 inches longer in back than in front, and the sides are very wide. (Perhaps it was a man’s sweater? If it was, it was for a very short man!) I thought it was a good candidate for a refashion.

I was very nervous about cutting into knitted fabric, but finally decided it was ridiculous to be nervous about refashioning a sweater that I can’t wear, however pretty.

I turned the sweater inside out, and stitched a new line from the armpit to the bottom of the sweater on each side, and then tried on the sweater again to make sure of the fit. Then I restitched the same seam with a very small stitch size, so that the sweater won’t unravel.

The bottom of the sweater took a bit of thought. I considered adding 3 inches to the front of the sweater, or adding a fabric band to the bottom and to the cuffs, but figured I would have the devil of a time matching the color and texture. I finally decided to cut the extra fabric from the back, and then add cream-colored bias tape to keep the ends from unraveling. Voilà! A sweater I will wear!

Old Dress, New Top

BeforeI’m very proud of this refashion!  It started as a demure green velvet dress from Land’s End.  I remember wearing it when my elder daughter was a baby, which was…um…more than 12 years ago.  The cloth is lovely–cotton velvet with a little Lycra for stretch and drape–and I just couldn’t bear to throw it away–the fit was very forgiving at holiday time.  But at 40-something, I just don’t do demure anymore.

AfterIt has an empire waist, so I decided to turn it into a tunic top.  First I converted the neckline to a V-neck.  (I really learned a lot from fellow refashioners about sewing stretchy material.)   Then I trimmed the bottom and hemmed it so it falls mid-thigh instead of just below the knee (not a flattering length for a short, round person.)  I wore it to work today!

Now I need to make myself a nice red or black skirt to go with this–when I tried wearing it over my black velvet skirt, the static cling was quite noticeable!  I need something satiny, I think.

Skirt Refashion

pantsugly flap on back pocketsHurray! I’ve finished another Wardrobe Refashion! Inspired by another refashioner post (thank you, thank you, machen/machen!) , I took a pair of wide-legged Christopher Banks pants and turned them into a skirt. I will say with some pride that they were a consignment shop purchase last year, so I paid only a few dollars for them.  I really liked the fabric, which didn’t photograph very well, because the silvery thread reflects the light so much, but is nice against the navy.  And it has a drawstring waist, to acommodate the…er…ever-changing nature of my post-Halloween-candy and pre-holiday waistline.

I had some trouble seam-ripping, because all the seams were French seams. It took FOREVER to undo the inside seam of the pant legs–one whole episode of Numbers!–and I will have to admit that I made a slight tear removing the hideous ugly patch pockets in the rear. I always hated the pockets; I had to iron them like crazy so they’d lie flat. new skirt!I ended up ironing a patch on the inside. Fortunately the fabric is very dark and so my newbie error is fairly well hidden. (Note to self: next time, refashion something poorly made!)

I sewed two new seams, front and aft, with a slit in the back for walking, and voila! I’m going to wear my new skirt tomorrow.

Refashioning too-short pants

ww-020.jpgLast night I finished Refashion #2–and I actually used the sewing machine! These black denim pants were languishing in my closet–too hot for summer, but too short to wear in winter, ’cause they look ridiculously short with socks and shoes. I bought them second-hand last year and only wore them a couple of times. I figured I needed about 2 inches more on the hem. Since today was “school colors” day, I opted for some funky new cuffs in black, blue, and orange, with a matching belt. Sash. Whatever.ww-028.jpg

I cut two long strips that were the same length as the distance round the bottom of the pants leg,  sewed the ends together, pressed the seam open.  Then I turned in the sides, folded it in half, fit it onto the bottom of the pants leg, pinned it, and sewed it on.

The sash was two long strips sewn together, folded right sides together, sewn along the side.  Then I tore the fabric trying to turn it right-side out and had to cut off six inches of the sash turned the tube right-side out and sewed closed the ends.
ww-025.jpgThe really nice thing about this was that I didn’t need to do anything to the pants themselves except sew on the cuff.  If I tire of the relentless cheerfulness of the blue and orange cuffs, I can snip ’em off and sew on satin or eyelet or whatever takes my fancy.  If I were REALLY clever, I’d figure out how to make interchangeable cuffs, with velcro or buttons or something, but it  was late…

So here are the finished pants.  I wore them today with my blue and orange school shirt.  Go Bulldogs!