Monday, January 21, 2013

#15: Burgundy Blazer

Welcome, and happy Inauguration Day/Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Gee, I typically get a transformation done within a day or two, but this one took ALL WEEK! Actually, I only worked on it for about 3 days, but there were so many interruptions that it took me a while to actually finish, but at least I got it done!

I had an idea for something that I wanted to remake out of a large blazer jacket, so I went to the thrift store to see if I could find an inexpensive one. No luck. But thankfully, like I said in an earlier post, there's a 99 Cent Only store right next door to my favorite thrift store, so I checked there and found this:

Before: Burgundy Blazer

Before: From behind

Pop those shoulder pads!

Ideally it would have been black in color, but you can't beat it for a buck. I own lots of red and purple clothes, but not many burgundy items. Perhaps I am reminded of the burgundy cummerbunds and ties I used to wear all the time at middle school band performances (an appropriate memory, given that it's MLK day, and I went to an MLK middle school)  ;)

Probably playing "Smooth" or "Yellow Submarine"

This jacket was a bit shorter than I had hoped, and it had some stains,


but it'll do :)

                                               "That'll do pig. That'll do."

Ok, so I want to let you know that I did almost everything backward and created a whole lot more work for myself with this piece. There was a lot of sewing and ripping out seams I had just sewn, pinning and re-pinning and re-re-pinning. Not everything I make comes out easy-peasy, so for the sake of ease and clarity I'll describe it how I should have done it.

The first thing I (really) did was hand-wash the jacket (as I had just done laundry and didn't want to waste more quarters for this one jacket). I'm so glad I did hand-wash it ahead of time, or else I would have learned the hard way that it bled like the dickens!

Hello little bubble person!

After it had air-dried over night, I removed the shoulder pads and buttons and ironed out the wrinkles.

Adios shoulder  pads

Missing a button

I liked the buttons, and I wanted to re-use them, but they looked tarnished in the center. No worries. I whipped out my handy button-enhancing trick: fingernail polish. I narrowed it  down to about 3 colors I thought would go well with the dress, and chose "Plush Purple" (I thought "plush" was a texture...hmmm).

Fingernail Polish

I carefully painted the central dome of the buttons, leaving the outer gold rim paint-free for a nice contrast. Once dry, I coated the painted area with a clear top coat to seal it.

Color coordinated buttons!

Next, I took out the hem at the bottom of the jacket and the sleeve cuffs.

Un-hemming the bottom

I pinned the sleeves together and cut both at the same time to keep them the same length.

Cutting short sleeves

I needed to make this piece a bit longer, so I carefully removed the strung across fabric on the back, then I chopped the whole piece in half at the waist.

Removed the strung fabric

Separating top from bottom

I cut off some fabric from the inside of the long collar, and separated the sleeves I had cut off into 4 pieces long-ways (though I should have just made one cut to open the sleeves and left the original seam in tact, because I had to re-sew the seam anyway).

Cut sleeves long-ways

I sewed the inner collar material  together long-ways, doing the same to the sleeve halves (see, I should have just left them how they were), and meticulously sewed on the sleeve material to the short sides of the collar material strip, lining the seams up with the natural seams in the back of the original jacket.

Strips sewn together and ready to sew onto the top half of the jacket

Now that I had one long strip, I pinned one side of the long strip to the top half of the jacket where I had cut it. I did the same with the bottom half. I made sure keep the seams on the strip aligned with the lines of the original jacket to keep some continuity throughout the length of the jacket. Then I folded the side edges in, sewed them down, and cut off the remainder.

New extended waist from the back

Once the piece had been lengthened, I removed the bottom half of each sleeve by ripping out the seams on the under part of the short sleeve and half-way around the arm hole.

Sleeve opened up

I turned the jacket inside out and pinned the sides to give it a more fitted shape under the arms. Then I sewed the new seams together up the sides of the body.

Pinned and ready to sew

Once the fit under the arms was sewn, I sewed the sleeve back around the new arm hole and cut off the excess material. Then I folded and sewed a new hem for the sleeves.

Hemming the sleeves  

I folded the collar in a few inches and sewed it down. I also sewed a new hem around the bottom of the skirt.

Tucked in collar

Then I got to use my sewing machine to make a few button holes for the first time!


Opening the button hole. Stick a pin at the end to not rip through the stitches.

I hand-sewed on the original buttons I had painted to the top of the piece, and grabbed a few more buttons to sew onto the inside to close the bottom of the skirt.

Almost done.

Lastly, I re-wove the strings of fabric I had removed from the back in the same pattern as before, except I wove it 3 times over. I pinned it onto the back and sewed it on.

Re-woven back embellishment

After a lot of mistakes, plenty of time, and even some carnage....

Blood blister!

....the new dress is done! What do you think?

After: burgundy dress

After: from behind


During this long process making this project, I tried out a new hairstyle: bobby pin curls! I spun pieces of wet hair around my finger and pinned them to my head with bobby pins.


I left it in to dry most of the day, and ended up with a TON of curls with no heat needed!

SOOO curly!

Pin curls a little more styled

Not sure if I like the short look so much, so the next day I did just a few curls and left them in only a short while.

Softer, longer curls.

I think I'll try it again :)

Anyway, I hope you liked this transformation. If you'd like to send me some feedback, feel free to leave a comment below! Until next time, blessings.