Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#46: Blue Patterned Dress


So, I've got a brand new thrift find that I'm SUPER excited about. I'm not so sure that I can pull this one off, but I'm working on it. Check the end of this post for a sneak peek photo of my next challenge...

In lieu of that one, I'd like to share a transformation I whipped up in the few minutes I had before work yesterday. It only has 3 steps, and involves NO SEWING!!

I found this blue patterned dress at a thrift store for less than $3.

Before: Blue Patterned Dress

Before: From Behind

I really liked the pattern, but the shoulder pads made the bust fit awkwardly and the sleeves were an odd short length. I had a bunch of ambitious ideas for this dress, but I realized that I wanted to keep the main integrity of the dress and alter it slightly to suit my needs.

So, I transformed it in the following 3 steps:

1) First, I cut out the shoulder pads.

So not needed.

2) Second, I cut short sleeves.

Sleeves cut off

3) Third, I attempted to use a product called Fray Check to seal the frayed edges of the sleeves, but it took too long to dry and wasn't fully effective.

Maybe for another project, Fray Check

So instead I used a liquid adhesive called "No Sew Thread" that I found at the dollar store, spread it across the inside edge of the sleeves, and folded a new hem.

No Sew Thread

Folding a new hem

Wow. This stuff worked wonders! it dried quickly, and held firm with no sewing!

Here again is the before photo:

Before: Boring Blue Patterned Dress

Three steps, about 15 minutes, and some accessories, and I was ready to go to work:

After: Sophisticated Blue Patterned Dress

After: From Behind


I unbuttoned the top buttons, paired it with some matching earrings, a simple black belt to accentuate the waist, and some black shoes. I thought about cutting the length and altering the top, but I found that the removal of the shoulder pads made the top sit better, and it was already a good length for work.

Sometimes it doesn't take a whole lot to give a thrift store find some new life!

I hope you liked it! And ***drumroll, please*** here's a foretaste of what I'm working on next...


I hope I can pull it off! We'll see...... :)

Until next time, blessings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

#45: Blue Big Shoulder Dress

Sup, sup? Welcome to today's post!

Every so often I find an item so awesome, that I just have to have it! Today's post is one of those treasures.

Before: Blue big shoulder dress

Before: From behind

I found it at a new thrift store for about $3. It had this rad leather shoulder design that I didn't really know what the heck was supposed to be.

Who makes this?

I feel like I should have been doing the two-step in an 80s country western club.

Helloooooo Dolly! (Both padded and not padded!)

Can't do country without the big hair!


My hands totally went into Velociraptor mode, lol!

However amusing, those shoulder pads definitely weren't finding their way into my closet. So let's see if I could tame this dress!

First, those shoulder pads had to go. Conveniently, they were attached by velcro and ripped out easily.

Bye bye shoulder pads

Next, I cut off the sleeves around the shoulder designs leaving the collar in tact, and saved the sleeves for later.

Removed the sleeves

I then ironed it. I chose to iron it after cutting because ironing around the leather shoulder designs would have been a pain. (I've actually had this same iron since I was a child!)

Trusty ol' iron

Next, I cut and evened-out the shape I wanted with the front and back collar.

Shaping the collar

Those huge shoulders made for a lot of material under the arm, so I put it on inside out and pinned the excessive material under the arm. Then I sewed along the pins and cut off the excess material.

Pinning and sewing the underarm

After that, I folded and pinned a new hem around each arm hole entailing the underarm, back, and collar.

Pinning, pinning, pinning

I sewed it all up and cut off the excess material, tried it on again, and pinned and stitched 4 darts at the bust to make it fit better.

Darts at the bust

With part 1 of the dress done, I moved into part 2: the shoulder designs.

I didn't want those special leather shoulder designs to go to waste, so I decided to go the purse route. I cut the designs off at the rounded sleeve seam.

Bird wings? I don't know.

I laid them on top of each other with the decals facing one another, and sewed the bottom and both sides in a square. I cut off the excess and fake-serged the edges so it wouldn't fray.

I rounded out the top, and salvaged some of the Velcro that attached the shoulder pads to sew to the inside of the rounded edge on both sides to keep the purse closed.

Sewing on Velcro
I pinched the bottom corner on each side and sewed straight across about half an inch.

Pinched and pinned

Then, when flipped right-side-in, the purse had squared bottom corners.

Squared corners

I cut 3 long strips from the sleeves, and braided them together using my sewing machine to hold it steady.

3 strips

Frayed braid

I sewed the ends of the braid to seal it, then sewed the ends to the inside sides of the purse.

Bada-bing, bada-boom, I'm done!

Here again is the before picture of this blue big-shouldered dress:


And here's the after result!

After: Sexy blue dress

After: Closer up

After: From behind

With the big shoulder-distractions gone, the front design comes more to life. I really like the corset effect, and I like the back a lot!

And here's the purse:

Before: Strange shoulder design

After: Funky purse

Oh yeah, this dress has pockets!

One of a kind purse

Step by step, I brought this dress further from the 80s and took it into the future. It reminds me of something I might see in one of my favorite movies, the Fifth Element.

LeeLoo Dallas Multipass...

Well, that's it! Let me know what you think. Leave a comment in the section below!

Also, I want to give a shout-out to my friend's new family thrift store called Heartland Thrift Store located in Montclair, CA. Check out their Facebook page for more info!

That's all, folks!

Until next time, blessings.

Monday, July 15, 2013

#44: Brown Ruffle Shirt....Revisited

Welcome and welcome back! It's been 3 long weeks since I've had a chance to sit down with my machine and work on a new project, so I squeezed in some late-night time last night to do something semi-new.

Y'all remember this brown lined dress-shirt that I turned from this...

Before: First time around

...into this?

After: first transformation

After: from behind

If not, you can check the process at this previous post.

At the end of that post, I wrote "I imagine that when I get tired of this, it may make another good transformation into a decorative pillow ;)" Well, I got tired of it pretty fast. So can you guess what I re-made? That's right, a decorative pillow!

I had these old, lumpy, flat throw pillows that were heading to the bin when I had an idea: what if I could sew 2 flat pillows together to make one fluffy pillow? So I did :)

Lumpy, flat throw pillows

I lined each edge together and carefully sewed the edges together (I thought of hiding some special message between the pillows before sewing them up, but I couldn't think of anything good).

Sewing the edges together

Once the pillows were sewn together, it had so much volume; it was like brand new! Buuuuuuut I forgot to take a photo (sorry!).

Now on to the pillowcase.

I turned the shirt inside out and wrapped it around the pillow for sizing, buttoning it up. Then I sewed up the sides and cut off the entire sleeves.

Pre-post-transformation shirt

Sewed and cut off the sleeves

Next I pinned and sewed the bottom of the shirt closed.

Sewing straight across the bottom

After that I put the pillow in for fit and carefully pinned and sewed the top edge across the collar (with the pillow inside).

Pinning across the collar

Finally, I cut off all the excess and fake-serged the edges so it wouldn't fray (without the pillow inside).

Fake-serging the edges

I turned the pillowcase right side in, put the pillow inside (it fit!), and buttoned it up the back, and I was done!

Here, again, is he very beginning photo of the shirt:

Before: Brown lined dress shirt

And here's its second life!

After: Ruffled Pillowcase

After: button-up back

I think it matches my bed well, no?

In my opinion, this piece was destined to be a pillowcase ;) And it's removable and washable!

I hope you found inspiration from, or at least liked this transformation. Glad I could re-use both the pillows and the shirt to make something marvelous!

Until next time, blessings.