Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#48: Purple Prom Dress

What's up y'all?

A couple posts back I gave you all a sneak peak at an outrageous new project I was working on. Well, folks, the time is here.

I found this dress while thrift shopping with my mom a few weeks ago for about $4.

Before: Purple Prom Dress

Before: From behind

I can't tell whether this used to be a prom dress or a bridesmaid dress. Whichever it was, I'm SO glad this is not the style anymore!

Oh my gosh. Where do I start? It was totally asymmetrical, had extraordinarily puffy sleeves, and the shiny purple material was INTENSE.


Strike a pose!

I definitely felt like I was getting ready for adult Toddlers in Tiaras. I didn't know whether this could be redeemable, but I had to try anyway.  

I first had to remove those unbelievable sleeves. 

Removing the puffy sleeves

Never again. Please.

The sleeves were attached with snaps and sewn on, so I also removed the snaps from the bodice of the dress. 

No need for sleeve straps

I also removed the huge hip flower. 

Hip Flower

There was so much fabric that it took me about 5 hours (while watching Netflix) just to seam rip the skirt seams, which revealed icky netted fabric underneath that gave it the cupcake feel. 


I was glad to remove all of that net. It was literally disintegrating. 


I then removed the entire skirt and ironed the material. 


Just look at how much material made up that skirt!

It could be a wedding aisle runner!

I removed the zipper, sewed the back mostly closed, opened the hem at the top of the back that encased the elastic, replaced one of the elastic strips (don't have to match), and sewed the center ends of the elastic lower to lower the back a little bit. 

Removed the zipper
Adjusting the elastic lower in the center

I folded the open corners over the elastic, and sewed a new hem encasing the elastic, cutting off the excess. 

Next, I folded the long skirt strip in half and sewed around the 3 edges, leaving one exposed so I could flip it inside out. I then ironed the corners so it laid flat. 

Nice corner
I pinned the long strip around as a new skirt keeping the asymmetrical hip line, and pinched/folded little sections to match the ruffly folds on the top of the dress. I then sewed the folds to create permanent lines.

Creating coordinating diagonal skirt lines

It took a bit of adjusting before I got the fit right. I ended up sewing the bodice a bit too tight, so I added the zipper back to create a tiny bit more space. I also sewed the skirt part closed twice before getting the fit ok. 

When I tried on the dress, the frills at the top were too messy, so I folded and sewed them flat (which was hard because it had boning in the ribcage. 

Sewing flat the ruffles

It still seemed a bit bland, so I added some dark purple lace I had to the top of the bust.

Pinning the lace

When I tried it on, the bust looked HORRIBLE! Sewing over the boning made it all tall and awkwardly-shaped. I was about ready to be done with this dress until I accidentally found a solution. 

I pinched and sewed a stitch at the bust to create a deep plunge neckline. My inspiration Marisa Lynch at newdressaday.com calls it the "pinch and cinch." It evened out the awkwardness at the bust better than I had expected!

I wanted to add some flair to the dress, and when my friend A.C. donated this shirt to my projects pile, I had a great idea.

Thanks A.C.!

I removed the sequined/beaded collar, separated the mesh fabric from the cotton, and laid it on top of a piece of the dress I had salvaged. 

Transferring the collar

I sewed around the edges of the decorative collar, snipped off the excess, and used stitches and liquid thread to secure the loose beads. (By the way, the no-sew liquid thread adhesive works great! And it lasts through the washing machine!)

Mmmm, strawberry bagel in the corner : P

My idea to decorate the dress with this went bust. There was really nowhere it looked any good, so I ended up attaching come Velcro to the ends to use as a necklace. 

Attaching Velcro

Alright, so, I began trying to be super ambitious with this one, but I'm not in love with the end result. I'll post the before and after anyway. 

Here's the 80's prom dress from before: 

Before: Purple Prom Dress

And here's what I managed to do to it: 

After: Sexier, still shiny purple dress

After: Still asymmetrical from behind

It's definitely a big difference. I like the bust design, but not much else. The material makes it not very realistic for anything but some kind of event with low-lighting. What do you think? If you have any suggestions for making it better, please leave in the comment's section below. I appreciate feedback!

But I DO love the necklace! This will be a keeper :)

Love the necklace!

Alright, so I need some more help. This next doozie has got me speechless. I'm so excited to see what I can do with this, and I'm considering changing the color! 

My next project...

What color do you think I should change it to? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for visiting, and check back soon to see what I decide!

Until next time, blessings.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

#47: Summer Shorts

I've got a problem. It's Summer and I want to wear shorts, but shorts just don't fit me well. They're either way too short, flatten out my derrière, or strangle the life out of my thick thighs. All the trendy shorts now days seem to basically be denim underwear. And most shorts at the thrift store are what I like to call "teacher shorts." You know, the baggy, pleated, long, high-waisted, elastic-waistbanned, light denim ones your elementary teacher wore.

Yep. Those are them.

So I decided to make my own. Assuming I'm not the only one with this type of problem, hopefully this post will lend some inspiration to those of you who share my difficulty with finding well-fitting shorts. 

I went searching for a pair of pants to turn into shorts, and found this pair at a thrift store for about $3. 

Before: Wide-legged jeans

This transformation is simple and definitely not original (I'm obviously not the first person to turn pants into shorts), but I figured out some tips that will make this simple transformation fit better and look more like actual shorts.

The first step is to find a pair of wide-legged jeans that fit your waist and butt. If you get a pair which tapers at the thigh (e.g. skinny jeans, bell-bottoms) it will make the leg hem even tighter, which for me feels and looks awful as it cuts into my thighs.

They should also have a pocket/button/zipper design which you like and will look good on shorts. For example, flared pocket openings, extra large back pockets, long zippers, and long front pockets don't look the best with shorts unless that's the look you're going for.

I thought these would work well.

Before: Jeans

Before: From behind

I tried them on, considered how short I wanted them, and put a pin in them several inches below my desired length. Then I folded them flat in half and cut off both legs straight across at the pin. After trying them on, I cut a little more off twice. It's way better to cut them too long and cut more off later than to cut them too short the first time. 

Cutting the length

Once I had removed enough length, I folded about 1 1/2 inches of the bottom of the shorts legs up twice. You could also tease the bottom or wash right after cutting and fold it just once if you want the frayed look. 

Folding up the shorts legs

After making sure they were even and the length I wanted when trying them on, I ironed flat the folds.


Finally, I took a needle and thread and hand-sewed a few stitches on the outside seams of the legs in order to keep the length of the folded hem. (Don't stitch the inside leg seam or it will be too tight when you walk.)

Quick stitches

And that was it...really. 

Here again are the pre-transformation jeans:

Before: Wide-legged jeans

And here is my Summer-shorts transformation:

After: Simple, well-fitting Summer Shorts
After: From Behind

Keeping it simple made for a great outing to the Los Angeles X-Games last night!

Kids catchin' air


Rampin' it up!

She shoots, she scores!!!
X-Games 2013!!!

So glad I was able to go hang with my honey at the last LA X-Games. Sad that the games will be moving out of state next year : (

I'm also glad I finally have a pair of fresh, well-fitting shorts for the rest of Summer, and all for $3 and about 20 minutes! Yay!!

Hope this post helped some of my fellow thick-thighed, round-rumped readers out there :)

Until next time, blessings.