Refashioned Wedding Dress turned Cocktail Dress

This saucy little cocktail dress was once Ellen’s wedding dress. Can you believe it? Together we cut and pasted and dipped and dyed and gave her dress a brand new life. While chopping apart your wedding dress isn’t for the faint of heart or the even the heartily sentimental, Ellen was thrilled about the project because it meant that she would get to wear her dress over and over again. Ellen’s wedding dress was a mermaid style dress where the top was fitted until mid-thigh and the full bottom was a separate piece gathered and sewn along the bottom. This made it an ideal dress for turning into a cocktail dress since it required no reshaping and very little reconstruction. We started by ripping off the bottom gathered layer. (You can see that Tig immediately claimed the pile of fabric as her own. I eventually stole some back to be …


Handmade Scarves for Christmas Presents

I’m feeling guilty. You see, every year I spend a lot of time and energy making Christmas gifts (and often at the last minute!). It’s important to me to be able to show my love for my friends and family through the gift of handmade goods. But this year, I’m not going to. I don’t plan on making one more thing. Before last week, I had already planned on being selfish this December, thinking I would sew myself a jacket instead of making many Christmas gifts. And I was already feeling guilty about it. And now I’m engaged (eep!) and so the little free time I have this month for sewing just disappeared with the fact that I need to start planning my wedding (not that I’m complaining or anything). Fortunately, a couple of people on my list will be getting handmade scarves. I put together a couple of fun …


Quick and Easy Applique Flowers to Revamp a T-Shirt

This t-shirt has been sitting in my mending pile for a year, waiting for me to cover up the stain that I somehow got center front on my stomach. I had ideas for an elaborate painted design, but it never quite seemed to happen. Of course I could have trashed the shirt, but the rest of it was in great shape and it pains me to throw away anything pink :) So, I finally sat down, cut out some petal shapes from a synthetic organza, and sewed flowers onto my shirt, giving it fun style and a whole new life. The fabric that I had was an ombre from one selvedge to the other, so I got to experiment with having petals of different hues, but I think it would look just as nice with a solid. It would also work in just about any fabric, woven or knit. I …


How to Make a Guy’s T-Shirt Fit a Girl

This is how I take in a guy’s tee shirt to flatter a girl (i.e. this is what happen’s when I co-opt Adam’s old shirts, as I did for this bleached star shirt). This isn’t about majorly reconstructing a massive shirt to make it tiny. This is about taking a male shirt that almost fits and making a few tweaks to make it more flattering for a female. Adam’s pretty much the same size that I am, and he wears form fitting shirts, so I could wear his old tees without any changes. However, just a few little changes make the shirt much more flattering.   The first and most visible step is to change the length and shape of the sleeve. Men’s t-shirts typically have longer sleeves that are straight across. Women’s tees typically have shorter sleeves that often curve over the arm. To get this shape, cut off …


Bleach T-Shirt with Star Pattern using Freezer Paper

Adam was getting rid of a few t-shirts that he didn’t wear much. I snagged them as a chance to play with some bleach techniques. To make this shirt I used an old t-shirt, bleach, a spray bottle, and some freezer paper. I’ve always been a fan of stars as a fun graphic shape (and on red or blue they would be great for the 4th of July), but next time I think I’ll try something complicated to see how intricate this will work. Freezer paper is a great tool that I got in the habit of using thanks to my mom (it’s often used in quilting). Available at the grocery store, it acts just like paper on one side so you can draw on it to your hearts content. Here I roughly drew a bunch of different sizes of stars and cut them out. The other side of the …


My Favorite Skirt – How to Make a Long Skirt from Recycled Jeans

This really is my favorite skirt. I’ve been wearing it just about weekly for 7 years? 8 years? I had an amazing time teaching people at Maker Faire how to make this skirt. The shape is flattering on all body types (Seriously. I have yet to see a gal that doesn’t look fabulous in this skirt) and allows for great ease of movement. (Seriously. I ride my bike and climb trees in this skirt). Added bonus – I  met my boyfriend husband while wearing this skirt! The basic idea behind this skirt is that we are opening up a pair of pants and setting in four triangles of fabric into the openings. You Need: 2 pairs of recycled jeans. 1 needs to fit you at the waist. Scissors Sewing Machine Thread We start with the first pair of pants. These needs to fit you at the waist. Cut off the entire …


Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

For Sew Grateful week I want to re-share a tutorial I put together a couple of months ago for a blanket made out of sweaters. I’ve made it for my home and for several important people in my life. It’s simple to sew, fun and appropriate for all levels of sewers. It’s also easy to really give it your own aesthetic based on your choice of old sweaters. If you make up the blanket, let me know!


Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

This is one of my favorite projects. I have one of these blankets in my living room, my mom has one in her television room, and I gave one to my cousin for her wedding this summer. It’s certainly a bit more involved than the last several days of tutorial projects that I have shared, but it makes for such a lovely finished project and is so easy to customize for anyone on your gift list (or yourself!). You will need: 4 sweaters (see info below about selection) Backing fabric (I recommend a curtain panel. The amount of fabric you need will depend upon your finished size of the blanket) Thread Fabric scissors A sewing machine Sweater selection – Here’s where you can really make the project fit your unique aesthetic by the sweaters that you select. I’ve sewn blankets made from sweaters of just about every fiber content and …