How To Recycle A White Dress

This is another dress re-make I did a while ago ^_^ Originally I bought this dress at a thrift store for like $8 and I loved it to death because it was super comfy as well as being nice and cool for Summer. Unfortunately there are only so many times you can repare something so when the strap broke for the millionth time  I took it as a sign it was time for a re-make. Then I left it sitting in my sewing pile for 2 years because I’m lazy.

I still love the skirt part, looks especially good with big dramatic heels, so I chopped off the top.

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

I picked out some nice stretchy white cotton and used a singlet I knew fit well as a template.

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

I cut out two pieces like this:

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

I overlocked the sides and around all the raw edges.

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

Next it was sewing the two pieces together.

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

Done:

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

As you can see there is a fairly noticable colour difference between the new fabric and the old, such is life unfortunately but after giving the whole thing (minus the coloured parts at the bottom) a nice dunking in some bleach it all matches again. I have also been considering dying it a completely different colour but can’t decide which one!

Anyway back to the actual sewing part…

I used some eyelet lace to edge the top section on the sides:

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

Then after measuring the length I used the eyelet lace as straps and for the front section edging as well:

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

Taadaa:

White Dress Recycling Tutorial

So that’s it! Another nice comfy dress saved and reworked to something more current-wardrobe friendly ^_^

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And here is what it looks like on. Zombie dress rises from the dead to live again!!

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I haven’t bleached or dyed it yet but once the rain lets up I think that’s my next project ^_^

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Hope you enjoyed the remake ^_^

Upcycled Pink Floral Dress Tutorial

I like re-working things in my wardrobe. I like it a whole lot because in a few hours you can completely change up half of your wardrobe.

So I had two things I didn’t want anymore: a pink striped polo shirt from when I was 15 and a dress my mother bought me that I liked the skirt part but not the top. I don’t think I have before photos of them but oh well!

This is the dress, to get to this point I chopped off the bust and up. It was kind of cream beaded crochet and majorly ugly but the skirt part is cute and floralish:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

To get the polo to this point I cut off the white trimmings and the sleeves to give myself as much plain material as I could to work with:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

After thinking about it for a while I layed out what I wanted the finished product to look like. Top part stripes and bottom floral:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

I measured how much fabric I needed for the bust part and cut the shirt like this:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

I then found the center of the fabric and put a pin in once for a seam allowance and a second one a few cm up from that.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

Then threaded a needle…

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

And did a running stitch up and down the front to the second pin.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

Pulled it nice and tight and you’ve got a gathered front 😀

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

Next! With the skirt right side out and the top bad side out I put it over the skirt like this:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

And overlocked them both together. Turn it right side out and bam you’ve got a dress!

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

I can’t wear strapless clothes so I decided to add straps with the left over fabric…

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

I measured the length and over locked some strips into tubes.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

Sewn in place:

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

To make the waist more fitted and therefore more flattering on my figure I stitched a small piece of elastic around the middle at the seam.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

By stretching the elastic while I was sewing I ensured a nice snug fit.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

Lastly I added a couple of bows with the left over fabric.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

And then with a left over strip I made a little circle of fabric which could be used either as a matching hair bow or a belt to add another detail to the dress.

Pink Dress Recycling Tutorial

All up it probably took around 30 minutes to do, I cleared space in my wardrobe by turning 2 things into 1 and I have a pretty dress ready for summer 😀

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Only thing left to do is wear it out 😀

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Nice and bright to try and get me in a more summery mood!

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How To Turn a Sweater into a Cardigan

So I have this problem a lot… I buy Winter clothes because they’re pretty but  you know, living in Australia and all, I don’t have that much use for them. Winter clothes are just prettier though!

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

This brings me to my current situation, I bought this jumper when I was 16 and living in North QLD (which for those overseas is ridiculously hot. There are pretty much 2 seasons: Summer and slightly more Summer with rain) and it never really fit in the right way. The neckline was really high and the middle had no shape, the shoulders didn’t sit right and generally it just made me look out of proportion… but the pattern was so pretty! So I’ve lugged this stupid sweater around through 3 cities, 7 houses and various different climates. Now living somewhere it does actually get kind of cold I thought “Hey! I’ll finally get to wear it!”… Then I didn’t. I didn’t wear it once through the whole damn Winter.

This time when I decided to clean out my wardrobe it didn’t make the cut… but somehow I still couldn’t let the damn thing go! So I decided to see if I could alter it and make it wearable XD That’s a long intro for this one tutorial but this is going to be the first in a lot of sewing tutorials as I become more ruthless with my wardrobe!

So this is how it started:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

I decided to turn it into a cardigan.

What you need:

  • Sweater
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors

First thing fold it in half with the neckline on the outside like this:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Cut down the fold, only cut the front layer of fabric!

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

You should have something like this:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Now because I hated the neckline I decided to make it more flattering so I folded myself a new one which scoops down below the bust. In theory you could cut whatever neckline you want at this point.

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Cut off the excess:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Starting on one side at the bottom we’re going to hem the whole thing. Because it’s a knit fabric you will need to enclose all the edges so it doesn’t fray. If you have an overlocker/serger it’s a good idea to go around all of the edges but not completely necessary.

So fold the edge over:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Fold it over again so the raw edge in sandwiched inside:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Thread your needle and using a blanket stitch start going down the seam.

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

This is the close up on what it should look like:

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

You could easily run down the seam with a sewing machine but this method (if you’re careful) won’t leave visible stitches on the front of the cardi.

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Repeat on the other side and you’re finished!

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

Now you need some way to close it, you could add a button or ribbons very easily but I decided to leave it as-is and make sweater clips. I’ll show you how to make those tomorrow!

Because I took out a good couple of inches in the middle for the seams it’s now a whole lot more flattering and form fitting. I haven’t decided if I want to do anything else with it yet, I’m thinking it might benefit from some pretty embroidery or possibly some more shaping in the arm area. We’ll see! And if I decide to do it I will definitely post photos!

Tutorial- Reshaping a Sweater into a Cardigan

So there you go, first sewing tutorial in ages. More to come though, I’ll be digging out my sewing machine later this week to do some real work on it and everything XD

DIY Faux Fur Trim For Your Jacket

DIY faux fur trim is a bit of a challenge, hell faux fur anything more often than not just ends in a bit of a mess.

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Going from Brisbane to Melbourne is quite the climate change and I knew that moving here I would need a really good big winter coat. So you know those gigantic Jesus Diamante coats that have ridiculous huge faux fur trim and an even bigger price tag of around $2000? I figured I’d just make one myself ^_^

This is that jacket that I started with… nothing fancy just a plain one from Target. Just make sure it’s a nice cut.

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And I turned it into this:

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So pick out your fur trim! I wanted black but all I could find was pink. You want fur with a really long pile so it looks nice and luxurious.

First let’s talk about the right way and the wrong way to cut faux fur. Some people *cough like the lady at the store where I got the fur cough* just hack away at fur in the direction they’re cutting, this leaves an ugly shelf at the end. This also means you’ll be cleaning freaking fur out of everything you own for the next month.

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What you want to do is mark where you need to cut and brush the pile in opposite directions so you have a clean line in which to cut.

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Then you get a nice full pile over the whole backing AND you have to clean much less.

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So anyway what you need to do is cut a piece for each sleeve cuff and the collar. I just used rectangles that I estimated from the jacket’s measurements.

Now use your over locker/serger to seal the edges of all of the pieces. This will prevent fraying and lock the edges of the pile in.

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This is what you end up with…

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Sew the sleeve parts into tubes….

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My jacket was too thick to sew in my machines so everything from this point is hand stitched. First let’s do the sleeves. With the fur inside out shove the end into the sleeve and make sure it all lines up well.

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Use tacking stitches to hold it in place and then sew it.

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Now turn the fur the right way out and pull it up the sleeve. Turn the ends under and then sew that in place too.

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Make sure it’s all secure then repeat on the other side…

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Now time for the collar! My coat had a really nicely cut collar already so I basically just cut a rectangle of fur, folded it in half and then covered the collar. If your coat has a different collar you will need to modify this step Or just attach this kind of rectangular collar to whatever yours actually has ^_^

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To attach it I sewed one side of the fur to the back of the collar of the jacket, right along the seam that was already there. I then folded the fur around to the other side and sewed it along the seam there as well. This means the collar is fur on both sides.

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I added a small pin so I could close the collar even tighter like a scarf if I wanted to. And you end up with this!

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And being worn…

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I tell you what, this jacket has been a godsend here! It’s so warm and the fur makes it extra comfy and warm 😀

I *LOVE* it

What do you guys think? Have any of you ever tried to DIY faux fur trim for yourselves?

Super Cute T-shirt Surgery Tutorial

A few months ago a reader wrote in and asked me to write a t-shirt surgery tutorial.

If you haven’t head of t-shirt surgery it’s basically when you take a plain old t-shirt and you make it into something cooler and more fashionable. There is a community for it here where you can see some fantastic examples.

So anyway when I got the request I didn’t think it was something I would do because I don’t wear t-shirts often… but it stayed in my mind for ages and I kept thinking about it more and more until I had an idea 😀 When we were in Singapore for the Nuffnang Awards, Nuffnang Australia was lovely enough to give us all shirts. Mine had the slogan “I’m famous (in the blogosphere)” hahaha! I thought it was awesome but they only had large sizes so since then I’ve used it to sleep in… but no more!

Making this…

T-Shirt Surgery

From this….

T-Shirt Surgery

Into this….

What you need for this particular t-shirt surgery tutorial:

  • Large shirt (I’m using my Nuffnang one)
  • Other shirt in a cute colour. I’m using an old pink Emily the Strange shirt
  • Needle and thread
  • Thin elastic
  • Flowers or decoration
  • Scissors
  • Overlocker or sewing machine
  • Shirt that actually fits you (for measuring)

Please note that I am hand stitching almost everything here because my sewing machine has been packed up for the move, if given the choice I would definitely use a machine for this project. I am going to redo the stitching when we get to the new house 😀

T-Shirt Surgery

First turn your white shirt inside out. Lay your white tee on a flat surface and place the shirt that fits you over the top. Line up the shoulder seams to make sure it’s in the right place.

T-Shirt Surgery

Cut the bottom off in line with your nice shirt.

T-Shirt Surgery

Cut up the side seems around 1.5cm away from your nice shirt’s seam, this is to give it enough room for the new seam we’re going to sew. You will notice when you’re cutting that the seam is probably not a straight line but instead it curves slightly. This curve will give the waist some shape so if you want to adjust this now is the time!

T-Shirt Surgery

Cut until you reach just below the sleeves.

T-Shirt Surgery

Following the line of the sleeves cut around at an angle. Now it just looks like a longer sleeve ^_^

T-Shirt Surgery

Fold the shirt in half and repeat on the other side.

T-Shirt Surgery

So this is what you should end up with… it pretty much just looks like a smaller shirt now ^_^

T-Shirt Surgery

Now let’s cut a new neckline! Turn it the right way out so you can see what you’re working on. I chose a square neckline so I could show up pretty necklaces. I started by cutting out the collar carefully and then kept cutting until I reached the neckline I wanted.

T-Shirt Surgery

Now get your coloured shirt and lay it out…

T-Shirt Surgery

Cut the back section from the shirt, you want to remove all of the seams. You will end up with something this shape.

T-Shirt Surgery

Lay the pink version over the white shirt. You should cut the sides and the neckline to match the white shirt. The pink part should be on the same side as the writing/pattern you want on the front of the shirt. You’ll end up with this:

T-Shirt Surgery

Now you should use your overlocker (or sewing machine) to stitch up the sides. Start from the bottom and sew towards the sleeves, continue until there’s no hole left ^_^

T-Shirt Surgery

Now at the top where the straps of the pink part are, there should be a strip of interfacing on the white shirt. Sew the pink to the white. Most shirts have it but if yours doesn’t just sew it into whatever seam is there.

T-Shirt Surgery

You end up with this (although mine is terribly hand stitched).

T-Shirt Surgery

Now move over to the sleeves, cut around 4cm off the ends. Repeat on the other side.

T-Shirt Surgery

Measure a piece of thin elastic around the top of your arm and cut in two.

T-Shirt Surgery

Sew the elastic around 4cm from the edge of the sleeve. While you sew stretch it to the correct size so when it’s unstretched it will form a ruffle. Mine looks a bit dodgy because it’s hand stitched >_<

T-Shirt Surgery

So how you have something like this 😀

T-Shirt Surgery

Turn your shirt the right way out now and fold it in half down the middle with the pattern facing out. This next part is all about measuring. From the bottom of your pattern (my pattern is the slogan on the front) fold the shirt in 3 sections. Place a small marker at each fold.

T-Shirt Surgery

Flatten the shirt out again but keep it folded in half. The pink strip below is marking how far in were going to cut, it should be as far in as the markers are apart. It’s a little hard to explain but it should kind of form a square.

T-Shirt Surgery

Now do the actual cutting! DO NOT CUT THE PINK FABRIC! Only cut the white.

T-Shirt Surgery

Repeat on the other side so you end up with this:

T-Shirt Surgery

Now we’re going to make the sections into little bows 😀

T-Shirt Surgery

Cut 3 strips of the hem of the pink shirt.

T-Shirt Surgery

Fold them in half and use them to form the center of the bow. Sew it all in place like this:

T-Shirt Surgery

On the bottom bow place a small holding stitch through the white and pink so the bottom bow will keep it’s shape.

T-Shirt Surgery

Now let’s go back to the neckline! Cut the rest of the hem off the pink shirt and measure it out like this:

T-Shirt Surgery

Sew along the seams that are already there. Do the sides first and continue around the back.

T-Shirt Surgery

Add a final piece to the front and cover the edges ^_^

T-Shirt Surgery

I decided to add some chiffon flowers to the neckline just to girly it up some more. I’m going to add more as soon as I can unpack my craft supplies and dig them out XD

T-Shirt Surgery

And so there you have it! Finished and much more my taste than the original 😀

T-Shirt Surgery

And of course it’s time to try it on!

T-Shirt Surgery

Close up of the bows…

T-Shirt Surgery

Mwahaha and no I’m not conceited enough to think I’m *actually* famous in the blogosphere, it’s just meant to be cute and funny 😛

T-Shirt Surgery

Well there you go, my first attempt at t-shirt surgery and I’m pretty happy with the results! So much so that I’m going to wear it tomorrow to the going away party that Nuffnang is throwing James and I 😀 I even made a little matching surprise but you’ll have to wait for the event to see!
Love Violet
What do you all think? Should I made more of these? Would you ever actually try a t-shirt surgery tutorial like this?

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