Monthly Archives

June 2015

Vests

Denim Romper

This Denim Romper has got to be the most interesting thing I have ever found and tried to remake.  I’ve found some pretty rough pieces to redo but I really think this one might be the winner or the loser depending on how you want to look at it.

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I made Brian come with me on this particular shopping trip. He advised me not to buy it, for obvious reasons. It was only 69 cents so I just had to try. I wasn’t at all sure what would come of it but the pattern of the denim was actually pretty charming.

Something else about this romper that you should know, it was well loved. I mean, really well loved. The previous owner clearly treasured it. They had safety pinned each and every one of the buttons onto the romper. Now, the buttons were all still securely sewn on but this person was taking extra precaution! They were not about to lose a single treasured button.

When I saw this I had to smile. I love to think about the previous owners of these clothes. Where they bought the item? Was it really in style then? Where did they wear it? Did they feel like a million bucks while wearing it? Clearly my denim romper wearing friend must have really liked this piece. And I feel I owe it to them to make it work again.

By the way, I wore around this the house for quite a while to gross out my husband. It worked.

I decided that I wanted to make a denim vest out of the romper and maybe a pair of shorts if there was a enough fabric left… I’m guessing that won’t be a problem. I separated the bottom of the romper from the top. I ripped the sleeves with my seam ripper. Then I had the basic form of the vest. I took in the sides a couple of inches. The vest was a little too short and needed something to finish off the bottom. I went back to the shorts portion and trimmed the bottom of them off then attached it to the bottom of the vest. Confused? Don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter. 😉 Basically, I added a little length to the vest. Then I roughed up the edges a little with a cheese grater. I’m not kidding, worked like a charm!

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It desperately needed a collar so I made one out of the extra fabric from the sleeves. The denim was way thick for my machine so I had to hand sew the collar on.

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It’s not nearly as scary in vest form. Be on the look out for the shorts. I need a little break from the denim but I will tackle those soon!

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Dresses

Nautical Nightmare

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Oh this dress… There is just so much of it.  There’s a fun story about this dress, I see it EVERYWHERE, all of the time! Since doing this project I have come across this dress in at least four different thrift stores! Once I found them in a matching pair! I have a theory that involves some pretty fashionable 80’s twins…. Seriously everyone, please just take a second to think about my theoretical 80’s twins wearing these dresses. Thank you.

Anyway, I fell in love with this nautical nightmare mostly because of the buttons. There’s not a lot that gets me more excited than some charming buttons! (Yes, I know how cool that makes me sound.) Also, this dress has pockets. Cute buttons and pockets, I see why there are so many of them around!

First, I hacked off A LOT of fabric from the bottom and gave this little charmer a quick new hem. After that, those sleeves (probably my theoretical twins favorite part) met my seam ripper. Once the length and the sleeves were gone, things for this dress were looking up. It was still pretty big so I took the sides in quite a bit and finished off the sleeves with some white bias tape that I had laying around. I wish those 80’s twins could see it now!

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Skirts

Baby Beluga Dot Dress

When I was in kindergarten, we would sing a song called Baby Beluga. It was about a baby whale that liked to swim. It was a pretty cute song. I hadn’t thought about it in probably 20 years. Then I put this dress on- – Suddenly, I remembered most of the words… and all I could think while looking in the mirror was that this dress reminds me of my dear friend Baby Beluga. A dress that makes you feel like a whale, even if it’s a cute whale, probably needs to be cut up a little bit. If you’re curious, which I know you are;) here is a link to my beloved childhood SONG  about ocean life.

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I truly don’t know how I talked myself into bringing this one home with me other than those polka dots. I’m such a sucker for a good polka dot! This dress was just a huge disaster. I thought about keeping it a dress. In order for that to work, I would have needed to disassemble every piece and trim it down dramatically then piece it back together. I decided to just use the bottom portion to make a skirt instead. Don’t worry, I saved the top and I’m sure you will see that another day!

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All I did to make this skirt was chop the bottom portion off just a little longer than I wanted the to length to be. Then I measured my waist and trimmed off the extra from the sides. I gave the side a quick seam half way up the side then added a zipper. I used some of the extra fabric and made a waistband for the top of the skirt. When I attached the waist band, I was careful to keep the pleats in the right places. I debated big time between gold buttons or white buttons but finally settled on these fabric-covered white buttons that I saved from a shirt that I refashioned awhile ago.

Goodbye Baby Beluga!

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Dresses

Antique Blue Dress

I bought this dress last summer.

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I was having a really, really bad day. I had just started a new job a few months prior and it was going pretty well. On this really bad day I was laid off because of budget cuts. I called my husband sobbing, and saying that I had been fired. Very dramatic. Looking back it was a huge blessing from the Lord, but that day…not so much. Brian is such a good husband, he left work, picked me up, let me cry for a half hour, then took me antique shopping. He also agreed to any and every purchase that I wanted to make, after all I had just been “fired”!

I found this gorgeous mass of fabric at the Antique Warehouse in Saginaw. Normally I only pay $1 for my “treasures” but this one was $10. Like I said, I was having a really bad day so it had to come home with me.

It sat in my “to do” pile for a long time. It was really a challenge. There was no lining to the dress so it was completely see though. I sewed a very simple lining out of fabric that matched pretty closely.  Because the dress was so big and the waist fell at my hips instead of my actual waist I had to rip the dress in two pieces. I took about 4 inches off of the top part of the dress and a lot more from the bottom. I sewed the pieces back together and tailored the dress on the sides for a better fit. I said goodbye to the sleeves and gave the arms a new hem.

That collar. I loved it. I hated it. I just couldn’t decide. Eventually I ripped the collar off and refashioned this smaller, less bib-like collar, and reattached it to the dress.  Once I was finished with all of that I, I felt the dress was missing something. It needed a belt but didn’t have any that worked with it. I took the fabric left over from the bottom of the dress, ironed the pleats out of it and made a sash to tie around the dress.

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One other side note about my really, really bad day: after antiquing, Brian took me to the movies to see the comedy Tammy with Melissa McCarthy. In the first scene she gets fired from her fast food job. Everyone in the theater was laughing hysterically. Not me. I was sobbing into my popcorn saying “I feel you girl, I feel you!”

Dresses

Big Shouldered Beauty

I found this big-shouldered beauty at a local thrift shop for 69 cents. I was charmed by it for some reason. Maybe it was because of the very plunging neckline with the modesty collar that was included! Or it might have been the pockets, I do love pockets. It might have been the shoulder pads. For some reason I feel like shoulder pads just exude such an interesting confidence, not necessarily a good kind.

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The brand was “Sweet Miranda” and all I could think was “No! Miranda No!”  Think Michael Scott yelling “No. No. Noooooo.”

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This dress actually needed more work that I originally thought. First I chopped about a foot of material from the bottom and gave her a new hem. Then I ripped out the modesty bib. (Side note, I’m keeping the modesty bib, it could come in so handy at our youth group someday!) There was a faux collar that was attached really well to the dress. I’ve never had such a difficult time ripping out a seam!

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Once the collar was gone I removed the shoulder pads and just tucked it all back together, sewed in bust darts, and took in the sides a couple of inches. Then I removed the sleeves right at the seam. I put a quick hem in for the arms. And here we have our “Sweet Miranda” looking sweet again.

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Dresses

My Wedding Dress

I spent nine months working on my wedding dress refashion. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had sewn quilt tops with my grandma and watched her hem my prom dresses. I literally bled, sweat, and cried on the dress while figuring it out. In the end it was totally worth it.

Six weeks before my parents were to be married, my mom still hadn’t found a wedding dress. My dad’s mother, my Grandma June (in the yellow, on the left), volunteered to make her one. Grandma spent the next 6 weeks sewing the perfect 70’s wedding dress for my mom.

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When I was little and would look through my parents wedding album, I would dream of the dress that my grandmother would make for me someday. I met Brian just after my grandma passed away in 2008. Eventually, Brian and I realized that we were hopelessly in love and decided to get married. Because I had been so close with my Grandma June, when it came time for me to pick out a dress I just couldn’t. I had to find some way to include my grandma in the making of my dress.

My mom dug out her old dress and I started the refashion. The dress was pretty damaged but I was determined. I took the entire dress apart. Each seam that I ripped, I remembered my grandmother. It felt like we had one last sewing project together.

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First I removed the sleeves. I saved the buttons and the button loops. Those later replaced the zipper that was on the back of the dress. I also removed the upper collar piece. After I removed that, the neckline was almost exactly what I wanted.

I had to completely rework the back of the dress. Because the outer layer was so damaged, I replaced it with a lace overlay. I made the keyhole back from pieces of the lace and beaded them with the original beads from my mom’s dress.

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My grandma saved everything. I went in her craft room and she still had the extra beads and fabric scraps from the dress, from 1978! I used the extra fabric to repair a hole that was in the silky layer of the dress.

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The thing that concerned me the most about the dress was that my mom is at least THREE INCHES shorter than me. Good old grandma… she put a FOUR INCH hem in the dress. It was like grandma had made the dress for me, my mom just got to wear it first. I reattached the lace trim to the bottom. I sewed the last bead on the dress the morning of my wedding.

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And that is how I spent $20 on a wedding dress;)

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I thought it was only right to include a few more photos of these incredible people that have stayed married all these years and shown me the meaning of loving in good times and in bad 🙂 The photos on the left were taken at our wedding when my mom and dad won the “Anniversary Dance” and were celebrated as the longest married couple! 37 years and counting!

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Our wedding photos were taken by the incredibly talented Amanda VanVels Photography. My parents wedding photos were taken by Everett McCormick.