Sunday, June 22, 2014

Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down

My b-n-law gifted me a stack of clothing after a closet clean out. Is there anything better for a refashionier? It was a little while ago, but I am so pleased to get around to one of his pieces! After gathering plenty of "pinteresting" ideas for men's button downs, I am happy to give one a try...

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down Before & After

For the direction I wanted to go with this, I knew this old blue, ribbed, Anthro tank with lace trim would be the perfect partner in crime.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down & Lacey Tank

I tried it on first, drawing in chalk approximately where I wanted the pieces to fit together, and made sure to cut below that line.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down chop 1

Then piece two got the axe.  I cut off the arms/chest/collar all in one piece, thinking I may use that portion for another refashion someday.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down chop 2

It took the power of my whole brain to figure this puzzle out: right sides together, top portion upside down, so when sewn and flipped up, full article will be correct. (Yikes.) 

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down puzzle

Starting with the underarms in place, then front center and back center, I stretched the tank to match the button down, like you would with elastic*, creating a bit of gather.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down pinned

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down pinned

A zig-zag stitch seemed right to use to sew these two together, so there would be a little give, and then I trimmed off the excess.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down zig zag

*In hindsight, I would not do this exactly the same. The knit fabric pulled too much in the back especially, and had a funny, puffy effect. I suggest not to stretch the tank portion, but pin the dress shirt to it in the same manner. But, rather than taking the stitches out and starting again, I created a few little darts to get the back to lay more flat, which helped, and was quicker solution.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down darts

All in all, I think this is a completely wearable summer top. Luckily for me, I have more dress shirts to play with, so I'll have ample opportunity to put to use the lesson learned here.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Tank from Men's Button Down Complete

...and in the meantime, I'll stop and smell the roses. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion

Despite my loathing of ironing, I love linen. It makes no sense, I know. But it's so casual, easy-breezy, comfy, effortless, and cool- I can't help it! This favorite sandy linen pant bit the dust last summer, so I had to find a way to rework it into my wardrobe for this summer.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Before & After

After teaching loads of music classes, crawling around the floor with the kiddos in them, these pants were worn through at the knee.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Initial Problem

So that is where they got the first chop, at the knee, after which, I split open the inner seams of the legs.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion First Chops

Pulling those inner seams together, right to left, instead of front to back, I marked a nice straight, center line with chalk, for a skirt seam.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Marking the New Seam

After removing some of the excess fabric, and pinning along the line, I sewed her up. Then flipped over and treated the same on the other side.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion New Seam Close-Up

Very carefully, (undoing a few of the stitches I'd just sewn) I got the lines to match up perfectly on the right-sides, and continued the top-stitch detail all the way down both faces of the skirt along its newly constructed seams. This part made me super nervous- but it turned out ok!

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Top-Stitch Detail

In front of a mirror, I tried it on, and pinned it up and down several times before deciding on the desired length; then chopped once again. I went rather moderate, but can certainly shorten it further if I have a change of heart.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Length Adjustment

Finishing the bottom with an easy little hem was the final step...

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Bottom Hem

... besides stepping back to admire my work.

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Complete

And wearing it, of course! Is there anything more perfect for a beach mini-vaca than a little linen skirt? (Even if it is wrinkly again after a 4 hour car ride?)

Ulterior Alterations: Linen Pant to Skirt Refashion Worn

Thing is, I have a dark brown pair too, with the same worn out knees... trying to decide what to do. Something different I think, but not sure what!?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Weekend Bag Fix

Ready for the partner to last week's Makeup Bag Fix? Here she is:

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Fix Before & After

The gold trim was in terrible shape, but I love this bag for a weekender and wanted to find a way for it to be user friendly again. No more fairy dust in my car and all over my clothes all weekend long, thanks. I'm not sure why this happened, nor why it happened to me twice. I guess my selection of cheapie, metallic-painted fabric is the culprit, so I have only myself to blame.

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Fix problem detail

I took quite a bit of time continuing with the corrosion process that had started itself for me. I picked, scraped, and wire-brushed for hours. And hours.

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Fix first attempt

My first cover attempt was with this blue Hawaiian flower style duck tape. While I love mixed prints, and in my head (in the store) this was going to look precious, I hated it. That's when I decided I'd use it for the makeup bag.

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Fix partial

Back at the craft store, I found this blue pin dotted fabric duck tape. YES. This with parts of the natural canvas underneath left uncovered turned out ever so lovely. 

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Duck Tape Fix Complete

As did my weekend at the beach.

Ulterior Alterations: Weekend Bag Fix at the beach

I love you, Josh. Happy anniversary.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Makeup Bag Fix

This one is kind of a teaser for an upcoming post that's even more exciting. It involves the same problem, a strange, metallic material, crumbling and peeling away, as well as the same/ similar fix: duck tape. And no, I don't mean duct tape, I mean Duck Tape!

Ulterior Alterations: Makeup Bag Fix Before & After

Now this disaster of a makeup bag, which had been leaving annoying, glittery dust all over my bathroom closet, is altered to a once again fully functional object, and does not have to be thrown out. Yay! 

Curious about the sister project? ...It's even more impressive. At least to me! ;)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

T-Shirt Refashion with Lace Trim

This concept came from my favorite source: someone else's blog. Trash to Couture, offers truly compelling ideas and inspiration, and if you're a regular on the Pinterest like me, you've undoubtedly run across her work.

Ulterior Alterations: T-Shirt Refashion with Lace Trim Before & After

Though my interpretation varies from the original, the notion is is the same. The steps are simple enough: cut apart sides creating a basic rectangle shape, attach lace to T, sew two sides of lace together, leaving room for arm hole, repeat on the other side.

Admittedly, this project was done a while back, but it is still getting plenty of action in my wardrobe rotation. Just the other day I was wearing it and thought I'd post, share, and let it simmer in my brain to perhaps motivate a new piece...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Refashioned Utility Vest

What you would call this before number? Short sleeved utility tunic jacket thingy? Whatever it is, I loved it pretty intensely, years ago, and have tried it on many times lately. With each attempt to wear, I'd stare in the mirror for a bit, then hang it back up, feeling somehow, something off about it. But recognizing its potential to become a vest- a refashion is the clear solution!

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Before & After

Is it just me, or are these kinds of vests everywhere right now? In stores and DIY blogs like crazy, no? I must admit my pleasure in the color (my fave) of this piece. It is not the typical olive or khaki- which to me makes it trendy, but not overly trendy.

To start this transformation, I got rid of the pocket flaps. The hardware on them was a little too: nipple jewelry! I'm sorry, but it's true! The placement and way they hung was just... they had to go; trust me.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Pocket Detail

Then the sleeves were removed and re-hemmed. Someday, I'll take the time to learn the proper way to notch and sew curves, but for now, I'm a total wing-er. This step not only immediately makes it a vest, but solved a slight problem as well. The sleeves had always been a tiny bit constricting. You're welcome, arms- be free to move about as you please!

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Sleeve Detail

I could have left it at that. But when I tried it on again, the drop waist aspect was not making me happy. I realized, this is why it originally felt off to me. A drop waist can be great in the right context, but it wasn't making sense for this nor was it flattering. After hemming and hawing about how to tackle that, I chopped about 3 inches out of the middle. Thank you rotary cutter. You are a true friend.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Chop Detail

Upon sewing the new halves back together, I top stitched just above the belt loops, to match the detail already done below them. I was really nervous about this, having never tried to take length out of the middle of a garment, but I think it turned out alright.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Waist Detail

For icing, I added a couple of darts in the back to alleviate some of the boxiness. Again, I'm not sure that my technique here is the best, but the desired affect was achieved- I'm learning as I go!

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Dart Detail

So: for exactly $0, I have a new, on trend piece, that is 100% unique, incredibly versatile stylistically, and functionally utilitarian; a welcome addition to my Spring wardrobe. Score. I love refashioning.

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest ClosedUlterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest Open

I'm feeling very inspired after this project... on to the next!

Ulterior Alterations: Refashioned Utility Vest with Maxi

After enjoying a beautiful day in downtown Austin, that is.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Furniture Update

When I got married, not only did I get a wonderful husband, but he came with furniture.
Luckily for me, while he isn't ok with getting rid of it, he is ok with refinishing it...

I have only tackled a couple of furniture re-vamps so far (remember my stool?!?), though I have plenty more waiting in the wings. This before number has a whole matching set that I hope to get my hands on. Part of the hold up is space. Apartment dwelling makes big, dirty, smelly projects a challenge! 

This original set, though its nice and sturdy, looks like it belongs in an uncle's bachelor pad in the 70s. While I love a good throwback, and a nod to the past is fine- even welcomed by me, this is not my taste. The almost orange, shiny stain, wood paneling, overall bulky, heaviness, garnished with clunky, goldish hardware is all just too much.

My hubs helped me strip the thing, then we did some experimenting with the drawers. Which is why the top three are no longer there. Thankfully, plan B became favored to plan A anyway; I love that it looks more hutch-like than (whatever it was) first intended.

Upon close inspection, you can tell that strips of moulding were shaved off the drawer faces, and cavities where the original pulls sat, as well as the spaces between the panels on the sides were filled in. After all that came the best part: the gray paint! I have a Pin Board devoted to gray furniture because I just love it so much, and I drew inspiration from some pieces I'd seen. The inside shelves got a creamy ivory coat, and I chose clear glass pulls for the remaining three drawers. Voila!

Well, not exactly voila- this project took us, like, 2 years to complete. No joke. Between using a family member's garage, the experimenting, re-planning, wood filling, etc, etc, this project dragged on and on! I don't think I'm patient enough to do it again under these circumstances, but I am happy with the outcome!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sequin Refashion

Confession: the "before" of this project, is neither a hand-me-down, nor is it a rockin, thrift store find; it is from my very own closet. SGHS prom, circa 1995. Not as embarrassing as a couple of my other evening wear selections from that era, but embarrassing enough... I kind of wish I had a photo to share from back in the day, but I never got any copies from my date, because we stopped speaking the next day. My only regret about that is not getting those darn pics!

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion before frontUlterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion before back

With this awesome little number, I wanted to create something a bit less, Vegas party-girl, and a bit more classic/classy sophisticate; something appropriate for nearly twenty years later, to wear to a friend's wedding. As mentioned in my previous post, I've been collecting both inspirational and aspirational ideas for this sparkly revamp on a SequInspiration Pin board.

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion dress to skirt
The deconstruction:

Inside-out, I marked the front, waist line and cut line with chalk. (The back was easier as I just popped those straps off with a seam ripper, no sweat.) Carefully, I de-sequined in between the lines. Once that arduous process was complete, I sliced off the top.

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion cut to skirt
The reconstruction:

I added a band of elastic inside the waist for strength with a give, then hemmed and folded down the flap of sequin-free material over that, hand tacking it all in place. The beast of this process was individually hand-sewing sequins in place that were bent, broken, scratched, or missing. I also needed a full row for the new top of the waist line. Now complete, but not quite finished.

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion fix
The addition:

Axed as my original idea for a blouse, I cut apart another old, unwearable dress that I had dyed navy to match.

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion peach dress for trimUlterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion peach dyed navy dress for trim

These strips became a dainty, sheer, ruffle trim. I saw a similar detail on an image that I just could not get out of my head! Had to have it. Not only does this create additional length, but it adds an extra dimension of personality that I adore. 

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion back and bottom detail

I love the way it turned out, and proudly wore it to what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful wedding. 

Ulterior Alterations: Sequin Refashion Before and After

Paired with a simple navy blouse, and nude pumps, I achieved the look I was going for- and happily accepted multiple compliments on my new skirt throughout a wonderful evening!

Ulterior Alterations: Completed Sequin Refashion

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eyelet Trimmed Sweater

As my farewell to cool weather, and a long, strange winter for us here in ATX, I'm posting my last sweater for what I fear will be all too many moons...

This over-sized grey (and tiny, white striped) sweater came from a place where I often find myself browsing: the clearance rack in the men's department at Target. All it needed was a couple of tweaks.

Ulterior Alterations: DIY Eyelet Trimmed Neckline Refashion

Changing the neckline makes all the difference in the world, don't you think? Adding this eyelet trim gave a slouchy sweater a sweet, feminine detail that I love.

I needed this super simple refashion, as I've been working on another for weeks and weeks, slowly but surely. I'll give you a clue: sequins. Check out my SequInspiration Pinterest board for more hints. Hopefully it'll be ready to share really soon!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Toddler Vest

You know when you start a project thinking, "This will be an easy, simple, quick project", and a couple of months pass and it's still not finished...

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Fabric

This scrap fabric came from the clearance bin at the fabric store. I wasn't intentionally looking for fabric (it was supposed to a quick in-and-out trip), but this rocketship-printed fleece was so precious, I couldn't not buy it. So I did; although I had no idea what it would become, I did know who the what would be for.

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Pattern Original

I have an adorable, nearly 2-year-old niece who I don't get to see often enough as we live 1800 miles apart. We were together for the holidays though, so, using one of her vests, I made a pattern and quickly had three pieces sewn into a basic vest shape.

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Pattern

That part was easy, however, as often happens with me, I got stuck on the finishing. So this became an experiment and lesson for me on a few things:

1) Fuzzy fleece- this shed like a mutha! There were (and still are) little blue fluffs all over the floor! Plus, and more importantly, this is why I desperately needed to finish it. Trying to fold and hem it under was impossible- it got all stuck in the machine when I tried. 

2) Binding- I have never used binding before, so this was for sure a learning experience! I used the extremely knowledgeable Habby Goddess as my main teacher, though I read and viewed a bunch of tutorials before I started so that I didn't mess it up too badly! The result is imperfect, but I did get a little better as it as I went.

3) Zipper installation- sucks. I was so proud of myself a while back when I successfully put in a zipper on a Pillow Case, but that was a whole different story. Mostly, again, because of the fuzz factor. Maybe I should've bound and then zippered? I ended up using wash away basting thread to hold it in place, then machine sewed. That worked. -ish.

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Wash Away Basting

You can see it looks a little bumpy and does not lay completely flat, but the wash away thread is super cool!

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Complete

All challenges and lessons aside, I think it turned out to be pretty dang cute! And it's really dang cute on the really dang cute little girl!

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest + Leftovers LovieUlterior Alterations: Toddler Vest + Legwarmers

I also included a little lovie blankie from leftovers and legwarmers from an old pair of my socks in this "just-because" care package that didn't make it for Christmas and might be out of season come birthday.

Ulterior Alterations: Toddler Vest Thank You

...and maybe I'm just a proud aunt, but this thank you note is the. best. thing. ever.