Friday, June 4, 2010

Update Your Old Wardrobe 2

So if you are like me and you don't like wearing the same thing out too many times, but right now you really don't have the cash to be shopping, try reworking some of your old stuff! Most of these don't require a whole lot of sewing (despite having a degree in fashion design, I HATE sewing), so don't worry. I'll go down the list and give you some tips.

If you have a cute last seasons summer dress and you're kinda over it, or maybe you got a stain on the bottom, but you're still hanging on to it...shorten it and make a sweet top to wear with shorts and sandals or jeans and heels. Depending on the fabric, you might be able to get away with cutting it and not hemming it. If it needs to be hemmed and you are just not about that, rush out to your local fabric shop and ask for hem tape. I'm pretty sure it comes in different widths, if not just trim it up. So what you do is put it along the hemline (about 1/8 inch away from the end), turn it over, and iron it. Voila'!

If you have an old pair of trousers that are just hanging around (LOL!), why not make them into shorts! Trouser shorts are in this season too. You can hem the bottom, or roll the bottom to make a cute little thin cuff. I personally prefer the cuff so they don't end up looking like your Mom's every summer Bermudas. To keep the cuffs from rolling out, you can tack them with needle and thread along the side/inside seams, or use hem tape (between the cuff and the pant leg) to keep them up.

Remember all those long narrow shirts you have in the back of your closet that you are so over? Take one out and proceed to cut it asymmetrical, so it's only one sleeve. You might even want to cut off a bit of the length to change it up even more. Now before you cut the shirt, take note what you would like it to look like when you are done. If you are cutting L-R, you need to mark where you want it to start along the shoulder line. If you get too close to the edge, it's going to continuously slip off of your shoulder when you wear it, and that's not good since the other side is already shoulderless. So you can take a ruler and mark it as close to the neckline as possible and direct the ruler right under the sleeve. You cut it straight or can even put a slight curve in it. Now...if you would like finished edges, you will need to sew, and because you are sewing bias on a knit, you'll need a setting that sews knits OR a Serger machine. I'd prefer to go rock n' roll and leave the raw edge and even trim the bit off the bottom and sleeves.

There are two ways you can make a skirt like this. ONE: you can take an old dress cut off the bottom and put elastic in it and you're done. How you would do the no sew version is cut the bottom off the dress, then take a piece of elastic (use at least 1" width) and measure it around your waist to your desired fit. Once again you will use hem tape and how you will do this is, turn the skirt inside out, fold over the top the width of the elastic you are using and add the width of the tape you are using as well. So if your elastic is 1" and the tape is 1/4" and you need to iron the tape 1/8" away from the edge, then you will fold over 1 3/8". Being that we are lazy and not sewing, I don't think you really care about the unfinished look on the inside of the garment (if you are, email me and I will explain how to make it look finished and tidy). Stick the tape 1/8" away from the edge, fold the fabric over the full 1 3/8" and iron all the way around SAVE for 2"! This is very important, this is how you'll get the elastic in. Thread the elastic through the folded edge and you will need to stitch the edges together. Make sure you stitch over it a couple times so it's strong and won't pop apart when you stretch it. Once its sewn, then iron the rest of the hem tape closed. There you go! TWO: Take a piece of fabric measure your hips and add about 5" to both sides (its up to you, however wide you make it will make the skirt either fitted or really loose) and cut the fabric that length. You can sew up the edges or use hem tape. Now I'm not really sure how well hem tape will work on a permanent seam, but you can try it. After that follow the steps above. The above version already has a finished hem, so on this version you will have to hem it yourself. Okay!

Just like the trouser shorts, try it with denim. I prefer these a little baggy, a little loose, so they almost sit on your hips. This is the "dressier" version of daisy dukes (tacky). So when you cut and roll, be sure that you find your desired length and then add double the amount you want your cuff to be. So if you want a 1 1/2" wide cuff, add 3" to the bottom then cut. Roll 1 1/2" and then again. Now, they will usually stay if you iron them well enough, but if you plan on washing and drying them, that will come out and you'll have to measure and iron each time. So I would tack along the side/inside seams to keep them in place. If you aren't sure how long they should be, the pair in the photo are a great length for a lot of body types.

This one is easy! Take the flower out of your hair (the trend is over) and safety pin it to a summery dress (as you see above), or on a cardigan. A red rose with green leaves...not so much, but I have seen so many chiffon flowers out there, or anything soft and make sure the color works with the clothing. No leaves please!

Did I do this in my last post? Oh well...take any old sweatshirt or hoodie, and cut the top off. I usually measure mid shoulder to mid shoulder. make sure you don't cut down to far or just straight across. Depending on the size of the sweatshirt, put a little curve into it. You might even want to cut the sleeves. They look cute short or even 3/4.

You still may be able to find all the headbands with huge lace bows and giant feathers and all that "I'm going to a funeral or a Lady Gaga show" shit, but it's time to move on! If you want to look super cute and separate from all the regulars, take a finished headband (or wrap one with ribbon and hot glue it at the ends, then take a bit of felt to seal off the bottom so it doesn't bother your ears or hair) and grab a little nest and bird at Michael's or your local craft shop and hot glue it to the headband. Instant stand out! You can even do just a colorful butterfly, or a little swallow or owl without a nest.

This one is also an easy one. Take a collar-less button down shirt and wear it backwards! You can wear it with a belt, roll the sleeves or even cut them, tuck it in or leave it out. Just make sure you choose a top that doesn't LOOK like you're wearing it backwards. Meaning, try for a boat neck or something similar.

Take a top and cut out a shape, as you can see here in the black, lay down some lace and cut it to fit the missing piece. An easy way to do this is...turn the blouse inside out, get your lace and fold it in half (or at least so it covers the front and back cut out). Place one "half" of the lace over the back ( with the fold at the top)and cut out the shape, leaving about an 1" seam allowance all around the bottom. Do the same with the front. You can sew it on (or lazies can try fabric glue - got me through some last minute projects in fashion design school), then cut out the hole for your neck on the top. You can finish the neck my sewing (or gluing) some ribbon along the top, or you can leave the raw edge. You can even take a little strip of lace and sew it along the bottom or even ribbon if you wanna get fancy!

* Note...I want to say that I don't know how well hem tape or fabric glue holds up after washing in hot water or dryng repeatedly on high heat. Remember all of these are easily done by sewing them as well. That is up to you.

Good luck girls, I hope you try some of these!!! Let me know if you do and send photos!!!!


  1. Great post...
    I'm definitely going to be trying some of these. I love the flower on the shirt, and the cutting the hoodie off of a sweatshirt. Amazing ideas for updating your look. I'd love to read even more creative ideas. :)

  2. I love the jean trousers made into shorts! That is so original. I do believe that fashion and re making old stuff can be therapy in a psychological way. I heard that all these hand crafts can help relax yourself, ad can be as good for a regular person as for a person that suffers any condition. They usually complement manually made art with Add therapy for children who have it.