Author

elizabethmadethis

Browsing
thrift store refashion of a ivory poncho into a chevron sweater with buttons

I started out this post as a DIY tutorial for this chevron sweater. Soon it was more complicated than useful. But as I’ve been staring at the blank screen for far too long, I started thinking long about refashioning. What makes a great thrift store refashion?

thrift store refashion of a ivory poncho into a chevron sweater with buttons

What makes a great thrift store refashion?

Probably an unpopular opinion: if you take in the sides of a dress that’s too big, it’s not a refashion. It’s an alteration. While altering clothes to fit is a useful skill in your sewing, it’s not the most creative way to refashion.

It’s always always my goal to help you sew something creative, so here’s 6 things you can do for a great thrift store refashion.

1. Go for transformation

If you aim for transformation, you’ll almost always end up with a great thrift store refashion. Starting with a skirt? Make a top. If you have a pair of jeans–cut them into a coat like this one.

jeanius

Curtains can become so many, many things. If you’re having a hard time seeing beyond what the original garment is, here’s a simple trick. Fold up the garment as if it were a bolt of fabric. When you take away the reference of what’s on the hanger, the ideas will start popping!

thrift store refashion of a caftan turned into a jacket.  Wearing the jacket outside, throwing a hat in the air

One of my favorite jackets started life as the world’s most questionable caftan. Wow, it was horrid.

2. Always go for the fabric

Thrift stores are where a lot of old clothes go to die. And some things should. Regularly I see old dated 90s dresses in icky lifeless fabric with dated prints or pilled surfaces. Pass them by. If you’re taking the time to sew something new from something old, always go for the fabric.

french terry bomber jacket thrift store refashion with blush ponte dress and peach booties
olive french terry sweatshirt gets new life as a bomber jacket

The quality of fabric will make or break a good thrift store refashion. Look at tags to know what the fiber content is. Natural fibers will always age better than synthetics. Cashmere, 100% cotton, linen and linen blends are my favorite. Feel the fabric. Is it scratchy? Buh-bye. And it’s a hard pass on any type of knit that’s stretched out.

graphic quote: "Good fabric = good fabric no matter the source"

3. You can always change a weird color

So in your thrifting adventures, you’ve stumbled on a great quality fabric, but the color is just…off. Buy it anyway. Hear me now, you can ALWAYS change a weird fabric color. Always.

Natural fibers can be bleached, or you can experiment with something like RIT Dye Remover. I used Dye Remover on the linen/cotton curtains for this dress and added stripes with a bleach pen.

thrift store refashion of curtains bleached an d remade into a women's shirtdress

If bleach freaks you out, grab a bottle of dye. Natural fibers + dye= easy win and synthetics are simple to dye with the right dye. I could write sonnets to Rit DyeMore I love it so much for synthetics. It shows up in so many of my projects like this coat, a lot of zippers like for this hoodie, and this experimental thrift store refashion.

colorblocked boiled wool coat
colorblocking with Rit DyeMore

4. Be fearless and creative with your cutting

The best thrift store refashions are going to be innovative with cutting. You can’t always be 100% true to the grainline like you can when you sew with yardage. You will be short somewhere almost always. So piece the fabric where you need it. If you can do that invisibly, great, and if not, make it a design element.

side of a thrift store refashion sweater chevron of cashmere knit stripes in ivory sweater knit

Add a contrast color to make up for your lack of yardage. Or purposely colorblock. The contrast chevrons in this sweater came from an old cashmere sweater. The ivory fabric was an old knit poncho. While the cutting work was really precise and complicated, it makes a big impact on the final sweater.

back of a thrift store refashion sweater chevron of cashmere knit stripes in ivory sweater knit

5. Be wise when you mix fabrics

I’m sure you’ve seen them–those projects where fabrics are sewn together that just don’t look right. It’s always good to choose fabrics whose colors play well together. Also, keep in mind the weight and the composition of the fabrics.

For instance, when you mix knits together, they really need to have the same weight and stretch to them. If they’re not, they will fight each other and you’ll have a pretty homemade looking creation. This geometric dress isn’t a refashion, but this dress works well because all of the different knits are almost identical in weight and stretch.

colorblocked knit dress

When you mix wovens, they should have similar weights but also similar drapes. A man’s shirt with its rather stiff drape is going to wage war with a drapey rayon you found in a vintage dress. But mixing the fabrics in 2 men’s shirts can make for a creative thrift store refashion.

thrift store refashion of a men's plaid shirt and a plain linen shirt remade into a women's shirtdress

6. Use cool buttons

If you sew for yourself, you know the eternal struggle of finding good quality buttons that aren’t a million dollars. This is where the thrift store can really have your back.

close up of buttons and embroidery on a thrift store refashion of a sweater
Buttons from another sweater!

Sometimes garments way past their prime will still have usable buttons in perfect condition. Often they’re much more interesting than the ones you’ll find in fabric stores. The ones for this sweater came off of a very worn and shrunken sweater. With some loops and added embroidery, the buttons now are a focal point. Definitely a successful thrift store refashion!

Creativity is a muscle that you work!

In the end, almost all the fun of a good refashion project is seeing how limited resources will force you to rethink what you’re doing. Yes, it will frustrate you, yes, the ideas won’t be obvious when you start, but take a step back, and I promise you will come up with a good solution.

The next time you start a refashion project, keep the transformation in mind. Always go for good quality fabric, and know that you can always change the color of the fabric. Be fearless and creative when you pick up your scissors and wise when you mix fabrics together. And if you can top it off with cool buttons, you’re well on your way to a great thrift store refashion!

The wonderful Alethia of Sew Much Talent is here with her story about her dress for The Day and Night Dress Challenge. It’s a good reminder of how things we make don’t always work out how we hoped. So you can sit and be sad or angry about it, maybe toss the project away to ease your hurt pride. But those times that you instead choose to adapt, and work around the mistake, so often you’ll find that it was better than if everything was awesome out of the gate.

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Sometimes “challenge”=challenge

This has been a long time coming, but “a change has finally come”, literally! When I say this has been a challenge, it is an understatement.
The whole purpose of this year’s Day and Night Dress Challenge, presented by Elizabeth Farr of Elizabeth Made This, is to take a”has-been” dress from your closet and give it new life. But, to do this, we were asked to create two new pieces to give this “not-worn-in-a-long-time dress a new look for a daytime wear, and one for nighttime wear.

One old dress, two new looks. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! I was so indecisive and couldn’t decide which dress I wanted to transform. I must have changed my mine like 3-4 times, at least. Not to mention, the so many different distractions, and personal happenings that either zapped my time and/or my emotions. Which dress did I finally decide on?

Repurposing a dress that didn’t fit


I decided to pull a dress from my PhD* pile  that I started last year, M7242-view B, below. The fabric is a beautiful black/white peachskin print. True to my fashion ( no pun intended), I was making this dress the night before church and went solely on measurements with no  extra fitting, no muslins, etc.

Well, I got nearly done and the dress does not fit. The only thing that would have been left to do was to add the ruffle at the hem, elastic in the sleeves, and buttons. After losing my momentum for it, I parked the dress in my PhD/UFO pile and left it. I knew I would get back to it at some point. But, I did not want to throw it in the wadder pile because I loved the fabric that was given to me by one of my sewing sisters online. So, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to resurrect a seemingly lifeless dress.

Defining My Style


In my opinion, I have a very eclectic style. Most times I am allover the place with my style. But, to sum it up, it can be very feminine, classy, grungy…kinda Denise Huxtable-ish, and very random., just whatever I feel like wearing. This is why i claim an overall eclectic fashion sense. You might just get all of that wrapped up in a days style. Seriously, LOL!This is why I was so undecided as to what I wanted to do. In this case I let a piece of  black sequin Lycra from my stash do the talking. Once I saw that fabric, I knew what I wanted to do for my night look. Then, everything else kinda fell into place.


Before styling comes kimono transformation

I needed to finish up the main focal point, the dress I stated a year ago. I decided not to add the ruffle at the hem. I just finished it off with a rolled hem. Then, I decided that I did not want an elasticized sleeve, so I also finished it off with a rolled him. I did not add buttons, but just one hook and eye at the waist. I wanted a layered look. Done. My would be dress has now become a kimono.


For My Day Look…

Most times I am working from my home studio, so it is a very laid-back environment.

Usually, I am in a t-shirt and jeans or workout gear. Either way, I can throw on a jacket or cute shoes and make a quick change up. So, this is what I did with my day look. I paired one of my favorite t-shirts I purchased from Vik Varwoo, a pair of my staple jeans, my riding boots, and layered it with my new kimono. I accessorized it with an oversized bag. 


For My Night Look…


This is where the sequin Lycra comes in. I immediately saw a pair of simple full leg pants with an elastic waistband. I thought I would default to my TNT pattern M6571 (OOP), but I came across New Look 6735 (view D) first, and it was perfect.

The only alteration to make was to raise the center back waist up about 1″ for a quick full seat adjustment. I just stitched on a 2″ piece of black elastic for the waistband. Voila! I thought the top (view C) from this same pattern would finish this look off nicely. I found a solid piece of Lycra in my stash which is what I used for the top. Then I cut the sleeves and neck band from the sequin.

Again, PERFECT! Once I layered my new kimono on top , then added my jewelry and shoes, it was just the look I was going for.  This look is great to wear to a concert, church function, or some social engagement that I may attend.

Sewing with usefulness in mind

This is my second year taking part in the Day and Night Dress Challenge with Elizabeth Farr and many of the other inspiring sewists. I must say that I am even more encouraged to take some of my other *PhD’s/WIPs/UFOs and upcycle them into something a bit more useful. And, to really think through the process of creating more looks from just a few simple pieces.

  • *PhD= Projects Half Done
  • WIP= Works In Progress
  • UFO= UnFinished Outfits

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

This year’s Day and Night Dress Challenge was a challenge for sure! I won’t lie, there was some struggle in trying to think about how to take an unloved dress and make it work with 2 different looks. But this is the kind of challenge I’m up for! This is what I did.

My lonely vacation dress

The dress I chose for this challenge was not terribly old. Still, I made it for vacation and knew I was only going to wear it a couple times and then it would hang out in my closet. My lifestyle is more casual now, and dresses don’t usually play a big part of my wardrobe.

But I loved this dress that I self-drafted, and it fit so well, and I thought it looked cool. So why not give this dress some more love and see what I could do with it?!

Day look: Nikki Blazer hack

Style Sew Me’s Nikki Blazer is made for woven fabrics, but I chose to make it from a knit. I had a ready-to-wear cardigan in mind in working on this pattern, so I decided to change it up.

The fabric that I chose is a striped rayon burnout knit. I played with the stripes, making them vertical on the front edges and top half of the back. The stripes are horizontal on the lower half of the back and front side panels.

I also lengthened the front of the cardigan to exaggerate the handkerchief shape of the hem. With the soft knit, it drapes so beautifully. It was a feature on the RTW cardigan that I wanted to incorporate into this project.

This is a perfect look for going to the store, go shopping, or going to coffee with a friend.

Night look: Cue the edgy vest

So for my night look, I was trying to figure out what in the heck can I do with this bold print dress to compliment it and create a different sort of night look. I wanted to go snazzy with it, so I decided to make another version of New Look 6914.

I’ve made this pattern before in different fabric, so this was a super fast make for me. The only change I made was to add some extra length for a little different look. My fabric choice is pretty unusual. It looks very much like a faux leather, but it’s actually a performance fabric from JoAnn.

The fabric itself is double sided, so I played with that. On the back I featured the “wrong” side which is a matte black. The fronts use the shiny “right” side of the fabric.

Extra versatility

It was my goal for both of these pieces to not just make them for the dress, but for them to work with other items in my wardrobe.

For the vest, I’m totally going to wear this with a t-shirt, jeans, and high boots. I love it so much! And this vest is definitely going to be part of my night time going out wardrobe!

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Akram’s Day to Night Barbie recreation from last year’s Day and Night Dress Challenge was hands down one of my favorite interpretations of last year’s theme. And Akram has outdone herself again with her quick change vintage looks.

The dress in question

Basically, all of this came about because of this dress. When I made it in 2014 (2015?), I pulled out Butterick 4443 and just wanted to make something. Yet it hasn’t seen much wear because it’s a (dun dun dun) strapless dress. I don’t like baring a lot of skin on top, and zero people enjoy the nuisance that is a strapless bra!

But the fabric is so nice, being a white linen with black embroidered flowers on it. So how do we make this work?

Day look: a little bolero

I knew I wanted to make a jacket, and I knew I wanted it to be reversible, but I didn’t have a good idea of exactly what I wanted until I went on Pinterest.

A vintage feel was on the top of my list, and I found some cool inspiration from a Turnabout pattern. It features a winged extension to the front edges that overlap each other. You can fasten it with a beautiful vintage brooch or flip open the edges like lapels to reveal the lining. Because there’s just a single button, it’s meant to be reversible by nature. #winning!

Butterick 6354 quick hack

I’ve made this little Gertie bolero several times. It’s a quick sew with the kimono sleeves and doesn’t take a lot of fabric. Because I’ve made it, I knew it fit really well. And the basic shape of the Butterick pattern is a good starting point for what I wanted to make.

To get the shape of the front that was much like my inspiration jacket, I added on the front edge shape of Burda 6661. My fabrics for this jacket are 2 stable textured knits in white and black. For the day look, I wear it on the white side. I eliminated the button so I could show off one of my vintage brooches. Which brings me to the night look!

Night look: the power of reversible

The black fabric has a little bit of sheen to it which I thought would make a great contrast to my dress for a night look. So, simply turning it inside out and letting the white become the lapels, I get a totally different look.

I think with the white on black, you get a little bit of a tuxedo feel. Plus it shows off my pearls!

Solving a wardrobe puzzle

I always loved this dress but didn’t really know what to put it with. That this little bolero can work with this dress for both my work and a night out is totally bonus. I’m so glad to have this dress back functioning in my wardrobe!

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Wow, It’s year 3 of the Day and Night Dress Challenge. It’s always a pleasure to take part in this great project. Every year Elizabeth showcases amazing talent throughout her challenge.

Elizabeth decided to shake up her 2019 challenge, instead of making two dresses. We have to use a previously made dress and create items to compliment it for the day and night.

The Chosen Dress

The McCall M7745 was one of the top pattern in 2018. I took a look at the tag on Instagram and it’s been posted 252 times. I’ve also seen quite a few people add it to their future makes. I really wanted to sew this pattern because it looks like such a ready to wear piece. I’ve had this dress in my wardrobe for about 6 or 7 months and haven’t worn it yet. Timing has a lot to do with why I haven’t worn this dress. I live in west-central Wisconsin and our winter is brutal. Typically Fall begins in mid September and the opportunity to wear it truly only happened because of this challenge.

Signature Style

Elizabeth asked me to describe my style and honestly it’s not the easiest thing to do. In just 4 words, I would say my style is Polished, Textured, Balanced and Beautiful. I would say classy, but if you have to say it then you’re trying too hard 

Look 1 – A Comfy Mid-Western Day

A typical day for me is all about comfort, while still staying stylish. I work from home and I live in a very cold climate. The day look would have to be a cozy look, which would take me to my in-home office to the mall or grocery on my lunch break. I felt really challenged because this dress is extremely summery.

The idea of creating a look that would take me through the day, didn’t come easy. I know most people would make a cardigan or jacket to accompany this piece. It was one of my options, I even considered making a turtleneck. But the more I looked at the dress, I really starting feeling the cozy sweater was the item to make for this look.

I really wanted to create a snugly mid-western look. Something you might see in early Fall or Spring. I’ve made BurdaStyle 11/2012 Style 128, three times before a slightly oversized pullover sweater. It’s the perfect pattern to deliver my day look. I used a very cozy pink fleece fabric from Joann’s. To complete the look, I added my caramel boots and some dainty jewelry.

Look 2 – A Dark Rose Night Out

Gosh! I was worried about this look. I wasn’t sure if I made it too simple but I love the stole created. It was a simple self drafted rectangle pattern. The punch this stole adds is just fabulous. It’s all about the fabric, the textural effect adds evening appeal to the look.

I used leftover special occasion fabric from Joann’s and stretch satin for the back. It’s a pretty blush brown/pink fabric. I think the stretch of the satin, works well with the flexibility of the black. To lock this look down, I switched up my lipstick, changed to strappy heels and switched up my jewelry

I’m totally committed to making more pieces that pair well with what I currently own. The challenge has given me more insight into trying new looks, and finding ways to create a blended look that may included pieces that you typically don’t wear together. Sort of like Athleisure!

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Elizabeth’s Day and Night Dress Challenge came at just the right time!  Both daughters were going through my closet and decided I needed to do some heavy-duty Marie Kondoing…that’s not an easy task when you’ve created so many things you really love.  

Saving a favorite dress

I did come across this dress I made so long ago and had forgotten about.  Since I love the fabric so much, I hung onto it and a few days later, Elizabeth asked me to post for this fun and yearly challenge.  Disaster averted, no need to get rid of my dress!

This dress was made with McCall’s 7122 in a textured knit I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I so love the color and texture!

Night look

For the nighttime challenge, I knew I wanted to make a black cardigan, but not just any cardigan would do.  I needed options. This Abbi Cardi pattern from StyleArc fit the bill! You can tie it in the front or let it hang loose in the front.  Obviously I am wearing it tied! With sandals and some sparkly jewelry, it goes easily to the evening and any event you might have.

Daytime look: Itch to Stitch Bellavista into an accessory

My daytime look was created with this fun knit I’ve had in my stash for quite a while.  Luckily the colors match my dress perfectly! I wanted some sort of scarf-type accessory and for some reason my mind when to the Itch to Stitch Bellavista Top.   

I only wanted to use the cowl. I really love that cowl! I cut two pieces just like the instructions tell you but I sewed the lower part of the cowl first, the upper or neckline piece second and then matched up the back center seam.

 With right sides together, I sewed three-quarters around the edge and turned it all right side out. I next carefully sewed very close to the edge to close up the opening. With flat sandals and simple jewelry, this will be a go-to outfit for work, running errands, or a lunch date.    

Thanks Elizabeth for helping me rescue a dress that needed saving!  

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Hi Everyone! I’m Eli from Cat in a wardrobe


Outfit details:

  • Me Made: Dress, Jacket, Crossbody Bag and Accessories.
  • Fabric: Dress (wool and cotton twill) and Jacket (polyester velvet).Sewing
  • Pattern: Dress, Crossbody Bag (self-drafted) and
  • Jacket (Morris Blazer)I copied from a RTW dress I saw at a local store.

My dress for the challenge

The dress pattern is self-drafted. Really love these big pleats in the bodice and skirt. I made the dress last year, but I’ve not worn it outside. Why not? I’m sensitive to cold and hardly wear sleeveless dresses in the fall and winter.

How about wearing the dress with a cardigan? Unfortunately, I don’t have a cardigan that matches the dress, and I was worried that wearing a cardigan over the dress would make me look frumpy.


~About My Style~

This is my favourite style – comfortable and unique. I’m wearing the dress (Tacara Dress by Seamwork) in this picture the most often. (Look! These pom-pom shoes:D) I really love swingy and cocoon silhouette. I have spent 50% of my life wearing casual dresses and a pair of blue jeans. I’m pear-shaped, so I usually choose dark coloured pants or skirts. However, dark colours don’t flatter me, and I often wear them with a bright top and accessory. I’m a cheerful person and my clothes reflect that.

My Style ~Day Look~

First, I didn’t have specific project ideas for what to do for the Day Look. I like the dress but I think it’s too conservative without any accessories. I decided to make the small crossbody bag and bow belt using the leftover fabric from the dress. I will wear the dress with these accessories when I meet a friend at a coffee shop. I didn’t use sewing patterns and made them simply by relying on my intuition but they turned out well. The fur trim of the bag is detachable. I didn’t have much fabric (50″ 2 1/2yd) but I managed to cut the pattern pieces. Also, I will make a bow tie blouse for work. I think a patterned bow tie blouse will go well with the dress.Picture here:


~Night Look~

This jacket is from Morris Blazer (by Grainline Studio) with the corsage for Night Look. It might be hard for you to see from the picture, but it is made of shiny velvet.

Theme of the style? Hmmmm, I’ll wear it for a business dinner. This is the first time that I have made Morris Blazer. To be honest, I avoid wearing blazers because they make me uncomfortable. But the Morris blazer is casual and more comfortable than I expected. I would like to another one with thin denim or floral fabric. I recommend the pattern If you are looking for a casual blazer pattern.

I made the corsage without using any instructions, but it was simple and didn’t take much time to make. First, cut the fabric into a petal shape (12-15 pieces). Next, mix laundry starch (or cornstarch) with some water. Fill a spray bottle with the starch mixture and spray the petal pieces. After the petal pieces dry, sew them together. It’s pretty easy, right?”


~Conclusion~

Thanks for reading, friends! I really like additions of the Jacket and accessories. I’ve also been trying the “Scrap Fabric Buster Challenge”. My closet is FULL of my fabric stash (I stashed away EIGHT boxes in the closet!) and my garments. For that, I don’t need scrap fabric anymore. My goal is to reduce the leftover scrap stash by half this year. This time, I used the fabric for a dress without leaving any leftover.


The Day and Night Dress Challenge is interesting and fun. I just thought that it was a good chance to review my wardrobe and fabric stash. I dress according to my mood. However, the “occasion” is very important. There are still a lot of neglected clothes and I would like to save them. I’m so glad that I join the challenge. Many thanks to Elizabeth!

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Hi!  My name is Laquana and I blog over at Made by Laquana!  I’m super excited to share with you my day and night dress challenge looks!  When Elizabeth reached out to me about the challenge, I was super excited! I’ve recently looked through my closet and I’ve been evaluating my makes over the past few months.  

Evaluating my handmade wardrobe

With reflection, I’ve slowed down a bit, and I’ve focused on classic pieces and also technique. I’m transitioning into slower fashion to ensure my garments last and that they fit my needs longer.  My thinking has taken a pivot to ensure I don’t just make, but I enjoy my garments over and over again. There are some great garments, some cake, and some frosting, but what holds true to all is that I have a few that I’ve only worn once.  I was so tempted to style one of last year’s day and night challenge dresses for his years challenge. Why didn’t I? I found a dress deep in the back of the closet that I haven’t worn in over two years, I know, right!

My goal for this challenge was to pull out the dresses I’ve made and put them in order by age.  Once I had my dresses in order, I chose the oldest two and then I picked the one I’ve worn the least.  I thought this was a good way to show how to give new life to what’s in your me made closet.

My style

I consider my style classic chic with pops of color.  in spite of my style, over the last few years, I’ve made dresses in bold colors and prints, not much cake. I like semi fitted dresses with sleeves and open necklines, both short and long but usually knee length.  I love that I can make these types of garments, but I struggle with rewearing bold prints and colors to my conservative workplace . I also find that prints and bold colors are more noticeable and they tend to get worn less often.  So, why do I keep making these one hit wonders? I don’t know, but this year I will find fresh ways to style them and make more “cake” dresses,

When pulling together my looks, I kept things simple, I looked at my lifestyle and grabbed layers that would work with a variety of dresses and looks.   The dress I chose is Butterick 6425, I made it a few years ago to wear to my uncles birthday party and the review is on my blog.  I love this dress but struggled with wearing it to work. I could have worn it on a date night, but I just kept making new dresses!  This is a T Shirt dress with cold shoulder cut outs and a belt.

My day look approach

When looking at a day look, In the fall and winter, I tend to wear a light jacket/blazer or cardigan and comfortable shoes.  That’s it, there are additional layers based on preference: necklace, hand bag, comfortable shoes, scarf, etc… I hung my dress up and pulled a few complementary items from my close (both handmade and ready to wear) and just started playing around until I got the look I was going for.  

Wardrobe experiments

Pinterest is a great resource for ideas on how to layer and color coordinate if inspiration is needed. There were several looks that would have worked, I just picked the look that’s closest to my everyday style. The Denim Jacket is RTW but this could have been a handmade jacket, cardigan or wrap, I wear this jacket often and I have two ready to wear denim jackets in my closet.  I didn’t want to make another jacket when these work for now. I completed the look with my go to suede low heel boots (a must for a casual day for me) and a hand knitted wool blend “outlander” inspired cowl. I knitted this cowl a few years ago and it’s soo comfy and the color is dreamy. It’s around 65 degrees here so this outfit worked perfectly.

My night look

Finally, for the night look, I pulled some accessories that I could leave in my car for a quick after work look.  I tend to go from work to dinner without going home so I wanted to ensure I could quickly and easily get ready for dinner from the office.

 For the night look, I grabbed another oldie but goodie cape out of my closet, I made this cape for 1920’s themed birthday party, this was all the fringe I was willing to wear lol.  I paired that with my black heels and a long necklace and earrings. I will typically wear a darker lipstick in the evening, but all of this fit nicely in small bag and made getting ready super quick.  I’ve worn this dress without a jacket or wrap the first time and because it’s chilly, I wanted something cute to wear over my shoulders without being too hot.

That’s it, my day and night dresses, what do you think?  This challenge has encouraged me to think outside the box and find new ways to breathe life into my garments.

 I’d like to hear from you, how would you style this dress and, how are you making your garments pull double duty?

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     


If we haven’t met somewhere in the sewosphere before, I’m Alex and I blog at Sewrendipity.com about sewing a sustainable, meaningful wardrobe. As I am all about making clothes that have meaning and that will live in our lives as long as possible, this year’s challenge spoke to me like never before. I am advocating styling as a way of bring back to active life garments we have made before and maybe no longer love, so this was a perfect opportunity to put this principles into practice, AND take part in a community challenge, which I don’t do very often.

Creating a meaningful wardrobe: My philosophy

Before we skip to my outfits, I wanted to share a bit more about what a meaningful wardrobe means to me – and I promise it all makes sense and links in to my take on the challenge (you can also read more on my blog).

When we learn to sew (especially if it’s later in life), we have a tendency to sew all the dresses, usually in quirky quilting cottons. That definitely happened for me, and I actually have very few items from the early days of my sewing journey. But what also happened, at least in my case, was that as I got a bit older (I started sewing when I was 27, I am now 36), my tastes changed significantly and the garments I had previously made were just not ‘me’ anymore.

Now, from a sustainability perspective, the best thing you can do for your clothes, once you made or bought them, is to wear them for a long as possible. And, as I mentioned, I am definitely firmly into the sustainable closet camp. This meant I had a bit of a conundrum on my hands. I have clothes I don’t like any more, but I also don’t want to be sewing like mad to replace everything I already had. But I love sewing. And I love wearing clothes that represent me… Hmmm.

The solution I came up with was to slowly sew a few curated pieces that will stand the test of time in both quality, techniques, physical and emotional longevity and also versatility (the 30 wears test). Plus, coming up with ways that I could mix these new, meaningful garments with things I already have. I’m not gonna lie, I did have to part company with a few items (mostly passing on to my friends or my sister, but also a few to charity shops). But for the majority, I found creative ways to bring them back into rotation.

And this brings it back to our Day and Night Dress Challenge. I have a bit of a different interpretation to most other bloggers, in so much as I chose not to make something new to go with my old dress, but made a conscious effort to find a few meaningful items I have made recently that will complement and enhance my now forgotten ‘past me’ garment.

THE DRESS

So, about my dress…

This is one of the garments that I was most proud of making. Ever! It’s the first seriously difficult one I made, one that I designed myself, constructed and fitted to perfection. It was the first time I worked with faux leather, the first time I lined a garment, the first time I did a toile, the first time I pattern hacked, the first time I wore a me-made garment to a significant event in my life. Also, fun fact, this was the garment that I took to my Great British Sewing Bee audition (and that potentially got me on the show).

I made this dress while going through an incredibly stressful period at work and every night, to be able to fall asleep, I would think about sewing and dream up new designs. And one night, I had a brain wave, and so this dress came to be.

It’s a mash-up of Vogue 1102 for the top part and a Burda Magazine 02/2009 skirt for the bottom. The fabric is a stretch cotton that used to be printed, but I dyed it black. This was also the first time I overdyed something.  The red pleather accents are in fact upholstery pleather, but I really did not know better back then. It still works though.

I wore it to my best friend’s wedding back in Romania, and it was the first time I showed all my friends a garment I made myself that I was truly proud of.

You can tell this is a pretty special dress to me, with a lot of emotional load!

But I haven’t worn it in years! It’s just been sat like a relic in my closet, loving looking at it from time to time, but never coming out. It’s a bit too revealing to wear to work, a bit too fancy to wear on a night out and I can’t really wear to weddings anymore because many people would have seen it (I know, we all have those hang-ups).

So it was the perfect candidate for this challenge.

But I must confess, I was really struggling to think how could I make it more day-friendly. It was meant to be an evening dress, which was easy, but the low back was in no way suitable for going to the office, for example.

THE DAY VERSION

My recent style is quite minimalist, a bit oversized sometimes, streamlined, polished, yet comfortable. Which is what this dress was not. It’s tight, figure hugging, low back and has pleather! Plus, I must admit, I was definitely waaay skinnier in 2013, so it’s a bit too tight for comfort right now.

So for the day outfit, I decided that the most important thing was to fill in the back. So I needed something to layer it with. In comes my trusty self drafted viscose jersey turtleneck.

This is the perfect wardrobe stable for the colder weather. I have worn it many times under pinafores, short sleeved dresses, under jumpers, and even on its own with more colourful bottoms. It’s nice on the skin, wears well, looks good and so comfortable.

And so there I had my solution to sort out the revealing part. I think it works really nicely to turn my dress into some sort of a pinafore-look.

I also added the biker jacket for a bit of an edgier look. This is one of my all-time favourite items, a Mona biker jacket from Make My Lemonade. My sister once told me ‘now that’s a piece that truly looks shop-bought’. I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment…

To complete the look, I wore my favourite boots, these platform Zara boots that I got for £12.99 in the sale. The look towering, but they really are the most comfortable high heels I have ever worn. I liked that the studs on the boots go with the hardware on the jacket for a bit of an edgy feel.

I won’t be wearing this combo to the office in a hurry, but I can definitely see myself going out in it for a dinner date.

THE NIGHT VERSION

For the evening part of the challenge, matching the dress with the occasion was not the issue. My challenge was what else to add to make it an outfit.

One of my best loved, most worn and most praised items came to my rescue again. The red coat, which is almost famous in my group of friends. My husbands jokes that this coat got me a seat in business class when I was travelling to the states once (not true, I actually had the ticket as it was a business trip). People stop me on the street to tell me how much they love it. This is a Butterick 6244 Lisette pattern in red wool, which I had originally bought from a charity shop (Oxfam).

So here we are pairing two pieces that are very dear to me, and yet, it never occured to me to put them together! I feel it’s a match made in heaven! The reds are not quite the same shade (the dress is a bit more orangey and the coat a bit more blueish) but somehow I think it still works.

I was going for a classy look, so I paired them with stiletto heels, of course. I don’t wear heels that much anymore (unless it’s platforms), but there is a lot to be said about  pencil skirts and high heels.

THE VERDICT

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge which allowed me to reconnect with a garment I love dearly, but also pair it with some other pieces that are now staples of my wardrobe. A win-win overall and I hope some inspiration for you all to challenge yourselves to do the same!

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     

Fulton blazer + leather bag

My lovely friend Viv of Stitches and Seams is joining in The Day and Night Dress Challenge fun today. She’s dressing up her Love Notions Sonata dress with with her spin on the Alina Sewing +Design Co Fulton Blazer. She even cut up her husband’s old leather jacket to make a bag for her night look!

Day look: Fulton blazer + Sonata dress

I’m a casual dresser, and not really a trend person. The garments that I make need to have longevity in terms of style and fabric. I want to be able to wear everything I make for quite some time. Showing off classic lines and feeling put together with intention is how I want to present myself to the world.

I’ve made the Fulton blazer before in white. It’s such a great piece to toss on and go to the grocery store or church, and it fits a big hole in my wardrobe for a topper that can be used with lots of outfits.

Night look: Leather coat refashion into a bag

For my night look, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Instead, I went with a simpler idea (Elizabeth here: sewing leather is totally not a casual-on-a-Tuesday activity!).

My husband had an old leather jacket that he hasn’t worn. I got the idea to cut it up and make a simple foldover clutch. There’s an edgy metal zip which is a great accent for the leather. It’s big enough to hold my lippie and cell phone, then I can throw on some heels and a chiffon wrap to tie the whole look together.

This year’s challenge was a great chance to look at my closet a little bit differently! Be sure to check out how you can be a part of this challenge.

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE 2019?

  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram: