Refashion it



Colors of Flags Challenge

When Renata announced the Colors of Flags Challenge, I knew I wanted to participate.  Not only do I really admire Renata and want to support her, the 4th of July is probably my favorite non-religious holiday.  How can you not love a holiday that combines fireworks with BBQs and drippy ice cream sandwiches?  Plus Rachel’s ‘Murica dress died recently…one of my favorites of hers.  It was time to step up to the plate and be unashamedly, semi-obnoxiously American.

First draft

My first idea was to do a red, white, and blue version of YSL’s iconic Mondrian dress.

Image result for ysl mondrian dress

The problem with this idea is that I’d have made it in ponte knit.  Ponte in December is a brilliant idea.  July, on the other hand is not the month you trot out your ponte knit fabric.  Red is not a color I wear on a regular basis, so I didn’t want to put a lot of money into something I wouldn’t wear a lot.  Kismet found me at the thrift store and I walked away with a red and ivory Gap t-shirt, and some Dana Buchman navy stretch woven capris with white anchors.  Immediately, I knew what had to happen.

One Shoulder Frankenpattern:

Colors of Flags Challenge

Burdastyle 2-2013-109 + Burdastyle 5-2010-130 + some freestyling

I’ve been wanting to try a one-shoulder style since Maria’s one-shoulder dresses she made for the Day and Night Dress Challenge.  For mine, I wanted to have a knit bodice and a woven skirt.  When I went looking for inspiration (specifically searching “knit top woven skirt dress”) for just that, I kid you not the first image (now the second image) that popped up was this Lilly Pulitzer Dionne Dress:

Image result for lilly pulitzer dionne dress

So that’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to make.

For my version, I started with Burdastyle 2-2013-109 (asymmetric top) which I decided to pair with Burdastyle 5-2010-130 (pencil skirt).  I tried on the top and tucked it into the skirt, marking the junction with pins.  On the top pattern, I added 1″ below that line for seam allowance and any oops allowance I might need.  It turns out I needed the oops allowance because that 1″ with 3/8″ taken out for the seam allowance was just where I wanted the waist to be.

Colors of Flags Challenge

The hack

The asymmetric top has one shoulder that’s a regular sleeveless armhole.  The other side has a piece of fabric that wraps around from the back to the front to create a sleeve that attaches to the front neckline.  To get the one shoulder look, I copied the front neckline to the back.  I copied the armscye of my favorite t-shirt pattern to finish the sleeveless armhole side.


Colors of Flags Challenge

To add the ruffle, I measured the circumference of the front and the back neckline and multiplied x 2.  I gathered and basted the ruffle to the top of the front and back after I sewed the side seams.  In my practice dress, I bound the edge with foldover elastic.  On my Colors of Flags dress, I opted for clear elastic inside a casing.  I prefer the feel of the foldover elastic, but the casing is ultimately less bulky at the neck edge.  The FOE is really struggling in places to cover all of the gathering of the ruffle.

I should note too that the practice dress is made from scraps leftover from my Donna Karan top.  The scraps made it necessary to add the random waist seam.  Sometimes you just make it work…The skirt is home dec fabric from two really nice pillow shams.  The fabric has a little bit of the hand of a vintage bark cloth.  I originally intended the pillows for some home dec project for my sewing room, but I gave it up because I already have a dominant floral print in there.  Also, home dec sewing is not the most interesting…


After constructing the bodice, I knew I wanted to add a strap.  The elastic in the casing makes it nearly impossible for the dress to fall down, but it’s always my preference to wear regular bras with summer styles.  On the practice version, I cut it a little longer so that it scrunches over the elastic that I put inside the strap.  On the patriotic version, I cut the elastic and the strap the same length for a clean look.


The skirt is made as is with no alterations to the pattern other than eliminating the front fly.  The knit bodice is sandwiched in between the front and inside waistbands for a clean finish inside.

dutch label shop

Side zipper

The Lilly Pulitzer dress apparently does not have a zipper as , so I went forward with the practice dress without putting in a zipper in the blue/floral version.  This was a mistake.  The skirt fabric has no give and it’s already a pretty fitted style.  Do you have those dresses you have to do weird yoga to get into?  This is one of them.  The patriotic dress sports a side invisible zipper which is such a better idea.

Plaid shirts for the guys

Colors of Flags Challenge

Other than that, I used that pretty combed cotton plaid in the IG picture above for button downs for my guys.  All the patterns are the same Ottobre patterns I used here.

If you haven’t already, go check out more about the Colors of Flags Challenge on Instagram #flagsoftheworlddressproject#colorsofflagchallenge #4thofjulyprouddressproject.  There’s still time to share your outfit through your blog, IG, or YouTube(until July 7th) for a chance to win some great prizes available from Sewing and Design School, LA Finch Fabrics, and Dressy Talk Patterns.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!


double collar rain jacket

I’ve been waiting for Patternreview’s Upcycle Contest.  It’s no secret that I love to work with upcycled materials, so I jumped on the idea of this challenge post haste.  My original idea was a bomber jacket with hood for my oldest son, but it seems like a better project for fall.  I went to the thrift store with the plan to go ahead with that jacket unless something cool caught my eye.  What presented itself for my consideration?  This shell print caftan which I turned into a double collar rain jacket.  Here’s the before:

double collar rain jacket

double collar rain jacket

Double Collar Rain Jacket

double collar rain jacket

Burda World of Fashion 02-2008-120

BWOF 2-2008 is the first Burda issue I ever bought, and it’s easily my favorite.  The details in this issue are superb, and it’s been my personal goal to sew every one of the jackets in this issue.  To that end, #120 is my 5th jacket I believe.  Before this, there’s the smocked trench, striped seersucker jacket, and two versions of a classic trench: first as this refashioned pastel denim jacket, and also as a floral applique linen jacket.

Feature-wise, #120 is a parka with a zip front, large patch pockets, and a very unique double collar.  Someday, I’d love to sew it in the organza used in the magazine.  Although, as airy as it is, where does one wear an organza parka?  Anorak snaps finish off the sleeve bands and the corners of the front patch pockets.

double collar rain jacket

Caftans have a LOT of fabric

I had decided that whatever project I was making for this contest, I was GOING to make a jacket.  The caftan was a perfect choice for this use.  Jackets take up a lot of yardage and boy howdy did I use all of it.  After making the hat and the jacket, this was all I was left with.

After cutting 2 pieces, this is pretty close to #nowaste sewing. #sewcialists #patternreview #refashion #sewingcontest

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Although I needed just about every square inch of the caftan, I was able to cut every piece without piecing.  That is except for the bottom collar and the waist casing.  The bottom collar (labeled “undercollar” on the pattern which it isn’t) is super wide with quite the arc, so I had to piece it.  It didn’t feel like much of a concession since the top collar covers up the piecing completely.  The waist casing is also not obviously pieced due to the gathering with the waistband and the business of the print.

The sleeves had to be cut on the cross grain, but even then I was surprised that I could even get sleeves out of my yardage, especially with the center front slit taking up so much useable space on the original garment.

double collar rain jacket

I was also glad I could cut the fronts so as to avoid shell boobs.  I am no mermaid!

Pockets and snaps and bias tape oh my

double collar rain jacket

Zippered welts are my favorite pockets, and these ones went it without a hitch.  I really could not be more pleased with them.

The snaps on the sleeve bands and front pockets are spring snaps from Gold Star Tool.  I saw that Heather from Closet Case Files recommended them, so I gave them a try.  They’re nice snaps and their setter works well, plus they have 99 cent shipping.  Needless to say, I will not hesitate to order from them again.

double collar rain jacket

All of the seams plus the jacket hem are finished with a Hong Kong finish with some bias made from white/yellow striped shirting that I used for one of my sons’ shirts.

Napkins for contrast

I do have a lot of napkins.  We have people over frequently, and I really like using proper cloth napkins, so when I see nice ones, I buy them.  I had a couple sage green linen look napkins that I used for the undercollar of both the top collar and bottom collar as well as the drawstring.

double collar rain jacket

I used 2 aqua abstract dot linen napkins as the lining for the hat.  Speaking of which:

Bucket hat

double collar rain jacket

It was my hope that I could’ve added a hood to my jacket, but it just wasn’t possible with the available yardage.  I settled for adding a bucket hat as an accessory.  The hat pattern is the Raindrop Hat from SEWN Hats by Carla Crim.  It’s a good basic bucket hat.  I sewed a medium which is a pretty good fit for me.  There’s topstitching along all the seams and the brim (though I added 8 more rows of topstitching than the pattern called for as I am wont to do).

double collar rain jacket

Shells in the rain

It might seem strange that a very beachy shell printed poly/cotton caftan would inspire a waterproof rain jacket, but that’s where my mind immediately went.  The surface of the fabric has a little bit of texture that immediately reminded me of batik.  I had the idea to make up the jacket and hat and then try my hand at some DIY waterproofing.  I wrote a little tutorial below that I’ll put in a separate post someday when I get pictures, but for now, it’s here!  All I can say is it worked like a charm.  The day I took the pictures, we had heavy rain on and off and I stayed totally dry.

I can’t say that the jacket is waterproof.  I didn’t use any waterproof sealants or seam tapes, but I will confidently say that it’s water resistant.  Here’s a video of me dumping water on my hat.  The water beads up on the hat well:

I will safely call this water resistant after the wax treatment. #success #diy #imakemyownclothes #upcycledclothing

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Not only did the wax make the jacket water resistant, but it added an incredible amount of structure to the collar and body to the jacket.  It makes the fabric crinkly and soft and a little warmer.  I love how the collar stands up on its own accord when the jacket is inside out!

  double collar rain jacket double collar rain jacket    double collar rain jacket

Overall, this is one of my favorite refashions to date.  I hope you’ll consider this jacket in your voting for the upcycle contest!  Thanks for reading and have a great Memorial Day!

DIY Water resistant treatment tutorial

Once upon a time I did a lot of batik.  I made some pretty elaborate wall hangings from junior high through college.  I’d love to explore it again when I don’t have to worry about my kids getting into my dyes.  At any rate, I have lots of wax on hand.  The wax I like is a 50/50 mix of parrafin and beeswax.

For batik, parrafin is a great wax.  It’s pure white, so it won’t leave any colored tinge to your fabric, and it cracks when it’s dry, giving batik its characteristic crackle effect to the dye.  Beeswax is quite yellow, so it could theoretically give a candlelight glow to pure white fabric, but it is incredibly flexible.  The flexibility of the beeswax gives the resulting fabric a really nice hand.  Both of these waxes together also do a great job of making a water resistant treatment for your fabric.  So here’s how you get the wax into the fabric:


  • Electric griddle with a heating element
  • Wax: paraffin or beeswax or a combination are good choices
  • Garment to waterproof
  • Old iron that you use for nefarious crafting purposes (i.e. not the one you use for sewing)
  • Paper towels
  • brown craft paper and/or paper grocery bags
  • Freezer paper
  • masking tape


  1. Melt your wax in the electric griddle.  Ideally, the wax should be about 200 degrees.  A crock pot, rice cooker, or candle warmer will do the trick.  You won’t want to use this for food afterwards, so an old device is ideal.
  2. Cover a workspace with freezer paper, shiny side.  Tape it down with masking tape.  Lay your garment on top of it.  Stuff areas of your garment where multiple layers sit on top of each other with craft paper or pieces of paper grocery bags (like pockets and sleeves).
  3. Using a foam brush, brush a thin layer of the hot wax over the entire surface of the outside of your garment.
  4. Don’t freak out.  It’s going to look like you wrecked it.  Your garment will stand up entirely on its own and will be as stiff as a board.  You will fix this in the next step.  Take out the paper stuffing from the sleeves and pockets and replace it with a thick layer of paper towels.
  5. Cover your ironing board with 2 layers of brown craft paper.  You’re going to iron out most of the wax and you do not want wax on your ironing board!
  6. Put a thick pad of paper towels on top of the craft paper.  Place the waxed garment on top of the paper towels.  Cover an area of your garment with one paper towel.  Using the iron on its hottest setting, iron over the paper towel, moving the iron continuously.
  7. When the paper towel is transparent, it has been saturated completely with wax.  Get another paper towel* and continue the process of ironing over different areas of the garment.  You’ll probably need to make 2 full passes over the garment with the towels.  The fabric should not have wax that you can see on the surface, but you don’t want to iron out all of the wax either.  When the hand of the fabric becomes more flexible and is no longer stiff with wax, you’re good to go.
  8. Go find some big puddles and enjoy your newly waterproofed project!

*You’ll be amazed at how many paper towels you’ll need for this.  It’ll seem wasteful to keep using a fresh paper towel when the wax has totally saturated the paper, but you really need to do so.  If you keep using the same old waxy towel three things will happen: 1)the paper will stop absorbing wax, 2)the wax will start smoking which can be rather noxious, and 3)the wax can scorch leaving permanent scorch marks on your project.  Save yourself the pain and get a new paper towel.  Ask me how I know. 🙂



diy lion hoodie

This diy lion hoodie and Very Shannon Sally dress are two of the projects I’ve made for my kids of late.  The dress was for Easter, though I’m just getting around to writing it up now, and the lion hoodie is the result of a challenge a sewing friend gave me.

DIY Lion Hoodie

One of the women that I sew with monthly had this beautiful brown knit jacket.  It’s by a better knitwear designer that you’d buy at Nordstrom, so I’m going to venture a guess that she originally spent a fair amount on it.  It features this elaborate wool yarn trim on the collar and the cuffs.  J is in the process of a home remodel and in need of downsizing her closet.  She remembered this jacket and challenged me to make a lion costume out of it for my kids.  My boys generally go around the house roaring at people, so it seemed a natural project for me.

Ottobre 6-2009-8 Zipped hoodie

I pulled out an old Ottobre and found a basic hoodie pattern to start my refashion.  This is 6-2009-8.  It’s a basic zipped, lined hoodie.  The biggest size was a 92, and my son needed a 98, so I graded it up.  I was able to save the old zipper.

diy lion hoodie

Creative cutting

One of the things I really enjoy about refashion projects is that they force you to be creative with your materials.  The collar became the tail, and all the outer jacket pieces were easily cut from the original jacket.  The zipper facing became a neck seam binding, and I used scraps from the sleeve to make the fringe on the tail.  To make the jacket a little more wearable and a little less costumey, I opted to line it with a patterned knit.  I found a nice turmeric striped XL rtw tee while thrifting.  Just the sleeves were used for the hood because I wanted to have enough leftover to make this tank.

diy lion hoodie

Faux fur?

I lucked out in trying to find the right faux fur to line the inside of the jacket.  A golden wheat minky blanket found its way to me on the same thrift trip that produced the striped tee.  I say minky because I’m not really sure what it is.  It’s not precisely faux fur, it’s not really minky, but it is soft and cuddly and very warm.  I bagged the jacket, but I left the sleeves unlined.

Knitwear hem and squirrel pockets

The jacket is knitted, so it has a machine finished edge.  Because I was dealing with heavier materials, I kept this edge as the bottom of the jacket and hand sewed the lining rather than turn up a hem.  I couldn’t resist adding some fun to the welt pockets in the way of squirrels on the inside.

diy lion hoodie

Lion trim

The trim for the mane was sewn onto the original jacket with little hand overcast stitches, so it was really easy to deconstruct.  The used all of the trim from the collar on the top of the hood, centering the trim with the CB of the hood.   Zigzag stitches hold it down flat.  I also made ears for the top of the hoodie from the blanket.  The ears are sandwiched between the lion trim and the hood seam.  Rather than disassemble the trim for the sleeves, I treated them as cuffs.  They’re not as fitted as a normal sleeve would be, but they were much easier to deal with.

Very Shannon Sally Dress

This was the first year that I got to make an Easter dress for my daughter!  She has a little friend who’s just a month younger than her whose mom gifted me with Very Shannon’s Sally Dress.  She had hoped to make it for her daughter, and it was really sweet of her to think of me.  I sewed mine up in some bits of Cotton + Steel fabrics I had from Hawthorne Fabrics.  The skirt piece was too big for my narrower fabric, so I added a panel of white/yellow voile on the sides.

very shannon sally dress

Square neckline

This pattern has got some really cute features.  There’s big pockets on the sides of the gathered skirt and there’s a sweet square neckline.  The smallest size is a 2T, so I graded it down a size.  I do have an issue with the neckline.  The front is the same as the back, so it doesn’t fit on the shoulders the greatest.  Also, the shoulder seam comes to a weird point at the neckline edge.  You can see that weird point on some of the modeled photos on the Very Shannon site.

A good pattern for beginners

Weird neckline point aside, this is a good pattern for beginners.  There’s clear instructions that are unbelievably detailed.  You can’t mess this one up.  I know my friend is anxious about having to sew zippers or buttons.  She was excited to find a pattern that just fits over baby’s head without fuss.  It’ll be a great pattern for her.

very shannon sally dress

Plus, the overall cute factor of this dress makes up for my annoyance over the fit.  I had a good time adding some extra embroidery too.  I won’t be sewing it again, but my daughter loves it, so it’s a win.


It’s that time of year when So Zo hosts Me Made May.  It’s always hard to come up with a new spin on Me Made May, especially since nearly everything I wear I’ve made at this point.  This year, it seems Wardrobe Sudoku happened at a good time to give me some inspiration.  I’ll be hanging out on Instagram all month wearing combinations from my Wardrobe Sudoku grid.  It’s Wardrobe Sudoku Me Made May!

“I, Elizabeth of and IG @elizabethmadethis, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear a combination from my Wardrobe Sudoku grid each day for the duration of May 2017′.”

wardrobe sudoku me made may

Turmeric Peach Smoothie pajamas

I wanted to throw one more top into the mix for Faye’s Tops that Pop sewalong before the end tomorrow.  As it happened, I’m in need of pajamas for summer, and I had just the fabric for a quick Greenwood tank.  I had some honeycomb print french terry in the form of oversized pajama bottoms that coordinated perfectly, so an impromptu last minute set was in order!  I’m calling the set Turmeric Peach Smoothie because that’s pretty much what the colors are.  Two quick refashions are what happened in the Bat Cave today.  And here’s actual Bat Cave pictures too because it’s been snowing all day!  Notice my new zipper storage.

Greenwood tank

wardrobe sudoku me made may

I used Straight Stitch’s Greenwood Tank for the top.  I used the low back option and added some crossover decoration with some tubes I sewed from the binding fabric.  The stripe is from a RTW tee.  I used the sleeves for a project for my son, so I had just enough for a tank.  The binding is cut from rayon lycra in the prettiest peach.  I have yet to figure out the settings on my new coverstitch machine, so I just zigzagged all the bindings down.  Since they’re pajamas, I think it looks plenty neat enough.

I added a little more of the binding on the side seams in the way of vents.  The back isn’t meant to be lower on the pattern–I just cut it poorly.  In truth, I just use the neckline of the Greenwood which I treat as a neckline add on to my TNT t-shirt.  I do that with a lot of knit top patterns.  It’s so much faster to grab style lines for me than to go through the hassle of refitting a pattern.  Then some days you line the hems up a little off.  Call it a design feature.

Hudson pants

wardrobe sudoku me made may

Rachel’s latest Hudson pants reminded me of my plans to refashion some pajama bottoms I had bought during pregnancy.  While they were comfortable at 40 weeks, they’ve been comically large for some time now.  I couldn’t let them go.  They’re made of really nice french terry with a honeycomb pattern and there’s this adorable embroidered bee on them.

Because I’m short and the Hudson pants don’t take a lot of fabric, I had plenty to work with.  I even had enough fabric to keep the embroidered bee intact AND put in the obligatory pockets that make the Hudson pants so awesome.

After hacking them up, my husband’s comment was, “Wow, those fit much better now.”  You have no idea.  They were a horror before.  It’s funny.  You think oversized things are comfortable, and then you wear things that actually fit, and they’re infinitely more comfortable.  These are more appropriate lounging pajamas now.  So, a quick project to add to the end of Tops that Pop (I keep calling it Pops that Top in my head! :D).

Anyone who did Wardrobe Sudoku–are you with me for a Wardrobe Sudoku Me Made May?   

Shop update Winter 2016

I’ve been working on making more items for SEWN Denver, this time with a more winter focus.  Before I get to those, I have 2 of my skirts listed in my freshly updated Etsy shop.  Each are $47 plus shipping.  Items will ship in a USPS Priority small flat rate box.  I’ll be adding more items to my Etsy shop.  Watch for updates here and on my Instagram.


Ric Rac pocket floral skirt

Waist: 29.5, Hip: 36.5″



Ric Rac pocket floral skirt

Waist: 29.5, Hip: 36.5″




Green piped pockets floral skirt

Waist: 29.5, Hip: 36.5″

On to the new collection!

Winter collection dresses

For these dresses, I was looking for deeper colors and warmer fabrics with the classic silhouettes that I love.  Here we go:

Black and grey animal print velvet dress


With princess seams, turtleneck, and a nice swishy skater skirt, this is a great dress for holiday parties.  This is my favorite dress from the collection by far!  The velvet is so cozy to wear, yet it looks so elegant.

There is an invisible zip in the turtleneck, so it fits closely, but will easily slip over your head.  There’s silver buttons on the shoulder that pick up the cool sheen of the velvet, though I wasn’t able to get them in pictures given my limited photo time yesterday [insert sad face here].

Bust: 32″ Waist: 29″



Blue and green animal print colorblocked dress


This dress started its life as a taupe/grey dress.  The print was great, but the overall color was a bit dull.  After a quick bath in Rit Dye More, the rayon/poly/spandex now is a pretty green blue.  The contrast princess seam panels and sleeves are from an olive cotton/spandex turtleneck.  This dress also has an invisible zip in the turtleneck.

Bust: 35″, Waist: 32″


Brown suiting dress with large floral applique


This dress started as a 3 piece suit.  I used the pants for the bodice and the skirt for the skirt.  It is fully lined.

My favorite bit is the floral applique. I highlighted the lines of the flowers with contrast magenta stitching.  The silk belt hangs from thread loops on the side seams for a little pop of color.

Bust: 35″, Waist: 30″, Hips: 36.5″


Plaid Sweater Knit Dress


This sweater knit was so nice to work with.  It’s a nice thick polyester stable sweater knit.  If I had had more yardage to work with, it would have made a beautiful long cardigan.  As such, I think it worked up well into this kind of 60s inspired silhouette.  I think it will pair well with tights and boots.

Bust :38″, Waist: 33″

Dresses are $68.  All of these dresses are now at SEWN Denver.  The store is at 18 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
The store phone number is 303.832.1493

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

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Last week, I mentioned some of the items I’ve made for SEWN Denver, and here is my collection of Elizabeth Made This T-shirts that are at SEWN Denver right now.  There’s a lot of mixed textiles in this collection.  True to my aesthetic of “artistic apparel”, the tees feature upcycled goods and vintage bits of fabric.  They’re all a great choice for unique fall tees.

T-shirts are $46.  Details and sizes are below.  If you’re visiting Denver, or if you live here, SEWN is located just a few blocks south of Fancy Tiger on 18 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209.  The shop’s number is 303.832.1493 if you want to ask any questions.

The Collection!

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Navy and riverside tee with flame cheetah trim

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34″


Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Blockprinted pinking shears red raglan tee

Bust: 34″, Hem: 39″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Navy stripe toile leaf applique tee

Bust: 34″, Hem: 40″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Deep purple mustard lace tee

Bust: 36″, Hem: 40″


Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Mixed blues and brown floral applique tee

Bust: 31″, Hem: 36″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purple and taupe tee with gold applique

Bust: 37″, Hem: 42″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Orange stripe floral applique tee

Bust: 37″, Hem: 42″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purple beaded and embroidered tee with navy racing stripe sleeves

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34″

Elizabeth Made This t-shirts

Purples, navy stripe and floral applique tee

Bust: 30″, Hem: 34

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.



When Portia Lawrie of Makery announced that this years #Refashioners2016 challenge was denim, I couldn’t not participate in the community challenge.  Between my catalog of my own jeans I’ve made and the wide variety of details collected on my Altered Denim board, it should be clear that when in comes to denim, I’m very serious about thinking beyond a basic pair of jeans.  So cutting up existing jeans and making something new?  That’s pretty much about the happiest challenge I can think of.  That I ended up with this Jeanius Pastel Denim Trench Coat–even better.  Who doesn’t love it when a plan comes together just like you want it to?

yoyo wristlet

Refashion Runway: Buttons

This week’s Refashion Runway theme is buttons.  I came up with this button yoyo wristlet.

The challenge of using buttons in refashioning proved to be more challenging than I initially thought it would be.  My original plan was to add buttons to a plain yellow cardigan I wear a lot or to make some kind of jewelry.  Ultimately, I decided that both of these would yield something that was more visually heavy than I was going for.

Buttons and yoyos

I’ve written before that I made a series of twin sized yoyo quilts before I had my machine.  I’ve always loved the texture of them and how the fabric is transformed when it is distorted into that little gathered circle.  So when I have off bits of fabric and time to spend hand sewing, I often make a few yoyos.  It’s my substitute for knitting or crocheting.

When I was thinking about this challenge, I had too many ideas.  I decided to go down to my sewing room and just look for materials.  I saw a jar of yoyos next to all my buttons, and I remembered that I had always wanted to make a little wristlet from yoyos.


These particular yoyos are made from a sample of Marimekko linen that I bought to see if I would like it as curtains.  Because I decided against the fabric as curtains, I felt no sting as I cut it up.  Out came my Olfa circle cutter and I got to work cutting and making yoyos.

yoyo wristlet

The linen’s vivid yellow and muted gray mixes well with the yellow, gold, and ochre buttons.  When you join yoyos together, there are naturally spaces between them.  You have a choice to back them, or leave them open.  As a purse, they really need a backing.  I pulled out this turquoise faille skirt.  I never wore it much after I made it since it was really just a kind of practice garment, so it was fair game for refashioning.

yoyo wristlet

I love the yellow against the turquoise.  It’s all daffodils and spring up in here.  The faille has the nicest hand and sews up so well.


I joined the yoyos together in 6 rows of 5.  Some face up, and some show the backside of each yoyo.  I hand stitched down the matrix to the faille with small backstitches around each yoyo.  It sounds like a lot of work, but it actually went quickly.  Because of all my practice at it, I’m really a fast hand sewist when it comes to yoyos.

After that, I cut around the yoyos, leaving a good border of faille so that the yoyos wouldn’t get caught in the seams of the bag.  I made a quick handle and a loop.  The loop and handle are joined with a metal ring salvaged from an old curtain I refashioned into an apron years ago.

The bag itself is just a simple zipper bag.  I added some heft to the faille by basting it to a scrap of canvas.  The lining is a bit of random cotton, and the handle/loop assembly is sandwiched in the side seam.

yoyo wristlet

Button sewing

Sewing on buttons is one of those tasks that I think most people don’t think about.  Usually the thought is: 4 holes, X shape, how fast can I sew on these buttons because I’m so over this project and want to wear my project.  But really, there’s a lot more possibility beyond the X.  These are some of my favorite variations for wearable garments:

yoyo wristlet

The arrow is probably my favorite.

For some button inspiration, I looked to this image from one of my Pinterest boards:

There are so many ways to sew on a button when making craft projects!:

On a bag, you can explore some of these stitches.  You can easily stitch on the outer edges of the buttons because there’s no need to leave the edges free so they can go in and out of buttonholes.   It’s a bit of decorative work that’s just satisfying to work on.

This yoyo wristlet ended up being the kind of quick fun project that started out with few expectations and became a study in materials and possibilities.

yoyo wristlet

Do you work on projects and just let your materials guide your plan?


Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.

mixed media tank

This lace mixed media tank is one of the projects I’ve made in the past couple months post baby that I haven’t got around to writing about.  It’s part refashion, part working with available materials, and a whole lotta pattern hacking in between.  The inspiration for this one was this Anthropologie tank:

Laced Montage Tank -

I love how Anthropologie uses fabric, but I don’t often often copy their stuff literally.  This tank was an exception.  I like the woven bottom together with the lace stitched on top of the side seams combined with the comfort of a knit top.  The resulting tunic is just the kind of flowy summer top that I was looking to make.

Lace Mixed Media Tank


In terms of patterns, I combined no less than 3 patterns to get to my final pattern.  The tank part is Straight Stitch Patterns’ Greenwood Tank.  I liked with that pattern how the shoulder hit well enough to cover my bra line (not necessarily a given with tank patterns), but the armholes were too big.  I used my trusty Jalie 2921 to modify the Greenwood armscye to the circumference I was looking for.  The woven part of the tank is a modified version of the high/low peplum piece from Blank Slate’s Marigold.


mixed media tank

For fabric, I used a cotton voile on the peplum leftover from this Mississsippi Ave dress.  I added a CF button placket to make it look like it’s the bottom of a men’s dress shirt.  I cut the same voile in bias strips to bind the neckline and armholes too.

The knit is from an old t-shirt that I’ve had for several years.  I originally bought it soon after my 2nd son was born.  I always liked the color, but not the poofy 3 layered flutter sleeves it had.  They were cumbersome to wear and I couldn’t wear a cardigan with the top because the sleeves were too bulky to fit inside the sweater sleeves.

mixed media tank


I carried a little bit of the green down into the sides of the peplum because…hips!  It also is a nice contrast under the lace.

The lace is vintage crochet lace that I picked up thrifting.  It is simply stitched down along the side seams.  I love this kind of lace for its softness and visual texture.  My Mom has always like prints that look like wallpaper.  It turns out I like lace and fabric that looks like (or came from) a tablecloth. 🙂

Project summary

mixed media tank


Proportionally the top is overall a bit too long on me.  If I repeat this design, I will definitely shorten the knit and the peplum as well as ditch the high/low element in favor of a straight hem.

Overall, I really love this top.  It was a good challenge to use multiple materials and patterns to get at the final top, and it’s super comfortable and lightweight for the summer heat.

My Monthly Stitch Post on this top is here.

My review of the Greenwood Tank is here.

What’s the max number of patterns and/or fabrics you’ve combined into a finished garment?

mixed media tank

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.


metallic bandage sweater

This week’s Refashion Runway theme is “metallic”.  I created this metallic bandage sweater using pretty much all the metallic things I could find.  This includes a white sweater with silver threads, a featherweight knit top, a pair of gold polka dotted shorts that I made that never fit properly, and strips of metallic gold linen leftover from this Marigold top.

Metallic Bandage Sweater


For once, I didn’t use Jalie 2921!  Ha!  Well, sort of.  I actually started with Onion 5039, a great cowl top I’ve used on this striped top.  The striped version has always been one of my favorite tops to wear in the fall, and I’ve always wanted to repeat this pattern.  I did however use the armscye, sleeve and side seam shaping from Jalie 2921.  When you have something that fits as you like it, that’s just what you do.  The Onion’s sleeve is too loose for my taste because the armscye has more circumference than I need or prefer.

Sweater surgery


Sweaters are something that I refashion on a pretty frequent basis as it starts to become colder.  This week, on my thrifting expedition, I picked up a white dolman sleeve sweater with silver threads running through it as well as a light blue featherweight sweater with lace trim.  The blue is in my color palette, and I never pass up quality crochet lace.

I very painstakingly unpicked every last bit of the blue sweater to salvage the lace.  I’ll save that for another project as I wanted to highlight metallics on this project.  From the blue, I cut 3/4 length sleeves and the cowl piece from the front and back.  I unfortunately had to add a second seam in the cowl since there was no fold to use.  I hid this fact by sewing the cowl with the seams facing the shoulder seams instead of at CF and CB.


I had originally meant to sew a yoke in the polka dotted fabric and the white sweater as the bottom of the top.  This was not going to work because there was a giant coffee stain on the back polka dotted fabric.  The weights of the knits were also too different.

When I tried on the white sweater, it was pretty itchy.  The fiber content is rayon/cotton/metallic, so I’m guessing it’s those metallic threads that are irritating my skin.  Since the polka dot fabric wasn’t going to work on the right side of the sweater, I used it to line the inside yoke.  The right side of the yoke is more of the white sweater.  There’s now no red itchy skin, plus there’s a fun lining for this top with extra metallic element!


Using a similar technique to my Silk Scarf Jeans, I zigzagged strips of the metallic linen in little X shapes down the center of each sleeve and along the yoke seam.  They look like bandages to me!  Just like the silk, the weight of the linen vs. the sweater knit was so lightweight, the linen sits perfectly on top without taking away from the quality of the sweater knit.  On the sleeves, the linen and the blue knit are pretty much equal in weight, adding a totally different quality.



Macgyver and Me 

I should have known that I’d have to line the bottom of the sweater, but I didn’t bother to cut a lining initially.  I know most people don’t line knit tops, but I hate that many, many knits are sheer, but I hate wearing camisoles underneath knit tops even more.  All that shifting of fabric around ignites my Princess and the Pea sensibility like just about nothing else.

Still, I always seem to have RTW knit camisoles though I don’t wear them.  They’re probably from an era where I was wearing them under things and buying them by the 5 pack or so until I realized that I hated them.


Turns out, those old camis are a really comfortable solution for lining an itchy sweater.  I simply cut it off under the arms and sewed it to the yoke’s seam allowance.  It’s my Richard Dean Anderson one second on the timer left solution.

metallic bandage sweater


Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.