Friday, October 5, 2012

The Cowgirl Refashion!

Or: When pant legs turn into sleeves...

Do you think I post a lot of refashions lately because I believe they take less time than clothes made from scratch? - Yes, that't true.
Do refashions REALLY take less time? - Nope, that's not true :-)

...especially if you take a guys shirt and girls pants and realize too late that the closures don't match up. More about that later...

The colors of these two items were so similar, they just ASKED for me to marry them...
Uhm yes, I x-ed out my face. I thought it would be funny to make a really silly face, but it ended up so deliciously stupid that I would for sure have landed on some list of "worst pictures people post of themselves"...

Monday, August 6, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion-Extravaganza! Grand Finale - Full Tutorial/How-To!

Here is the grand finale of my T-Shirt Refashion Extravaganza: Made from small scraps of jersey, and some crepe added for the skirt parts:

As you see, I made two versions, slight improvements and variations between them. And yes, it comes with a full how-to/tutorial!

The differences are the sleeves versus a neck holder, the different hight for the waist, and a small change on how I put together the skirt. I will give you both options in the tutorial, so lets get right to it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion-Extravaganza! Project 3

Well, after my 3- and 4-shirt re-fashions, what can follow? Sure, the 5-shirts would be obvious, but no, I am following up with a simple t-shirt from a t-shirt. But:

It's a refashioned refashion!

I am totally in love with it now, which is why I find it worth reporting even though it is such a small little project.
The first time I made this, it started from a thrifted knit tank:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion-Extravaganza! Project 2

As promised, here it comes, my next t-shirt-upcycling-project!

This one is a little less beach and a bit more elegant than the first project. Same basic idea though - an easy-to-wear jersey dress made from shirts I don't wear (anymore). I originally chose a different combination and meant to make something roughly like this:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion-Extravaganza! Project 1

Is there anything better to wear in summer than a one-piece-jersey dress? No double layers and bulking at the waist, and you can just throw it in the washing machine like a regular t-shirt and don't even have to iron it afterwards. Well, it was time I made myself some of these!

I had cleaned out my closet a while ago, and - being a Re-fashionista - it took care of the problem in the closet, but made the one in the sewing room much worse... The ever growing pile of fabrics and clothes-to-be-refashioned...!

Look at the huge pile of T-shirts I had sorted out - some because of the wrong fit, some because of stains, some from my husband, and well, many because I just actually don't really wear t-shirts at all:

Much better than the sales bin at a fabric store, right? :-)

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Question of personal Style and Taste...

Give Danielle another chance!

After the refashioning
It was a first for me: Refashioning a dress I had made myself...This was what I called "my new love Danielle" in my BurdaStyle studio a good two years ago and it used to look like this:

Before the refashioning

It's a free pattern, so go grab it if you like! As you can tell from my project name, I really DID like it a lot, and I got nice comments and compliments for it.

And then..... I never wore it. Ok, once. I wore it to the theater and didn't feel right in it. Didn't feel "me" in it. I am not saying that I dislike the dress, I disliked it on myself. I felt that it was too girly. I am not a girly girl and I don't wear dresses a lot as is... But I keep wanting to change that. So I decided to give Danielle another chance.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer in the City: Tutorial, free pattern, how-to!

Here it is, the how-to for this great summer dress:

If you'd like to see more pictures of it first, I posted plenty HERE!

What you need:

Summer in the City: Dress Showcase

Readers, I hope you agree that it was worth the wait - here is my new free pattern, as promised!

From what I hear on the news, Vienna isn't the only city writing record highs this week...
It's amazing how much more bearable it is if you are dressed appropriately... Well, this dress makes me love the summer!
This post is only the showcase of the dress - you find the tutorial, free pattern, how-to for it HERE!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Original Vintage Refashion!

Yes, I promised a new free pattern, and I am almost ready with it. But first I had to fit in my monthly contribution to the refashion co-op! After last months huge success with the 9 shirts off his back, I wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to live up to the expectations for my next project... :-) But how about this - an original 1943 Refashion project?

I own a few German pattern magazines from the 40's and they feature a one-page refashioning section! They certainly had to use all the resources they could get their hands on. In this example, they suggest using an old long-sleeve blouse on which the collar, buttons, underarms and cuffs are torn up and turn it into this cute short-sleeve version, for which you can cut away all the problematic areas...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

9 Shirts off his Back!

*** I cleaned out my closet! ***

Doesn't that always feel fabulous? All that new space for new clothes! But then again, being a re-fashionista, the pile in my sewing-room grew bigger and bigger proportionally... even more so since my husband went ahead and cleaned out his side, too...

What was I to do? Well, nine shirts later I got to this:

I used up nine shirts, most of them from my husband, only two from myself - one is missing in the picture below:

Some were short-sleeves, some long, some had stains, others were just out of style, others worn-out in some places. I tried to keep as many elements from the shirts as possible, like the collar, hems, buttons... But see for yourself, I'll give you a little how-to:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Simple T-Shirt Refashion gone difficult

Well didn't I feel all smart when I realized how I could simply pull one strap of a way-too-big shirt down over the shoulder and come up with a fancy one-shoulder top?

I sure did! In the photo below, nothing is cut or sewn yet , I just pulled the neck down and it already looked good. So I thought "Easy, this will be done in 15 minutes!" ....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

1950's Hand-Sewn Leather Gloves

As you might already know, I have been away from my home and my sewing machine for a great part in the past two months. While I used some of my spare time improving my drawing skills, I also made sure I always had a little hand-sewing project along. This was one of those:

I know, I know: We are all ready for summer, but when I started them, it was still chilly. And it seemed like too much fun to pass up...
I found the pattern in one of my 1950's magazines:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My "Pillow Cape"!

Nope, it is not a misprint, I really mean Pillow CaPe. Because well, it used to be a Pillow Case, and it is now a Cape. *Grin*

 This is my contribution to the refashion co-op, a bit late, I apologize. Not only have things been crazy in my "real life", I have also been away from the sewing machine AND from any decent internet connection. So the few things I DID make, I haven't posted about. Sometime later this month everything should calm down.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Embroidered Cuffs!

Welcome to a new category on my blog: The no-sewing-machine projects!
I am away from home for a few weeks and don't have a sewing machine at hands. While I try to improve my drawing skills, I still can't quite survive completely without some kind of fabric or yarn between my fingers... :-)
So I made this cuff:

The base is a kind of wire mesh I got at the DIY store, I don't know what it is really called in English, nor what it is originally meant for...  You will need metal shears to cut it in shape:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The "Vintage-Inspired, Modern Style" Design Challenge!

Well well, wasn't this contest right up my alley!?

BurdaStyle has organized a contest, see rules and information HERE. We were to take an existing pattern and make our own variation from it. There were plenty of different patterns to choose from, amongst them four vintage patterns free of charge! The one that jumped right at me upon very first glance was the "Slip-On Jumper Dress".

Click HERE to get to all the patterns, though I don't know if they stay available after the deadline on March 12th 2012.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fab Coat Now Wearable!

Here it is, my February contribution to the Refashion co-op!

I would say there are two categories of refashion projects:
  1. The ones you make out of items that are just not fashionable anymore the way they are.
  2. The ones you make with garments that don't fit anymore (or that need mending...).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Tutorial Snap Button Closure

Here it is, the last post about the making of my 1938 dress, and what you see in the picture below is the side with the button closure:

Nice, right? Actually so much better than a zipper!

Normally, I would have opted for a zipper, for whatever reason. I guess I would have found it too much of a hassle to sew snap buttons and I am more familiar with sewing zippers. However, my decision to look up this technique also had to do with my mission of using up my stash/notions/whatever-clusters (I have TONS of snap buttons, but NEVER the right zipper at hand), as well as kneeling myself deeper into the real reason why I sew vintage - to LEARN stuff...

Friday, February 24, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Making the skirt

On we go, today, we are making and adding the skirt!

This is not a real tutorial post, but I wanted to show you how this pattern works. I find it quite interesting, as there is a bunch of gathering right in the center front of the skirt, which adds nice width, while keeping the silhouette narrow from front and back. I actually sewed a vintage pattern with this kind of skirt before, but I altered it back then, because I couldn't imagine that this bunching up right between my legs would work out... :-) This time, I went for it, and I like the result!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Finished! Vote and Win!

If you are here to vote and win, just scroll down to the second half of the post! :-))

So this is the finished dress from my 1938 magazine:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Broken Zipper Solution: From "Oh-No!" To "Oh-Yes!"

Broken Zippers are the worst. Even more so if they break on a piece of clothing you love, and double that if you made it yourself and just finished it... It so happened on my beloved Panda-Hug-Cape posted HERE
With the facing and bias-tape binding it would have been such a pain to take the zipper out and put a new one in, so I was in need of a clever plan B. It came to me, and it's one of those super easy solutions that one fails to see sometimes. At least I think so. I simply attached the new one to the old one, adding a bit of zipper coolness...:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Slashing that Stash: Bathroom Rug Tutorial!

Ta-Daaaa, here is a great project to get rid of a bunch of fabric in your stash:

It's a rug made from fabric braids, I made mine for the bathroom. It's really quite simple to make, and what I love about it is that you can incorporate fabrics in your stash that you wouldn't know what else to do with anymore otherwise. You know, the sales-bin fabric that upon closer inspection is a really nasty synthetic fiber, not suitable for a garment. Or the one that looks different in daylight, or the left-overs from a garment, for which you bought twice the amount than you actually needed. You get my point.

The only thing you should think about is that you can wash it in the end - so no fabrics that bleed heavily or that aren't washable. Make sure you pre-wash all the fabrics, too.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How-To: Make the Bodice for the suit-refashion Overall

Welcome to my second How-To post for how I turned my Husbands old suit into the overall below!

And what perfect timing for the "Sew Grateful" series, happening over at My Happy Sewing Place, which truly is right up my alley :-)
Not only am I sew grateful that my husband gave me the suit (he has learned to give me just about everything that remotely resembles fabric before throwing it away), I have also used thread, needles and a rotary cutter that my mom has given me, and I am also ever sew grateful for the on-line sewing community, which really has kicked off my sewing hobby to a new level. I have learned so much from the many sewing-bloggers out there, thank you ever so much. I can only hope that the one or other project/tutorial on my blog will inspire others, too!

In the first How-To post HERE I showed you how to fit the pants, today we will fit the jacket to make the bodice. Of course, depending on the suit you are starting out with, and also depending on your shape, things might be a bit different. However, I think these steps should get you there in most cases, if the initial fit of the suit matches the description in my first post (basically, it just really has to be too big)...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Slashing that Stash...: Envelope Cushions How-To

Welcome to my new Guest-Bed/Sofa:

Well, the actual guest-bed isn't new, but I finally got around to making pillow-covers for it. I decided I needed to do some drastic diminishing of my fabric stash, and that is the first of a few projects that I came up with for that purpose.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How-To: Turn Men's suit pants into Women's slacks

The jumpsuit-how-to post 1 is all about how I fitted the pants. You can use this tutorial by itself just to fit pants, or you continue on to the jacket post to make the whole overall (Link is at the bottom of this post)...

So I started out with a dull grey suit... You want to make sure that the collar still looks good enough for you to want to wear, as well as the sleeve cuffs... Generally, the whole suit still needs to be in pretty good condition.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Here it is, my January contribution to the Refashion Co-op!
I'm sure you have at some point been in your boyfriend/husband/brother's closet? Wearing "his" clothes can be so great - but it gets better! Get him to hand it down to you and you can "tune" it to your needs...

This is what I made from my husbands old, gray suit:

 The Before:

I wrote a full how-to for this project in two posts:
the first one is all about the pants HERE
and the second is about fitting the bodice HERE

This post is just about show-and-tell...;-))

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Tutorial basting and setting in Sleeves

Here we go, today I'll show you how I first basted in, then set in the sleeves I so nicely prepared yesterday. I'll also explain the whole point of basting sleeves a bit later in the post:

Again, I am using the book from 1935 as a reference. It is a fairly small book, but there is so much information in it!

 This illustration is our reference for the basting:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Tutorial Preparing Sleeves

 Today: Applying the stripes and preparing the sleeves!

It's funny, even though I am going at an extremely slow pace, reading up every stitch I make in my vintage sewing book and stopping to take pictures after each move, I feel like I am moving along nicely!
Gone are the days where I thought I could finish a dress in one evening, here are the slow-paced precision days! :-)

I'll first show you how I applied the velvet stripes, but you can just scroll down to get to the sleeves if that's what you stopped by for...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Diva Coat! Making-of #3

Welcome to Part 4 of my Diva-Coat Post Series, the finale!
This is about the coat I made for the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, my name there, by the way, is ajtak7171.

THIS FIRST POST gives you an overview, initial sketches and an outline of how many days it took me and what I did on each day.

THIS SECOND POST gives you the detailed description of the changes I made from the original pattern, and details of days 1-4, with close-up photos of the sewing process and whatever bits of insight I can give.

THIS THIRD POST continues with the sewing of the coat from days 5-8, everything up to the lining, again including lots of pictures of course.


Half days = 2-4 hrs. of work
3/4 days = up to 6 hrs.
whole days = 8 - 10 hrs.

I always started the day with cutting out the pattern pieces that I would need for the next step. Which meant about an hour of cutting in the beginning of each day...

(click to read on!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Tutorial Built-up Neckline

Dear Readers: Happy 2012!

I want to apologize for my long absence, but really, it was for the better. And I don't only mean for the better of myself, but for you, too ;-)
The blogging got quite stressful, because I couldn't keep up with my own ideas and instead of enjoying my hobby, it became pressure. So I stepped back, thought about where I wanted to go with this blog - and came back.
Well, I will bring you even more information. I will not merely "show and tell" what I've sewn, but I will provide you with more details - things I am learning along the way, techniques I am picking up, patterns I'm creating. Maybe less posts in total, but the posts will be filled with information that hopefully inspire you and give you useful information.
I promise to try and make better pictures (it's difficult with the low-light winter season...), answer questions (as always!) and only write when I feel like it. I can't promise that my fingernails will always be perfectly manicured, but hey, my priorities lie elsewhere ;-)

The beginning of my 2012 blogging is this 1938 dress I have had on my list FOREVER. I was just going to sew it up and show you, but what's the point? As you might know, vintage instructions are usually minimal and say little more than: put it together. In this instance for example, it says to leave the left side open within the marks and prepare it for snap-button closure. But how exactly is a snap-button closure done? Well, here enters my 1935 sewing book!

It has a lovely signature from the previous owner that says 1958, but the copyright of the book is 1935, so a match made in heaven. And while I first only planned to give you the snap button tutorial, I decided we'll go top to bottom.

So let's get to it!
This dress features a gorgeous built-up neckline which is achieved with a slit and facing.