Side Stitches: ReFashionista No-Sew Skirt

On Friday while I was whittling away my time before the end of the work day, I was directed to a blog called ReFashionista. Within a few posts, I was hooked! I couldn’t stop reading along with the adventures of this young, creative woman and her journey to recreate fashion one piece at a time.

Her bravery to chop and take-in clothing to not only improve but to fit her own personal style was really addicting to read about. So addicting I decided to take it a step further and try my hand at refashioning some of my own clothing.

This dress has a past. I bought it at a Gap outlet some years ago. I loved the layering and the gradient change in color from a light pinkish off-white to a deep magenta.

What I didn’t pay attention to was the straps. The damn things were twisted and torn. So I decided I couldn’t let a good piece go unused and attached some elastic straps to make due. Sadly, the tank-top had very little to attach new straps to (as this picture so badly demonstrates). It made the dress look like I had done a half-assed attempt to poorly fix something.

Bad straps, bad!

But wore it I did. Loved the flow of this dress and the fact that it was casual enough for a day by the pool but dressy enough that with a sweater and jewelry, I could wear it out to dinner on a date night.

Pre-cut dress

But after awhile I just hated those straps and my bad attempt at fixing them. So away went the dress.

That was until I read the ReFashionista blog and realized this dress had potential as a skirt! A nice longish flowy one! And I’m all about simple pieces I can slip into and top with a solid shirt or tank-top.

Snip, snip.

I had a little time in between my race Saturday morning and a playdate for my son to make some quick changes to this dress so that I could wear it out and about. With my sewing shears, I snipped away the top right at the elastic that made up the empire waist line.

All done cutting!

I left a smidge of material right along the elastic so that nothing would fray. I literally had minutes to do this so I consider this project only half way done. My intention is to come back and adjust the size and add a proper elastic waistband.

And voila! A skirt was born! Not too shabby for a simple snip! No more horrid straps and now I can wear it around with whatever color top I choose. Again, it’s not complete, I wanna go back and adjust the size. It’s a bit baggy on me and I don’t plan to get bigger so I bet the size will become an issue the more I run.

And with the addition of a proper waistband, I’ll lose a little length which doesn’t bother me. I kinda like the length on this one.

My first attempt at taking something I already own and repurposing it into something new to wear was successful. And by successful I mean that not only could I wear it out and about comfortably but I got compliments on it left and right. And I couldn’t help but blurt out that it was once a dress! Ha! Take that!


Side Stitches: Done In A Day

This post should be called “The Seam Ripper: My Best Friend”. I’ve never used a seam ripper as much in one project as I did today. At least we are close buddies now.

I was asked for my artistic opinion from someone the other day. When they asked, it was for a simple project, just to get some idea how to display something. Well, I highly doubt they knew what they were getting into when they asked me, Mrs. I’m-Addicted-To-Quilting.

What started out as a simple project worked itself into two quilt square.

But, they were simple and easy to assemble. I cut one day and quilted the next. Then BOOM! I was done.

Simple and elegant.

The center square is a simple cream with gold flecks, just right to match the other fabrics with the golden stars and spots.

As you can tell, there is a theme which ties into the secret second half of the project. A secret I can’t divulge just yet.

Today I’ll hand these over to the secret patron who asked for my simple opinion.

I hope they don’t mind that I took some liberties and kinda went a different direction.

Urg, I can see some puckering of the center square. I’m wondering if my tension is not right and causing it to do that.

Per usual, I have my complaints. My cutting was off (only I could really tell) and my sewing required more than one seam to be ripped and restitched. Because it’s a gift and not being used as a quilt but to be displayed, I really wanted/needed the seams to align as best as possible so I could just leave it as I have for past quilts.

I Have To Do WHAT!??!

Life is not perfect. Nothing is seamless, spotless or perfectly pressed.

And as with life, quilting is also not perfect.

Or so I’m learning.

I am a beginner. I’ve never taken a class and all my skills are hard learned at home, on my own. It ain’t easy but I have a passion for putting together fabrics and making things.

There is nothing like finishing a quilt that lifts my spirit and makes me feel accomplished. Well, maybe making a fabulous dinner party happen where everyone RAVES over how lovely it was and how good the food was. And that I didn’t burn the house down.

But, as much as I love to quilt, it has it’s downside.

I’ll be honest with ya here and just share a few things I *hate* about quilting.

The dreaded rotary cutter

The cutting. Oi…I can’t cut straight worth snot. Things always have a curve or always start out fine and end up a little bit smaller or bigger at the other end. Sigh, it annoys me GREATLY that nothing I cut comes out perfectly. I’m always having to adjust during sewing to to make up for my lack of straight cutting.

My mom taught me how to tears strips with the fabric’s grain so that you don’t have to cut it. That works sometimes but every once in awhile you get a material that doesn’t want to tear properly. Ugh. So you’ll be working on something that has multiple fabrics and just one wants to go wonky on ya.

So that’s my first gripe.

My second issue is binding. Seriously now, why must my binding never come out the same way? I’m either right on with the binding on the back and my front side is crooked or messy OR my front side is looking great and then I turn it over to find a mess.

Stupid binding…

Uh oh....binding

And don’t get my started on hand stitching the binding. I did my son’s bear’s quilt that way and it was ghastly. So I started to machine the binding and it’s still not great but good enough.

Obviously I have LOADS to learn…

These things never seem to go smoothly and are the top reasons why it takes me so long to finish a quilt. I’ll get to the cutting and get frustrated. I’ll put it aside and move onto another project, one I’ve already cut and sweat through or one of the pre-cut sets I love because the cutting is done for me.

And the binding is probably the hardest because there are so many steps to get through and I just get tired of it because I know when I go to attach it, something will go wrong and I’ll put it down to be finished later.

Yes, I know. I can see that I’m practically whining about two essential parts of making a quilt from beginning to end. Totally see what I’m doing there.

But every negative has a positive so for these two dislikes, I have some extremely positive loves. Like picking the material, piecing it together.

Sewing on my good ol’ machine and listening to it whirl. Pressing my seams and then turning it over to see my hard work paying off.

MITERED CORNERS! Probably my dorkiest love of quilting. Seriously, I’d marry a mitered corner if it was possible, I love them so much. Somehow, even with my binding problems, my mitered corners come out freakin’ fan-damn-tastic and I love it.