Japanese Butterfly Garden Top

Today’s top reminded me of one of my wardrobe staples from when I was in high school.

I wasn’t always fashionable you see…

I used to love love LOVE funky polyester butterfly-collar shirts.  Like crazy.  I had a closet full of ’em and I wore one pretty much every single flippin’ day.  I would throw one over a tank top, don a pair of Jncos (anybody else remember those???), spike my hair, and head out the door.  Oh yeah.  I was stylin’, y’all.  ;)

Anywho…high school was I won’t even tell you how many years ago, and my personal style has changed quite a bit.  :)  But when I saw this top, I grew wistful and nostalgic.  I loved its funky print that made me think of Japan, and I really missed owning something with a butterfly collar.  :(  I’ve held on to this thing forever…not really knowing what to do with it.

Until now!  :)

First things first.  I needed to get my new top nicely fitted before I did anything else!



After I took in my sides, I cropped off the extra fabric as well as the sleeves.  Then I did a bit more cutting.  It’s just too insanely hot here to have any sort of sleeves at all!

Going sleeveless!

After cutting my new arm holes, I made several teeny triangle-shaped notches.  These will make it easy to fold them over for their new hems!  :)

Notch it! :)

Then I folded the notched edges under twice, and stitched them down!

Almost done! :)

Now I have a fun new top for an evening of celebration!   :)

Wait a tic…Why am I so very happy? :)

I mean…didn’t I just lose my job?


Perhaps I’m just in a state of denial?

I have some AWESOME news to share with you, dear reader!  Governor Haley’s vetoes that would have cut all state funding for the SC Arts Commission have been OVERRIDDEN!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)  I am so incredibly happy to see what strong bipartisan support the Arts and the Arts Commission have in this state!  :)

You can’t spell “bipartisan” without “art”! :)

This of course means I have my job back!  :)  Hooray for not having to be a hobo or start my own snuggling business for $60 an hour like this enterprising young lady.  :)

Seriously…this was the uniform reaction last time I tried to start a for-profit snuggling ring. :/

A big Thank You to everyone for their words of encouragement/advocacy/awesomeness during the last couple of weeks.  You’re all amazing.  :)




Rally for the Arts!

As I enter Week 3 of not working (1st week was vacation, but it still counts!), I’m starting to get a bit down.  :/ I find myself staying up/sleeping in ridiculously late, and I feel draggy and lethargic all the time.  Right now, I’m in a weird limbo state where I don’t know if I have a job or not.  All will be decided when the SC Legislators get back into session.

I decided to attempt to cure my drab & dreary mood by fixing a drab & dreary dress!  :)

It’s a drab day in South Carolina!

This dress is frumpy and dated as can be, but there were a couple of things to like about it. First off, the light linen-y fabric was comfy as could be — perfect for a hot and humid day!  The top of the dress had this lovely detail as well:

Purty! :)

…but then I was reminded of this:

Does anyone else remember the Kathie Lee Sweatshop scandal of ’96?  Not cool, Kathie.  Not cool.  :(

The first thing I needed to take care of was that blah beige!

Say hello to my little friends!

I mixed some Scarlet dye with a bit ‘o Navy.  Usually when I use Scarlet, I end up with a Coral hue.  Adding some blue will surely prevent this, no?  :)

Mixology at work!

After my dress was dyed & dried, I needed to shape it up a bit!  I took it in from the sides 3″.

Getting it in shape! :)

A quick stitch session followed.


I cut off the extra fabric from the sides, and used one of the scraps to make (what else?) a sash!

Stitch it down, then turn it inside-out and close up the raw end! :)

I’m not done yet!  :)  I liked the length of this dress, but if it was going to stay, I’d need to get my all-natural air-conditioning elsewhere!


I folded that top raw edge under twice, and stitched it down…

Making a casing! :)

This made a casing for me to put a nicely-fitted piece of elastic into!

In ya go!

After a good press, my new dress was ready for a Rally to Save the Arts in South Carolina! :)  That’s right, people from all over South Carolina  organized at the statehouse to show their support of the of the SC Arts Commission and the SC arts movement!

Ready to Rally! :)

When I first showed up, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Would people really brave the rain to support the arts?

Um…yes! :)

I have to admit, I was genuinely touched by all the support!  Some of my best buds came out to show the arts some love, too!  :)

They just don’t want me to be stuck sofa surfing with them…;)

Lots of Love for The Arts in SC!!! :)

Rain? What rain? :)

I ran into some awesome local artists as well!

It’s Nick Dunn and Natalie Brown! :)

It’s Michael Krajewski (in his own refashed shirt!) :)

Feeling like a Greek Goddess! :)

This rally did my heavy heart a great deal of good.  :)  I hope to have some good news for you guys in the next couple of days as to the future of The SC Arts Commission, and of course, my place in it.  :)

Jasper Fancies Me!

Anyone who lives in South Carolina is well-acquainted with a bitter rivalry between these guys:

Why can’t we be friends?

The Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers pretty much hate each other.  I, personally, care nothing for sports or rivalries — But I knew I might be putting my life in danger if I stepped out of the house wearing this in Carolina Country!  :/

Orange you glad I value my personal safety? :)

I learned my lesson back in 2000, when I showed up for Freshman Orientation at USC.  I had done absolutely NO research when choosing a college.  My family moved to Greenville, so I decided to a school that was close but not too close to them.  I had no clue about the whole Carolina/Clemson hatefest, hence why I showed up wearing a bright orange thrifted little league tee with “Tigers” written across the front.

I didn’t make many friends that day.  :(

Okay…back to the dress at hand!  It’s too big, and WAY too orange!

Luckily, I know how to take care of both of these issues!

First, I tossed my dress into a dye bath with a completely different color!

Navy! Ahoy!

I was guessing that the blue and orange when mixed would make purple….

Will everything go as planned? :)

Check it out!  the outside was transformed into a lovely purple hue, leaving only the lining in its original orange state.  I think it looks pretty nifty!

Nobody else will even see the orange! ;)

They dyeing/drying process made the skirt of my new dress shrink up a little, revealing that orange lining.  Not a big deal!  I just snipped the lining a bit, and gave it a new hem!


Alright, so the skirt is fixed, the color is fabu, but the top is still too big!  As this dress has boning that I really don’t want to get rid of in the sides, I folded the sides over, pinned them, then stitched them down right-side-out.


My sewing machine couldn’t get all the way to the edge of the boning, so I hand-stitched it down (otherwise, I’d look like I was sprouting fins!).  :)

Stitchy Stitchy! :)

After a quick press, my pretty purple frock was ready to go!

I seriously could not walk in those shoes! :/

I headed off to Conundrum Music Hall for the release party of the latest issue of Jasper Magazine!  :)

Year 1, Issue #6!

…and will ya take a gander at this????

That’s right! :)

I’m in their “Jasper Fancies” column!!!!  :)

That’s me! :)

Thanks so much to Jasper for putting me in your sweet mag!  :)

So happy to be fancied! :)

Party People! :)

We fancy Jasper! :)

Cheers!  :)

The Final Explosion Dress

This was a bittersweet night, folks.  Tonight marked the end of Mr. B’s Goodtime Karaoke Explosion.  :(  Yes…there are other Karaokes out there, but as any Karaoke enthusiast knows, all Karaokes are not created equal.  Followers of this blog have seen all sorts of wacky Wednesday night photos, such as this:

Yes.  This is a thing that happened.

You can see more of such awesomeness here.  :)

Sad though I was, I knew I needed to overcome my unemployment blues and make it out to support Mr. B and the best Karaoke Night in Columbia.  I chose to wear this sexy numba:

No…the word “sexy” has not been redefined recently!

You’re looking at a simple button-down skirt in a lovely floral print.  I left the top button buttoned, and unbuttoned the three buttons below it.  After sticking my arm through the hole and tossing on a belt, I have a lovely little frock!  No sewing required!  :)

Easy as can be!

Button-down skirts make perfect sundresses!

I had a blast in my new dress with my wonderful Karaoke pals.  :)

Even Santa showed up!

Hi there, Mr. Scary! :)

What the What?!?!!!

So many fun people I’ve met through Karaoke Night!

Floral Patterns Unite! :)


A Shirr Bet Pillowcase Dress / Save the Arts in SC!

Hello friends!  Did you miss me?  :)  Well, push that separation anxiety aside!  I’m back!  Now…I’m not going to be blogging a new refashion EVERY DAY or anything (because only a crazy person would do such a thing), but rest assured…I still have many fun tricks up my refashioned sleeve to share with you!  :)

Where to begin?  I had a delightful week off!  :)  Lots of time to reflect and decompress!  I had a fun viewing party for my Rachael Ray appearance on Thursday night,  and slept in for most of Friday.   I was feeling pretty flippin’ awesome.  My big year-long project was done and I was just on a nationally syndicated TV show!  Life was looking pretty frackin sweet!  I was ready to get back to my day job, though! :)

That was until Friday afternoon, when I was awakened by a phone call from a coworker.  Our  governor, Nikki Haley, decided to veto the budget for the SC Arts Commission, thus laying off the entire staff and all operations EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

This means I have no job.

The hell?!??!???!!!

I take one week off and the agency where I’ve worked for 6 years ceases to exist?????  Honestly, I may never go on vacation again!  :/

This goes beyond me just being terrified of being out of work.  The South Carolina Arts Commission is important.  It brings the arts to people all over South Carolina, especially the poorer/underserved areas that wouldn’t have access otherwise.

It’s a grim day in South Carolina. :(

During the Second World War, Winston Churchill’s finance minister said Britain should cut arts funding to support the war effort. Churchill’s response: “Then what are we fighting for?”  Think about that.  Then, read this Open Letter to Nikki Haley if you feel like it.  Then, contact your legislators if you’re a SC resident who doesn’t want to lose the arts in your communities and schools.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, folks.  Her veto can be overridden.  SC legislators have decided to go into emergency session on July 17th to discuss this and other vetoes.  So…I may only be unemployed for a couple of weeks, and the SC Arts Commission’s good work may be able to continue.  Let’s hope.

So, what’s a girl to do?

I’m suddenly unemployed.

I could freak out, or I could frock out!   :)

I started with this pillowcase I scored from the $1 a pound Goodwill.

I dunno…maybe I should save it for carrying all my  belongings when I become a hobo…:/

I turned it inside-out and snipped out the side and top seams.


I folded the top seam over twice, pressed it, then stitched a new seam!

Making a new seam!

Now it’s time to try something new:  Shirring!!!!  :)  You’ve seen this before folks, in all of those dresses and shirts with the elastic-y gathered tops.  Did you know that you can do this yourself?  Did you know it’s pretty darn easy?  Did you know that if you can sew a straight stitch, you can shirr like a champ?

First, you’ll need some elastic thread.  I found a spool in a shoe box of vintage notions a friend gave me a few months ago.  You can find it any craft store.

FYI…It’ll probably cost more than 30 cents. ;)

Most people will tell you to hand-wind your bobbin with the elastic thread.  BUT…this might not work for your particular machine (It didn’t work for mine).  Go ahead and Google your machine make and model and the word “shirring” before you get started to see if there are any unique issues with your machine.  It could save you a few hours of cursing.  :)  Trust me.

Load the top thread with just your normal everyday thread, and the lower thread (bobbin) with the elastic thread.  Jack up both the upper and lower tensions to their highest settings and your stitch length to its longest setting.  Now you’re ready to shirr!

Just sew row upon row of straight stitches 1/4″-1/2″ apart from each other.

It’s a “Shirr” thing! :)

It may not look super-gathered right away, but after you sew a few rows, you should be able to see it.

Once you’re done with the number of rows you want, adjust the seam you left open to make your new dress as fitted as you please.

Now…a pillowcase isn’t very big, so unless you’re pretty scrawny, this won’t work as a dress for you.  Don’t fret!  Just turn your pillowcase the other way (lengthwise), make a new top and bottom seam, and you’ll have a top instead!  No biggie!  :)


Stitch that seam!

I decided to add a halter top to my new dress.  Whenever I’m at the $1 a pound Goodwill, I always find loads of sashes that have gotten separated from their original garments, and I scoop up as many as I can!  These work really well for straps and halter tops!

I took one such sash, and stitched it to the front of my new dress.


And just like that, I have a cute new sundress that cost me less than a buck!  :)

Unemployed, but still stylish! :)

Trying to drown my sorrows, but they sure can swim! ;)

As I really don’t have much to do this week, keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of subtle changes to this site that will make it easier to navigate/less clunky.  :)  I’m not much of a webmaster (or would that be webmistress?), so don’t be terrified if things look weird for a day or two!  :)

Don’t.  Panic.  :)