Q&A Monday: A Life Refashioned?

Wannabe Wednesday: Jilly Pulitzer Vol. 2
Ash's Reader ReFash

Q:  So what’s going on with you?  You’ve been on TV for your blog and it’s gotten pretty big.  How has your life changed since you started ReFashionista.net?

A.  Ah!  The glamorous life of an internet celeb D-lister!  ;)  If you look back at my earliest (and most embarrassing) entries, you’ll be just as surprised as I am at what an incredible following of cool people this little blog has garnered over the past 3 years.  I mean, seriously.  I had a shaved head, a terrible camera, hadn’t written anything in years, and my pics were teensy!

A "before" pic from Year 1
A “before” pic from Year 1

Why did anyone ever read this blog in 2010?  Why?

My first ever refashion!  :)
My first ever refashion! :)

Having a successful blog that I love has truly transformed my life.  It’s given me a sense of purpose that was really lacking in my go to work/come home/go out/do it all over again routine.  Before I started ReFashionista.net, I was in a real funk.  I wasn’t doing anything creative, and was pretty bummed about it.  My job was okay, but I wasn’t excited by it, and I knew it wasn’t going to lead to any future opportunities.  I was bored.  Which means I was boring.  

bored-boring-text-true-Favim.com-414090

Fast forward to now! :)  Refashioning and writing this blog makes me happier than anything else I do!  With each email, comment, and question I really do believe I’m changing the way the world thinks about fashion.  I feel like I’m actually making a difference in people’s lives and helping the environment.  And that feels amazeballs.  I have an energy and joie de vivre that I’d never had before!  :)

So…what has and hasn’t changed?

I get to do what I love…but I still have to do the boring day job.

I make a little more money…but my car still doesn’t have functioning A/C.

I have more energy…but I’m using every bit of it to keep trying to grow this blog and encourage the Ethical Fashion Movement.

I get spotted in public all the time as being “The ReFashionista”…but everyone is surprised at how short I am.

I get lots of awesome compliments…but I also get a ton of criticism.

I’ve been offered several opportunities…and I’ve turned down quite a few that didn’t gel with my blog’s mission. 

So…that’s it in a nutshell.  I’m still the same Jillian from 2010, just more driven and much much happier.  And I have you to thank for that.  :)

Thank you.  Thanks for reading my little blog.  :)

Cheers!

 

 

 

4.9 (98.1%) 42 votes

91 thoughts on “Q&A Monday: A Life Refashioned?

  1. You have changed the way I feel about fashion. I’d like to see if other followers can add how you’ve affected them too but for me it’s been tremendous. I’ve stopped buying new clothes for a year and as a result I could imagine nearly buying new clothes again. It’s saved me shopping time and encouraged me to be creative about specific garments and what I wear overall. I actually view new clothes and that whole concept very differently now. I can see the exploitation and manipulation of marketing and the disconnection of people from how their own needs are provided. If you make or remake your own clothes you can enjoy them in a completely different way. It’s also helped me to be more environmental. I’d like to make my own clothes as we make our own jns and grow our own food. But I didn’t gave enough skill to do that from complete scratch. With your help I’ve found skill instead!

    1. Thank you so much. I like what you said about how when you make or remake your clothes you get to enjoy them in a completely different way. You hit the nail on the head! You grow your own food? I’m impressed! I’m giving a small container garden a go, and my veggies loooook like they might be okay! Fingers crossed!

  2. I look forward to every addition you make. Brightens my day to see what you have come up with :) Keep yourself “un-bored”. lol

  3. LOVE your blog! Really … it’s the best blog out there! I look forward to each new posting – the before photos are amazing in that I’m starting to look at them and think more creatively too! And I truly appreciate the fact that you’re willing to “just do it” without worrying about every little sewing thing. Please keep up the amazing work – you are greatly appreciated! KJ

  4. Tons to be proud of! And anyone who didn’t know you were short has not been paying attention. You are truly inspirational, and I just did my first refashion because of it, linen shorts from wwaaayyy wide legged pants. When I do something more ambitious, I will share. No puffy sleeves! Wait, there’s more! You have Douglas adoring your every move and it sounds like you’ve made decent choices about those 2-legged guys. Keep on snipping & whirring!

  5. Thank you for doing this blog! I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it since I discovered it several short months ago. It makes me want to go find something to refashion.

  6. I found you on pinterest as well, but I have a question…was there a reason your head was shaved or was it just for coolness? It looks fab shaved!! I went Thrift Prowling yesterday and got 2 fab dresses and a pair of jeans. I’m still too chicken to buy anything to refashion, but I’m at least looking at them now…

  7. I am so inspired by your blog and I love that you started it as a creative outlet. Its the same reason I started my blog too. I really understand where you are coming from on the fashion consumption front and I think its amazing how well you do at spreading the word. I also admire that all your refashions aren’t perfect or mainstream and draw criticism, and you’ll still step out of the box again next time anyway.

  8. This was so much fun to read and I am glad you are the same person as back when you started, your hair is just longer :) And I will admit I criticize your refashions sometimes, but that’s because I believe in honesty, and constructive criticism! I also believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion! You know that you are one of my biggest inspirations, right? I will be on the Renegade Seamstress Refashion Runway blog contest this June, I hope you have some time to stop by and check out what I and other refashionistas do :)
    If you are ever in Minneapolis, hit me up!
    Xo,
    Z
    http://beingzhenya.com

    1. Hey Zhenya! I actually LOVE criticism (I’m a theatre critic after all!). It’s important to get feedback and not get to a place where I “believe my own bs”, as an artist friend once said. ;)

      WHOA! That contest sounds super-fun! Can you send me more info so I can mention it here/get everyone to check it out???

      I hope to one day visit the Mini Apple! :)

      Cheers!

  9. As a tailor I fix and tailor all day everyday… I also will deconstruct and make a new item from an old but not in such a fun way..I fashion in the since that the item is fitting or fix or ignore new …you make me want to be less professional… Thanks for having so much fun!

  10. You have me as a fan over in ol’ blighty, sometimes I think ‘mkay about some of the refashions but if we weren’t all different in tastes and vision then what a boring world we would live in!

    I’m going to do plus size refashions on my own blog diaryofafatchick2 over in blogger but at the moment my refashions are all about up cycling for my hobbit hole that I moved to 8 months ago, as and when I will do my own posts however I can’t train bella (my 3 legged rescue cat) to make me a coffee yet so I won’t be able to get her to take pictures somehow haha!

    I look forward to your refashions and do gain inspiration from this fab site, the ideas are percolating! I just say though that over here in the uk we don’t have thrifting places like you guys do, they are called charity shops and can cost rather a lot!!

    I look forward to your next project take care hun x

    Joy

    1. Haha! I’m trying to picture your 3-legged friend snapping pics. :) Most cameras actually have a self-timer (even the cheapie ones), and tripods really aren’t very expensive (the one I use was less than $20). You should give it a try!

      I can’t wait to see your creations! :)

      1. Not on the iPhone 4 hun, I’ve not managed to work out if there is a way to do that!!

        Lol yeah bella has one of her back legs missing so balancing to take the pic would make a interesting picture (both of her and the end result!)

        Oh I wish I coule like some of the other comments on here some are lovely! :)

  11. I honestly think your blog is amazing! I’m not a blog subscriber but when I came across yours (on pinterest) I just had to subscribe. You make these wonderful garments out of ordinary pieces that anyone has in the closet. I support your blog all the way. I’m pretty sure we are all inspired by saving on a budget. Thank you for being awesome, keep up with the Refashionista you are :)

  12. I think you are awesome! I recommend your page to all my friends that are sewers to gain inspiration!! No matter how awesome you are you will always get criticism. I think in fact, the more awesome you are the more criticism you get. Keep it up. I think you are fan-freaking-tastic!

  13. Love your blog and love ya! And I also love what you represent : when you put your heart in your work, you are gonna enjoy every little bits of it!! Keep going strong , we are with you!
    gini – ginietta

  14. This blog has gotten me to really explore thrift store shopping. It’s just an overall fun blog that makes refashioning/buying simple. Love it. :D

  15. I think you are doing an awesome job too. I JUST did my first two refashs yesterday. I was SOOO proud of myself. Both of them turned out great. I wore the top to work to day and got compliments on it. And I can’t wait to wear my “new” skirt. Thanks for the inspiration. They both only took me a total of 1 1/2 hours to do, and that included all the picture taking of the process, of course–and the before and after pics.

  16. Here’s a random idea/challenge……. I have to make an “Early American” Little house on the Prairie” costume for my daughter for a school thing. I immediately thought of you. But strangely you haven’t refashioned any costumes. I know I can refashion something cute…..but you need a costume challenge…please…..Thank You.

  17. Thank you Jillian for your special flair for fashion and creative spirit that you are willing to share with us, your “peeps”….I have only been a fan for a few months but look forward to each new entry on your blog. You are fun and one of my online girlfriends…..what a hoot!
    Love and hugs, Wendy Kinard

  18. Awww! I love this! Your blog is the first ever blog I started reading! I caught up on all three years in about three days! I absolutely love it and actually pinned it as, “this is something I’ll never do but I love to see what she comes up with.” Well… This weekend we had a garage sale and I kept some of my step-daughter’s clothes that didn’t sell and I’m going to try my hand at it! We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for writing!

    Kristin
    http://Www.exploringdomesticity.blogspot.com

    By the way, Gina, Jillian has done costumes for a production, but I didn’t see a Little House on the Prairie costume. :)

  19. I really enjoy your blog because I get to live vicariously through you as a creative person! Cuz in my life I can’t sew, even a button or draw stick people either so from us wish-a- bee’s and wanna bee’s THANK-YOU!

    1. Michelle that’s where I think you’re totally wrong…a machine a needle and thread and something a little big and or ugly.. and Bam you’re half way there..It’s really about becoming like a child again with no inhibitions…try it

  20. Imma just jump on this bandwagon and say that i absolutely adore your blog, I adore your sense of style and creativity, and I have secretly want to be you 6 out of 7 days a week. You’re lovely!! :)

  21. I love your blog! Thank you so much for all the amazing inspiration! I call you a miracle worker. You shock me almost every time with how perfect your refashion is. You and your blog are great!

  22. You truly have made me look at fashion in a new way! I sew a little but don’t have a lot of time and patience for sewing garments “from scratch” but I can totally get down with a refash. I look forward to your posts and also to the day when you can have functioning a/c in your car.

    1. Thanks so much! Haha…my mechanic and I are both immersed in a frantic search for a replacement A/C blower motor. They’re super hard to find for my car, and they don’t make ’em anymore. One day!!!

  23. I look forward to every entry I read. Thank you for doing what you do. It not only makes you happy but also those of us who read it. :)

  24. I subscribe to three blogs, fifty not frumpy, missus smarty pants (for which I pay) and yours. Your sense of humor is wonderful and your “refashes” a hoot. I absolutely love anything “before & after.” Your creativity is off the charts. Kudos! And, thanks for sharing your talent with us!

  25. Way to stay true to yourself and your mission! That takes strength and guts to follow what you really believe in. Cheers to forever growing as an artist and going after what you want!

  26. I luv, luv, luv your blog and hopefully the people I have forwarded it to will subscribe!
    I have to say that with your figure you would look good in most anything. In fact sometimes even the ‘befores’ look good on you. Maybe sometime one of your 5’9″ 150 lb friends good model something you have repurposed just to give us some courage to try some of these things too!!!

  27. Jillian, I discovered your blog by accident when I was searching on the Internet for how to refashion. I’m preparing to take a major step and change my career, which includes running my business more than I’m doing now (CHEAP PLUG ALERT: My business is Two Swans Shoppe – http://www.twoswansshoppe.com). In order to be able to do this without going into a financial disaster, I need to save a lot of money. Refashioning is one of the best ways to save. You and your readers have given me a lot of ideas of what to do with discarded clothes.

    In fact, your blog inspired me to write a blog to journal my experiences with trying to save money for my career change while maintaining the “high life” that I’m used to living (ANOTHER CHEAP PLUG ALERT: My blog is called “The High Life” – http://highlife.mymwalimu.org). The blog is helping me deal with the funk that I’m currently going through with my day job. It helps to keep me focused on my ultimate goal. I’m even more inspired reading about how the blog helped you through your funk with your day job.

    Keep up the great work!

    P.S. – Regarding the criticism – not everyone is going to like everything, but to quote Sharon Needles, “if you’re hearing boos in the audience, it’s just applause from ghosts”.

  28. i love your blog and you inspired me to not get rid of some capris that i had but to alter them and now they are like new ones…. thanks, i really look forward to reading about your new creations. keep up the great work, we all need recognition and to know we are doing something good for others and you have been blessed to find that early in your life.

  29. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I’m not really into fashion and have no sewing abilities whatsoever but I just love watching you transform someone’s unwanted clothing into a new outfit. Keep on keeping on!

  30. I am entralled with your talent, initiative and imagination. I’m 66 years old, and I have been sewing for 57 years! I have a stack of garments waiting to be refashioned, there’s never enough time. I often make a pattern of a garment that is wearing out or just looking tired. The only thing I pay retail for is underwear! I was raised in poverty, I understand it. I am comfortable now, but I still need my thrifting therapy and sewing therapy. Use your talent everyday, I admire your zest for life. WWE

  31. I like your blog and your mission – I like to see your ideas for recycling and remaking clothes so I can try some of my own. keep up the good work,

  32. Your awesome Jillian! I love reading and have read all your posts! I just wish I had found you years ago! (Pinterest) I can only imagine how fun it would of been to find you in my inbox daily! Your daily refashions are a pure delight! I ALSO look forward to your emails!!!!! :)

  33. I love reading your blog, but who said you had to be perfect? Everything that you “admit” to in your posts just makes you a little more human (as very few of your followers know you in person) and a little more relate-able. Thank you for working so hard to make your blog it great!

  34. Firstly, All the way from Scotland, UK.. I thank you for your fabulous blog.. It rocks and gives me inspiration to get creative when no other blog has done before.. (2 dresses down.. I’m actually not too bad!).

    Anyway, Secondly I apologise for sometimes being selfish and feeling cranky that you don’t update it every single day.. I know you have a job, a home, lil’ Douglas and many millions of other things in your life but sometimes I crave your witty banter and down right marvellous refashions like a fat kid in a candy store.

    I love what you do, and I thank you for taking the time to share it with us in your own unique way. You’ve inspired us, motivated and made us laugh with each post so keep up the good work and big fat middle fingers all round to the criticism..! (Although I find it hard to believe that there could actually be any.. What the…!?!)

    Take care,
    Lyns x

  35. I am happy when I see your blog. I love your sense of humor and the wonderful face you make in before pictures. Do what you love and love what you do and everything else will work itself out.

  36. I finally got the courage to try refashioning over a year ago when I read one of your blog posts that said to start by “cutting of everything that annoys you.” Now I’m totally addicted and I love it!

  37. Being short is such a blessing when it comes to refashions! Shirts become dresses much easier than if you’re a giant! I couldn’t think of a single thing to criticise you on…the fact that others can puzzles me!

  38. I know exactly how you feel. Blogging has totally changed my life. I love getting access to books/movies/etc. through it, and I’ve made a little cash, but being able to create and write about something I love–and share that with others–has been the best thing. Good for you. I’m so glad you’re happy!

  39. Your blog is great and I can say for certian it hs inspired me, in fact I just dyed a blanket the hospital sent home with me last week alig with all my other white item I’m going to have no white left in the house :D “Let the rit games round 2 begin” {{ding ding}}

  40. I have been following your blog for about a year and get such inspiration from your work. Unlike other refashion blogs, your pieces are chic and do not look like they have been refashioned (pieced together awkwardly etc). I appreciate your humility and the fact that you share events from your life, such as the arrival of Douglas and the loss of your friend. I also appreciate how you are not selling out and continue to promote a Green way of living. Kudos to you, and keep up the awesome work.

    Lisa:)

  41. I think you are such a gorgeous girl (shaved head too!). I enjoy reading the posts not only for the refashions but also for your great sense of humor!! And your pictures are hysterical. Keep them coming! You’ve got quite the following for a reason.

  42. You are a wonderful, funny, clever, visionary, creative, adorable INSPIRATION. I look forward to each and every blog post. Each one is like a mini-vacation and always makes me smile. Keep up the great work. You are amazeballs!!!!

  43. I love reading your blog-your positive outlook (and the crazy befores) make a great start to the day. I have thrifted for years, but now I look at that fab fabric in an awful garment in a whole new way. Thank you!

  44. I am glad that pinterest has brought me here. I love your blog and check it regularly. Keep up the great work.

  45. Jillian you are AWESOME! In the time that I’ve been reading your blog I’ve started refashioning and trying to talk all of my friends into thrift shopping over buying cheap, been totally inspired by all your fun shenanigans to start a supper club and go to local events more, and now, on the day when i hit a wall on my boring day job and was toeing the water of starting a new, huge, scary, possibility of failing project (a law clinic for veterans), I read this. You are totally right. Its important to do the stuff that lights you up! please don’t stop blogging or being fabulous in general!

  46. Hey girl – of ALL the emails I get from various sources, YOURS is the only one that I will open each and every time! No kidding – even if my mailbox is full from two weeks of vacation, I will NOT delete anything from the Refashionista until I’ve looked at it. So – you’ve broken through the email clutter, that’s a huge accomplishment in my book! As for your comment about people being surprised you are short, that makes me think you HAVE made it because isn’t that what people always say about celebs? Yep – you can now count yourself among the short and talented in the entertainment world! I recently shortened two pillowcases and made a third and was SO proud of myself. You do such amazing things, while this little task took way too long because I kept sewing it inside out! Even though I thought I could sew, it obviously takes a lot more talent and an “eye” that you have, so well done. Keep on refashioning and saving our environment, one fabulous piece at a time! Ali

  47. I love your “little” blog. I don’t refashion, but I am really amazed at what you can do with an ugly / sometimes not so ugly/ dress. You really have some talent there.

  48. Thanks so much for this post! Your blog is amazing! I found your it after reading Overdressed. It’s really inspiring to see how you transform things from ugly or boring into something so cute and fun. It just goes to show that one doesn’t have to rely on cheep, mass produced fashions for a cool wardrobe.

  49. Since I’ve only been following for about a year, it is interesting to see what the blog was like in the past! Great post! Keep up the great work Jillian!

  50. I think it is wonderful that you have this blog and how fulfilling it is in your life. You amaze me every time that I see your next item refashioned. You are a great inspiration. Keep up the good work and enjoy it as you do. :)

  51. I would love to say that I’ve been a refashion queen since reading your blog… however I have NO talent at anything regarding fashion… but you have pushed me to more creative. reusing old jars… cutting up ripped jeans into shorts.. instead of just pitching them… even picked up some knitting. To be honest though… I love how positive you are! Thats what makes me come back week after week reading your blog. Keep up the fantastic work!!! :)

  52. A colleague told me about your blog early this year and i’ve been an avid follower. I look forward to every entry because of your humorous and personable writing style, great photos, and interesting refashions. Shortly after, i was inspired to create my own blog and post photos of sewing projects i’d done over the past three years. It takes great skill to manage and maintain a blog and i’m super impressed by yours. I haven’t gathered the courage to post photos with my own face or too much detail about my life so i’m amazed that you’ve let perfect strangers into your life through this medium. I’m thankful for it though. I feel like i “know” you even though we’ve never met. I hope your mechanic finds you an A/C soon!

  53. When I saw you on GMA(I think? or was it GAA?) i wasn’t surprised at your height, mostly because I knew Laura was fucking tall.
    I was surprised that your voice sounded nothing like what I expected ._.

  54. There have already been many great comments pointing out what people like about your blog and why your “little blog” gathered such a following and I agree with every one of them.

    One thing that I think has not been mentioned is the fact that you don’t use conventional methods, you don’t worry about placement of this or that dart or about patterns, and you don’t use a serger to finish seams, so your work is more accessible to a beginner or someone with average sewing skills and an average machine. I know just enough about sewing to be intimidated by what I think “should” be done, but your approach helps to take away the intimidation factor and lets me enjoy myself.

    Thank you for continuing to share your refashions with us – through thick and thin, with a great sense of humour and always a welcome, warm blogging voice.

  55. I’ve followed you on and off, over the years. You were the first such thing that ever I ever discovered back then as to the concept for refashion, upfashion. You never left my mind. It’s been years since and you still inspire me. And guess what? Thanks to this very same spirit I finally got the courage to go get myself a sewing machine two weekends ago. So thank you. Thank you for bravely, warmly, joyfully showing and sharing your journey with all of us, showing the crazy possibilities. :) And hey welcome back!

  56. I second all of that! I do enjoy making clothes, but I just don’t know how you see what you see in those frumpy garments that end up looking amazing!
    Any advice on how to envision old clothes’ potential ?

  57. I’ve always been at conflict with buying new clothes, which hasn’t gotten any better with recent events at sweatshops worldwide. I’ve never been too creative, but your blog has really helped me make quick decisions at thrift stores for clothes that are too big or outdated. Thanks for giving this wanna-be humanitarian some traction to take a stand!

  58. Just wanted to let you know that your blog has also been really inspiring to me and is helping me to give up my unhealthy relationship with shopping. Instead of shopping so much, I’m spending more time and thought in reshaping what I already own. Much healthier for me and for the environment! Thanks for setting such a good example!

  59. I’m a newbie to your blog & i’m absolutely loving it!!..I so wish I could do what you do, I’m a real charity shop & carboot sale rummager.. I love a bargain but I just haven’t got the guts to refashion anything…

  60. I love your creativity, your fefashions, and I love hearing what you have to say about the industry of fashion. You have also made the word “amazeballs” part of my everyday vocabulary. Thanks!

  61. Hi Jillian, just stopping by to leave you some KUDOS. I can’t think of many other people who have done so much to publicise the refashion movement online. I find it difficult to believe that anyone could criticise someone with such an honest, worthy mission and such a glorious, self-deprecating sense of humour. Keep doing what you do! –Sally

    1. Thank you so much! I actually REALLY DO value criticism. I never want to reach a place where I just “believe my own bs” (an artist friend said that once).

      As I’m a HUGE admirer of your work, I really appreciate this compliment. :)

  62. I’ve been following your blog and refashions for a little over a month now. I recently have started making a few fashion pieces of my own. Still very much an amateur. But improving! Anyway, after reading this particular post I felt a need to reach and say how inspired I was. Especially the bit about the boring job routine, my little creations give me something to look forward to as well. So thank you for being so brave and please keep up the fantastic refashions!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It’s amazing how if -even after a terrible boring day- I can just make myself sew something, I feel instantly better! :) I’m glad you feel the same way. And keep at it, the more you sew (or do anything), the better you’ll get! :)

  63. I really, really love your blog. You inspire me to get creative and try to learn new things about sewing and to just jump in, fearlessly. But one the main reasons is that you’re a “real person”–you make silly faces, you have a real day job, you try out new things and admit when you need to make “adjustments”–I relate to you more than I do most other bloggers! I also LOVE the concept of not having to purchase new clothes, but make awesome things with “discarded” stuff–I’m a bleeding-heart social worker and I do what I love- but I don’t make a lot of money doing it. Your blog gives me ideas for how to look fashion forward on a real budget. Besides, I Love the whirrrrring, chopping action!! Keep on, keepin’ on!!!

  64. I didn’t came here in quite a long time but I’m thrilled that I did! Your creativity is really an inspiration and the concept of refashioning is great for changing our way of consuming. Better consuming is one of my 30th birthday’s goal (that and sewing more of course). Keep up the good job and thank you so much for sharing your joie de vivre!! (I’m french and it makes me smile to see this expression in an english spoken conversation :)

  65. Still in the process of reading your blog from day one. Hooked from your first post. Wish you lived next door to me! And that you had a one-hour TV show – I would watch it obsessively! Hope you read these new responses to old posts so that you know you are still attracting new followers. You are a girl after my own heart, though nearly 30 years younger than I. I have a huge wardrobe due to my OC bargain shopping, and have always altered and tweaked my own items. Since starting your blog 2 weeks ago, I have redirected my OC disorder to refashioning. 3 loved but ill-fitting tops are now 3 winners, and a pretty but unflattering never-worn dress is now a tunic and an infinity scarf, and the unnecessary lining is now a perfect neutral camisole for my sheer blouses.

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