Violet Femme Dress

Hello there!  Sorry for being so long absent.  I’ve been extremely busy coughing up my weight in phlegm for the past month.  :/ I don’t know or understand the cause of my grody lung gunk funk.  But now, it appears that I might actually be getting better!  Huzzah!  :D

Of course, the best thing about feeling better and no longer being stuck in bed is getting back to refashioning!  :)

While digging through my big bin o’ refashionables, I stumbled upon this yellowed white dress that I never managed to get around to revamping over the summer.

I look like one of the sisters in The Virgin Suicides.

As anyone who knows me can attest, I cannot wear white for more than 5 minutes without spilling something on myself.  My day is actually just a long cycle of accidentally sloshing different beverages and sauces upon myself, but luckily my wardrobe consists mostly of dark colors, so ha!  It’s my little secret (which I just foolishly shared with all of you).  This dress isn’t all bad.  I love the pleats, but I don’t like the dropped waist or the length.

I knew I didn’t want to leave this dress white, so I reached for a bottle of blue!

You’ll do!

I set up a dye bath in my machine, and let my dress toss around in it for about 45 minutes.

Hmmmmnnn…looks more purple than navy…

After my dress was dyed & dried, I saw that it actually ended up being more purple than navy.  No big.  All I wanted was to make it not white, and I like the color purple too.

Nononono! As in Purple, The Color. I actually can’t stand this movie. :/

To fix the length, I made a chop!

Spock is giving my choppage the evil eye!

Then, my new dress got a new hem!



…annnd hemming!

I’m not done!  To give that dropped waist a little more definition, I needed to make something…

…a SASH! :)

I turned my fabric tube right-side-out and then sewed up the ends.  After a good press, my new dress is no longer in distress (hot rhyming action!)

Pretty in Purple!

I just rolled up the sleeves to take care of their awkward length.  Now I’m all set for a lovely & warm afternoon!

Why, hello there! ;)

From this angle, my head looks huge! :)


Sorry, Safari!

Wow!  Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for all your support for Revente’s Last Call! Neiman Marcus can’t ignore all the bad publicity they’ve brought upon themselves through their corporate thuggery.   I’ll be sure to keep you posted as soon as I know anything new with this situation.  Fingers crossed!  :)

Now…back to the refashions!

Why did fashion retailers in the early 90’s all seem to think that the best thing to do with a boring awkward-length dress was to stick a safari scene on the bottom of it?

Oh yeah…gimme some of that shapeless boredom!

Let’s get a closer look at nature’s exotic splendor, shall we?

Majestic, isn’t it?

Unfortunately in this particular scene, the sky has turned black and Armageddon is upon these innocent creatures in the form of diamond-shaped red-hot fireballs.  :/

There’s just no way I could make this bottom section work, so off it went!


I decided to make this dress a little more fun by giving it an asymmetrical hemline.

In getting rid of all that wilderness, this piece ended up reallllly (as in dangerously) short!  And I still have to add a hem so it wouldn’t fray!  :/

I grabbed my bottle of Fray Block and applied it to the bottom edge.

Just a dab’ll do ya! :)

Then I folded it over once…juuuuust enough to have hem and sewed it down with a zigzag stitch, since my hem was on the bias (meaning:  It needs to be able to stretch a little).


I wrapped those side sashes around me twice, and now I have a cute dress in Gamecock colors!  :)

Gotta love that Garnet & Black! :)

My new dress was perfect for an afternoon “Stock the Bar” Shower for these awesome people:

Erin, the future bride!

Ken, the future groom!

Everyone had a blast celebrating this awesome couple!  :)

Such a great way to spend an afternoon!

My Gent even stopped by with his son, who I’m giving the alias of Dram (I’ve always thought this was the perfect tacky Soap Opera name).

Arms crossed? Check! Hair in eyes? Check!

Yup.  I’m totally dating a guy with a kid.  For the first time ever.  I’m pretty terrible at the whole thing, as I haven’t a clue how to talk to a teenager (Heck…I didn’t know how to talk to other kids when I was a kid!).  Fortunately, Dram is a great kid who tolerates my awkwardness (“Uh…er…how’s being all young and stuff going for ya?” Seriously…awkward.)

Gotta love David’s “Blue Steel” face! :D

I’ll leave you with this beautiful pic of Erin & Ken’s loot!  :)

Party at Erin & Ken’s!!!! :D



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.  :)

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.  :)


Day 365: Kitschy Dress

Today’s piece is a fun & kitschy handmade house dress.  :)

The fun is there, I promise! :)

Okay…I’m not a fan of the brown & white print (too tablecloth-y!) and this is obviously too big for me.  Let’s see what we can do about all that, shall we?

First, I threw the dress into a dye bath with my good friend, Scarlet.  :)

Frankly my dear, I DO give a damn!

Bath Time! :)

After about 40 minutes in the dye and a rinse & dry, my new dress was ready to be taken in!




I decided some of that length had to go as well!


Now my new dress is ready for a fun supper with friends!


I have to admit, there is no way I could have made it through this year without a lot of help from my friends!  :)


Their support has meant the world to me.  :)

Remember Ava? She’s almost walking on her own now! :)

Gotta have friends! :)

Oh and check this out…my dress didn’t travel alone either!  :)

I heart vintage aprons! :)

Of course…this isn’t the end of my year of refashioning.  I was silly enough to start this challenge on a leap year, you see!  ;)

So…technically this is a 366 day project.

Do you wonder what I have in store?