The Cat’s Meow Dress

Woo hoo!  Guess what?  Today’s refash has not one, but TWO starter pieces!

Meet Piece #1:

Like my little tree in the background?

Like my little tree in the background?

Aaaaand, Piece #2:


Me-Ow! :)

You’ll notice I’m not wearing Piece #2.  Let’s look a little closer at it to see why.

Eeeewwwwww!  :(

Eeeewwwwww! :(

That shirt is stained mess of pure grossness!  There was absolutely NO WAY I was slipping into it for a “before” pic.  I hope you understand.

Both of these pieces were $1 apiece.  Even though the shirt was pretty much junk at this point, I just had to have that awesome cat pocket!  :)

Eager to have that nasty thing out of my life, I quickly separated the shirt from the coolest pocket ever.



I showed it to Spock, who seems to like his new pal!  :)



High Five!  :)

Kitty High Five! :)

Now for that dress.  I quickly snipped out these guys:

Your services are no longer needed.

Your services are no longer needed.

Then, did a little chopping…



…and a little more chopping…



A few of you have asked me how I cut my hems evenly.  Hopefully the above pic is helpful. While cutting, I fold over the cut-off part and use it as a guide.  No extra measuring needed!  :)

I hemmed the bottom raw edge.

The Seam Gauge is your friend!

The Seam Gauge is your friend!



Then, I sewed those two side-tie thingies together to make a sash.



I’m not done yet!  This dress is looking much cuter now, but it still needs a little pizzazz!

Pin that pocket!

Pin that pocket!

Don't worry, Mr. Kitty!  This'll only hurt for a sec!

Don’t worry, Mr. Kitty! This’ll only hurt for a sec!

I rocked my cute & catastic new frock for a fun afternoon of wine tasting at Cellar on Greene!

Pinot Noir is my GoGo Juice!  :)

Pinot Noir is my GoGo Juice! :)

Sans Sweater!

Sans Sweater!

I styled my new dress with this fabulous thrift score I stumbled upon a few weeks ago for only $3.00:

The Thrift Store Gods are smiling upon me!  :)

The Thrift Store Gods are smiling upon me! :)

Yep…that’s a sweet vintage Coach Willis Bag, which sells for $298 new!  :)  Can you believe it????  I just hope I didn’t use all my thrifting karma for the year on this one purchase!  :)

I soaked up all that wine with some tasty Bee Bim Bob at Blue Cactus Cafe!  :)  All in all, twas a perfect afternoon!  :)

More like Bee Bim NOM!!!! ;)

More like Bee Bim NOM!!!! ;)



A coworker of mine gave me this dress that had been languishing in her closet for years.

An ill-fitting frock!

As you can clearly see, the top of this dress is a bit big on me.  Also, the plaid was a tad dull for my tastes.  I took in the top and added a couple of pockets made of fabric from this refashion.  I think the end result is quite lovely.


You can’t see them in the above pic, but I wore my favorite vintage brogues with my new frock.

Basement Kitteh digs vintage footwear!

My coworker liked this transformation, too!

You know, I just remembered the last time that I wore that plaid dress.  It was Saturday, August 1, 1998 (almost 13 years ago, I guess that makes it kind of vintage).  It’s the dress that I wore on the morning of my wedding day, just before I put on my wedding dress at the church.  (-:  Good memories.  I’m glad you chose to keep and “Jillianize” the dress.  You look really cute in it! ~Email from my Awesome Coworker

I loved the back story of this dress, and am happy to be giving it a new life that will hopefully be just as romantic!  :)


On Safari

When I bought this rather large shirt (a men’s 4X!!) at the dollar-a-pound Goodwill, I had no idea what I would end up doing with it.  I figured it was worth buying  just for the fabric.

Life cereal brings out the kid in me!

This shirt sat in my “before” pile for about a week before I came up with an idea of how to use it.  I decided to turn this huge shirt into a cute khaki shirt dress, like the ones I’ve been seeing/coveting in stores lately.

I seam-ripped the breast pocket off, and put it aside.  I couldn’t keep it where it was, as a seam would end up going through it.  Don’t worry!  It’s coming back later, I promise!

Don't call it a comeback!

Now, I had to begin the taking-in part.  This wasn’t easy.  I put in on inside-out and pinned it at my underarms (where the new sleeves would start), bust, waist, and hips.  It was difficult to see exactly how much I would be taking in, given how huge this thing was.  I kept my estimates conservative.  I knew I could go back and tweak it more later.

I took the shirt off, and marked in chalk where the pins were, using my measuring tape to keep each side even.  Then, I drew a chalk line between the points to give me a better idea of the shape.

Prepping for the big operation!

Then, I pinned each side down, being careful to keep the fabric smooth.


Next, I carefully ran each side under my machine, making sure the fabric didn’t bunch up, which it realllllly wanted to!

Reshaping in progress!

I used my pinking shears to trim off that excess material.

It's starting to shape up!

Now, as you can see in the pic above, it still doesn’t have much shape.  That’s okay.  I planned on having to tweak it a bit more after I got the size down.  As it was still a bit too big up top for me, I put it back on and pinned the arms, bust, and waist a tad more to give it a curvier shape.  I ran it through my machine, and cut off the excess material.  No biggie!

I wasn’t done yet!  I took that sad, neglected pocket, and pinned it near the bottom of my new dress.  I love pockets, and would hate to see this one go!

One hand holder...coming right up!

I used a contrasting maroon thread to sew it on.

Hooray for Pockets!

Now…my new dress was fitting much nicer, and was made even better with its new pocket.  However, I wanted a nice sash to cinch my waist, and give my new safari dress a bit of flair.  Luckily, I had plennnnnnty of leftover material from the sides of the original shirt. 

I cut three strips like so:

Uno! Dos! Tres!

Then, I sewed them to each other, keeping the raw edges tucked in, like so:

Hiding those raw edges!

Now, I had one, long strip of fabric.  I pinned the long ends together, with the raw-edgy side facing out.

making a tube 'o fabric!

I ran this through my machine, making a seam on the long raw edge.

Here comes your sash!

I trimmed off the excess material, turned my tube ‘o fabric inside out, and pressed it, making a smashing new sash!

There was one more issue to deal with.  The bottom of the dress needed to be secured, below the bottom button.  In its previous life as a shirt, this would have been the part that was tucked in to some guys trousers (ewwwwwwww!!!!!!!I literally just thought about this!!!!).  I just can’t have that level of gappage at my upper thighs, so I pinned that part down.

Pinning the bottom of the dress to prevent any unladylike flashing!

After a quick sew, it was good to go!  I pressed my new seams, and was done! 

Ready for Safari!

Oh, and check out my cute lil handkerchief!  I used a scrap from my most recent refashion.  I thought it tied in the contrast stitching and my burgundy brogues quite nicely!

All hankie! No panky!

I patted myself on the back further for creating my own version of a similar dress by Michael Kors that sells for $130.

She's not invited on my safari.