What Would Julia Do? A T-Shirt Appliqué Dress Refashion 4
Refashions,  Dress Refashions

What Would Julia Do? A T-Shirt Appliqué Dress Refashion

An Off-the-Shoulder No-Sew Dress Refashion!
Sewing with a Serger: My First Impressions

Blogs are weird.  

I remember a conversation I had with a slightly tipsy acquaintance last year.  She told me, “I don’t read your blog anymore.  I’m going through a really sh*tty time right now and I just can’t deal with seeing you being all happy all the frikkin’ time.”  

I thought this comment was kind of rude, but I actually got it.  

Blogs are weird.  You’re only seeing what I care to show you, and yes, I’m pretty happy for pretty much most of the time.  

If you’re feeling lousy, you might not want to see that.  But then, every now and again I’ll have a completely sh*tty day that leaves me feeling quite melancholic.

I hope that acquaintance is reading this right now, as she’ll finally get the schadenfreude fix she was craving.

Even on a day that I pretty much know in advance isn’t going to go well, I can somehow still manage to eek out a refashion.

I started with this dress right here…

A T-Shirt Appliqué Dress Refashion Before
Don’t look so happy there, m’dear. This day doesn’t end well.

…and this holey & well-loved T-shirt right here:

Julia Child T-shirt
Julia Child is kind of my hero.

Swallowing my slow simmering feelings of dread, I pinned the sides to take it in, 1″ at the bust, 1.5″ at the waist, and .5″ at the hips.  

I got these measurements by just pulling the fabric of the dress taught against my body while I was wearing it to see how I wanted it to fit.

Bust, Waist, and Hips
Bust, Waist, and Hips

Then, I filled in the  gaps between those pins with more pins.

pinning side of refashion

I stitched those sides down…

sewing side seam
Don’t fret! I serged it when I was done! 🙂

I gave my new frock a new hem…

Just pin it, then stitch it!
Just pin it, then stitch it!

…then pinned something pretty awesome onto the bottom of the skirt.

Julia child tshirt graphic being pinned on dress
My apologies for the pins in your face, Julia!

I stitched these two pieces down.

appliqueing tshirt graphic on to dress
Carefully whirring around the outline of one of my favorite people!

And that’s it! My T-shirt applique dress refashion was complete!

refashioned dress with t-shirt applique
A funky frock for a lousy day!
What Would Julia Do? A T-Shirt Appliqué Dress Refashion After
WTF, Universe? I thought we were buds.
What would you have done, Julia?
What would you have done, Julia?
julia child applique on dress
She’s not very helpful, I fear.

So, there ya go.  A refashion.  Woooooo.  

Currently feeling rather bummed, disappointed, and uninspired, but I promise to be back to my old obnoxiously happy self soon.  

In the meantime, I’m just happy to have lovely friends with lovely kitchens that are always there to answer a text that simply says, “Mind if I come over for a minute?”

I'm also thankful for Bota Box.
I’m also thankful for Bota Box.

Meh.  Cheers?

Refashionista What Would Julia Do? A T-Shirt Appliqué Dress Refashion Before and After
An Off-the-Shoulder No-Sew Dress Refashion!
Sewing with a Serger: My First Impressions


  • TEMA

    First of all,,, there is nothing wrong with being happy! You are doing something you love, something that contributes to the happiness and knowledge of your viewers and coming away with awesome clothes like this dress as a reward…. Love the dress… love Julia Child! You rock! 🙂

  • Monique

    Just got back from Costa Rica looking for ideas on dress make-overs for some of my longer dresses for our next visit in April. This is my first visit to your AWESOME blog and your ideas are brilliant and creative. I love them all and will be hard at work on 4 dresses. Thank you for sharing your awesome and brilliant ideas with the world. They’re great! <3

  • With Love, Rhianna

    Jillian, you are such an inspiration to me, and from the looks of it, so many others. And like most of them, I also look forward to your blog posts. I’ve seen you share some sad moments but you are mostly a ray of sunshine, regardless of the clouds. I appreciate that. It’s not always an easy world out there for 30-something unmarried ladies. You remind me every day of the ways I can fill my life with friends, family and love. By being proud of what we are capable of accomplishing…even if it’s not always the things we set out for. And that’s just the person side. When we get down to what this blog is about…refashioning…you blow my mind! And you keep me going back to that sewing machine…or holding onto that dress that just one thing is weird with it. My Mom always said you gotta “F*ck it up and make it your own”. You do that soooo well! 🙂 If I lived near you, you could stop over for a few minutes any time!

  • Donna Rosenbery

    Jillian, I love checking in your blog. I found you about a year ago and read your posts from the beginning. You write beautifully, from the heart, encourage new refashionistas, and always entertain, even on a difficult day. That, my friend, is a real gift. I wish I lived nearby so we could share some vino. Take care, Donna in Chi town.

  • Julie C.

    Reading your blog always makes me happier, and I have had a fairly grumpy summer! Thank you. I love this darling dress. Go Julia! I do lots of t shirt upcycles. I often use Steam-a-Seam to attach the fabrics. You iron it on and can then place it where you want, kinda like a Post-It note. Then you can permanently iron again, or sew it on. I usually iron it on but then hand stitch around the edge with embroidery floss. Hope you are feeling perkier by now.

  • Mai Lynn

    Fuck that acquaintance, seriously. Nothing is wrong with being happy and just because someone can’t handle your brand of sunshine doesn’t mean that you haven’t had your hardships. We know the hard times you’ve been through, no need to justify anything to us. Just hope it gets better for you! I send happy thoughts your way~

  • jane

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and really enjoy it. I’m a wannabe sewer (? sewist?)
    I know you’ve probably answered a lot of questions, buuuuuuut……when you so easily take in the sides of something, what happens at the armholes/sleeves? is that part fiddly or does that area just get taken in too? golly, maybe I should just try it and see (maybe on one of my husbands t shirts?)

  • Susan

    Hey, Refashionista – whatever you do, don’t let people tell you who or what you should be. That is one of the downsides of becoming more well-known: more people will have an opinion. I love your blog and your inspiration. You’re doing JUST fine, darlin’.

  • Jenn Scott

    Sorry about your lousy day; your blog has always been a nice, bright spot for me. I’d totally let you come over and vent in my kitchen anytime. I might even let you use my best pair of Ginghers!

  • bjeanthejellybean

    Don’t fret about your fretting friend. This summer was one of the worse (worst?) I’ve ever had. At 63 I’ve spent most of my first summer of retirement at the end of my rope….. I have to honestly say that your blog was one of the very few things I actually looked forward to. Seeing you turn ugly unwanted clothing into cute wearable things helped me realize that even the lowest can be raised up. Thank you! (P.S. Besides all that my adorable 4 year granddaughter is named Jillian! How could I not enjoy your blog?)

  • Maria B.

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air on a bad day, so I don’t mind your happy self. Cool refash..!! I just bought a sewing machine but for modern quilting. Let’s see if a can change the world one quilt at a time 🙂

  • nenamatahari

    But you have shared painful things on this blog. You’ve been through a hell of a lot. Refashioning things is a source of joy you share with all of us. That person who was shitting on your happiness like that was really mean spirited. 🙁

  • Miss Rose

    And you got to keep the pocket. Just an FYI if you serge the hem you only need to turn it once, the 2 steps actually save time! Yay for over locks.

  • Jessica S

    Hi! I recently discovered this blog and am currently going back through the whole thing and I am inspired! I would like to begin to do refashioning for myself (I like new clothes too much to keep paying massive amounts of money on them) but one quick question how do you decide where to take in the clothes? Some times you take it in on the back or front but mostly on the sides how do you make that decision?

    • ReFashionista

      Thanks so much! I usually take it in on the sides, as taking in from the back can make the whole thing a little wonky. I just play with it and see what looks best!

  • Connie

    You took dumpy dress and made it cute and funky. I love your cheery blog even when I am down I enjoy it. It helps bring me up again.

  • Agatha L.

    Really funny!!!! Of course we can’t expect everything to be perfect in an imperfect, yet, wonderful world. Your dress is really funky, and by the way….I LOVE the shoes!

  • KC

    Part of the reason I love this blog is that you share good and bad times. I always like to give a kind word to someone who needs cheering up too. Glad you had a friend to talk to. xo

  • Raizel

    I’m always excited to see a new post from you. Is it you attitude? Humor? Honesty? All of the above?
    Lots of hugs from me, a reader across the ocean… please keep bringing us refashions to admire!

  • Mykella

    Thanks for that! Yes you always do look happy and going to swank events and lots of wine and still skinny. Blogs are funny that way. Chances are as annoying as happy can be at times less people would likely want to read about an angry dress slashing episode or you waking up with bedhead. Who knows. Thanks for reminding us ur human too.

  • Share

    That acquaintance would not like living in Minnesota. The land of MN Nice. (People who are super nice to your face…but then (who knows what goes on behind closed doors or your back!) I think you are fine all the time. On good/happy days and sh#tty days.
    On ward. I always LOVE reading your blog.

  • dee

    Now that’s what I call Clever with a capital C! Perfection with necklace and sandals. How can anyone having a bad day not smile looking at you in the Julia shift. Great inspiration for sewing and cooking!

  • Charmaine

    I hear you on the grumpy day – I finally pulled myself towards myself and dug out a skirt that needed a huge refashion today only for my 1941 Singer to burn its motor out while winding the bobbin 🙁 🙁 🙁 but your blog still managed to get a tiny grin out of me – thank you

  • Beth

    Brilliant, Julia Childs Rocks! This is the perfect dress for a miserable day. By the way, I have down days a lot and your blog is one of the things that brings small joys to my life, so keep it up, your work is valued 🙂

  • Roni

    I love your blog !!! You truly are amazing !!! Can you refashion for bigger people too once in a while ??? The ones that have more to love –HA HA 🙂

  • Elissa Barber

    Love your blog, if I was 30 years younger we’d be BFFs. Can you refashion a refashion? How about moving Julia to a funky top or apron?
    My mother was an expert seamstress and my rebellion was not to sew, which I regret, but you are inspiring me for a retirement hobby.

  • Linda

    The after is MUCH cuter! I agree with the blog friend you quoted and your thoughts…..we only see what the author wants us to see. I try to keep my blog upbeat, but have been known to grumble or get on my soapbox. I’m off to read some more of your posts.

    • Sabrina Durkee

      As I heard it, when Julia failed her final exam at Le Courdon Bleu ( it was rigged by a vengeful, jealous director) she went back the their apartment, cooked a full meal, including creme caramel, and ate it. That woman knew how to live!

  • Sina

    Hey there! Doesn’t everyone have a bad day once in a while? And if so, you should enjoy it knowing tomorrow is going to be another day with a brighter sun. Not only blogs are weird – so are aquaintances…
    Anyway – I’m sending you some of my positive energy today! And also wanted to let you know that I’m always reading your blog to get cheered up when I’m down and unispired, so put on a nice dvd and get comfy on your couch!

  • Tina

    Love your blog, always look forward to reading your next refashion. Just refashioned my 3 granddaughters entire wardrobe for school. They live with me and I always buy them used clothes. They love their one of a kind outfits and your ideas are what insired me. Working on the Christmas dresses next. Keep on blogging.

  • Shar

    You need (occasional) down days to appreciate the good ones. I add my appreciation of you to all the others and wish you a very happy tomorrow 🙂

  • Joyce

    Very Cute! You inspire me to go and do a quick refashion myself even though my day is less than ideal today; it boosts my mood whenever I’m sewing. I’m going to do make a quick hat! I love to make hats. I’ve made so many I’ve started selling them!

  • Victoria

    You definitely improved the look of that dress! Im sorry you had a bummer day! What’s the old saying “keep Calm and Drink Wine!” 😉

  • Lisa

    I’m sorry for the cause of your bad day. I hope it helps to know you inspire and cheer up your readers all the time. That alone is worth more than gold. So many people have little joy and no way to connect with thousands of people every week. Makes you a VIP-very inspiring person.

  • Natalya

    Well, the dress turned out super! Definitely one of my fav’s. Thanks for plowing on! Sometimes keeping going despite the negative is the best and the hardest thing to do. Love your blog!

  • Zoei Pritchard

    You go right on feeling happy–people are in charge of their own feelings. Have a wonderful Monday. Love your blog and ideas!!!!

  • Anonymous

    You have shared your down times with us. Hopefully our comments helped you! I don’t let my feeling blue steal my joy from your blog or from knowing anyone else is happy. You are great!! Don’t ever hesitate!!

  • Eve

    Love the dress! Reading your blog when I’m having down days makes me smile! Those are the times that it’s most important to surround yourself with positive influences and your blog is one of them. Thank you!

  • Just me

    You seem obnoxiously joyful in a playful way most of the time. It’s why I look at your blog. It is also why i eagerly awaited your appearance on that morning news show (Today, Good Morning America…I forget which). I remember there was something catastrophic on the news that day. You were the ray of sunshine.

    Blogs are weird.

  • Heather C.

    I agree with Rachel…I feel you share more than most and it hasn’t always been good times. I like that you are usually happy, even when I don’t share those mushy feelings. It helps put me in a better frame of mind.

  • Drew

    Sending you good vibes for whatever was getting you down 🙂 I’m refashioning a rejected/rescued bridesmaid dress into a ballroom competition gown in your honor.

    • FMRox

      I would love to see this! I ballroom dance and have been looking into re fashioning things for this as well. Maybe she will post as a reader refash…

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