A Subtle Gamecock Refashion 1
Dress Refashions,  Refashions

A Subtle Gamecock Refashion

Easy DIY Tunic Dress Refashion
The Best

Hello All! I have a really subtle/hard to photograph/slightly underwhelming refashion to share! 🙂

When everyone at my workplace was encouraged to wear garnet and black to support the Carolina Gamecocks on a recent game day, at first I was like…




I just don’t care about football.  I want to.  I really do.  Other people seem to get a lot out of it, and I think that’s great…for them.  Or…why can’t other people get as jazzed about the things I’m into as they do football?  This January, do you think they’d be willing to tailgate for the premiere of Downton Abbey?


A Subtle Gamecock Refashion 2
It would be off the chain.


Not wanting to be a spoilsport, I thought I’d bust out my NEW machine and play with some of its decorative stitches.


Meet the Pfaff Creative 1.5!
Meet the Pfaff Creative 1.5!

Stay tuned in coming weeks for more info on this machine, as well as a comprehensive review.  But for now, I just wanted to make sure you were properly introduced to my sewing room’s newest inhabitant.  🙂

Alright!  The refashion!

I started with this shapeless frock of an awkward length:

I'm actually not sure which is more awkward...the dress or my bad hair day...
I’m actually not sure which is more awkward…the dress or my bad hair day…

I’m a sucker for black dresses.  They’re great for those days when I wake up and just can’t bear trying too hard to look nice for the same room of people I see every day.  By now they know the magic’s in the makeup, know what I mean? 😉  Black is also flattering.  So when I find a black dress that I think can be saved, I pounce.

The first thing I needed to deal with was that length.

Just a bit off the bottom!
Just a bit off the bottom!

When I turned my new dress inside out to hem it, I noticed something strange on the neckline.  Someone had sewn a penny into a triangle along the front collar.  This is why it drapes so nicely in the front!  I’d never seen this before, but thought it MUST be a sign of good luck, so I kept it! 🙂

Lucky lucky!
Built-in lucky penny!

…Back to the hem!

I pulled my ironing board into my living room (which is all of 4 feet away from my sewing room), and watched a bit of Mad Men while I pinned.

Ah! The glamorous life of a ReFashionista!
Ah! The glamorous life of a ReFashionista!

I stitched my hem down with matching black thread.

How I've missed the Whirrrrrrr! :)
How I’ve missed the Whirrrrrrr! 🙂

Now…I could have just left this refashion right there, but I REALLY wanted to explore the customization options on my new machine.  Plus…I had to feign a little school spirit for my alma mater!

I loaded up my machine with garnet thread and picked a stitch. I had pllllllenty of options!

Decisions, Decisions!
Decisions, Decisions!

I settled on a pretty Greek Key design.

You are the chosen one!
You are the chosen one!

My Pfaff’s display showed me what the stitch would look like, as well as telling me which foot I would need and other useful info:

Time for a switcheroo!
Time for a switcheroo!

I just snapped the old foot off and snapped the new one on!

The one on the left is for general sewing. The one on the right is for more fancy stitchery.
The one on the left is for general sewing. The one on the right is for more fancy stitchery.

See that groove on the foot to the right? That gives the wider stitch room as the fabric travels across the machine and keeps it from getting all bunched up.  This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re using the right foot (and why it’s so nice that this machine tells me which one I need to use).

First, I embellished the hem.

Get your Greek on!
Get your Greek on!

The sleeves and sash quickly followed!


I was getting pretty excited about how designer-y my dress was looking, so I put a zipper foot on and embellished that too!

Look clooooosely...
Look clooooosely…

And just look at that dress now!

Seriously. It was a bad hair day.
Seriously. It was a bad hair day.

Here’s a closer look!

It's hard to see the detail, but maybe if you squint a little?
It’s hard to see the detail, but maybe if you squint a little?

My frock enjoyed a fun after-work outing with a fellow blogger!

It's April Blake!
It’s April Blake!

I ran into a couple of other pals as well.  🙂

Remember these guys?
Remember these guys?

As promised, this refashion isn’t exactly dramatic, but I do really love how the subtle embellishments I added made an otherwise plain dress unique and special.  🙂



Easy DIY Tunic Dress Refashion
The Best


  • Jennifer L.

    I’ve read your whole blog probably 3 or 4 times. I’m a mostly self-taught seamstress and a nurse. At work I pour out empathy until I run dry. Then I come home and read your blog. Your creativity helps revive mine. There is something healing in the creative process. Thank you for putting yourself out there in spite of occasional negative comments and criticism. I really enjoy the work you do.

  • Nancy

    Diana, Princess of Wales (and other royals who spend a lot of time outdoors in the wind and getting into and out of helicopters) had weights sewn into the hems of her frocks, for modesty’s sake. I’m not sure if royal dressmakers use pennies, though. They might use some kind of metal washer, so that it can be stitched into place.

    I’m pretty sure that the Duchess of Cambridge hasn’t done that yet, based on all of the leggy photographs that keep turning up! Does anyone else think she enjoys the extra attention to her (admittedly gorgeous) legs?

    This dress looks fabulous on you, Jillian.

  • Merunikitty

    Oh my goodness. I clicked over to your blog from a link on Buzzfeed a few months ago and was interested and then found it again from Pinterest and I have literally started at your first post and worked my way back and with that said, YOU ARE MY HERO JILLIAN! Gah! I also blog, so the pure fact that you kept it up for so long is amazing to me. Also, your full year of refashions are LEGIT! I have always been terrible at sewing, like I broke 2 of my sisters sewing machines (shhhhh, she doesn’t know it was me) in a row and vowed to never do it again. But you have SERIOUSLY inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and do things I never thought I would be able to before! That said, I am going to try and find a fair inexpensive machine (hopefully soon) and refashion some of my Goodwill finds! I basically only shop there for clothes, why pay full price when I can pay less than half and have something that’s new to me!?!?! THANK YOU! You are an angel!

  • su-k

    Great idea! If you wear it with tiger print boots, you’ll never be asked to another football tailgate:-). Love the other commenter’s idea of downton refash

  • Teri Sarmiento

    Love your refashions. As for the game last Saturday, well…Life between the hedges. My daddy was a Dawg which I still root for today.

  • Lalee

    Another cute addition to your bulging wardrobe closet. I espicially like your goofy expressions when you pose in the “before” shots, how a cute girl like yourself can make such funny faces is a gift! I wish I had your patience with sewing machine but they scare me..lol. Keep doing your thing and sharing.. Please

  • Alex Wilson

    I would so be there for a Downton Abbey tailgate! Or any Downton Abbey such thing. I would be ecstatic to see a refashion in honor of the premier! 😀

  • Patty Eck

    Love your site!! I’m probably not your “average” follower at 56, but I LOVE seeing what you do with your thrift-store buys! Also a thrift store shopper, I’ve tried a few of your ideas on some of my great finds and haven’t messed anything up yet. I truly look forward to what you will do next! My absolute favorite was your long “ugly-sweater” dress. It was beautiful! Keep up the good work! We think alike on Downton Abbey, too, as it is one of the best shows on TV!! Cannot wait until January!!

  • Trish

    I am so excited that you have the new Pfaff Creative 1.5! I want a new machine and I think this one would be perfect for me. I look forward to seeing what you can do with it in the future. Oh! I also totally agree with you about sports… And Downton Abbey. 🙂

  • Jillian McKimm

    I’ve seen this penny trick in clothing, it does give a lovely drape effect, and in the bottom of curtains. This is why we love you, you share information and inspire! It is sooo good you are back, and rearing to go! 🙂 love Jillian.

  • Felice Coles

    Love the dress with the subtle highlights. Looks really good, even on days other than game day. NOW make a Downton Abbey refash, and I’ll be right there with tea and crumpets! Cheerio!

  • Deb Marrett

    OK! I am quite jealous of your sewing machine and am VERY interested to hear how you like it. Also interested in this penny pocket! Was this a handmade? Love your blog by the way!!!!

  • Andi Townsend

    I own a Pfaff that was very expensive in the ’70s when I bought it. Curious to know about your new baby. Luckily you can take it off your taxes!

  • Sue

    I have sewing machine envy! I couldn’t see the details in the redo but I’ll take your word for it. The dress looks great! You are so clever to redo clothes than to spend tons of money on new.

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