Refashionista Wedding Dress Refashion
Refashions,  Dress Refashions,  Dye Refashions,  The 366 Day Refashion Project

Day 366: The End? A Wedding Dress Refashion

A Few Cool Things!
Day 365: Kitschy Dress

This is my final post of my year-long project (it’s a leap year y’all).   πŸ™‚

I don’t form emotional attachments with clothing.  Clothes are fun, but ultimately they’re merely things.  Objects have never held much value for me.  I usually tend to value experiences instead.  

That’s one of the reasons why giving away everything I’ve made this year hasn’t been particularly hard for me.

But then there’s this dress.

wedding dress refashion before
Wipe that smile of your face, girlie. It doesn’t end up happening for you.

You’re looking at what would have been my wedding dress…except that didn’t happen.  

This was what I would have worn on a day that would have changed my life forever…except that didn’t happen.  

This was the dress that would have said, “See…I’m fully capable of maintaining an adult relationship for the long haul.”…except that didn’t happen.  :/

I kept the dress.  I didn’t know what to do with it.  It went from being something I loved to something I hated – relegated to a garbage bag stuffed in the back of my closet.  I kicked it on occasion.

 This one garment had the power of making me feel like I had failed…that I would never be in a long-term relationship, that I would most certainly never be married, and that I was going to spend the rest of my life alone.

I had to do something with this dress.  People suggested giving it away, but I couldn’t.  It had permeated into my psyche to such a degree that parting with it was impossible.

As the months after the breakup stretched on, things happened.  I realized I was stronger than I had ever imagined.  I spent more time with my friends…who made it clear that single or no, I most certainly would never be alone.  

I ate healthier.  I made bolder decisions.  I laughed more.  In short, I’m doing just fine.  πŸ™‚

That dress, and its power over me had to go…in a different direction.

I filled a tub with hot water.

Plastic tub in bathtub
A tub within a tub!

I added a full bottle of Wine dye, salt, vinegar, and a dress with a past.

wedding dress in dye bath
Wine not? It’s my dress.

I carefully stirred the dress in its dye bath for a bit over an hour.  I was worried about the bodice, as I could tell that some spot cleaning had been done and that this slight discoloration could end up looking really weird when dyed.  I decided to chance it.

After the dye bath was one, my dress got a good and thorough rinse.  Then, I laid it over my shower rod to dry.

I wasn’t done.

I put it my dress form, and chopped off a few layers.

Day 366:  The End? A Wedding Dress Refashion 5
This was the scary part.

This meant I also had to cut off some of the lining and give it a new hem.

pinning lining of wedding dress
ombre thread on sewing machine
The perfect thread for the task at hand!
sewing hem

I’ve lost some weight in the past few months, so some taking-in of the bodice was in order as well.

pinning sides of dress
Hot Darting Action!

The original dress already had a few holes that needed to be taken care of, but I decided to wait until I had dyed it so I knew what color of thread to use.

closeup of hole
Holey Moley!
stitching hole
Don’t worry. I’ve got this!  Let the hand-stitching commence!

After a good press…I was done!

refashionista wedding dress refashion after
From walking down the aisle to sauntering onto the dance floor! πŸ™‚

You can see how the bodice did indeed end up looking quite uneven, but I really like it!  πŸ™‚  This happy accident is one of my favorite things about my new dress!

wedding dress refashion after
Happy for a year well-lived! πŸ™‚
refashionista wedding dress after
My fave refash to date! πŸ™‚

My new dress was perfect for a party with my closest friends to celebrate making it through this year and my ridiculous self-imposed challenge!  πŸ™‚

jillian with friends
Love these ladies! πŸ™‚
Day 366:  The End? A Wedding Dress Refashion 6
I know some pretty awesome people!
Day 366:  The End? A Wedding Dress Refashion 7
So lucky to have such amazing people in my life!
Day 366:  The End? A Wedding Dress Refashion 8
Even my dress form got a cute new dress from the scraps! πŸ™‚

In this year, I haven’t just been refashioning clothing.  I’ve been refashioning my life, and how I think about the world around me.  

A year ago I thought I had to be married by the time I was 30 in order to be a proper grownup and happy.  I’ve since learned that being happy has nothing to do with being a proper grownup (which might, paradoxically, be the most grownup revelation I’ve made this year).  πŸ™‚

I want to give my sincerest thanks to the friends, family, and fans who made this year possible (that includes you, dear reader).  There are simply far to many of you to name here!  I could not have done any of this without you.  πŸ™‚

Many of you have been asking what my plans are, now that I’m done with the year.

I’m.  Not.  Stopping.  Here.

My work here is far from done folks.  Stay tuned in the next couple of days for news of my plans for Year 3!

Refashionista Wedding Dress Refashion Before and After


A Few Cool Things!
Day 365: Kitschy Dress


  • Kathryn

    I’m just seeing this dress now. When I read your posts, I almost always click on another link to see what you’ve done in the past and this one popped up today. This is my FAVORITE makeover you’ve ever done. I hope you kept this even though it has bad memories, because it is absolutely gorgeous. And when bad things happen to me I always tell myself that it happened for a reason. And I”m usually right. So glad everything worked out for you and that you met Brian.

  • Cyndy

    I’ve just got to mention you on my blog this week. Brides are often so scared of making the leap but, knowing that your unlikely to wear your dress again, then why now go for it. It sounds like your decision was the making of you. Well Done and crack on with life. You so deserve it!!

  • Deneice Rogers

    I don’t know if you still have this refashion bug … or blog LOL … but I love your remakes! I hope you will add to your remakes some new fresh ideas! Thanks for sharing, especially this heart wrenching dress that became a symbol of your STRENGTH!

  • Tammi

    This dress reminds me of Pretty in Pink and how she made the dress come to life and she learned a valuable lesson too. Congrats and I LOVE your site. Keep them coming!

  • Katie Q

    Love the dress, but I have to say (in a totally non-critical way, because I really, really don’t mean this critically), it kinda looks like post-Prom royalty crowning Carrie wore it while running through the streets of town – the uneven red dye gives off the blood-soaked vibe. (Or maybe I just need to stop watching horror movies late at night while also working my way through refashion blogs.)

  • Heather

    I made my wedding dress into a Halloween costume. I got black dye and cut the hell out of it and it was more grey but it was fun and cathartic and now I am glad I didn’t burn it!!!!

  • Lena A.

    Hi Jillian! This dess turn out.. WAY BETTER!!!! I LOVE it! It’s so elegant! Love the color! I’m so sorry your dream didn’t happened… but you are lucky to have good family and real friends to support you! I didn’t had any support when my 16 years marriage come to an end… Anyway, I KNOW that the rigth man is out there for you! Life will bring him to you! You’ll see! πŸ˜€
    I’m so happy that you wont stop refashioning!!!! I’m looking forward!!
    Kisses from Portugal!

  • SynthesistChronicles

    I totally feel your pain. Last year, just week before the wedding date, I came home from work and my (then) fiancΓ© had a back packed and said that he couldn’t go through with it and was moving it out. He walked out and left me with all of the regular bills to pay, plus the wedding bills, and the task of canceling / notifying everyone. The dress is still in my closet with the tags on. It was just this week that I was finally able to put a notice out that I was selling. If I had more courage (and wasn’t trying to recoup at least some of the money), I would do exactly what you did and cut that sucker up. Good for you. As a fledgling seamstress (do they even still call it that?) for fun, I look forward to reading more of your blog and seeing you creations. πŸ™‚

  • Sarah From Long Island

    First, I need to thank you for sticking this out, considering the rough year you had! I read this blog from page to page whenever I get a bit of down time. Sometimes I disaappear for months, but I am always happy to return and pick up where I left off for some “Amazeballs” inspiration. You are awesome and kooky and I am happy to read up on part of what you’ve been up to. Seems like you have learned some pretty great lessons so far and hearing about your ups, downs & growth makes a girl like me happy. You make me feel positive. For that, I Thank You.

    Now, past the gushy crap…. this dress kicks ***! That bodice looks pretty effing great all try-dye-like! It adds an excellent other dimension to the piece. You look fabulous in it!!! Truly. xoxo

  • Torimom

    I just think this dress is positively brilliant. I am so glad to see your triumph over a year of challenges. You are truly inspirational. πŸ™‚

  • Dori

    Wow, what a year. I just found your blog a week ago and as a teacher on spring break just read through every post from day one. I love your creativity and self-imposed challenge, so inspiring. Glad to see you plan on a year three! I will keep reading. πŸ™‚

  • Y

    I’ve loved following your blog & the transformations. You’ve given me so many ideas! Thank you & much fun & happiness with the next year!

  • Laura Ellis

    I’m not a seamstress, although I’ve ‘stitch-witched’ many-a Halloween costume in my past. I just love what you’re doing and it has inspired me to do more recycling of the unconventional! Good luck for year 3 and, as the old timers say, ‘See ya in the funny papers!’ [Which in today’s vernacular would probably be FACEBOOK/PINTEREST]

  • Joanne

    I found your blog a few weeks ago, and I like to sift through the old posts and get ideas. I havn’t looked in a while but decided to today because I wanted some ideas for something I’m remodelling, then I saw this post.
    I don’t know what happened with you and your ex, but I left a relationship 4 years ago because it didn’t feel right anymore. Nothing went drastically horribly wrong, nothing awful happened.. I was just unhappy. I left, and felt like a failure, a horrible person for hurting a wonderful man just because “it didn’t feel right”, I felt alone in the relationship, it just wasn’t enough for me. Why had it felt right for the other 5 years we were together? what had gone wrong with me to make me not want it anymore? how could I feel lonely with someone I knew so well? what was wrong with me?
    Turned out, nothing was wrong with me. I am now married to a wonderful man who makes me laugh every single day and gives me all the fulfillment I need in my life. I have never felt so loved and a part of something. It took a while to build my life back together, or at least it felt like it, but it’s amazing what wonderful family, friends, and happiness can do for you!
    I love your blog, I love this post, and I’m excited for all your future projects πŸ™‚

  • tammy

    Just found your blog and love it. I’m not sure what I like more the upstyles or the fact that there is usually a drink in your hand when showing the finished product. Enjoyed tremendously!

  • Lindsay

    I found your blog through Pinterest, and I’m completely serious when I say that I read your entire blog this past week. Just want to say that I think you’re doing an amazing thing, and even though you don’t know me and I don’t actually know you, I’m really proud of you for overcoming some really hard circumstances in the two years you’ve been doing this. You were open and honest about things, but you didn’t let them hold you down and you kept smiling, which is a huge inspiration. And to boot, you were entertaining and creative every step of the way! Glad you’re not done!

  • Elisa

    I love what you did with your beautiful dress–made another beautiful dress!! The color pops, and I love the unevenness of the hue. A little steampunk going on, but very cool, and YOU!

    Found you on Pinterest. I’ve been lurking for a couple of weeks too. Because of you, I’ve been a little more creative in doing stuff to the things I have, whether it’s cutting off sleeves or twisting a droopy neckline for a top and using a brooch to pin it down (well, it seemed like something you’d do. ;P).

    I’m looking forward to more from you!

  • Liz G

    You are floating somewhere around Pinterest and that’s how I came upon your blog today…I literally went back to day 57 until my internet froze! You and a few others have inspired me to take up my creative side and start making my own clothes! I am moving from NYC to Australia and will have some free time while adjusting so what better way to fill up my time?! I wish you the best of luck on your new adventures. You have an amazing attitude and life is how you make of it!
    Btw, this dress is by far my all time fav refashioned. Great job!
    Your new fan, Liz

  • Marianne Hanson

    Your dress is beautiful! I was introduced to your bolg through Pintrest about a week ago and I went through everything in 2 days. You are amazng! My daughter and I have already had such fun trying to refashion. Thanks for the inspiration. I certainly hope that you will continue to post.

  • Amber

    The dress is fabulous and so are you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us – I can’t wait ot see where the next steps take you!

  • mjkeeton

    I’ve only just started following your blog, but this post moved me. I was making my fiancΓ© a pair of knitted socks when we split and I have yet to be in a serious relationship since. The socks sat for months and I would dig them out occasionally and cry and reminisce and feel like a failure. Someone suggested I finish them and donate them to a homeless shelter, but for the price of the yarn alone I could go buy 20 pairs of socks and give them to charity. Finally, one night late I was looking to start a new project and couldn’t find the right size needles. I figured I would have to go to the yarn store in the morning and get a set until I remembered that the set in the socks was the right size. I dug out the socks, ripped out the needles, and took the unfinished socks out to the bin at the curb, never to be seen again all in one fell swoop and it was done. It was like I could breathe again with that weight gone. I loved reading about how you redid your would-be wedding dress and turned it into something even more beautiful for many more special days. Everyone deals with their past in their own ways, and we both did what was right for us. Best of luck to you this year!

  • refashionistaobsessed

    Jillian, you are amazing! I, like many, many others, found your blog WAY late (2 weeks ago) and, almost obsessively, read through every post. I am amazed and inspired. You are an amazing redesigner, and have inspired those around you. I am excited to see what you have in store for the future. Thanks for your honesty, witticism, and fashion re-thinks! Your page says “you’ll change the way you think about fashion” and you are correct! Thank you! Goodwill (and others) will be surely seeing an increase in sales rapidly!! I often wondered about your own design for for your wedding dress, then, what happened with it. This was probably very difficult, but also, I’d bet, VERY freeing and a metaphor for your life-changes. It turned out beautifully, as your life is as well!

    Thoughts going forward: Any tips or techniques for redesigning clothing for those of us who’ve gained weight, or have something that is just too snug, and special? I have a few items saved in the back of my closet for after “those last few pounds”, but would love to figure out a way to wear them now rather than waiting for the “whenever I lose it”. You are so creative! Any techniques for that would be easy to transfer into other items of clothing.

    Thanks again for all your posts! I’ll be watching, and sharing!!

  • Alexandra

    Thank you for a wonderful year of re-fashioning. I look forward everyday to reading your posts. It’s been nothing short of amazing watching your journey this past year. Keep up the amazing work!

  • Nilla

    I havn’t follow your blog the whole year but a few months and I must say I love reading about your creations! This dress was one of the best I’ve seen. It turned out great!
    Keep up the good work /Nilla from Sweden

  • Teri

    Jill, after finding you on Pinterest in the last few days, I have gone through ALL of your last year’s posts. I am in awe of what you’ve done, and it was inspiring going through your journey in reverse (I started with your newest post). I didn’t realize the challenges you had come from; I only knew the cheerful, energetic disposition you exude in your most recent posts. I’m glad your life has turned out as it should, even if it’s not how you planned. Your story and your creativity are motivating for me, and I can’t wait to look at those “too bad it’s way too big” items at Value Village in a different light! πŸ™‚ You are awesome, and I can’t wait to see what you do next. (This is probably my favourite of your refashions, by the way! πŸ™‚

  • Michelle

    I just wanted to say good luck. I have really enjoyed this blog! Besides being extremely creative AND meticulous, you are very articulate. It is refreshing to read something so well-written that is also so current.

  • Clare UK

    Congratulations on all the refashioning and surviving the whole year as I’ve watched from afar.
    I suddenly realised today that you have also changed my mindset – walking past a charity shop today, my thoughts immediately went to “Is there anything good I can refashion in there?”!!!
    Good on ya, girl (but please keep inspiring us!)

  • diane

    Congrats and hooray for you! I have followed your adventures for several months and have gone back to read all your posts. You have inspired me so much and are personally responsible for making me into a refashionista myself! I love what you have done and admire your spunky attitude and the way you handle changes with grace AND STYLE!

  • Amber

    When I was reading some of the posts that I know contributed to this post, I wondered what the dress looked like….and today’s post made me cry. But, you turned what could have been the roughest year of your life into beauty and I have no doubt….you will always be surrounded by love!!!!!!

  • Rebecca

    I just found your blog a couple of days ago and have really enjoyed every bit that I have read. I am not a great seamstress, but I had a light bulb moment today, so what if I mess something up?
    If it comes from the thrift store and was only pennies, what have I lost? I will gain a skill, have some fun and learn something new! Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to see you on Rachel Ray!

  • Diane

    Way to go, Jillian! I have followed your blog daily for several months now and enjoyed every entry. You are a shining example of creativity, perseverance and grace. You have inspired me to start sewing again after many years – and I have refashioned several outfits as a result. Now I am sewing tote bags from vintage fabric finds. Thank you for your vision, your humor and your upbeat outlook on life!

  • Shelley

    Kudos! Well Done–on the dress and on 365 days of refashion. I love that you have shared your inspiration and creativity with us throughout . I was so hoping you would continue this journey. There is something cathartic about taking an image of pain and turning it into a massive positive experience. Years ago I had a friend whose marriage failed. She took out her wedding dress and cried at least once a week. She told me she wanted to do “something positive” with it. I came to her house with a bottle of tequila, my sewing machine, and 2 boxes of red Rit dye. We transformed (I say, we, because I sewed and she made margaritas!) that pain into the most amazing coctail dress! She was wearing it when she met her 2nd husband. The power of sewing–isn’t ot funny how that works!

  • Kasey

    WOW I love love love this! You did an amazing job!
    I had a very similar situation and months latter I was feeling a bit better, so I made my dress into a Halloween costume. I put a knife in my back and blood and voila. Bride who died from being stabbed in the back.

    Congrats on your year cant wait for next!

  • Cyna

    I have so enjoyed your journey this year. I have silently “stalked” your posts relishing every reinvention. I had no idea that through your blog you were reinventing yourself from a setback in your life. Weirdly enough, that was one of the reasons I was following you. The whole up-cycle, repurpose, reinvent appealed to me. I, too, had a setback in my life. On July 5, 2010, my husband of 29 years passed away unexpectedly. The first year of my widowhood was a blur of pain and lawyers and red tape and surviving. The second year, the fog lifted and I had to face the reality that I was alone…my husband gone, children grown…alone. It didn’t seem that there was any reason for my life any more. I found your blog when doing a Google search on “purpose.” How fortuitous that your blog popped up in that search.

    Without sounding maudlin, I want you to know your refashion blog made me want to refashion my life. Seeing how you took old, worn out, seemingly useless clothing and transforming them into something beautiful and wanted made me believe I could do that with myself. What an epiphany!

    Thank you for sharing yourself…your talents…your creativity…and your heart through your blog. You made a difference. Keep on blogging.

  • Heather

    This is the best one yet!!! I see this blog every day and laugh my head off because I am just so curious to how you will make something so hideous into something so awesome!! My husband thinks it’s great too.=) Go you!!

  • Gaylene

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, I found you on Pinterest about a month ago and I have been trying to catch up the last 2 years of your daily creations and truly enjoy reading about you and how creative you are. You are an inspiring woman I am glad to hear you are going to challenge yourself to another year of refashions. I do not own a sewing machine and havent used one since high school but I am wanting one now after seeing what you can do to clothes you may have in your closet. I am a total thrift store junkie and cannot wait to refashion my own clothes, I am looking forward to what this will bring us..

  • Liz

    I only recently found your blog, and have loved every post (certainly could learn a lot here!). Though I have to admit, I started reading initially because I, too, went through the same thing. No wedding, dress is at my parents’, but this was almost 5 years ago (!!!!) … and yet, it’s comforting to find someone else who shares the same emotions I had as well. Sounds like you’re in a good place … I hope you hang out there for awhile. πŸ™‚

  • Stacey

    You’ve inspired me to start sewing again. Thank you. What you’ve done with this blog is incredibly impressive. You’re a fantastic re-fashionista!

  • Sarah

    You are such an inspiration to me. I have been buying old used dresses for a while (b/c buying new is so wasteful when there’s so much old being tossed out!) but I’ve been scared to do anything to them. You gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and be more daring with my projects. And your strength in light of less than pleasant circumstances has fortified me, and I suspect many of your other readers, with a sense of our own inner strength. Thank you for this highly enlightening opportunity. You are amazing!

  • marta

    you’re a great person,you really refashion your sad sharing a little drop of happyness everyday. I’m only a reader but i’m proud of you. good luck!

  • Amy Russell (@theamyshow)

    I found your story through a friend today, and while this is the final installment in your year-long project, I can tell you that reading back through the story on this dress, and the parallel story about your realizations, your resolve, your vision for the future… Girl, you honestly brought tears to my eyes. You are a magnificent person and there is something so strong and beautiful inside you. I know two things from reading this: you’ll be just fine, and your bravery in telling your own story will inspire many other women! Thank you. Can’t wait to read what happens next for you…

  • Bianca

    I recently went through a divorce and I still don’t know what to do with the dress. You are amazing to have made yours into a happy dress! Congratulations on growing after the end of the relationship.

    I just found your blog and I can’t wait to read the whole thing. Your refashions are spectacular – thank you for all your hard work over the year! I can’t wait to see what you do in the next one.

  • Kristina

    Congratulations on the end of year two. I discovered your blog at the beginning of this year and LOVE it! I am so happy to read that you are not leaving. You blog is such great inspiration for me to spend more time sewing and less time buying πŸ™‚

    I came to the same realization about not needing to be married to be happy. Actually, I’ve come to think that it’s much more important to be happy alone first. That makes married life (if and when you do get married) so much better because then you’re not relying on the other person to make you happy.

    And I LOVE what you did with that dress. That came out BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • Kerry Lea Higginbotham

    Jill, Great job! What a commitment! WOW! Very proud of you and for you!!!! “All things proper” does not have to include a husband, children, or whatever. “All things proper” is finding yourself, being strong, being able to get through the tough times and coming out the other side a better person! And I think you have achieved all that and more!!!! So glad that I discovered your blog. You have been such a inspiration that I now want to get my sewing machine out and try some refashioning of my own!!!! Thank you for this blog. I enjoy this so much, that I wait until there’s 2 or 3 on here so I can see more of what you do! Just seeing one a day isn’t enough for me!!! I know its one in the same, but anyway I just wish there was alot more on here! Please don’t leave us!!! I’ll settle for 1 a week!!! HaHa! Looking forward to seeing what all is in store for you!!!! GO JILLIAN!!!!

  • ravendance

    So happy to see that this isn’t the end! I just came across your blog a few days ago and finally got all caught up on it. You have so many awesome and inspiring ideas. I’ve started digging through my own clothes (of which I have boxes and boxes) to see what sort of makeovers I can do on them (even though I have to do more sizing-up than sizing-down since most of them that are boxed up are there because I can’t squeeze my post-pregnancy bod into them anymore *sadface*). It’s also fun reading about your exploits around Columbia since I grew up there and almost wish I was back there again (except for the hot weather) to explore all of these fun places.

  • Laura

    Congratulations, what a journey you have been on. Although I just found your blog last week, I have enjoyed catching up on all the post. You have a wonderful talent!!! Don’t stop believing in yourself, we are always stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Wishing you many blessings in this next year of adventures.

  • Chitra

    I found this blog a month back and have almost seen all your projects. I was dreading whether you will shut down the blog today and am so happy that you decided to continue. Wish you all the best. Even though I can hardly wear the kind of clothes you refashion, it sparked my interest in these things. You are amazing!

  • Ali

    Dear Jillian – I was almost hesitant to open this post – because I DON’T WANT IT TO END! Each day as I sit here at my desk at the nonprofit I work for in Tampa Bay, I smile, grimace and cheer you on through each and every refashion. This dress is the MOST fitting tribute to a year filled with so many ups and downs. I’m sure you could never have imagined how this year would end, and isn’t that the best part of life? As they say – some days are chicken salad and others are chicken s**t. Your openess about your heartbreak, the HUGE challenges you’ve overcome and the wit that you’ve shown in doing it is truly an inspiration for all women. And…holy cow – still managed to refashion in the midst of chaos! None of us knows what the future holds, but I’m glad you’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t take a marriage or a man to fulfill our dreams. Now FRIENDS – that’s what it’s all about baby. And I want to be your friend! LOL Because it looks like you guys have way too much fun – always with a bevvie in hand. Looking forward to your next sequel and thanks for all the many hours of labor, photos and blogging so that we can live vicariously through you. Congratulations on this HUGE achievement and I wish you so many good things in the days and years to come – looking forward to seeing more refashions!

  • Crystal

    I’m so glad to hear/read you post such a happy year-end wrap-up! Kudos on coming through this year with such a happy, strong outlook! I’m SO glad to know that you’re going to keep this blog going. I’ve been wanting to sew for (and have owned a machine) for years, but I’ve never been able to make myself put forth the effort to learn. Since I stumbled across your blog a few months ago, it has inspired me to take-in some shirts, make curtains, and attempt some re-fashions of my own. My skills still need work, but I’m improving with each project. Thank you for giving me the extra spark I needed to begin learning this art-form that I’ve wanted to do for so long!

  • Robin Wheaton

    Hi Jill – I’m new to reading your blog but in a matter of days I went through the entire year of re-fashions! I love it!! Thanks for continueing even when the going got tough! Looking forward to your next challenge.

  • smalltownbetty

    Wonderful end to a wonderful project!!! I just wanted to tell you that I was in the same boat. At 30, I was pretty sure I was on the road to crazy cat-lady land. And the ACTUAL man of my dreams came into my life! We’ve now been married almost 3 years, and have a beautiful 2 year old little girl, and are expecting our son in August. I sincerely believe everything happens for a reason. Keep doing what you do…you and your refashions are FAB-U-LOUS!!!

  • Cristina

    Just one word for this: WOW!!!!! One thing that surprises me is that being a refashionista you are not attached to clothes, I can’t give away clothes, I feel too attached to them and to my memories!You have done an amazing job with this blog and it looks like with your life too! You’ve inspired me many times, but hell! This post was amazing!!!!

  • Rachel

    thanks for saying what you did about turning 30 and being proper and married and all. i thought i would have a lot of things and be “properly” set by 30 too. hearing reaffirmation that it’s ok that 30 can come without a husband and all things proper sure made me feel better this tuesday morning! i have really loved reading your blog!

  • Crys T

    I only discovered your blog about 2 months ago, but I’ve been visiting it religiously ever since. I love your creativity & have found your posts to be really inspiring. So glad to hear that you’re not done yet!

    And as for the marriage thing: been there, done that, come out the other side. Despite what everyone says, it doesn’t “complete” you. And as my best friend told me the day of my breakup, “You’re *not* alone.”

  • Holly K

    I am so thrilled to hear you say you aren’t finished! I just started reading your blog about two months ago and I love it. I was interested in refashioning and stumbled upon your site. I think it is pretty much the best refashion site out there. You’re funny, clever, and have such good ideas and tutorials. Also, pretty inspiring. We need you!

    • Holly K

      for some reason I wanted to mention that my fav refashion you did was the animal dress you made for the zoo. It was so cool.

  • Diana Stasko

    My friend showed me your blog just last week. And, your last refashion was on my birthday (June 30th) so I thought it especially auspicious! I am so impressed by your fearless carving, dyeing and stitching of anything and everything fabric, and especially your courage in tackling the wedding dress and sharing your process with us. It looks amazing–better than the original! Your writing is so entertaining that it was also a joy to read.

    I’ve been sewing for 30 years (I’m actually a sewing teacher) and was always a bit afraid of refashioning–of destroying someone else’s precious labor– but after reading your blog I did my own refashion of a shapeless muu-muu into a sassy strapless, and am very pleased with the results. Thanks for the inspiration.

    And you may have lost a guy, but it looks like you found something even more valuable.

  • Jeanette

    Well done Jillian, well done indeed! You are a tribute to your grandmother and all she stood for as well as an example to us all. You have conducted yourself as a lady in the face of events that would have knocked a less grounded person to their knees. You are a strong, competent, capable young woman that will be a great compliment to the gentleman insightful enough to recognize all you are inside and out. You Jillian are a treasure and blessing to all that know you. Thank you for the lessons learned!!! You finished this year with class, dignity and a beautiful refashion of a symbol of all of your past dreams that now represent the future you have in store! Walk into your future with your head held high and that beautiful smile on your face!! :~)

  • Ashley

    I feel like you are a friend of mine after reading your blog everyday. I want to buy you a drink πŸ™‚ congrats on finishing the project, and I’m thrilled you aren’t planning to disappear into Internet obsurity.

    I am proud of you for being happy with what you have instead of what you thought should be! It takes courage to change paths. Good for you.

    Oh, and beautiful dress! Lol! I have been impressed with your fearless refashions as well as your willingness to look past what many people would think was beyond repair or use.

  • amy kertesz

    Congratulations on an amazing year. I have loved your posts from day one – I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed your work, your personality and man, you are one fun, clever chick! I look forward to your new adventures. Keep on rockin’. A hug for you, amy

  • Claudia

    Dear Jillian,

    I have posted a few comments on your blog already. I don’t even remember how I discovered it but boy am I glad I did ! You were always present each day with your wit and energy and I could feel your presence as I was reading your posts. This last post really made me tear up and I could hear music while I was reading it. A bit melodramatic maybe but your writing is so genuine and candid (in the good sense) that I can’t help but being totally engrossed in it. When the break-up occured, I felt it, but I knew you were going to become a stronger individual because of it. Not only have you inspired me to refashion my wardrobe but also the way I view life in general. Your humour and grace under duress was awesome and humbling at the same time. You are a role model for your generation, and mine. In short, I am SO glad you are going to continue this beautiful and exciting journey of refashioning. Thank you so much to allow us to be witness to this brave effort and to show us that perseverance still lives on. I am looking forward to see what you come up with next.



  • secretculture

    Wow!!!That looks absolutely fabulous!So much better as a cocktail dress than a wedding dress anyhow.It looks like finishing this journey has totally got your life on track:)

  • cathynd95

    Congrats on a year of clothing tranformations and a year of personal transformation!!! Looking forward to your yr 3 plans…since I just started following your blog. πŸ™‚

  • Navy Wifey Peters

    I just found this blog recently, and I know your year long project is over, but I hope you’ll still make some refashions for us! I love seeing what you’ve come up with. It inspires me to continue sewing and being creative.

  • doriskathlene

    That dress is beautiful and a “fitting” end to your project. What an amazing year for you! Sad at times, yes, but it sounds like you really found peace. That is a great thing. You never know how life is going to turn out. I look forward to reading about your future endeavors!

  • Ashley Lund

    I found this blog a few days ago and could not stop reading it; I had to start from the very beginning.
    You are truly a lovely person, and a breath of fresh air.

    Thank you. You have changed my view, in more than one way, about life.

    Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  • Leigh

    I love this dress rework! How appropriate for the year mark.

    I am completely obsessed with your blog so I am happy to hear you have future plans!

    Also, you are very intelligent, insightful, and have a strong narrative voice!

  • Lise Kruer

    Ran across your blog on Pinterestand spent the next hour perusing your amazing refashions! Wow! I was so inspired that I raided my closet the second I got home and, while I can’t sew a stitch and don’t (in any case) own a sewing machine, I used a few of your ideas and WOW! I found four skirts that never wear that I refashioned into dresses and three baby doll dresses that were too short and too youthful for my 40 year old self – voila! Tank tops (stitch witchery!!) My 17 year old daughter was amazed and impressed. I can’t wait to raid my mom’s closet. You are awesome and I have no doubt your beautiful spirit will take you far.

  • beachbum

    I just found your blog about a week ago. You my dear are quite an inspiration! On so many levels! Your life is just beginning, enjoy every minute! Oh and I LOVE the bodice and it’s “happy accident”, I think it’s the best part!

  • Ashlee D

    It has taken me a week, but I have read your entire blog from end to beginning. I just wanted to tell you that I have never been so moved by a blog as I have been by yours. I am not much of a crafter, nor do I really know how to sew, but you have inspired me. I find myself wanting to try some of the things you have blogged about, and even invest in a sewing machine. I have never looked at clothes the way that you do, and you have really opened my eyes to so many wonderful ideas. You have also inspired me to continue to follow my own dreams. I am a fellow theater enthusiast. I haven’t been apart of theater in about a year, and reading some of your posts makes me crave that culture again. I also really enjoyed your costumes! That is actually where I learned to sew (the little I know) is from costuming classes.
    I also wanted you to know how strong I think you are. You have been through so much this year, and yet you took the time to continue to blog about something you really believe in, and that is pure strength. You can accomplish anything, and I hope you continue to remember that. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with us, and I am so glad I found your blog πŸ™‚ I will be an avid reader!

  • xoxoxlittlej

    Question: I bought the liquid rit dye a long time ago and still haven’t used it because I’m not sure what kind of container to use. Did you just use a regular plastic tub? Will the tub be stained afterwards?

    I love you’re posts, btw! You do some amazing transformations πŸ™‚

    • ReFashionista

      Thank ya! Oddly enough the tub isn’t stained, but meh…It’s just a tub, so I wouldn’t really care if it was. πŸ™‚ Usually I use my washing machine, as it’s waaaaaay easier! πŸ™‚

  • Jillian

    From one Jillian to another:

    I’m SO glad you’ve decided to do another year! I can’t wait to see what your plans are. πŸ™‚ And, I’m so glad you’re doing so wonderfully.

  • Elizabeth Fortune

    That dress is GORGEOUS! I LOVE IT! And I love the story behind it and what you turned not only the dress, but your “story” into. Can’t wait to see what “Year 3” brings! Have loved following you over the last week!

  • Cindy

    I love what you did with the dress!
    I just discovered your blog a few days ago, and read it in reverse. You’ve inspired me learn to sew, and just inspired me in general. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Dawn Miklich (@petproductrevue)

    I got worried! I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I love it! You are so talented and have a knack with writing. I thought I was late to the party (as usual) with this post. Glad to see I will be able to read more and maybe get inspired to try a little myself.

  • Helen

    This re-do of the wedding dress is fabulous! It ultra-chic, elegant! I have only been reading your blog a few months but you have real talent. I have been sewing since before you were born and have worked around fashion off an on for decades. You have the magic touch! Looking forward to your future blogging!

  • Kate

    Your post made me cry. Like, real tears. Okay, it might have partially been the pregnancy hormones, but I love the dress and how you’ve moved forward and I hope the next year is way better and as awesome as you seem to be. CONGRATS!!!

  • Kate

    Your blog has been incredibly inspirational to me. (I will shamefully admit that i read all the back posts after finding you from a pin on pinterest about 2 weeks ago) Your passion to refashion has sparked me to dig my sewing machine back out and attempt to give my wardrobe a new lease on life. I also think your are an awesome and strong lady for this refashion! way to take a reminder and turn it into a positive fresh start. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for your blog!

  • Sherry Whittle

    Jill, Refashionista is te only blog that I have eer truly kept up with! Your ideas and final product on items of clothing most people would pass up are wonderful! Keep up with your talent! Not only did you bring new life to clothing, you have brought a new beginning to your life.

  • Jillian H

    This is the first comment I’ve made on your blog, but I’ve been following your posts for a few weeks now. I just want to say thank you for your creativity and for your inspiration! After I discovered your blog (and spent hours and hours into the wee morning reading every post) I went out the very next day and bought my first sewing machine. In the last month or so, I have completed about a dozen refashion projects and have been getting better with each one! I often looked back through your posts for some extra inspiration on a few projects.
    You have seriously (for reals!) changed the way I think about fashion. Besides all the wonderful benefits of reusing/recycling clothes, there is something so thrilling about making something beautiful yourself rather than buying it from an expensive retailer.

    So, thank you! And congratulations on a wonderful year. I look forward to a lot more from you!


  • Karen

    THANK YOU – for giving of yourself to this project! You have succeeded in changing many people’s views of fashion – mine included. As an Op Shop (Aussie for Charity Shop) regular I now look at clothes differently: what could be, rather than just what is. And I think that this year, with all you’ve been through (which by the way you handled with dignity, style & grace) you can also look at what could be (& there are millions of options for you talented, beautiful one) rather than what has been, or what is. Loads of blessings, & looking forward to seeing what you do next!

  • Shelley Travell

    This has been an absolute joy to look forward to everyday! You rock…and remember….smile and breathe….that’s ALL you have to do. I hope you will continue to spread your joy!

  • Genny

    Keep it coming, sister! I’ve really enjoyed following you and look forward to seeing what you’ve got in store for us everyday. Please don’t stop now!!! I’m happy you’re doing well, thanks to your wonderful friends and family.

  • Tracey Jennings

    Have to say I am so proud of this final dress as it was such a brave thing to do and you made me cry. I am a new fan but dedicated one and am in joyful anticipation to see what you have in store next. Congratulations on 366 amazing refashions and the incredible commitment that took. If that isn’t grownup…..

  • undressed2012

    Yay ReFashionista!!! I was getting so sad that we wouldn’t get to see any more of your truly creative genius! It’s so good to hear how positive things are for you too.

  • Rosie

    Congratulations for completing your year and learning so much about yourself in the process! I’ve had a lot of fun reading your whole blog the last 10 days or so and I’m glad to hear there is some kind of “more” coming soon. Thanks for being willing to share your ups and downs, too!

  • Stacie Zastrow Durnford

    This is the first time I’ve commented, but wanted to let you know that I’ve been following you (along with so many others) for many months now. I look forward each day to your posts and have been inspired by what you do. I’ve always been a re-sale/thrift shopper, but because of you I pulled out my sewing machine that was my high school graduation gift and hasn’t been used in 20 years. I’m so happy to hear that we’ll get to see more of you in the future! Thank YOU!

  • KimiiKalamity

    This is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen, for more reason than one. I admire your courage and ability to transition with such grace. So many other people (myself among the most) could take a valuable lesson. Keep smiling! <3

  • Lisa

    Wow!! Great Job, Jillian. I do love your blog and as others have stated, I have gone back through all the posts I missed. You have inspired me to look at the clothes I already owned that either didn’t fit properly or that I hated in their current form, and to refashion them to something I would wear. THANKS!!! Looking forward to what you take on in year 3.

  • charityshopchic

    Congratulations, Jillian! You did it! πŸ™‚
    You set yourself a steep challenge and I can’t believe you stuck to it all year! Now it must be time to put your feet up for a while, but don’t be gone too long. I need my daily dose of inspirational refashioning with a side of humour. Can’t wait to see what you have got planned for the next 366 days.
    As always, keep up the good work!
    — Sally

  • collectmeblog

    Reblogged this on collectmeblog and commented:
    I’ve been following this blog for a while now and it’s been really inspirational. This final post of her year long challenge really sums it up and I can’t wait to see what her next project will be!

  • bracysDiana Bracy

    Bravo! I will keep reading what is in store for you, dear grown up woman. I have not yet left a message for you, but do read all of your emails and tell my DD (almost 30/happily single) about your emails.

  • Melanie

    What a wonderful close to this long project that you set yourself. I am inspired by your creative eye, by your numerous refashions, by your personable writing style, and by the grace and dignity you reveal in all your posts — finishing this project during a wild year and staying gracious about it all, online. Congrats on a fantastic blog, and project. So glad you won’t be disappearing now πŸ™‚

  • Nina Wum

    Jill, You are made of pure awesome.
    I wish You all the best there is.
    You have changed the way I think about fashion forever.
    Thank You!

  • Maria

    What a nice job you did, you were a part of my life for quite some time and I always enjoyed reading your blog. You even made me watch Walking Dead (thank you for that!) And now you have me in tears, I can’t help it, it’s like the end scene of a rom com. You are a very strong woman and you’ve inspired me so much. Thank you!

  • Natalie

    I love this dress, both before and after! You are very brave to refashion it, good on you. Have really enjoyed following you over the year and always look forward to your posts. Can’t wait to see what’s next πŸ™‚

  • Sarah

    Jillian, I am a 25-year-old, married, mother of 3 boys under the age of of 3. My husband is the Chief of Police in Springdale, SC and I work-from-home part-time doing medical transcription as well as raising my 3 boys (one of which is only 7 weeks old) and running an online children’s boutique store where I handmake everything. Anyways, I say all of that in hopes that by telling you that I am a very busy woman who rarely has time to even take a shower, let alone sit on Facebook or the like for hours on end…have read every one of your posts this past year. Prior to your blog, I have never followed or been subscribed to anyone’s blog before and yours is still my one and only πŸ˜‰ I have read them off my phone in the middle of changing dirty diapers or laying in bed with my toddler until his eyes finally doze off…and I have LOVED every one of them. It says a lot about a person that you set this personal goal for yourself and actually completed the entire year. I have really enjoyed reading your blogs and cannot wait to hear what is in store for year 3!! Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. I also want to say that I truly believe you are an amazing woman as it is definitely apparent (through pictures as well as words) that you have grown tremendously through the many obstacles you have been faced with. Thanks again and I will be looking forward to year 3! πŸ™‚

  • eri-chan

    This seems like a fitting time to make my first comment on your blog – CONGRATULATIONS! What an achievement. You’ve inspired so many people with this project, including me – I’ve been having a blast refashioning some of the duds in my closet since I found your blog, and I’m so glad you’re going to keep going! Can’t wait to see what the next project will be πŸ™‚

  • Chica Andaluza

    A year well lived indeed Gillian! I love your attitude, how youΒ΄ve dealt with the ups and downs of your life and still continued with your project. This was brave, this was exactly what you should have done (I did find myself wondering about THAT dress at times). You are an amazing woman, I wish you well and I look forward to whatever comes next.

  • lynaeve

    I’ve been reading your blog for months now. When I found your blog, I went through EVERY single post I had missed. I LOVE your ideas and your blog. This is such an epic end to the year. This dress is my favorite. and I’m happy you are able to wear it and its your favorite too. GREAT JOB!! lol, anyway I hardly comment, and I’m sorry I haven’t commented yet. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration! I loved reading your posts each day. I’ve been inspired by you to buy clothes that had that special thing about them but doesn’t exactly fit me, be it my style, or physically. I buy all my clothes at our thrift stores here in town now. Before I started sewing, I think I bought maybe 2 pair of pants and about 5 shirts in 5 years. My family never could afford to buy clothes for me when I was a kid, and my grandma (who raised me) wore the same clothes (still does) for about 30 years. So I’m not sure what to call it, but the “not buying of clothes” went into adulthood. But I’ve had 2 babies. Each one I gained more weight. Now I can’t fit into anything. So I found your blog and it was an awesome way to get clothes I loved for very little (I can buy an article of clothing at my thrift store for .20c). So the point of this comment with my life story is to say THANKS! You changed my life! Since I’m able to make clothes I feel more confident in, I’m alot happier going out and doing things.

  • Nana Diana

    Good for you- I went back and read your “brreak up” post. Almost the identical thing happened t me many years ago. A couple years later my life change- I really grew up, got married and I have 4 kids and 10 grandkids. YOU are stronger than even you know- Can’t wait to hear your plans- xo Diana

  • Amy C

    Much congrats to you! You are a true warrior! That dress rocks! I’ve been waiting for this all day. Some man out there will be so lucky to have you some day. I have learned in my 36 years and two ex husbands that you have to be able to love yourself solo 100% first. I’m to the point that I may never want to give up my solo life. Hehe… I’m so happy you are going to continue with your blog. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. You have inspired me to dust off my sewing machine and clean out my closet. My 7 year old daughter loves your posts to. Here’s to another great year!

  • Kirsten

    I just found your blog a few weeks ago, but have read a lot of old posts. And I don’t even sew, but I like seeing what you do to transform a piece from drab to fab. Thanks for everything! I wish you continued success in finding happiness after your plans changed this year…

  • Emily

    I just began to follow your blog, and you are truly an inspiration! I look forward to hearing your new plans, and following all as time unfolds. I just bought my first sewing machine last year, and I hope that someday i will be as courageous and talented as you to ReFashion items. I love this post and the lesson of taking what life gives you and making something great, no matter how terrible it is!! Keep up the AMAZING work!!!

  • Beth

    Congrats! I am so glad that you did this blog. You are so open and honest that your readers really get to make a connection while they enjoy your amazing refashions. You’ve inspired so many people! So excited to hear what will come with year three! (And now I can stop worrying it will stop here.) πŸ™‚

  • Amanda

    Your last post of the challenge and I have to admit to just a suggestion of a hint of a little tear in the corner of my eye! How strange that your challenge on the other side of the world can effect some one you have never and are never likely to meet! Not only have you inspired me to get out my sewing machine but also my 9 year old! The rather hideous dress grandma has just given her is about to be refashioned – all her idea! Looking forward to the new challenge!

  • Muireann

    Congratulations! I’ve been following you for a few months and really enjoy seeing what you’ve done. Good luck with year 3!

  • NorthernStar

    What a completely inspiring way to end this year. I am so impressed that you have symbolically given this upsetting dress a new lease of life. I know I don’t know you, but I have seen you deal with your sad break up with grace, dignity and humour and I am delighted, and unsurprised, that you have reached the other side and walked back out into the sunshine. It’s nothing less that you deserve, Jillian. Not once did you break your promise to yourself, even on the darkest days, and that alone shows you are a woman of substance. I am chuffed to bits that you are continuing… I enjoy seeing you pop up in my in box every day and yes, you have changed my opinion of fashion. I am now a committed refashionista. Cheers, Jilllian, bloody great BIG cheers!!!!!!!

  • Ms. Attitude

    Whoa! You are an inspiration. I have to say that you saved the best for last. I am proud of you and the challenges you have over come and I don’t even know you! This project of yours has been amazing to follow and can’t wait to see what you have in store for the future.

  • countrymouse

    Wonderful. What a year. I’ve loved every post and you really rounded it off in style with your refashioned wedding dress. So pleased to hear you will be around for Year 3. Rock on, Refashionista and Friends!

  • Amy Kalbster

    Jillian – you rock! Congrats on making it through the year and on re-making your life! I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  • Cecile

    Jilly – congratulations! Thanks for sharing all of your work with us and keeping to this self-imposed challenge through thick and thin. You’ve given us lots of ideas and laughs! Keep going, girl!

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