Saturday, May 2, 2009


My two-month Wardrobe Refashion contract officially started Thursday, May 1. 

Here are some principles I’m using as I embark on this contract not to purchase new clothes for two months—and the additional deal I made not to buy thrift clothes, either, for that period.   

1.  I will refashion to make my clothes fit better or otherwise be more enjoyable to wear. 

2.  I will refashion to make use of good quality and fabric.

3.  I will have fun and experiment.   

4.  I will accept failure and learn from it.

5.  I will attempt to make things I love or at least can wear comfortably—the same standards I have for new clothes.   


I’ve now written enough text that you didn’t see any pictures of me when you  opened my blog.   

I can now proceed to this.  Here’s a Woolrich dress I wore when I was pregnant.  It takes a lot of courage to post this.  Why did I keep it?  It feels like a blanket, the color is neutral, and…I don’t know.     


Clearly, though, I can’t wear it like this. The night I committed to my WR contract, my sewing machine was in the shop.  So I got this dress out and started cutting.  Here’s the result.  


Better?  I think so.  I didn’t even hem it.  This refashion took about ten minutes. 

The empire waist is a style that works for me, and it’s worth the challenge to make it work.  I’ve noticed that the new-millenium style of empire waist has the horizontal bodice seam way higher, which cuts right across my bust.  This older style is better on me. 

I’ve used other principles about what looks best on me, like where the bottom should hit, and having 3/4 sleeves.  When I get my machine back I will hem the bottom.  The “rolled” hem tends to flip up and draw attention to that horizontal line. 

I like this new top.  It strikes a reasonable balance between flattering and comfortable.  I don’t have to suck my tummy in every minute, either.    

You might also be interested in some other posts about wardrobe refashioning and “post consumer clothing.”  Here, here, and here

So, what do you think?! 


Unknown said...

Amazing, you can't even recognize what it WAS! Great idea :)

Frugal Scholar said...

Very nice! And I was a skeptic.

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

Great job. I'm so with you on the empire seams that cut across mid-bust - I just wonder if they think we all have smaller boobs and so it should fit under?

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I find a top that has the seam in the correct place.

Good luck with the challenge -I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Diana said...

Cutting up the dress was a huge improvement! Now it's a stylish top. This is a very good start to your wardrobe re-fashion journey.

Zuzana said...

I am thoroughly impressed with your skills.;)
Very stylish and fresh, what a wonderful inspiration.;)
I hope you are having a lovely weekend.;)

Cheryl said...

Love what you did with that dress! I'm a big fan of refashioning myself. I recently took a sheath-style maternity dress to the tailor (Okay, my youngest is now 10 yrs old... I only kept the dress because it was the most scrumptious raw silk fabric & couldn't bear to part with it). The tailor took in the side seams and brought the neckline down from a high crew neck to a scoop neck and voila! I was rockin' a brand new sexy sheath dress for a measly $30 in alteration fees! Wish I'd done it sooner!

So now I'm eyeing other things in my closet to see what else can be brought up to date or fitted better to my current shape. It's like getting the thrill of new clothes yet still being able to say (when DH asks)... "What, this old thing?!" Why, I've had it for 10 years!

Seeker said...

Yeah!!!!!! What a great way to start!!! That was such a nice job.
Keep it dear, and I'll look forward to see your improvements.


Unknown said...

so clever of you! what a great idea.

Linda Lu said...

I love the idea of "refashion-ing".

~h~ said...

Thank-you for stopping by my blog. "Refashioning" is a great idea. Great re-purposing of a maternity dress! I've been considering purchasing a sewing machine of late myself. Maybe for Mother's Day... :)

Unknown said...

Ooooh that's wonderful! Wow - the one thing I do not to - am always impressed with folks who sew clothing!! Wonderful job!!
I found you at Robert's blog. SO fun to find someone from my area. Loved you pictured in the previous post!! Sarah

drollgirl said...

i think it works out quite well!!! and i HATE when the empire waist cuts across the boobs. not good! hate that!!!

and i had an art teacher that once told me YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS???? and i just looked at him, and he said YOU ARE AFRAID TO FAIL!!!! YOU DON'T SEEM TO REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE TO MAKE MANY BAD DRAWINGS BEFORE THE GOOD ONES WILL COME OUT. he was so right! and you already know that principle, so you are ahead of the game!

and your first attempt was already a smashing success, so that is a super start!!!

Jennifer said...

The top looks great - and you're right,it's an improvement on the dress. Is this the first alteration you've done? You've inspired me to take another look at some of my things.

sallymandy said...

Thanks, Sher!

And you too, Frugal. I was a skeptic, too. I think there are lots of interpretations of what Wardrobe Refashion can be.

Imogen: Yes, with those high empire seams one can sort of have a quad-boob effect, if you have much bust at all.

Simple: thanks for visiting. I appreciate your support!

Protege: You're always so kind. I actually have few skills. This required the "snippety snip" skill. And I did have a nice weekend. :)

Cheryl: thank you so much. Your silk maternity dress sounds marvy! I loved your story. Maybe post a photo sometime. ?

Seeker: thanks, kind friend.

Doreen: thank you.

Lilith: Yes, it appeals to the tightwaddish and creative part of me. :)

Apriliniowa: Thanks for stopping here, too. I hope you get your sewing machine. Mine's 28 years old and very simple, but also well designed and nice to use.

Sarah: Well, as you'll see, I didn't sew this. I haven't sewn an actual garment for many years. This only required scissors! Thank you for stopping by. Where are you from? And who's Robert? :)

Droll: well, it's not going to win any awards, but my criteria these days is: can I stand to wear it, and is it comfy (and, truthfully, does it offer my tummy a place to relax?). Yes, thank you, both you and Imogen get it about the quad-boob empire seams. Whose idea was that? Not looking good!!

I love your story about your art teacher. Thank you. I think he's right...but it's a hard lesson.

Jennifer; Thank you, dear.

The WalMart Vegan said...

I love it!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I am trying so hard to figure out what to do with the stuff I have sitting here. It is funny, but now my children see something that is too small or stained or whatever (no longer their favorite piece) and they say, "Put it in mom's pile." Needless to say I now have quite a pile.

I'm impressed that you have come up with rules. So far all I know is that my stack is growing.

Jennifer Campaniolo said...

I love this idea! Too bad I don't know how to sew! I also love empire waist--it's so flattering on women.

I'm finding that my tops still fit fine, but most of my pants are tight. I wear full skirts a lot because they're the most forgiving!

Keep up the sewing and posting!


Darla said...

You did a great job. I'm having fun visiting various creative fashion blogs. I haven't bought much for the past year but I haven't really refashioned anything either.


Woman in a Window said...

I'm impressed. I really like it.

Cynthia L. H. said...

Wonderful idea! I really like how it turned out! Looks SO flattering! (Like your jewelry, too, and the layering with the other top....
Good job!
I'm inspired.

Tessa said...

Oh, you are clever! The top looks fab and so on trend, too!

littlebyrd said...

I can't believe how creative you got with this - it looks so great! You have got some talent!!

Gal Friday said...

I am impressed by your frugalness and cleverness and that you can sew! The top looks current and oh so comfy.

Kat Mortensen said...

That is a huge improvement! I'm going to go and take a look at my existing (though paltry) wardrobe.