My First Date Night Dress and Slip

Y’all know my love for April Rhodes‘ fabric from my first quilt, but did you know she also designs garment patterns?! I hadn’t made any of her patterns yet, but I’d had the Date Night Dress pattern in my “to-make” pile for a while.

I’m trying to make more clothing to build my handmade wardrobe. The Date Night Dress pattern is pretty straight forward so I figured it was a great piece to jump back into garment-making with.

The Date Night Dress

To begin with, my sister’s birthday was coming up so I made a “muslin” to test the pattern which I planned to give to her for her birthday (she fits typical clothing sizes better than I do). I shortened the size Medium by 2 inches and it was still a bit long for her, but she claims to like it 🙂

Here is how it turned out:

datenightdress2

Katie’s Date Night Dress!

That adorable floral knit fabric is from Girl Charlee.

For my own Date Night Dress, I shortened the pattern an additional 2 inches (4 inches total) and brought the neckline in and up a bit. I used a burgundy linen blend fabric that I picked up a JoAnn’s for my version.

datenightdress1

My Date Night Dress!

Fits perfectly! I’m so glad I took the time to adjust the pattern as I was going to best fit me. Now I’ll easily be able to whip up future, well-fitting Date Night Dresses with ease!

The Simple Slip

One of the cool features of the Date Night Dress pattern is that it comes with a second pattern: a simple slip! When Rachel from Sew Happily recommended this pattern to me, she recommended making the slip because the arm holes are quite large (which is actually really nice when you live in an area with extremely hot and humid summers like we do… Hello, air flow!). Since neither of the materials I used were translucent (and I thought a matching bra or undershirt would suffice), I considered skipping it. But I knew a slip would be worth my time because of its versatility so I gave in.

For my slip, I ordered this rayon challis fabric in ivory from Imagine Gnats. It was so soft! Perfect for a slip. With 2 yards, I even had enough left over to make my own bias tape for the straps:

bias tape

I shortened the slip the same amount that I shortened the dress. I ended up cutting off the first set of straps I made (I think I attached them wrong – there was a double layer across the back that didn’t look great) and bringing the armpit in a bit (for some reason it was gaping open awkwardly on me). It was worth the modifications because the fit is great on this one too!

slip

I’m excited to keep plundering through my “to-make” list so stay tuned! I reorganized all my patterns last weekend and rediscovered a lot of great tops and dresses I had forgotten about (like the entire Just Add Jeans collection from Pattern Anthology). I’ve already got a Day Tripper top (pattern by Shwin Designs) underway and hope to have it finished soon – pictures to come!

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Thrifted Thursday: Sailor Skirt

A few weeks ago I hit the jackpot while thrifting. I found this super 80s (though I have no idea which decade it’s actually from) sailor dress that was in perfect condition and just screamed “take me home tonight!” So I did.

It's like I'm a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

It’s like I’m a life-size version of how my Mom dressed me at age 4.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jordan, why on earth would you even consider refashioning this dress? It’s like 11 shades of all things perfect!”

Well, friends – here’s my defense:

1. Long dresses are a short girl’s worst nightmare (is it possible for my legs to look shorter?! Oh yes, it is.)

2. My sister’s birthday was fast approaching and I had not even started on that bag I’d promised her (new designs are fun to dream up in your head, but extremely intimidating to actually start so I’d caved to the intimidation…for now). I knew I wanted to make her something special. She loves sailing so obviously she loves anything nautical and THIS was IT.

In addition, my sister had recently started a new job (being that myself, my sister and both our Hubs started new jobs this year, we’ve declared 2014 “The Year of the Slices” – which includes spouses 😉 ). She was transitioning from the classroom to take on the role of a “Reading Coach” at the same school where she’d been planting her roots for the last 5 years. Since she’d be out of the classroom and in meetings a lot more often she’d already started the hunt for more “grown-up” clothes. So I thought: “I can help with this!”

My definition of “grown-up” clothes is a little skewed. Rather than being defined by suits of any kind [I. will. not!] I believe in cardigans. Lots of cardigans! And this was about to be a “just-add-cardigan” outfit!

While trying on this beauty, I realized the back zipper stopped just above the skirt. Meaning: I could easily chop off the bottom and preserve the top without struggling around removing a zipper. Win!

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it's just too stellar.

One last chance to truly appreciate this beauty..from the poof sleeves to the square collar with bow embellishment, it’s just so stellar.

Like any thrifted outfit, I started by washing (because duh) and drying – a recommendation for all fabric you work with. Whether you are chopping cloth off the bolt or refashioning, always wash and dry so that you don’t end up with an outfit for a toddler after it’s first wash.

I used some washi tape to secure the sides of the dress to the door I’d hung it on. It’d probably be better to cut on a flat surface, but I like to bend the rules for my convenience.

Since I’d decided this would make a super easy (did I mention my sister’s birthday was fast approaching?!) elastic waist skirt that would be a perfect gift for my sister, I started by cutting the skirt off just below the gathered top/waist of the original dress.

taped edge

Snip snip!

This pretty much ends my photographed steps – I’m not so great at documenting my visual progress. However, I loosely followed a tutorial I found a while ago that worked for me – it’s this one from Extra Petite.

I adapted this tutorial a little: I omitted the pockets because my sister always complains they make her hips look too big. If you love pockets and have little hips like myself, include them – they’re fun! I also decreased the width a bit because the first skirt I made following the tutorial was a bit too full for me.

Once I had inserted the elastic waist band, I had my husband stretch the skirt to it’s full capacity. Then I went around it and vertically pinned a few places about 6 inches apart. I used those places to stitch vertical lines so that the skirt wouldn’t bunch unevenly at the waist. Bonus: you can’t see the stitches because of how they fall between the bunching.

pinned elastic

Here you can see the pins – they are a bit closer (maybe 3 inches) once the elastic is “un-stretched”

And – tada! – the final product of this simple skirt:

skirt

Makes for a pretty cute skirt, right?!

While it is cute on my door and all, it’s way cuter on my sister!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn't even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Excuse the wrinkles (though you probably didn’t even notice because of all the cuteness!), I made her try it on as soon as she opened the present!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

Seriously! How cute are these two?!

TIP: I have several skirt tutorials pinned on my Seamstress Dreams Pinterest board where I collect all the clothing tutorials I’ll probably never try, but dream about conquering one day. I usually read several tutorials before starting a project like this and combine little pieces from each until I get what I want.

I hope you enjoyed this #ThriftedThursday post!

PS: I’m still working on finishing up the matching top. Keep an eye out for that one – coming soon!

{Catch up on all the Thrifted Thursday posts here.}

Thrifted Thursday: Housedress Refashion

I’ve already confessed to you my love for the ReFashionista’s blog on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post so it should be no surprise that I’m attempting to put that inspiration into action!

Today I’m showcasing my first refashion which I’m excited to say was a total success!

I tried my best to take pictures of the steps, but I encourage you to browse through the ReFashionista’s blog for tips and inspiration! She’s been at this refashioning business far longer than I have and she’s much better at taking step-by-step pictures.

My favorite outfit from the ReFashionista so far has been the seersucker house dress she revamped a few weeks ago. As I admitted in July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, I’ve been in search of a house dress to do the same! If you’ve ever tried on a house dress (or a muu muu), you know exactly why. Comfort is THE reason these fabulous things were created. Fashion or figure flattery (is that a word? Spell Check thinks so. I’m running with it!) were not the intention here.

My mission to find the perfect house dress to refashion journey began as the thrift racks parted and out jumped this wonderfully wrinkled seersucker linen blend house dress right into my arms.

It barely covered my sneakers :)

It barely covered my sneakers 🙂

Yes, it was long. And wide. And super unflattering on someone of my height.

But the sleeves!!

Despite your assuming the square front pockets were my initial attraction, it was actually the fabulous sleeves!

Despite your assuming the square front pockets were my initial attraction, it was actually the fabulous sleeves!

These sleeves reminded me of the April Rhodes Date Night Dress pattern I’d bought and told myself I’d make this summer, but of course I let fear (and a lack of time..) drive me away from tackling that project (yet!).

In addition, these are the kind of sleeves that every Southern lady appreciates. They’re flouncy enough to let a little breeze in so you’re not a total puddle of sweat when venturing outdoors in this swamp-like heat.

This one made me so giddy to tackle! So, I decided to make it my first refashion. Ever!

I started by trying on the dress inside out (so I could make marks) and pulling it in on each side to get an estimate of about how much I would need to take it in.

Then I turned the dress back to it’s right side and gently started ripping off the square pockets from the front of the dress. I would’ve loved to keep them (because I love pockets of all sorts and kinds…even though I never use them), but upon trying it on I realized the pockets would get split down the middle and be useless anyway when I took it in.

housedress_seamripAfter successfully (and painstakingly slowly..) ripping the pockets off, I turned the dress inside out and tried it on again. This time I placed pins along the sides of the dress until the fit was roughly what I wanted.

I think this dress may have been handmade because there were no tags in it. That being said, I kept having trouble telling the front from the back so once I figured it out, I stitched in one of my old fabric resliced labels so I’d easily know the back of the dress now.

Plus, we can say this dress has officially been "resliced"!

Plus, we can say this dress has officially been “resliced”!

I then drew a few marks with my vanishing ink fabric marker (highly recommend getting one of these!) in the arm pit / bust area. This is an area that can make or break your dress so be sure to mark carefully (give yourself a little extra “wiggle room”). After the pins are placed, be very careful when taking the dress back off so your pins don’t fall off and you lose your measurements (you could make marks with your marker where the pins are just in case. If you do this, be sure to mark both sides of where the pin is placed).

The door to my craft room + one of those hangers with the swivel hook on top has become the best set up for alterations. If I had one of those fancy dress making mannequins that’d be a good substitute, but I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!

So, I hung up the dress & used washi tape (it’s just fancy painters tape, but I found some cute rolls for only $1 at JoAnn’s!) to secure the edges of the skirt to my surface (in this case: my door).

housedress_before 1

I taped this area so that I could cut the bottom of the dress easily while it was hanging. If you have room on the floor, you could get fancy and use a cutting board or even a table, but again – I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!

See this cute washi tape! I love that it won’t rip the paint off and it’s easy to rip off the roll. Great for crafting!

housedress_washi

 

Here you can see the pins along the outer edge of the dress (turned inside out). If you look close you can even see my purple marks.housedress_sleeve & pins

I cut quite a bit off the bottom of the dress. This material is great weight and very sturdy so I’m looking forward to using the scraps to make a purse.

housedress_scrap

 

From here, I basically straight stitched along my marks from the edge of the sleeve to the bottom of the dress (where the edge was still raw).

Before cutting the excess fabric, I tried on the dress one more time to make sure it fit. After confirming the new seams worked, I cut the excess fabric from each side of the dress.

To secure the bottom hem of the dress, I used fusible hem tape.

hem tape

Sew Caroline introduced me to this stuff in her Out And About Dress pattern. Basically, you just roll the tape out and stick it to the edge of your seam. Then remove the paper so that both sides of the tape are sticky. Flip the edge of the fabric so that the tape is sandwiched between your hem. Iron it in place so that it fuses to the fabric. If you’d like, you can leave it like this because the tape is supposed to be permanent. I don’t trust it, so I always top stitch over it to secure the edge. If your raw edges fray, you can use a tight zig zag stitch or serger if you’re fancy like that.

Here’s what my final product looks like!

housedress_after

I picked the dress up for only $3 & found the belt for 50 cent! Win, win.

And here – a side by side before and after!

housedress_before after

So what do you think?

This refashion was oh-so-easy and super fun! I’m definitely going to be doing more of these in my new Thrifted Thursday series (I’m using “series” loosely here since I may not have a new refashion every week, but when I do – I’ll post it on Thursdays!).

 

What I’m Lovin’ in July

Guess what happened again?!

Yep, I’m late on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, but I figured it’d be a good way to kick off August 😉

resliced by Jordan

Here’s my list of what I was lovin’ in July (and maybe still lovin’ in August! 😉 )

1. Inspiration from the ReFashionista! Did you see that awesome post from BuzzFeed about her?!

I had already heard about the ReFashionista from my dear friend Shanika and have been hoping to run into her around town (she’s from Columbia too!). We haven’t met in person yet, but I’m following her blog like we’re besties.

Promptly after reading the BuzzFeed post, I skipped on over to Facebook and signed up to receive notifications from the ReFashionista’s page.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Now every time she posts, I see the link and become immediately infatuated with the magic she performs on sad, deserted thrift wear. The other day she posted about a seersucker house dress refashion which has since sent me into a tizzy looking for an abandoned house dress.

refashionista

Mind blown. She’s a genius.

And this one! It’s a no sew refashion that involves her tying the sleeves around her waist — I mean, who thinks of this brilliance?! Oh yeah, the ReFashionista.

I think my favorite part about the ReFashionista’s blog is that she includes step-by-step instructions (usually with pictures) of how she performed the refashion. A girl who shares her tricks – now that’s what I love! 🙂

2. Supporting my local thrift store! This is a double whammy.

First, I love a good purge (remember that time I told you about my mission to live small?). I’ve been on a kick this summer of simplifying which apparently means reorganizing my fabric collection a billion times and going through my closet filling donation bags…over and over.

Second, I love dropping donations off at Revente’s Second Chances because the staff is always friendly and they always have the best stock! (AND their sales benefit the local Women’s Shelter! Win. Win. Win.)

Example: I have been riding around with 3 bags in my car that I’d been meaning to donate (aren’t we all guilty of this?!). On my lunch break this week I decided to swing by while I was out and alleviate my back seat. Well – some purple polka dots caught my eye and next thing I know I had found this Boden dress in perfect condition for only $15!

boden

Seriously. How precious is the collar?!

Keep an eye on my Instagram because you know I’ll post a picture when I wear it! 😉

{Confession: I didn’t even try it on because…$15 for a Boden, y’all! I figured I could pull some of my ReFashionista inspiration on it if I have to!}

3. The fact that running for even 5 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart attack. 

You’re doubting me aren’t you? Check out the very-dreamy Brian William’s clip from NBC Nightly News.

As a Public Health grad, I know that any physical exercise is healthy. BUT our standard was always 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Alas – we can all feel fine with the sub-half-hour gym visit after a long day at work (or is that just me?).

Looking for a quick run? Try this one from my friend Alex at Work Hard Eat Harder:

run

[Click the photo for more details on Work Hard Eat Harder]

 4. Matching handmade bags!

Keep an eye out for a post about my version of Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse (which may also be my favorite purse now!) that I sewed up just in time for Baltimore (also – more to come on that trip!). The cherry on top of this bag: it matches my Noodle Head Super Tote!

favpurse

Doesn’t every gal need a full set of matching bags? Up next: a wallet! 🙂

5. Rediscovering how much I love to read!

The Hubs started a new job a few weeks ago and has to be to work at 6:00am. In addition, I’m working our “summer schedule” at the school district meaning: a 10 hour days that start at 7:00 with Fridays off. I don’t have quite enough time to get by the gym before work like usual so that’s been rescheduled to after work (which makes for a very long day, but I’m not complaining because I rest up on Fridays and sew!). All that said, I’ve been trading morning news for some quiet reading time which has been so delightful.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog's head peace remained.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog’s head peace remained.

I’ve got a few summer books to recommend so keep an eye out for those posts soon!

6. Supporting my favorite non-profit with photos!

My very favorite local non-profit who tirelessly fights for women’s reproductive rights in South Carolina (oh heyyy TellThem!) invited me to participate in their photo-a-day challenge for August via Twitter. I’m always looking for an excuse to post more photos (I’m obsessed with Instagram) so obviously I’m in!

tellthem

I’d love it if you participated with me! You can read more about the challenge on TellThem’s blog, but here are the basics: post a photo that relates to the corresponding day’s theme (ie: August 1st we’ll all post something related to “celebration”), include the hashtag #SCrahrah and tag @TellThemSC in your post (find TellThem on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest).

*AND*

for the grand finale..

7. It’s my sister’s birthday month!!

kt

Words can’t describe my infatuation with my sister. She is EVERYTHING to me and I love love love her so much!

She’s not one for big birthday celebrations, but I’ve got some great crafting planned to make up for the fact that I was out of town for her birthday…again. Keep an eye out for that too – you bet I’ll share some pictures with you!

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here}