I Refashion, And So Can You.

I trust we have all had wonderful holiday seasons and are still riding high on all our New Year’s Resolutions/Goals? We did. We had a lovely visit at Thanksgiving from The Hubs’s Mother and my best gal pal for my birthday, with an impromptu party that The Hubs threw for me. Oh, and he got me a honking sapphire necklace and matching ring. Yes, he does rock, that one.

One of my goals for the year is to really commit to this blog and it’s projects. Yes, Dear Readers, I am committing to YOU! OK, so committing to you means that I get to play with my sewing toys, decorate and organize my new house and go thrift/flea/antique shopping, which makes me thrilled to my cute, little toesies, but I swear I’m not doing this for selfish reasons. Like today. Today, we are going to attempt our first refashion project, which is great for the environment. . . And my closet. . . But, mostly for you and the environment.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, refashioning basically means that you take an existing garment and make it over in some way. While this is my first attempt, I got into the movement by following the ReFashionista’s blog. She started out as a charity project/challenge, by refashioning a piece of clothing given to her by a local thrift shop (benefitting a woman’s shelter) EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR. I’m thrilled when I can say I have brushed my teeth every day for a year (hey, I have kids, they get distracting. don’t judge), let alone make the commitment to be creative every singe day AND then give up my work (yes, she donated all her finished products BACK to the thrift store so they could make more money). She is a little more sporadic now (can you blame her?!), but still has great posts about making over seemingly ugly clothes she got on the ÜBER cheap and looking fashionable. You can find her here: http://www.ReFashionista.net . You should visit and like her on faceplace.

So, here’s my first victim. A pink Oxford type shirt with strange cuffs.

Nice pink shirt, with goofy cuffs.

Nice pink shirt, with goofy cuffs.

Now, they don’t look SO bad, but when you put it on? Remember that period Madonna went through in the 80’s with the big ruffled cuffs, like Carnival? Every time I put this shirt on (and I tried to wear it in this state at least twice), I felt like I should bust out into ‘La Isla Bonita’. However, I picked it up at the local Goodwill for $2, it’s made from a good, light-weight, stretch poplin, and I figured it would be a great way to get my feet wet refashioning. Not gonna lie, I’ve had it for a few months.

Well, I have TWO meetings in TWO consecutive days at the Blonde One’s school this week, and need to get this going. My thought was to tailor the cuffs AND make it so I could flip them up in a jaunty manner, that says, “I am a Warrior Mother, I am here for business, and I am not to be trifled with”. Probably more like, “I’m a SAHM and I’m excited to be out with adults during the day and the occasion to wear clothes other than jeans, even if I do have to argue and fight with you.” But, let’s not quibble over semantics, shall we?

First things first, use a seam ripper (a refashionista’s tool of the trade) and pull off those cuffs.

Now that your cuffs are off, fold the cuff with the folded edge to the sewn edge, get a straight edge and mark your cutting line ADDING FOR A SEAM ALLOWANCE! My shirt already had a 1/2″ seam allowance, so that’s what I used, measure your garment’s seams to see what the original construction used.

Use any straight edge to mark the cut, I just happened to have my new quilter's triangle handy.

Use any straight edge to mark the cut, I just happened to have my new quilter’s triangle handy.

Here's the cuff, folded in half and marked.

Here’s the cuff, folded in half and marked.

Here you can see the part I cut off and the part yet to be cut off.

Here you can see the part I cut off and the part yet to be cut off.

Notice that I have only used a common, ordinary pencil to mark my line. I’m cutting it off, so it doesn’t really matter. Now, sew a new seam on the freshly trimmed edge. See, you don’t have to have a bucket of fancy tools to do this!

Pinned and ready for the machine!

Pinned and ready for the machine!

Now, I’m sure you are noticing my swanky new pins. Right? You should, because THESE pins are for QUILTING, they have flat heads. They are flat so you can lay your big ol’ quilting ruler over them and it won’t be as lumpy as if you used apparel pins. There, you learned something new. Sew your new seam with either a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance, or whatever your garment has.

Now, this part is a little tricky and I will admit to doing it wrong on the first try. Since I want to flip my cuff up, I have to make sure that the unfinished side of the cuff (the wrong side, or WS) needed to face my arm and not the world. However, I also needed to make sure that the seam attaching the cuff to the sleeve didn’t show above my elbow. I hope that you can see how I have turned the cuff right side out and tucked it into the INSIDE of the sleeve, matching the seams.

Right side of cuff (the finished side of the seam) to the wrong side of the sleeve (the unfinished side of the shirt seam).

Right side of cuff (the finished side of the seam) to the wrong side of the sleeve (the unfinished side of the shirt seam).

Here is the cuff, pinned into the sleeve, and ready for the machine!

Here is the cuff, pinned into the sleeve, and ready for the machine!

You can sort of see the previous seam, which makes it easier to figure out where to sew. This also makes it easy to sew a straight seam and not worry too much about measuring the previous seam allowance.

Sew, sew, SEW!

Sew, sew, SEW!

I was kind of worried that my cuffs wouldn’t stay up, and they would constantly be needing attention (so NOT the pulled together and polished look I’m going for), so I lined up the seams on the underside of the sleeve and stitched a little seam across the little hem in the cuff. Thus ensuring a constant state of up.

Lining up the seams, I stitched forward and backwards, ensuring it would stay in place.

Lining up the seams, I stitched forward and backwards, ensuring it would stay in place.

Now, it’s DONE! I’m sure you are thinking that you aren’t going to stumble across a shirt with the same problem when you thrift, but you might find one that you want to shorten the sleeves on, or add cuffs.

Ya-ta-dah-DAH! Finished!

Ya-ta-dah-DAH! Finished!

I’m hoping to pair this with light grey dress slacks and some black patent pumps and belt. Hopefully, it’s the Mommy Armor I need when sitting in a room full of people who try to tell you that they know your kid better than you do. I may not have a fancy degree, or make thousands, but I know my kid and I can look good doing it!

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