Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


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Makeover Monday: Ballroom Dress to Tango Skirt!

Previously on Makeover Monday, I cut up a stretch-velvet dress I had made several years ago for ballroom dancing; so far, this has netted me an asymmetrically-hemmed top. Today, I’m taking the remainder of the erstwhile dress, adding some contrasting velvet, and turning it into a tango skirt!

Here’s my ballroom dress, before I went a little scissors-happy:

Velvet dress

Velvet dress, pre-makeover.

After cutting this dress diagonally into 2 pieces, here’s what the skirt portion looks like; I’ve laid it over a pencil skirt to get an idea of what I’d have to add to turn this oddly-shaped thing into a useable garment.

Mockup 1

Skirt mock-up 1. Since the original dress was quite close-fitting, I thought this slim pencil skirt would give me some idea how to add on to the remaining velvet piece, to create a new skirt.

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Makeover Monday: Ballroom Dress to Tango Top!

Previously on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to change a top’s long sleeves into cap sleeves, making a little-worn garment much more versatile. (Since this top is black, having cap sleeves also means showing a little more skin, as opposed to looking like I’m being swallowed up into a black hole. This is a good thing.)

Today, I’m doing another quick project: converting a dress I made a few years ago for ballroom dancing into a top I can wear with multiple tango skirts— and I just might get another skirt out of it too*!

Here’s my dress, pre-makeover:

Velvet dress

Velvet ballroom dress, before its makeover.

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Makeover Monday: Recapping a Top Story

For this Makeover Monday*, I have a quick tutorial for you: changing long sleeves into cap sleeves! It may sound tres simple, and it is, but as with so many of my projects, it also brings up issues that I wouldn’t necessarily think about if I wasn’t going to write about it afterwards.

My top is made with an interesting textured nylon fabric, very stretchy and lightweight; it also has a shapely, close fit, plus a bit of support, thanks to the two-layer construction of the fabric that helps to create the puckered texture. My favorite feature, though, is the neckline, a modified square. (I happen to love square necklines, but they are amazingly rare in ready-to-wear.) Here’s my top, pre-makeover:

My long-sleeved top

My long-sleeved top, before its makeover.

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Makeover Monday: Cuff ‘Em!

I confess to a fashion crime… my narrow-leg jeans are just a tiny bit too short. Usually, with a narrower leg, I can get away with a “regular” length, meaning a 31-32″ inseam; with wider legs like boot-cuts, I’d have to go to a “tall” or “long” length (33-34″ inseam). These jeans seemed perfect at first, but after a solid 2 years of a lot of wearing and washing, they’ve gradually gotten a little shorter, to the point where I can only (barely) get away with wearing them with high heels; with flats, they’re maybe 3/4″ too short, at least to my eye. What to do, what to do…

When I was in the fabric store a few weeks ago (getting more dye for my other jeans’ makeover), this idea popped into my head: why not add a contrast band or cuff to the legs of my jeans to lengthen them?

In spite of a rather bewildering array of denim fabric choices, I couldn’t find the black denim I wanted, but I did find an intriguing piece with a bronze metallic finish on one side, very like the lacquered treatments so popular in denim right now. Here are my jeans in their sad “before” condition, and the fabric I found to cuff ’em:

"Before" jeans and bronze-finish denim for cuffs (these are not the same jeans as the ones I dyed on previous Makeover Mondays).

“Before” jeans and bronze-finish denim for cuffs. (These are not the same jeans as the ones I dyed on previous Makeover Mondays, by the way. Now I’m starting to think my whole denim wardrobe is just sad…)

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Makeover Monday: Special Bonus Feature!

Previously on Makeover Monday:

We followed a pair of my jeans as they underwent intensive treatments at the Changing Your Clothes day spa: not one, but two dye baths, plus trimming their flared legs down to a straighter silhouette.

And now, I present the last in this 4-part Makeover Monday series, a Special Bonus Feature: A Change at the Top!

During last week’s Makeover Monday episode, while my jeans were lolling in their black dye bath, frankly, I got bored. Fascinating as the dyeing process can be, the prospect of 45 minutes standing in front of my kitchen sink, stirring constantly (I’m quoting the instructions) lost its appeal about 13 minutes in. I stuck with it manfully until the 35-minute mark, and then I just couldn’t take it any more.

Since I had begun to suspect that the stirring mandate was to counteract the fabric’s natural tendency to float, I had a sudden inspiration: if I found something else to throw into the dye on top of the jeans, it might help to keep the jeans under the surface, and presumably increasing the dye they were absorbing. I decided to risk a couple of minutes with no stirring, and dashed around looking for something suitable to dye.

Aha! I found this white top with clear sequins, definitely one of those what-was-I-thinking wardrobe moments (I almost never wear white):

White sequinned top before dyeing

White sequinned top before dyeing. Yes, it’s wrinkled— it was at the bottom of a bag of things destined for the thrift shop when I rescued it. Note how hard it is to see the sequins.

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