Changing Your Clothes

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


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Makeover Monday: Rethinking the Concept

I’m working on some fairly major makeovers right now, none of which are quite ready for their close-ups, so I’m going to take a little break from the projects this week, and give some thought to my whole makeover concept.

If I was going to have a total makeover myself (clothes, hair, makeup), I would only consider it a success if the changes were more than just superficial; helpful shopping advice, greater confidence, more openness to trying new styles, or tips for tailoring clothes to fit me perfectly, for example. And if I apply that same thinking to my Makeover Monday projects, shouldn’t I expect more than, say, newly-dyed jeans or a scarf turned into a sweater?

I’d like to think, when I’m choosing and working on my Makeover Monday projects, that you’re getting more than just a tutorial; after all, maybe you don’t actually have a pair of jeans in need of an overhaul, or a scarf that you love and yet don’t wear. If that’s the case, I still want you to derive some benefit. So now, after quite a few weeks of makeovers, maybe it’s time for me to ask myself: Is there more to my makeovers than meets the eye?

The more I think about the answer to this question, the more I come back to the original intent of this blog: to inspire you to think about, and wear, the clothes you already have in new ways. That may involve repairs, alterations, embellishments, or all-out makeovers, or it might be simply rethinking the way you use the items in your current wardrobe. I’ll give a simple example from my own closet: jeans (recognize them from a previous Makeover Monday?), cowl-neck knit top, tweedy jacket, and my very favorite (okay, only) Hermes silk scarf, a souvenir from my very first trip to Paris over 20 years ago. Here are 3 ways I wear the same scarf:

1 scarf 3 ways

1 scarf 3 ways: draped and tied at the neck, swinging from a belt loop, and embellishing the bag.

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Makeover Monday: Cuff ‘Em! (The Sequel)

Previously on Makeover Monday: A pair of too-short jeans gets a glam fix with the addition of deep hem bands in bronze-metallic-finished denim! But when I discovered I didn’t have enough of the contrast fabric to do a double-layer cuff, I got to thinking…

What if I added a different fabric to line the cuff? Then, in addition to the full-length look with the bronze bands, I could fold the cuffs up to capri length, showing the second fabric, and have a whole new look! I thought about the type of fabric for a minute; my first instinct (as usual) was to use something fabulous in sequins (I have lots of scraps under this heading), but I reflected that that might not feel too comfortable against my shins when I wear the jeans at full length. (Boo.) A quick rummage through my stash yielded this:

Fabric to line the bronze cuffs

Fabric to line the bronze cuffs: The new fabric (on right) is printed to look like lace, and I think it’s a great complement to both the original denim and the bronze band.

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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: Dyeing to Finish

Previously on Makeover Monday:

My hastily-bought jeans, it turns out, lived up to their “dirty-washed” name, and I decided the boot-cut was just a little too flared for me. So the jeans ventured into the Changing Your Clothes day spa for a much-needed makeover. Day One: Dye with mixture of navy and black:

Spa Day One

Spa Day One: The new color isn’t as dark as I expected, but they’re at least not so “dirty”!

Day Two: Trimming a little off the sides… of the legs.

Spa Day Two

Spa Day Two: The change in the leg width is pretty subtle, but it does make a difference!

And now, the series finale of my epic jeans re-do on this Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish! (Is the suspense killing you yet?) Continue reading


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Makeover Monday: Another Spa Visit for my Jeans

Wouldn’t you know it: just when my jeans are getting used to seeing themselves in their new custom color after their first visit to the Changing Your Clothes Day Spa, today they’re back for Phase 2: a little trim! They’ve let me know they’re not ready for a drastic change, so I’ve promised not to cut more than an inch… from each side. Yes, that’s right, they’re going to go from a classic boot cut to straight legs!

The first step in this seemingly simple process is to analyze the current conditions, in order to make a plan; I’ve learned (the hard way) that having a strategy before making that first crucial snip is the key to a successful outcome.

Tip: I realized, only after my jeans’ dye job last week, that it would have been better to do the leg alterations before dyeing the jeans, because guess what? That antique-gold-colored thread used for the topstitching on the inseam and hem got dyed along with the jeans! So the topstitching thread that I bought for this specific purpose won’t match. However, since I’m planning to overdye the jeans with black, I’m hoping the difference in thread color will not be so noticeable by the time this makeover is complete.

Looking at the jeans, I notice that the inseam is topstitched, but the outseam is not.

Original seams

Original seams: the inseam is topstitched, but the outseam is not.

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Monday Makeover: A Spa Day for my Jeans

Under the heading of “what was I thinking?”: the dirty-wash jeans I bought recently. I admit, I bought them primarily because (a) I needed a decent pair of jeans for a trip I was about to take, and (b) they fit (i.e. they were long enough—not always easy for me to find). Yes, it was a hasty decision. Yes, there was some time pressure.

Yes, I should have known better.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that jeans with a color finish called “dirty” just might look, well, dirty. (And by the way, if the fashion industry can come up with color names like “sand”, “putty”, and “dove” to describe just plain beige, why can’t they come up with a euphemism for “dirty”? Just asking.) Here are my jeans, pre-makeover:

"Dirty" jeans

“Dirty” jeans: Even just after washing, these jeans certainly live up to their dubious color-finish name.

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Easiest Weekend Dressing Ever!

Okay, we now have no excuses left for looking sloppy on the weekends! Refinery29 has put together 5 outfits, each comprised of the following pieces:

1. Jeans

2. T-shirt

3. Flats

4. Sweater

5. Accessories (handbags, jewelry)

Example:

Easy Weekend Outfits Easy weekend outfits, courtesy of Refinery29. Each is based on jeans, T-shirt, sweater, and flats, with handbags and a little jewelry thrown in. Continue reading