Changing Your Clothes

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


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Makeover Monday: Lining up!

You know how sometimes, even when something doesn’t need to be changed, you feel like changing it anyway? (I’m convinced this is the explanation for my lipgloss collection.) Well, I was in that kind of mood coming into today’s Makeover Monday; I only had to choose a suitable victim garment on which to experiment.

Enter the grey knit skirt.

I’ve had this skirt for at least 8 years, probably longer; I got it from Anthropologie, and it’s a triumph of featherweight 100% merino wool sweater-knit, with a pure silk lining, in my favorite shades of grey: charcoal and silver.

Grey knit skirt, before

Grey knit skirt, before. Nothing wrong with it, I love the style, I just suddenly want to change the lining, which, as you can see, peeks through the drop-stitch panels.

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Makeover Monday, Meet Closet Confessions: Who Am I, Anyway?

I promised you another juicy Closet Confession, and today is my monthly Makeover Monday, ergo…

This is hard. I’ve been thinking about tackling this subject here for quite a while, and now seems to be as good a time as any to stop procrastinating. Yes, it will be a makeover (eventually), but I have to start with the confession.

Here’s the thing. You know how I’ve written about our wardrobes evolving as a reflection of changes in our lives, and in us as individuals? Well, for several months now I’ve been feeling thoroughly confused, clothes-wise; it’s like I’m no longer sure what works on me, what’s flattering, what’s age-appropriate, and most perplexing of all, what is actually a reflection of who I am?

Ah, there’s the real question I’ve been avoiding like an itchy wool sweater:

Who am I?

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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: A Tale of Two Skirts, Part Two

Previously on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to create a peplum out of a full skirt, and prepare it to be attached to a pencil skirt. Today, we’ll finish this project by sewing the peplum to the skirt, then reattaching the partially-removed zipper and the waistband.

Let’s get started, continuing from last week’s post, which got us to the point of pinning the peplum in place and adjusting the gathers.

1. Pin and machine-baste the gathered peplum to grey skirt.

Red Alert! If the zipper on your skirt is not an invisible zipper, like mine, reattach your zipper before adding the peplum.

Adding peplum to skirt

Adding peplum to skirt. As shown, make sure that the seam allowance of your pencil skirt are folded out; this is where you will reattach your zipper. And fold the zipper-opening edges of your peplum under before pinning it to the skirt. Machine-baste, using previous stitching line as your guide.

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Makeover Monday: The Tail End of a Shirt Story

For the past 2 Makeover Mondays, I’ve been experimenting to see how many things I could make from a single shirt. First, I took the collar off to wear on its own, then I tried making a sort of cowl/scarf hybrid with the body of the shirt. And today, I have a quick and easy project to make with the shirt sleeves!

I’ve had a number of ideas for using the shirt sleeves, but I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite, the concept of which is to make a scarf that, when worn, looks like you’ve draped a jacket or cardigan over your shoulders, you know, with the sleeves hanging down in front, or maybe loosely tied. That’s the idea, anyway.

Let’s start by taking a look at what’s left of my increasingly-cannibalized shirt:

What's left of my shirt

What’s left of my shirt, after taking off the collar and the body below the arms. Hmm, it does kind of look like a shrug…

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Makeover Monday: A Shirt Story

Last week on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to remove a collar from a button-down shirt, and finish the raw edges to create a fun, versatile accessory piece. Today, I decided to experiment with the rest of that shirt. We’ll see how this turns out…

Faced with the raw-edged remains of my now collarless-shirt, I thought I should at least give it a chance at a new life. After all, it’s a nice-quality, soft, lightweight cotton in a beautiful coral-meets-terracotta color, and it’s only the collar that’s gone:

Collarless shirt

My shirt after last week’s collar-removing project; this week, I’ll see what I can make from what’s left.

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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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