Happy summertime, y’all! Life has been crazy with trips and husband being in school so I haven’t made much time for projects. But this weekend I have absolutely no plans so of course I got itchy to do some sort of craft.
This past week, one of my favorite blogs, A Little Bolt of Life, featured DIY Disney painted Toms. I immediately wanted to do it myself (though I knew I would want to try doing a Little Mermaid version) and made a mental note to look for these shoes the next time I was at Walmart. However, while running errands this morning we ended up at Walgreens in the summer section where they had a great selection of cheap flip flops. I suddenly remembered a Pinterest idea from long ago and just had to see if I could pull it off…
So here are the $2.99 beauties I started with:
I started by cutting the plugs off the bottoms of the plastic part til I was left with this:
Then I went into my fabric scrap bag and pulled this awesomeness out:
and then I cut it into strips…
I then threaded both ends of a short strip through the top hole and knotted it on the bottom, making a loop on top. Then I actually cheated a little and sewed the longer strips into tubes so there were no raw edges and then threaded each end into the bottom holes like so:
And then- Wah-la!
I seriously might have a hard time not wearing these all the time, though I’m sure my plantar fasciitis and amazing cankles will talk me out of it eventually. 😉
So whatchu think? Don’t you need to go make some DIY summer footwear now??
I’ve been saving this post for a while as the outcome was a gift and I didn’t want to spoil it!
My cousin Joe is getting married in June and this weekend was his lovely bride, Sam’s, bridal shower. A few months ago, she posted an apron made from the leg of a pair of jeans on my Facebook wall saying I could make it for her as a gift. Though I loved the idea, I already had a gift for her so it got moved to the file in my brain labeled “Wouldn’t it be cool to make this one day,” and I forgot about it. That is until my favorite jeans…
…gave out on me.
BUT then my brain started screaming at me, “HEY! Remember that project Sam told you about? Now you have the right materials for it! You must obsess over it until you find the time to actually make it happen!!” And I said, “You know what Brain? You’re right!!”
So in the meantime while I didn’t have the time to actually be putting needle to thread, I still was following all of my favorite blogs and gathering ideas. One of my favorite inspirations is Dana from danamadeit.com to whom I will never ever hold a candle but she’s at least given us “normal” people a chance by starting a series of video lessons. The one that caught me for this particular project was the one about making your own bias tape. After watching it, I knew that’s what I needed to do for the apron.
At my next trip to Michael’s, I found this fabric (their selection is null but this was in what I’ll call the pillow/embroidery section) and while it was rolled up and I didn’t know if it would be enough I bought it anyways. I was pleasantly surprised when I unrolled it.
Ok, so I had my materials! Jeans, bias tape fabric, and time. GO!
First, I cut the “good” leg (sans holes) off at the hip:
Then I folded in half and cut the arm hole areas by cutting a half moon shape at the top which when unfolded (and evened out a bit) looked like this:
Next came the bias tape! I fearlessly followed Dana’s instruction, cut the fabric on the bias (or at a 45 degree angle) and got to folding and ironing!
Lemme tell ya… Bias tape is my new most favorite thing. No measuring and pinning hems, just place that sucker on your piece, sew, and you have a perfect and professional looking edge. SCORE! Because bias tape also has a bit of give, it can follow curves more easily.
So I had the edges done, now onto the neck strap and tie around the back. I took what was left of my bias tape scraps, put the right sides together and sewed three lines. Then I cut in them in half (essentially making two tubes).
I then took a safety pin on one end of each tube and fed it through to flip it right side out (sorry no pictures). I then ironed and measured how low I wanted the apron to hang and sewed the neck strap in place.
For the back “tie” however, I wanted to figure out a way to not have a bunch of tiny seams in the strap so the easiest thing I could think to do was make one long piece and add velcro to the sides.
Lastly, I decided to add a pocket to the front so I carefully removed one from my jeans with a seam ripper. Unfortunately the pockets had all sorts of embellishments so I just covered it up by using more of my bias tape material!
And the final result looked like this:
I considered adding more details (like the buttons I had that matched the polka dots) but decided (after seeking outside opinions) that I should just leave it as is. I am absolutely thrilled with how it came out and look:
I think she liked it too! What do you think? Do you have an old pair of jeans that you’ve repurposed? I’d love to hear about it!
And now for the piece that I think looks the most different from the original and therefore I impressed myself the most with- my white sundress! So here’s the before in case you forgot:
Not bad but just felt a little frumpy and also, white sundresses and whatever polka dotted, striped, or colored undies I tend to wear just don’t match. So I knew that was the first thing to change. I had a navy sundress in high school that I adored so navy seemed like an obvious choice when choosing my dye. I also decided that I wanted to attach that lace bib from Dress #2 to this dress so I threw that in the mix at the same time.
After going through the dye process, I was reminded of an important lesson- DO NOT expect your finished product to match the color on the box. It’s probably not going to happen. Because when I opened the washer, my dress and bib were not navy but instead this deep purple color which I was TOTALLY ok with!
Then I moved on to the length. I knew that I like longer dresses but I just felt like knee length was the way to go with this one (mostly so there wouldn’t be any unfortunate hugging in areas). I knew I would wear a belt with the finished product (can you tell I’m a big accessorizer?) so I just needed to decide where I wanted the seam/belt to hit my mid-section. I put the dress on and put pin markers where I wanted the seam to fall, took it off, and just chopped! Cutting is always the most terrifying part for me because it seems so final. Unlike the rule “measure twice, cut once,” I usually measure three or four times before cutting. Then I just sewed the top and bottom together (no ruffles this time)!
My finishing touch was to hand sew the lace bib on to the dress. I originally thought that I could sew it higher in the chest region so I could still have that peekaboo effect I thought I would have on Dress #2 but when playing with the placement, I realized that it would look better just as embellishment on top. So I sewed it on, stopping at the seams by the arms so it didn’t just trail off without purpose by my armpits. I know from far away you can’t see the detail as well, but this is my favorite part of this dress. So here’s what the finished product looks like close up:
And then I accessorized with a gold belt and shoes and a simple white cardigan.
One more before and after shot:
So there you have it! Went to the thrift store with only $20 in my pocket and ended up with three great dresses! Do you have a Macklemore-esque success story? I’d love to hear about it!
One down, two to go! I showed you what I did with my Hawaiian wonder, now I’ll show you how I doctored my lovable monstrosity! Here’s a refresher:
I LOVED the print on this fabric. The colors and the bold flowers, all of it just spoke to me… and it must’ve been speaking pretty loudly to drown out the lace bib, shoulder pads, and weird front seam! My original idea was to wear this dress backwards and cut out the fabric behind the lace for a peek a boo effect. It wasn’t til I decided to use the lace bib for my third dress that I changed my mind about the whole design.
Unfortunately I didn’t take many “during” pictures, so I hope you have an imagination!
So first I removed that bib.
Turns out the “hem” of the neckline was pretty sloppy because it was being covered, so why make it pretty? Then I moved on to the bottom. Like I said, this had a weird front “V” seam so I had to decide whether or not to keep it. While it wasn’t UNflattering, I realized that I just didn’t like it and decided to the skirt off above it and then reattach it to the top. Only thing is I did like the gathering that the skirt had at the waist which meant I had to create the gathers by pinning them in place before sewing the top and bottom together again. It was kind of tedious, but it gave the flounce to the skirt that I think flatters more rotund derrieres so it was worth it.
After the skirt was worked out, I moved back to the top. Shoulder pads were removed and then I had to do something to the sleeves. I love ¾ sleeves, but with the way the neckline was shaping up and now that the dress was shorter, I didn’t think fuller sleeves was the way to go. I decided to chop them off. Unfortunately, giant poofy 80s sleeves require giant arm holes to accommodate everything. There wasn’t really a way to cover them up without it looking weird so I just knew that this would be a dress that required a tank top underneath (which let’s be honest, I probably would’ve done that anyways).
Finally, back to that neckline. I liked the idea of a sweetheart shape and there was enough extra fabric to make that shape work. And then instead of leaving the straps raw, I pinched them together and sewed a little scrap of fabric around them to hold the pucker I wanted. That also helped make the “sweetheart” a little more defined.
So there you go! Add the tank and a belt for a little more definition and it’s good to go! Here’s the before and after, one more time:
So I showed you what I bought and why. Now I’ll show you what I did with them!
These pieces sat in my closet and every day I would look at what women were wearing on the metro or on the street and dream about all the different things I could turn them into. For some reason, whenever I saw anyone wearing anything peplum, I saw my Hawaiian wonder. O, you don’t remember what that looked like? Here’s a refresher:
Lovely, right? Ok, so I realized that peplum looked especially good on us curvier girls because that lovely ruffle distracts the eye from… Well, it just distracts. 😉
So I started thinking about the different kinds of peplum I could do and these were the two that looked the most promising:
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any “during” shots. O well. To start, I decided how short I wanted the dress to be, measured where to cut, and hemmed it. Then using what I cut from the bottom, I pinned in some ruffles. Upon eyeballing it, I realized the pattern was big enough that without a good bit of definition, the peplum wouldn’t pop. I actually had to add a few extra inches to the ruffles, but this time the pattern did me a favor because you don’t notice the extra seam.
And here’s what I ended up with:
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I actually loved it so much that I wore it to the bridal shower which my maid of honor hosted for me! Look how fancy we were:
A lot of my friends have already seen the pictures from these next few posts, but it’s the project I’m most proud of to date, so I’m sharing it anyways. Sorry to those who have already seen them.
Last year, my best friend and I were at one of my favorite thrift stores, Unique, just browsing. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, just searching for treasures. And like Macklemore, I only had $20 in my pocket. As fate would it, I found three dresses that rang up for $20 (ok, maybe not exactly but for the sake of the story, let’s go with that price). Here they are:
Lemme tell you why I chose each one. I generally look for potential in shapes, patterns, and fabrics when I look for pieces. And sometimes I don’t have a lot to choose from since not everything fits my, let’s say, voluptuous physique… But that makes the pieces I do find that much better!
First, this Hawaiian wonder:
I chose it for the colors and the flowiness of the fabric. I also knew that I wouldn’t have to mess with the sleeves or neckline. Bonus!
Next, I fell in love with this monstrosity:
I adored the pattern of this dress and since it was long, I knew there was plenty of material to work with if I made a mistake. I also thought originally that I would wear this piece backwards so the lace would stay as is, but I ended up having bigger plans for it in the end.
And then this simple sundress:
In my opinion, anything white or cream that fits is a winner because I know that a little dye goes a long way. Period.
So there ya go. I’ll show you what I did with the pieces one by one… Coming soon!