- Navy tank: Target
- Earrings: Wet Seal
- Belt: Gap Outlet
- Ring: c/o La La B
- Skirt: refashioned from a Target sack dress
- Wedges: Naturalizers, via DSW
Last week was my “week off” for the summer. Nothing to turn in. No meetings to attend. No need to go on campus except to return my piles of library books. Baby e. and I had a fun week of gardening, visiting the art museum and zoo, and shopping. I also had time to do a couple of garment re-fashions that I’ve been wanting to finish for a while.
This paper bag waist skirt was one of my projects. I saw this gray dress on the Target clearance rack a month or two ago for $4. That’s right, $4. Two of my sisters-in-law actually own this dress in other colors, and it looks terribly cute on them, so I figured that I would snatch up this gray version and try it on once I got home.
Once I did try it on, I realized it was all wrong on me. Too short. Not that flattering of a color near my face. Too bunchy when belted. But rather than returning it, I thought I’d try to take advantage of the parts of the dress I did like — the pockets and the hem detail — and refashion it into an elastic waist skirt.
So I did.
(And will you forgive me the wrinkles, since we took these photos after returning home from a picnic?)
It was a fairly simple refashion. I cut across the dress just under the armholes, pulled out the zipper, and sewed the back seam closed. I turned over the raw edge 1/4″ then folded it over 2″ to create the wide top hem for the “paper bag” effect. Since I didn’t have enough length to create a casing for the elastic below the 2″ top hem, I sewed a wide ribbon in a coordinating color onto the skirt, just below the 2″ seam and left an opening through which I could thread my elastic. (You can’t see the casing in these pictures since I’m wearing a belt.) I took some pictures of the process, but I don’t think they serve that well as a tutorial since the directions are so specific to the particular garment I began with.
But what I will suggest is that if you are interested in the idea of refashioning clothes — taking an existing garment and changing it into something special or entirely different — then you must check out the Wardrobe Refashion blog. Basically, Wardrobe Refashion is a community of folks who have pledged (for different lengths of time) to not buy any new clothes in favor of thrifting or creating their own garments. (See the rules here.) The result? An aggregation of lots and lots of folks posting their creative re-imaginings of garments from their closets and fabric from their stashes. Although not all posts have related tutorials, the sheer volume of creativity and vision evidenced by these crafty folks is enough to get me seeing the potential of existing garments to become something entirely different.
I really love this idea of seeing something new in something old, of capitalizing on the good points and good craftsmanship of an existing garment to create something new-to-you. I’m not capable of a fancy waistband with zipper, for example, so I turned a pair of jeans into a skirt. I’m not confident enough to sew an entire knit dress, but I sure can turn a belt into a pair of wider straps. And I may not have the steady hand to create even hem details or to make inset pockets, but I can chop up a shift dress and turn it into a high-waisted skirt. For me, re-fashioning is a prime creative outlet, enabling me to create something from not-quite-raw material.