This is me opening my door to the rest of the world, so you can follow along on my little clothing design project.

And if you learn one thing only from reading my blog, I hope it is this:

Step one:
Remove the shoulder pads.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Black Dress

Audrey Hepburn watch out, I have created the little perfect little black dress. Of course, it started out as the big ugly black dress, but ya know...blame the 80s I guess. This dress was a bridemaids dress my lovely mother wore in a wedding circa 1820. Jk, but it was a long time ago. My mom decided to donate two very lovely bridesmaid dresses from the past to my cause. Let me tell you, I may be the only person in the world who would be excited to open a box that contained those two beasts. But nevertheless, this dress was reeking with potential.

Here is the first dress I chose to mutilate (and believe me I had to do a lot of mutilating).
 Notice the velcro on the shoulders... I have no explanation for why they are there.

What a pretty bridesmaid I would have been in the 80s.

So I loved the fabric on this it is plain and heavy silky black. The main issue though was the big poufy skirt I was left with after I shortened it. I felt a little like a ballerina, don't get me wrong, I like feeling like a ballerina but it just wasn't the time or the place.
Heres the back.
So after I ripped the whole skirt off, I cut a bunch of fabric from the width and sewed it back on. Then I did a little work to the sleeves and also took in the sides a little.

 And Voila!... (how do you spell that)

Sorry for the picture overload but I am kinda proud of this one. Also sorry for the crappy pictures...someday I will hire a professional photographer. 

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Never Buy an Olympus Camera

I am a little upset. Here is why:

My delightful little camera is practically brand new but has never worked right and for some reason the camera fixing people at Olympus cannot seem to find anything wrong with it whenever I try to send it in. Thats odd because as soon as I put brand new batteries in it, it says it is dead almost always. You practically have to stand on one leg with your fingers crossed while saying Hails Marys to get the stupid thing to take a picture.  And now today, in the heat of my blogging passion, as I go to upload all of my new photos, my camera decides to wipe out my memory card. Thank you Olympus and all the hard working men who work for them who have clearly tried their darnest to fix my camera, you have ruined my day.

So todays piece of advice is not in the form of fashion but tech related.

I could have used my boyfriends wonderful working camera had I not lost it a few months earlier in Vegas. I suck at life quite frequently. But don't worry I punish myself often enough to make up for my stupidity.

So you have to use your imagination on this one because I am sad to report, my BEFORE picture has been deleted. (pause for a moment of silence while you share my fury). All I can do is describe it to you. So sit back and close your eyes and do your best to imagine it. Ok, scratch that... open your eyes to read my description, THEN close them and pause for a few seconds to imagine. (are you having fun yet?)

Ok, I found it at an older ladies garage sale and it had giant shoulder pads in it and the waist band was almost down to my knees and could have clothed a few other people at the same time. I think she was quite a bit larger than me. It had a Golden Girls feel to it and looked like the perfect ensemble for an older lady to wear while attending a pot luck in the park. But I loved the fabric and color so I had to buy it.
Did you picture it??
This is killing me that I don't have the picture to share, but anyways, please act just as impressed when you see the AFTER as you would have had you gotten to see the BEFORE. Thank you for your support.

 I hope you like it. Thank you for playing the imagination game with me and have a good day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

while shopping the bra racks at Goodwil...

I found this one at Goodwill one day during lunch with my friend Lauren. I noticed it peeking out behind row of old lady bras on the "gently used" lingerie rack...ha I know, some things are NOT meant to be used by more than one person. So I am pretty positive that this used to be a nightgown. Whatever its purpose in a previous life, it is now about to be my new dress.
Here is the part of this story where I almost ruined a great thing. So once I got it home I knew I needed to wash it first. Since I was still struggling to remove the smells out of a few other pieces, I figured I would consult google as to what to do. Google tells me to soak in water with dish soap then rinse in vinegar water. Sometimes my common sense decides to takes the day off and that is when I put all four dresses into the water to soak, bright red dress included. Several hours later when I go for the "rinse in vinegar" step, I realize that my used to be cream night gown is now tie dyed pink. Since I am a hippie at heart my first thought is "ya cool, I guess it'll be a tie dye dress". Then my common sense comes back and "what have I done... this was going to be perfect!" Ok, hate myself for 30 seconds, now time for action.
Usually a bad choice but once in a great while pulls through for you. This time, it pulled through, so now I have my pretty cream night gown back. whew!

I knew this would be very easy to convert because it was already really pretty as it was... just a little too night gown-ish. Nothing that can't be solved by taking some scissors and hacking the dress in half. There was a small tear in the side by the lacey sleeve, but I just sewed it a little and you could never tell. Here is the finished product.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The hunt for the sewing machine is over!

Well I finally got a sewing machine... like 10 minutes ago, literally. You can tell my genuine excitement by the fact that I felt the need to run home and blog about it.

I found the little guy on craigslist and for fifty bucks, I was assured it is brand new and never used. Well I have not even plugged it in yet but it looks awful dirty and dusty for being brand new. The lady seemed nice enough, even though she talked my ear off and stood in her pjs smoking cigarettes in her front yard, which happens to be down the road from me... lucky me, I made a friend. She used a lot of swear words as she told me about her grand daughters girl scouts or something or other which I thought was weird... my mind wandered from there and I don't remember what else we talked about.
I hope she never reads this..

Brand new??... ya right..eww. Ok in all fairness, this is just the case.

Anywho – So yay for me, and now I can pick up where I left off, and yes I have a growing pile of thrift store clothes in my room waiting to be made into something fabulous. And the other day I received my first freebie dress from someone who no longer needed it and wanted to see it made into something else. So what I am trying to say is, Yes, donations are always welcome. : )

Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

On The Hunt

So today I am on the hunt for a sewing machine. Up until this point I have been using my friend, Jeff's but now he had to take it back to work on some projects of his own. So heres the thing, I don't want to have to spend a lot of money on it because that kinda defeats the purpose of being thrifty right?... plus I don't really have a couple hundred bucks to drop on a sewing machine. I'm not even really good at sewing, thats the funny part. And usually I spend more time swearing at the machine then anything else.
So anyways, thanks to Craigslist, I was able to chase down a few garage sales that are have one for sale. So that is my task this morning, once I can drag myself out of bed and pump some coffee thru my veins, I will be ready to wheel and deal. So wish me luck!
I will however, provide you with a little entertainment from the outfit project with a shirt I did a couple of weeks ago when the sewing machine was still in my possession.
I actually bought this shirt over a year ago and wore it to a 80s themed bachelorette party it had a really great Michael Jackson feel to it. Originally it was long sleeved, I am sorry I do not have a picture of that because as soon as I got it home I immediately hacked the sleeves off so use your imagination. But here is a before, a crazy before... I won't tell you which one I am, if you can't tell by now it is your own fault.

Don't judge us, we  were having fun.
I case that isn't enough... here is another before.

And ladies and gentlemen, (insert drum roll here)...
the after:

My favorite part was the faux bow on the shoulder.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh the possibilities...

I was really excited when I found this dress because there are a million different possibilities for it. You may look at it and just think, yuck! Well I understand that it looks a little not-so-appealing and I must admit it smelled even less appealing (more on that later). But I was thankful to the Pentecostal woman who decided to give this dress up and donated to Goodwill so that I may enjoy a few years with it as well, only in different form. 

So here's the thing, this dress smells. It happens to be my favorite but also the smelliest... funny how that works out. So anyways I washed the crap out of this dress with no results so I decided that I am just gonna go with it and hope that no one notices. I have not wore it out yet, but please if you see me out wearing it and you notice that I smell like an old lady...act natural. Your manners are much appreciated, but like I said I washed the crap out of it, so it is definitely clean if that validates anything.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this until I was almost done with it. My friend, Josh suggested doing it in two pieces, make a shirt out of the top and a skirt out of the bottom. I liked that idea... I'm not exactly sure why I didn't do that, but anyways I did this instead:

My boyfriend said "I love it!'... and THAT is huge for him to admit. I get the impression he thinks I am off my rocker with this whole dress project thing... he may be right. 
Oh well, for now I am having fun.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meg Ryan Inspired

This little number caught my attention on the goodwill rack and instantly reminded me of Meg Ryan early 90s. I don't have a specific movie reference but once you see it you will agree. But when I saw this I thought it was a perfect way to step myself into the romper craze. At first I thought I would sit out the romper phase and let it pass me by; personally I think only about 10% of all rompers worn are successfully pulled off and so far everything I had every tried on looked too dumpy in the rear or just looked awkwardly like pjs. Anyways I am still not completely sold on rompers but here is what I came up with:

Here is the before. I know what you are thinking.... "you paid seven whole dollars for that??"... yes, yes I did. I am not sure if this is supposed to be a cropped pants look or if I am just too tall for it... either way I think we can all agree, AWKWARD.

Ok here is the after:

Much improvement I would say. I learned a lot about hemming a cuff from working on this project and let me tell you my advice, wait until you know a little more about sewing. No up close pics taken on this one for that very reason. It is actually more difficult than the girl in the youtube video makes it look. Anyways, I wore this little ensemble out for an evening pub crawl. It was pretty comfortable minus the loose threads and crooked pants cuff....what can I say, I was in a hurry.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Here we go...

Most people are afraid to touch much less actually put on their bodies some outfits from the quality "used establishments". Your fears are in no way ridiculous. Let me be the first to tell you, I understand. Do they actually bury a person in whatever they are wearing in the casket or do they remove it before they go in the ground and donate it to oh, lets say Goodwill?.... This actually was the thought that went through my head when I bought the first dress I found for my project. Sometimes though, you just have to get over the thoughts of the disgusting past life a piece of clothing may have had and think about the fabulous future it might have (keep telling yourself that, Leah)... and also keep in mind that baking soda kills everything. 

Wait I think I made that up. 

Well anyways you have to look past the stains and the smell sometimes to see the creative potential of a fun new outfit. So go on and slip that thing on right over your head in the Goodwill dressing room... let the fabric brush against your face... now check yourself out in the mirror. Most likely you will laugh, but the real test is your imagination. I have acquired the creative skill to look at myself in the mirror wearing some nasty old lady shoulder padded get up and confidently say, "damn, I look good". : )

So here is my first creation. 

Here is what I liked about this dress....
I know exactly what you are thinking?.. what's to like?? Give me a chance, ok so I liked the color, I liked the lapel around the neckline and the POCKETS!

So, the last time I used a sewing machine was in 4-H... and no I wasn't one of those dorky kids who was in 4-H until adulthood. So basically, it had been a while since I used one. Anyways, thanks to my lovely friend, Jeff for letting me borrow his sewing machine, and some kid with a lisp on youtube for teaching me how to thread the machine, I now had a fabulous new dress for an evening out with friends.

Check it...