Valentines – Upcycle love

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I can’t get no loving anywhere else so I guess I’ll love up on my clothes! I’m just kidding. There is tons of love in my life, just not currently coming from a romantic relationship. I know I’m where I am supposed to be. I’ve learned that love is far too complicated to understand and that I’ll just keep loving how I love and it will be the right thing. I know my plan is far bigger than I can even wrap my head around and I know that I’m not the one in charge. So for now I’ll get my love where I can get it and a whole lot of it comes from my family and friends.

This is an up-cycle post, and I will get there, but I want to start somewhere else first. I have to admit that I am one of those crazy women who are all about the LuLaRoe craze. Now I don’t have 35 pair of leggings or 25 shirts or anything to that extent, but I am a fan of the brand and have multiple pieces. Yes I think the leggings are incredibly soft, but no I don’t think they feel like butter. Butter is gooey to me and leggings are solid and not melty. My entire life I’ve been told that my clothes don’t match and then here comes LuLaRoe. They encourage pattern mixing and crazy prints and colors. I’m over here like I’ve been trying to show you how cool these crazy patterns and colors are for years now. I’m glad the rest of the world (well a lot of people) are finally on board with pattern mixing. I feel like I’ve been trying to get these weird trends going for years now or at least getting people to accept my personal style and now it’s finally happening. People are embracing and celebrating their inner wacky style and I love it. And one more note…If one more person tells me that $25 is too much for leggings I am going to hand them a mirror, turn them around, and let them see their underwear shinning through their $15 dollar leggings. And for someone who doesn’t really like to wear jeans, $25 isn’t that much for what is essentially a replacement for them in my particular wardrobe.

I told myself I wouldn’t buy Valentine’s leggings and that holiday leggings were ridiculous, but I was having a rough day and I was perusing some online groups for what was maybe a little bit of a retail therapy session. There they were. The red leggings with white hearts. The only Valentine’s leggings that I’d seen that I really liked. I didn’t have to fight for them. They were just there and no one had claimed them yet. I made myself wait 5 minutes. Was I being ridiculous? While I was waiting I came across an oversized black and white stripe classic t-shirt. This was actually something I’d been looking for for about 2 months. I didn’t feel ridiculous about quickly typing sold in that comment box. I’d been waiting on that. Then I realized how cute of a pattern mix that top and those leggings would be, so I bought them both. My best friend informed me that it had been a full moon and she had done some retail therapy that night too. Maybe it was the moon, maybe it was my blue feelings, or maybe it was just the most adorable outfit fell onto my computer screen and I hadn’t done anything for myself in a while. Either way I scored both items.

They arrived and I was super happy with my decision. As I was digging around my craft supplies I found a black and white stripe maxi skirt that I had purchased for $3 at a thrift store. It was super cute, but a size small. I mainly got it for the fabric, but when I saw it I knew it would be a part of my Valentine’s outfit. I would use it to make a long vest that is similar to the LuLaRoe style joy. I don’t own a joy because they are mainly lace and I’m not a huge fan of lace vests. It’s odd because I love lace.

(Please forgive my pictures in this post. They were all taken on my phone and not with a camera. Also, it’s really hard to see the details on such a dark piece.)

bw1Here it was in the beginning. Pretty simple. Basically a straight skirt with a roll down waist. It was soft and stretchy and perfect for my vision.

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The first thing I did was remove the waist band. Then I cut the skirt all the was down the front. Here it is laid all out on the floor.

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I used a vest I already had to help measure where I wanted the arm holes to go. I actually cut the holes bigger than the original vest because I wanted this one to be a little bit baggier and looser of a fit.

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This is what it looked like after I cut the arm holes. Now onto some sewing…

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I started by finishing the edge that would be the opening in the front. I turned the hem under and sewed all the way down the front (where the red lines are). Make sure if you are sewing with stretchy fabric you use a stitch that will stretch. I use a zig-zag stitch and a needle specifically for stretchy fabric. At this point I could have turned the arm holes under and sewed them, but I waited. It may have been easier at this point.  On the diagram there are two purple circles. These are around the fabric that will be the front of the vest. I wanted this fabric to be ruffled. I sewed a straight seam across the small section and pulled the thread to scrunch the fabric.

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After I scrunched the fabric, I lined up the top of the vest at the shoulders. I sewed the pieces together and created the shape of the top.

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Next I turned under all the fabric around the arm hole and sewed it down. I also did the same for the back of the neck creating a bit of a rounded edge.

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To finish this vest I wanted it to have 2 slits in the sides that went to the hip. I used a seam ripper to take out the current seem and then just folded the fabric down and sewed along both sides to finish it off.

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Here is a side by side of the before and after. I think I will get a lot of use out of this transformed piece.

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I really liked this vest with my 2 LuLaRoe pieces I had purchased to wear for Valentine’s day. Not too many things are better than black and white stripes, but I think 2 sets of stripes is pretty snazzy!

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Check out my date for the day. This girl is my love!!! In true girl fashion she insisted on me buying her dinner for the holiday. Honey please! I buy your dinner every day.

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Feeling a little something-something in this vest. A little feisty-ness perhaps.

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And of course a kiss to send you off. I hope you had the most lovely of Valentine’s days. I hope the day was filled with love, hugs, kisses, candy, and kindness. I love you all!

An Ultimate Up-cycle

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I’ve been dropping hints about this project for months and am beyond excited to finally write about it and share it. This was the most daunting project that I have ever taken on, but it might also be the most rewarding. I probably have just as many emotions about this dress as I have when I watch “Steel Magnolias”. I cried over it a little, but ultimately I am extremely happy about the outcome and very proud of myself. This was not an easy task and it’s not just something I would do for just anyone.

You see, I love Kat. She is an amazing person and friend. As she was planning her wedding she approached me with a task that she thought I could take on. At the time she obviously had more faith in me than I had in myself. She wanted me to turn her mom’s wedding dress into a reception dress for her. Ahhhhhh……… I knew it would be very difficult. My biggest fear was that I was going to mess up. You can mess up anything, but when you are up-cycling a wedding dress you have a limited amount of fabric. If you ruin the fabric, you are screwed. There is no more to work with!!! I don’t know how many days I looked at it and thought, “Maybe tomorrow I will be able to cut it.” I had to really work on my confidence before I started this bad boy.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while and trying to figure out just how to write it. I often think in spider web form instead of in a linear fashion, but I want this blog to make sense. I believe I will just tell you what happened chronologically and try to leave out as many unnecessary things as possible. This is not really a “how to” blog because I truly believe you could never do 2 dresses like this exactly the same. It wouldn’t really be that important to give you instructions. I do however want to share with you the process, so let’s start at the beginning.

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The first thing we did when she brought the dress over was play with the veil. A crown and floor length veil aren’t for everyone.

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For real though, this thing was massively long and massively fluffy. Totally over the top! I actually didn’t end up using anything from the veil, but it was too fun not to share.

dress 1This is the front of the dress. As you can see, it was damaged during the preservation process. My advice to every bride now…Don’t preserve your dress. I have actually heard of many horror stories about preserved dresses being ruined when they opened them up again.

IMG_0067Here is the back. Can you imagine that train with that veil? It would be a little overkill now, but when her mom originally wore it, I’m sure it was quite lovely.

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The beauty of this dress was actually in the detail. These lace appliqués are actually very very gorgeous.

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This is the lining that was worn under the dress. You can’t see it in the picture, but this part actually feels a lot like plastic. I have no idea what it was made out of, but it was a little bit yucky.

After I had the dress and looked at it for about a week I decided to come up with a plan. One issue with this was that this dress was super tiny. Kat is very fit and athletic, but the waist of this dress must have been like 10 inches around. That might be an exaggeration, but you get my point. I couldn’t use the bodice of this original and change it. I had to create whole new dress from scratch. The good part though was that this dress was super long and I had plenty of fabric to work with even though I panicked at the beginning.

One day I was at Hobby Lobby and their patterns were on sale for a dollar. I don’t usually use a pattern, but I figured it would hurt to look through and see if there was something I couldn’t live without.

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I found this pattern and I knew it was perfect. It would show off her awesome legs and her tattoos, just what she wanted. It also has a very fun vintage-y feel to it that would make it fit with her personality and the rest of her wedding. You can see where I drew on the pattern. I didn’t love the back and ended up changing it.

Time to get to work….

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The first thing I did was disassemble the dress. I took off every piece of appliqué with a seam ripper. It was very time consuming because I didn’t want to ruin the appliqués or the fabric. I knew I would need almost everything.

dress 3I told you the beauty was in the appliqués. These things were gorgeous and I just wanted to stick them all over my house because they made me smile.

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After I took all the lace off I realized the dress was actually pretty dirty. Once again, it shouldn’t have been because it was preserved. I had to enlist my mom for some help on this one. I didn’t know how to clean everything with out ruining the pieces. One Sunday night after family dinner we gave all the pieces a Biz bath.

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This Biz stuff is pretty awesome. It took off almost all of the dingy stuff. I loved seeing all of the pieces laying out to dry. It was quite amazing how much detail was put into this dress.

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That night at home, the dress and lining got a Biz bath in my bath tub. I couldn’t believe how dirty the water was once I took the dresses out.

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It took them quite a while to dry. My bathroom floor got really wet.

So far what I have done was pretty easy, but I knew the hard part was quickly approaching. Not too quickly. I had a few months to get this completed, but I couldn’t hold off forever. There were many days when I pulled out the dress and the pattern and decided it would be a good day to start. Then I would think, “If I had just one glass of wine I would be a little more relaxed and probably way more focused on cutting straight lines.” Then I would perhaps have that glass of wine and think, “What was I thinking. I can’t drink and sew. That’s absurd.” So another day would pass and I wouldn’t have started.

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I got the giant dress all laid out and pinned the pattern pieces to it. It was like a puzzle trying to figure out where to cut the pieces from. I knew there could potentially be some weird seams different places in the skirt, but I managed to line it up so there was only 4 seams; the two on the sides and one front and back center.

IMG_0099After cutting and sewing this together I swore of ever working with slippery fabric again. Not only does it move, but there were 2 layers to cut and sew through so it moved way more. I might have used an excessive amount of pins to hold everything together. I couldn’t be too cautious while working on this project.

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I also had to use the liner to be the liner of the new dress too. It did feel like yucky plastic, but I was determined to only use this dress and not add any new fabrics to this project. I cut off the tulle underneath and puzzle pieced the pattern together on this too. It was more difficult because this dress was shorter and had much less fabric to work with. I had to get creative and ultimately the liner of the new skirt was not quite as full as the outer layer.

After I made the initial shell of the dress, I installed an invisible zipper. Zippers are the most difficult thing in the world to me. I feel like I can do so many things, but not this, no matter how hard I try. It only took me 2 tries to get it lined up correctly and I was thankful for that. I might have given up if I had to try again.

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Now it was time for the interesting part. I started to put the appliqués back on this dress. I pinned them to the front in a shape that I thought looked nice and I had Kat come over for a fitting. At this fitting I made sure the bottom of the dress was even all the way around and I made the straps for the back of the dress. At this point it was totally backless and I pinned appliqués together to make it almost like a racerback, but kind of like and “x” shape.

After this fitting I carefully sewed all of the appliqués together. I also added snaps various places to make sure she could get in and out of the dress. And I added the scalloped trim from the bottom of her mom’s gown to the bottom of her fun dress. Since the dress was so short, it helped weigh it down a little bit, and it also looked great.

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The last thing I made was headpieces. The small one was for her wedding dress, to be worn with her birdcage veil, and the bigger one for the reception dress.

I was finished and sworn to secrecy. Many people knew I was making this dress, but I wasn’t allowed to show anyone. I didn’t even take pictures of it because I knew I was too excited and I would slip. The bad part is she didn’t end up keeping a secret. She showed her mom the surprise. I guess I wasn’t the only excited one.

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Before I show you the finished product, I just wanted to show her mom from her bridal portraits. She is still just as lovely today!

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Ta-Da!!! Here is the dress from the front and the back. I loved how it turned out.

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Here we are at the wedding. I love these pictures of us. She is such a special friend!

The wedding was absolutely perfect. It was an amazing (and hot) day, but mostly amazing. It was so much fun celebrating with her, her new husband and daughter, and her awesome family and friends. I wish everyone this easy of a wedding day. I also wish them the amount of love shown.

Another Year

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Today I turn 28. Where has the time gone? It feels like it was just last week that I was writing my last birthday post. You know I have to say something about another year wiser and growing and learning and all that kind of stuff blah, blah blah… Which I guess all of that stuff is true but I really am in a very similar place to last year. I haven’t moved or changed jobs or done anything crazy. I mean, a lot of stuff happens in a year, but looking back it doesn’t feel like that much is different.

A big part of my life is my dog. We celebrated our one year anniversary not too long ago. I am still so thankful that I brought her home. She is a big crazy mess of energy, and she really would like to catch a bunny one day, but I love her anyways. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

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Another big part of my life is my family. They’ve always been super important and always will be. It was actually really fun celebrating my birthday last Friday night with my dad, step-mom, mom, step-dad, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. My niece has stolen my heart. I love that little girl more than I could have ever imagined. She is so beautiful and special and perfect!

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I’ve also realized this year that I’ve made some pretty cool friends along the way. I’m not always great at keeping up with people when we don’t live close by, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made lasting impressions. I’ve had friends getting married and having babies and it’s been beautiful to see their lives grow and change. I have other friends that will always make sure I have a beer if I need one. And I even have one pretty awesome friend who took me flying in his airplane a few times. All these people are so wonderful and different and special to me.

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So here I am ready to take on the next year. Maybe the next 12 months will be more exciting than the past 12 months. I’m not denying that there were ups and downs, because they definitely existed. I don’t mind it not being too crazy of a year. Sometimes it’s nice to not feel too chaotic. Overall I am very blessed and have a great life (even if I do complain sometimes). I know I have a wonderful support system and I am very lucky for the opportunities I have been given. I know God is watching over me and will lead me through another great year, whatever it may bring!

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I hope everyone has a great day….And Happy Earth Day too!