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!

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Carolina Girl-Game Day Ready

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In my last post I had made a dress out of one of my dad’s old shirts. I wore it to church last Sunday and had tons of compliments. Some of those even came from people who hadn’t seen the blog post or known that I had made it. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel good when someone compliments my outfit, and it makes me feel even better when the compliment is directed at something that I have crafted myself! I really loved wearing it. It is super comfortable, but not sloppy. It was a little bit structured and a little bit loose and still had some girly elements to it.

I had an event coming up (which has past now because I just got home from it) and I wasn’t planning on making anything to wear. I didn’t really think I had time and I figured I could just wear something I already had. But like always…the crazy kicked in and I knew, while I was at church, I wanted to make another of these dresses to wear. I left church, checked the time, and hurried over to the thrift store. I knew exactly what I wanted. Well, almost exactly. I knew it needed to be a shirt that was carolina blue and big. They had exactly what I needed, and I actually headed home with 2 shirts.

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Here we have the 2 lovely shirts. Please ignore the wet hair and pretend I look decent in this photo. I was on a time crunch and had to take the photos when I could.

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First things first – cut off the collars and the cuffs and store them for an awesome project one day. I actually have a whole little tote container of them. Let me know if you have any ideas. I’m still waiting on something great to pop into my head.

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I cut off the sleeves as close to the seam as possible as to save material. I didn’t take them time to seam rip it because I knew I would make a new arm hole anyways.

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I put the shirt on and determined where the new shoulder would be. I also put some pins under my arms to try and figure out where the bottom of the new arm hole was going to be. This is honestly the hardest part because….men’s shirts have gigantic arm holes and women do not typically have quite as giant arms or need as much room. The smaller you make the arm hole the tighter you are making the shirt across your chest. It’s not too bad for me because I don’t have much in the front to consider, but I also didn’t want the shirt bulging open at the buttons. Unfortunately I didn’t make them the correct size. I pulled the shirt too tight, but keep reading and you will eventually see the solution.

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After marking the new arm holes I cut the seams down the sides of the shirt. I used the cut off sleeves to create a new more feminine sleeve. It attaches more at an angle instead of straight out and has more of a curved line than a men’s sleeve would.

After the sleeves were sewn to the shirt I then sewed the sides back together all the way down. I sewed on an angle down the side of the shirt so the bottom of the dress would still be full and the top more fitted. It I guess was kind of an a-line.

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I used fabric from the other shirt to create a cuff for the new sleeves. It just gave it a cute little finished touch on the sleeve and some contrast.

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Because button down shirts are curved at the bottom they make awfully short dresses when you hem them straight across. I used fabric from the other shirt to add a few inches of length to the bottom of the dress. I loved the blue and white accents on the bottom and on the sleeves.

After I finished the bottom. I finished the neck line by just turning it under and stitching it down. I worked great on the last shirt dress and this one also.

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Here is the finished project. The event was a Carolina Tar Heels football game and my dad’s fraternity reunion weekend. (I’m sorry for the quality of this picture. I took it in the hotel room and thought it looked fine until it was on my computer and it didn’t look very fine at all, but it’s the only fully body pic I took this day.) I wanted to make a dress for this because I knew it would be a hot day and a dress would be cool and comfy. You can see that my solution the the tight armpit holes was to just add a tank underneath and leave a few buttons open. I like how it turned out and I even liked how it looked with open buttons at the top.

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This dress went great with morning Bloody Mary’s…

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And this dress also went well with afternoon pre-game beers!

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We made it to the game and I took a stadium selfie to prove it. It was hot and I was a little sweaty at this point, but feeling comfy in my dress. I did sneak in a little nap during the 2nd quarter. Football is long and I was tired from partying with the guys from the night before. You might not should be jamming to Janis Joplin with your dad’s fraternity brothers at 2:15 in the morning when you know you have a long day the next day. It was fun though!

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Here is one last picture to prove that I was actually at a live sporting event since at least one person was convinced that I would not go. Haha. Maybe I shouldn’t tell people how much I dislike sports. I’m not big on sports at all but this entire weekend was great and even the game was fun. It’s always more fun when you win!

Navy Blue Polka Dot Shorts

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Family pictures can be really good or really bad. My family decided to take family pictures at the beach during our vacation. I thought, “Please don’t make me purchase khakis and a white button down shirt.” Thankfully white and khaki wasn’t the color scheme. I know plenty of people do it and they have lovely beach pictures, but I’m just not a huge fan. Tater tot had gotten a gorgeous white smocked dress with with blue sail boats on it so the color scheme was white, navy, and an almost carolina blue color. Well guess what, no store on the freaking planet had anything white and navy for me to wear. That’s what it seemed like. I didn’t go to a bazillion stores or anything, but I was a little on a time crunch to get my stuff together before the trip. I decided to hit up my local thrift store (don’t know why I didn’t do that first). I got lucky. I found a perfect white shirt and some navy and white polka dot giant mamaw pants with huge legs and pleats.

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They are actually quite disgusting, but I swear this was the only navy pant I could find that even kind of fit me. I removed the waist band and seam ripped out all of the pleats. I cut off some of the length so it was easier to work with. I made the legs smaller by taking a seam up both sides. Then to bring in the waist I made darts instead of pleats. I ripped out the back seam and installed an invisible zipper. This might be easier if one day I actually read the instructions on how to do this instead of guessing. I then created a wide waist band out of excess leg fabric and iron-on interfacing. After I attached the new waist band to the top I used hook and eyes to make a closure. I’m not a huge fan of hook and eyes but they were already at my house, which means they were free. Lastly I decided on a length and hemmed the bottoms.

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Here are my cute little retro blouse-y polka dot shorts. I think they will be perfect for beach pictures.

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Here is the back. You can kind of see the zipper and hook and eyes.

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There I am all ready for the picture. I added a belt on top of the shorts and borrowed a navy necklace from my sweet boss because I couldn’t find any matching jewelry either. Navy must not be a popular color this summer.

Thrifting Tips & Sweaters

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When I go to a thrift store there are a few different things I’m usually looking for. The first thing I’m always looking for is crafting supplies. As you’ve probably figured out by now I love buying “ugly” clothes and up-cycling them into one of a kind unique pieces. The second thing I’m looking for is clothing, that either doesn’t have to be altered or needs minimal alterations. So basically clothes for me or others that are currently in style and in good condition. I am also always looking for a good stuffed animal for my pup to chew on and I always look through the trinket-y things even though I don’t frequently purchase those types of things. Shoes and pants are about impossible to fit on my correctly so I usually just don’t look for those at the thrift store. I’ve been lucky in the past, but I know a store where the jeans always fit so sometimes I just buckle down and go to the mall *gasp* I know, who even shops at the mall anymore?

Thrift shopping is not like shopping at the mall. There aren’t multiple things in different sizes and the organization isn’t always there, but I have a few tips for you.

Be patient and give yourself time. You will have to look at a lot of junk before you find your diamond. I suggest looking at every single thing on the rack. Like before, I said I don’t even look at pants, and I move much quicker when I’m looking at skirts, but when it comes to shirts and dresses, I look at each one on the rack. I try not to take too long on each item. Just push through quickly so you can get and idea of size, color, fabric, name brand, or whatever you are looking for. This can take a while, don’t try to take on the whole store in 30 minutes. It will stress you out. I basically pick up everything that I kind of like, throw it in a buggy, and sort through it later.

Take a friend. I go with my sister. It makes sorting through each item go quicker. We just pick up cute things in each others sizes and try them on at the end. We do make a mess, but we always make sure things get back on the hangers and back on a rack to be returned to the floor. Just because it’s a thrift store doesn’t mean you should trash it.

Go prepared. There is one store that always gives me a headache so I make sure I take a drink with me and some ibuprofen. There are some stores without dressing rooms so I like to wear leggings and a fitted tops so I can try on clothes over what I’m wearing.

Give yourself a budget and only buy things you truly want or can use. This keeps me from buying too much stuff. I have a bad habit of saying this is only 50 cent I will use it for something and then I have so many “supplies” that I don’t know what to do with myself.

Go on sale days. Yes, thrift stores have sale days! My favorite is half off day. I think tons of thrift stores have these types of days. So, yes, it will be mass chaos on these days, but I think it’s totally worth it.

My last kind of tip for the day is don’t be afraid to buy out of season. People tend to clean out their closet after a season, so things go to the thrift store at odd times, but you can getter better deals. Over the past month I have found the cutest sweaters. They are priced a little bit cheaper since it is a billion degrees outside, but I love them and I know I will wear them in the fall.

Check out a few of my most recent sweater goodies, and don’t be too jealous.

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Clockwise from top left corner:

1. I don’t know much about this one because the tag is cut out. It is gray with the cutest beaded peter pan collar on it. I paid $1.25

2. Merona sweater, wich is a Target name brand. It’s tan with cool coppery studs. I believe I paid $2

3. BDG sweater. I know nothing about this name brand, but this sweater is amazing. It’s tan and blue with the best sleeve detail ever. I paid $1.75

4. Elle sweater dress. It has a liner underneath too. I can wait to add a belt and boots in the fall. I paid $1.75

All of these are like new and in really amazing condition. My fall wardrobe is looking pretty good and summer has only just begun. If you are patient and willing to buy out of season you will be one lucky duck.

 

Dress Season

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While out thrifting I saw a gorgeous shirt…actually it was quite hideous, but had so much potential and I had a plan for a dress. It’s almost my favorite season. It’s almost dress season! That means I can wear a dress every single day without tights or leggings. I love dresses and I was going to make me a new one.

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Here it is. I told you it was ugly and it’s massive too.

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Goodbye sleeves and shoulder pads. From here I took in the sides, finished the hem around the arms, cut the bottom off, and cut down the back of the shirt. Because the shirt was so big to begin with the arm holes turned out to be a bit bigger than I wanted, but it’s not too horrible. I will probably just have to wear a tank underneath.

Then, I made the bottom of the dress out of a funky chevron pattern. I’m almost over chevron for the most part, but this one was a little different. It kind of had an aztec-y feel to it even thought I’m not sure thats what you would call it. I basically made one big circle. I gathered the top and sewed it to a waist band. The waist band was then sewn to the top of the dress.

The last big step was installing an exposed zipper. I’ve never done this before, but it was pretty easy. Way easier than a regular zipper.  I watched this fabulous tutorial, and it gave perfect instructions. Mine isn’t perfect, but I’m sure there are other exposed zipper dresses to be made in my future.

The last step was hemming the skirt part. I accidentally made it a little bit shorter than I had planned. It might end up being a going out dress and not a dress for work. I could always add tights, but that takes away from the fun of dress season. Tights are for winter. My birthday is coming up soon. Maybe it will be my birthday dress.

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Here it is. I paired it was a teal chevron necklace, teal bracelet, beige high heels, and a headband.

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There is that beautiful zipper I stressed out about for no reason. For real though, you have to watch the tutorial, it makes it so easy.

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Even though this sweater covers the cool zipper, I still like it. Maybe I could wear this until I’m slightly less pasty.