Week 9 : Make Do, Make Anew




The Facts

Fabric: dress from sample sale

Pattern: self drafted

Year: current

Notions: Thread, elastic

Time to complete: about 2 hours

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? I should get a lot of use out of this skirt this summer

Total Cost: $10 for the dress, thread from stash, elastic reused from dress

First, some history. Back when I was in high school, my mom worked for a women’s clothing catalog. Every so often, there would be a sale where employees could bring up to 2 guests and they could purchase clothing from the catalog at a super discount price. Selection would vary as the stock would include samples, overstock, customer returns and defective merchandise. For anyone willing to dig through racks of clothing and tables of shoes, deals could be had. Years passed. The catalog company got a new CEO. The clothing sold began targeting a younger crowd. Most importantly, the outside company responsible for organizing the associate sales discovered e-commerce. The associate only sales became more and more open to the public. Not widely advertised, but that is why it is important to sign up for their mailing lists. The merchandise decreased in quality and it was much harder to find the really good deals that had previously been available.

In present day, things have balanced out. My mother has retired and has been for a few years. The outside company that does the associate sales has expanded and there are a few brick and mortar stores in the Columbus, OH area, pop-up sales that happen in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, as well as the ever successful online stores. I purchased this dress for $10 at one of the pop-up sales. Not bad for something that retails at $88. Anyway, since my mom doesn’t work for the catalog anymore, and since I can’t afford their clothes, I am really not familiar with their merchandise. So I did not notice that this dress was missing its halter neck piece. All I noticed was that the dress, for all its supportive elastic, did not want to stay in one place. When I tried it on at home to confirm fit, I had to constantly pull up the top of the dress.

I did love the idea of this dress back.


I threw the dress into a pile of things to modify later, and today it got transformed from a dress that doesn’t quite work into a maxi skirt for any occasion. I cut off the top of the dress and removed the elastic. Then, I reattached the elastic in the cut portion of the bottom of the dress, creating a waistband. Thus, a skirt was created.

Happy sewing!


Week 11: Green


The Facts

Fabric: Curtain from the thrift store

Pattern: From instructions from a panel done by Jessica of Ties that Bynde

Year: 2013

Notions: Safety pins and twill tape

Time to complete: About an hour

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? Hopefully

Total Cost: $10 – $5 for the curtain, $5 for the safety pins and twill tape at the panel.

Some time ago I attended a steampunk convention where Jessica of Ties that Bynde had a panel on how to create a bustle using a yard of fabric, some twill tape and some safety pins. Kits with or without fabric were for sale for anyone who wanted to learn how to create a simple bustle but did not bring materials with them. I picked up this curtain for the purpose of making something steampunk related. I love the light green color and how the fabric drapes. I also like that it is not meant to be a smooth fabric and I do not have to worry about ironing it. I do not like how reflective it is when a flash is used.


The creation of the bustle is very simple. Twill tape is pinned to a piece of fabric that is pleated to fit the wearer at the waist (or where you want the bustle to sit). More pleats mean less coverage but a fuller looking bustle, less pleats mean more coverage but the fabric will be stretched out more and it will be harder to make the bustle look as full. This first piece of twill tape is also serving as the waistband and needs to be long enough for this purpose.

To this first piece of twill tape, attach 3 more pieces of twill tape, going vertically. Then, play with draping. Pick a spot and pin the fabric of the bustle to the twill tape. Make it symmetrical. Make it asymetrical. Find what works for you. Since the fabric is being attached to the twill tape with safety pins it can be changed for future wearings. Personally, I am going to play around with the bustle draping a little bit more and then I am going to sew the fabric down to the twill tape to create a permanent bustle.

The pictures above show the bustle with a bustle pad. I also took picture without the bustle pad as I have not yet incorporated a bustle pad into my steampunk outfits. Here is what the bustle looks like without the bustle pad.

From the back:



From the side:



Happy sewing!

Week 10 – Art – Inspired by artwork



The Facts

Fabric: Lace from…various sources (yard sales, estate sales, other crafters’ stash-busting events)

Pattern: based on a thing that I saw on Pinterest (inspiration photo above)

Year: 2013

Notions: Lace, crochet, beads, baubles, scrapbook paper, vintage frames, new frames, found items, previous projects, etc.

Time to complete: Many hours of cleaning, searching, placing, fighting, rearranging, putting together, taking apart, and doing everything all over again. Still a work in progress.

Continue reading

Week 6: UFO – Unfinished object


The Facts

Fabric: 1 pair socks

Pattern: self-drafted

Year: 2013

Notions: thread

Time to complete: 2 hours once I actually started working on it.

First worn: As soon as I was done making them.

Wear again? Definitely.

Total Cost: I’ve had these so long I will count them as free.

I love, love, love, fingerless gloves. I am usually the person who is cold and/or chilled when everyone else is either comfortable or too warm. Gloves like this are perfect for those times when there is a chill in the air but it is too warm for a jacket, or when you need something to keep your hands warm and still be able to use your fingers. They are great especially for working on the computer. At our house the computer is next to an outside wall and all of the cold just creeps in and freezes anyone who sits next to it for too long. These gloves help to keep the hands capable of working while using the computer.

I had this pair of socks that got a hole in them, but were too cute to throw away. So, after a thorough washing, they got added to my crafting material collection where they sat for some time. Eventually, I cut off the part with the hole, made both socks equal in length, and serged the cut ends. I noticed that they were too long to just wear as arm warmers and would need to be modified. So, they sat for some time longer.

Then this crafting challenge came up. I am pretty good about sewing stuff once I have all of the fabric cut out, so I didn’t have much to choose from in the way of unfinished projects. Most of what I have is uncut fabric sitting next to unopened patterns. So, I sat down and started to finish these.

First, I put the arm warmers on and marked with straight pens the placements for where I needed to cut/sew for the thumb opening. Then I started hand stitching. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wouldn’t be happy with the seam that I was creating. So, I took out my scissors and cut the sock so I would be able to sew along the cut edge. I sewed the seam twice for extra reinforcements. Then, I repeated all of the steps on the second one. Now, I have a way to keep my hands warm while I do my hand sewing as I catch up on my Netflix watching.

Side note: I make and sell creatures made out of socks, and as a result, I have several bags full of new and unworn socks. I get the feeling that I will make additional arm warmers in the future so I get a chance to add different embellishments to them.

Happy sewing!

Here is the left one:


Here is the right one:


I tried to take a picture so you could see some of the detail, but I don’t think that it came out too well.