Hopes and Seams

Crafts, refashions, and sewings to DIY my way through life

Archive for the category “How-Tos”

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall – Bleach Dyed Dress

All summer long, I had eyed a number of bleach dyed tops, skirts, and jackets, but didn’t want to spend the cash for anything new. So I put bleach dyeing something for myself on my summer to-do list. By the time I was done, it was fall! 🙂

a blue a linen sack I could find

as blue a linen sack I could find

I started with this linen dress I found at the thrift store for $3. I thought the cobalt blue was so pretty, and the pockets were interesting. But everything else needed some changing…!!!

alterationsI did a number of pretty standard alterations:

  1. marked at my natural waist and cut
  2. brought in the sides and sleeves, trimming off the excess
  3. resized the new skirt by making 6 uniform box pleats. I considered just gathering it like I have before, but the fabric is a bit thicker and I thought pleats would be faster to do

IMG_1909-001After that, I sewed the new bodice and skirt back together: I matched them up at the waist seam, with the right sides facing each other.

IMG_1921-001It was already MUCH improved. But I knew this little gem had more to show!

bleach dye materials

Needed: big bowl or bucket, sponge, GLOVES, straight up bleach, concrete slab or giant table covered with tarp (not kidding)

I got my materials together and found a nice flat concrete area to work on. Some notes on the materials and work space:

  1. I needed a large surface area that was flat, big enough for me to lay the entire dress out without wrinkling
  2. The work space needed to be something I could drip undiluted bleach all over. The concrete outside my front door was perfect after I made sure it was clean of debris, but I would have used a tarp on a big table if I needed an alternative.
  3. I was dip-dyeing my dress first, so I chose to use a smaller, narrower bowl versus a wide bucket because I didn’t want to pour more bleach than I would need to saturate the hem of dress.
  4. I had a big soft sponge, the kind you shine cars with, but a smaller sponge would have been fine too.

Starred Photos5I started with the hem: I kind of rolled my dress up so that it would fit the width of the bowl, being VERY CAREFUL that the hem was uniform all along the bottom, and put my gloves on. After filling my bowl about 4 inches deep with the bleach, I lowered the dress in until it was standing on the bottom of the bowl with the surface of bleach reaching 4 inches up the hem, and “creeping” up. 

One thing I didn’t know about bleach dyeing is that the bleach does not change the color of the fabric right away. I thought that the moment the fabric would hit the bleach, it would turn white. So it was rather anticlimactic when I built up all this courage to finally dip the dress and it didn’t change color at all and just looked…wet. I held it in there for a good 4-5 minutes, and it only changed to a pinkish color! I was bummed. But when I took it out and lay it carefully down, it started to turn whiter and whiter as it dried! So I ended up dipping it once for a few minutes, and then letting it dry for about 10, and then dipping it one more time for another 4-5 minutes to make sure the hem was as white as can be.

Starred Photos6

front and back splatters

I couldn’t get any action shots of the next steps because I was, well, in action 😦 but after getting the hem all white, I wanted to have a splatter effect that grades up the dress. I put my gloves back on, and tried my best to get the skirt as flat and even and unwrinkled as humanly possible. I took the sponge and filled it with the bleach in the bowl – not completely soaked so it’s dripping full, but full enough to squeeze a good cup full at a time.

With my sponge loaded, I held it over the area nearest the hem, and SLOWLY squeezed the bleach out, carefully splattering it in a somewhat uniform way. I did the first liberal squeeze onto the bottom of the dress, and then did the smaller drops for the area a little above, so the drops get smaller and smaller.

After that, I literally just cupped a little bleach in my gloved hands and trickled it along the middle – the area between the hem and waist – of the skirt. Finally, for the top part, I wet my gloves in the bleach, and let it drip off my fingertips for larger drops, or flicked my fingers to get the small drops along and above the waistline.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES: It’s REALLY IMPORTANT for the dress to be flat!!! The bleach pooled along even the slightest fold and wrinkle, making pooly lines of bleach instead of the more roundish splatters I wanted. I was able to fix it by adding MORE bleach to round them out, but I wish I had been more careful from the beginning.

Again, it only turns white after it completely dries, so after letting it dry, I took another look at it, and did “touch ups” with my gloves until it had just the right amount of splatters. After that, it was another 20 minutes to air dry completely, an express spin in the washer and dryer and…

bleach dress 1

dumb pose #1

my new fall dress with old summer trends! 🙂 On an unrelated note, my husband made the credenza behind me. Isn’t he cool? I always say HE should be writing a blog.

bleach dress back and front

back and front or dumb pose #2 and #3

bleach dress close up

bleach flowers

I reallyyyyyy LOVE how the splatters look up close. There’s something almost floral about the pattern!

before during after

before – progress – after

The end! Husband always chides me for taking “ugly” before pictures and then trying to look super great in the after pics. He says it’s manipulative. So here’s a before/during/after pic to fairly represent the state of things. See – I’m happy allll the way through!

little boy bloopers

🙂 and this makes me happy too.


Painted Ombre Curtains


The very first thing we did when we moved into our house was paint all the walls. Every room was painted a different color (bright blue bedroom, pink bathroom, peach kitchen, green master!) so to unify everything and establish a neutral palette I chose to sweep everything in the neutral paint color du jour – grey. Convinced there would be pops of color elsewhere, we proceeded to get the rest of the big furniture in the living room – a sectional sofa, a large area rug, and book cases/expedit shelving units. What colors did those end up being? Dark grey, grey, and black, respectively. Even my sofa “accent” pillows ended up being grey. I was starting to feel very drab indeed.

I searched and searched for some bright cheery yellow curtains but I learned quickly that I’m painfully particular – I wanted a print, but I didn’t want it all over. I wanted ombre, but I thought it too plain by itself. I wanted a bright, loud color, but didn’t want it to be solid. And underlying it all was the painful squeeze of now paying a mortgage through our noses.

Amidst my woe, I serendipitously checked the “As-is” section at IKEA and found a pair of these for $5!(!!!!!) After reading a bajillion tutorials on how to dip dye fabric AND how to paint a pattern onto fabric (like this one), I just jumped in and tried it myself. For the most part, I’m pleased with the end product, but there are DEFINITELY things I wish I had done differently.



I used 1 entire package of RIT Golden Yellow, and dissolved it with a cup of salt in about 3 gallons of boiling hot water. In retrospect, I wish I had done 2 packages? Or maybe tried mixing it with the tiiiniest hint of orange, just because I wish the yellow were just a tad bit more saturated. I think my curtain fabric (a sort of canvas-y material) was too thick to take on the dye to the degree I wanted. Oh well!

house stuff-001

I then lowered the ends of my curtains into the bucket until they skimmed the bottom. I let the ends steep for about 15 minutes, and then lowered another foot into the bucket. I kind of twist scrunched the fabric to make it fit more efficiently in the water and make sure the dye line would be level horizontally across the fabric. I repeated this process of lowering a foot of fabric in and letting it soak for 15 minutes about 4 times. For the last “wash” where the yellow is the lightest and transitions into the white, I just dipped it quickly a couple times instead of letting it soak.

When I pulled it out, the end at the bottom of the bucket was the darkest shade of yellow since it had sat in the dye for more than hour, while the part right next to the white was the very lightest since it was just dipped really quickly. I carefully hung the curtains across my fence (making sure the color was at the bottom!) and ran cold water with the hose from the top (white) to the bottom (yellow) until the water ran clear. I let it air dry, and then threw it in my dryer to set it!


What did I do during those 15 minute intervals?


With some left over wall paint, a homemade stencil, a sponge, newspaper, spray adhesive, scotch tape, and a couple paper plates on hand, I started figuring out how to paint the pattern onto my curtains.

I sketched out a few patterns that I thought I might like, and once I decided on one, I drew it out on some stencil material and made my cuts with an Xacto-knife. I sprayed the back with spray adhesive (it gives the back of the stencil some tackiness), and also stuck four pieces of scotch tape on each side to help secure it and keep it in place.

house stuff2

After practicing on a tote to get the feel of things, I laid newspaper under the curtain fabric and got to work. The process was to position the stencil, stick down the scotch tape, load up my sponge and blot off excess on a paper plate, apply onto the stencil evenly, carefully peel off and wipe off the excess paint on a paper plate. Rinse and repeat.

photo (3)

I’m not going to lie, the stenciling and painting was a PAIN and it took forever (forever = maybe 4 hours?). There are a lot of things I would do differently if I were to do this over.


This was a roll of “make your own stencil” material from Martha Stewart that I got from Michaels. I would NOT (!!!!) recommend using this!!! It was rolled so tightly, that once I tried to unfurl it to use for myself, the dumb thing would NOT lie flat, even after rolling it as tight as I could the opposite way. If I were to do this again, I would definitely use some sort of mat or waterproof paper (I’ve heard contact paper works)

The tutorial I mainly followed (the one I linked to earlier) said to use a foam roller. I tried that on my tote and it stunk. So I tried a foam brush, but that was really bad too! I finally settled on the round dabby sponge that’s in my picture, which I think was ideal. Messy on the fingers, but the best of the bunch.

I would draw grid lines for myself to help guide the placement of my stencil. I considered this but didn’t do it because I thought it would easy to just match up the edges of the pattern to keep myself straight. NOPE. My pattern started getting all wonky near the end of the second row, with the edges not matching the way they were supposed to, and by the end, I had to fill in the spots where the ends weren’t matching up.

I would also make my stencil WAY bigger, like at least four times bigger and just have the pattern repeating within my stencil. The whole process got tedious really fast, so making a bigger stencil would have saved some pain.

Regardless of how things could have been done better, I still get to see this every day

New folder2and it does make me happy 🙂

IMG_1792these curtains cost about $7! and a million bucks of my TIME.

The Peplum.

This is a refashion I did soon after I found out I was pregnant. It was an awkward time when my clothes, especially the pencil skirts that I favor, were getting a little tighter but the pregnancy weight just looked like, well, fat.

With a wedding looming around the corner, I had nearly nothing in my closet that fit and I was really sad about it. I needed something that would hide my belly, but still have the silhouette that worked for me. I needed. The Peplum.

This “tutorial” is actually a copy of a legitimate tutorial by Sarah of “Welcome to the G00d Life“. Her Anthropologie inspired peplum skirt is the real deal!

DSC_0567I found this skirt at goodwill for a few dollars. I knew it was the perfect candidate because it was a medium weight fabric (not too hot, not too cold), the waist was juuust the right size, and it was about 4 inches too long (you’ll know why I thought that was good in a second!)


I marked where I wanted my new skirt to hit, and lopped off the bottom about a half inch below that mark (that half inch is needed to fold under twice and sew down as a new hem.) That piece I just cut off the bottom was about to become my new belly hiding peplum!

DSC_0572The 4 inch wide piece I cut off the bottom was a tube that had a raw top edge, a hemmed bottom edge, and two side seams. Basically, the idea is to take this tube and move it up to the waist to make the peplum. I cut the front of the tube (one layer of fabric – don’t cut through 2 layers of fabric!) straight up the middle, front and center, so that, if all unfurled, it would be a long strip instead of a tube. I then took the edges of the cut I had just made, and cut the bottom corners to round off into the bottom edge (the hemmed one). The last thing I did with my strip was gather the top (raw) edge to measure the same as the waist, but you could easily just pleat it (which is what Sarah did).

DSC_0571I didn’t want my peplum layer to show at all, so I carefully picked off the waistband with a seam ripper. I then positioned my new peplum on top of the skirt, making sure to match up the side seams.

DSC_0573I carefully sandwiched everything with the waistband again and secured everything with lots of pins (like, A LOT of pins!). After everything was sure not to budge, I carefully sewed the waistband back on.

DSC_0574The last step was to fold the raw edge on the bottom over twice and sew in place for a new hem. My skirt also had a lining, so I had to cut, fold, and re-hem that too 🙂

New folder1

done! I seriously love this skirt and wear it a LOT. I think it’s my most-used refashion to date! For that wedding, I wore The Peplum with another figure forgiving refashion – my elastic-in-the-back prisoner shirt.

New folder

before and after

🙂 fun!

P.S. clearly I’m crazy for peplums. you should be too.

Quickie (feat. Silver Keys)

Hello silver keys that I can hardly tell apart!


Hello nail polish/glitter collection that hardly sees the light of day!


(slather slather)




Felt Blooms – Guidelines


I really LOVE making flowers, especially out of felt. As I watch the material slowly blossom from between my own fingertips, my heart smiles a little bit. Honestly, there are MILLIONS (ok fine, more like 531,000) of tutorials for felt flowers out there. I think they are so popular because they can be sooo quick and easy. But personally, I think a blossom that takes a little more time, planning, and effort really makes a statement.

This post isn’t so much a step by step tutorial, but more the guidelines I follow when I make a felt flower. I pretty much make them in four stages: petal cutting, petal shaping, flower assembly, and finishing touches.

Stage 1: Cut the Petals

(clockwise) pic of a peony found on google (http://4peonies.com/graphics/AbalonePearl.jpg), little squares, different colors = different sizes, petal shape

First, I pick a flower and do some “research”, which is my fancy word for doing a google image search for it. I’m basically looking for 2 things – the shape of the petals, and the fullness/density of the bloom. After this, I cut out seemingly millions of little squares in the colors I want (really, you probably only need 20 ish, depending on the flower). When I’m using different colors for a gradient effect, I try to size the petals differently to get larger as they go out. Finally, I meticulously cut each petal into the shape that I want. For this peony, I used about 20 petals, the smallest being about 4 cm wide, the largest being 6 cm wide.

STAGE 2: Shape the Petals

(clockwise) hot glue along the bottom edge, cup with thumb, backside, piles of petals!

Now, it’s time to make mounds of flat petals more lifelike! I take my hot glue gun, do a light line along the bottom edge (can you see it in the pic? 😦 ), and basically form the base of the petal into a “cup” using my thumb! REPEAT X 20

STAGE 3: Assemble the Flower

(clockwise) glue by edges, inner trio of petals, layers of petals!

Now is the fun part 🙂 I take the smallest petals and try to figure out the best formation for the smallest, inner ring of petals. I’ll try 2, 3, 4, or 5 petals to see which looks best. After I figure it out, I glue the inner ring together by the edges. I then add petals one by one, layering out, gluing by the bottom of each petal (not the edges). For this peony, I ended up having about five layers of petals, going from cream, to very light pink, to a dusty light pink.

STAGE FOUR: Apply Finishing Touches

I like to add little embellishments, like leaves, or bits of lace, tulle, or netting. Different colors, textures, and some shine really ups the visual interest. I kept the embellishments light on this baby though, just sticking with a couple of leaves 🙂

By the end, there are a couple unsightly spots, namely the center of the flower, and the back of the flower. It’s easy to fill the center! I usually just glue or stitch in some pearls, beads, or buttons. Alternatively, you can make this furry felt roll up thing by taking a thin strip of felt, cutting notches (?) down its length, and then rollllling it up, using hot glue to secure :). For the back, I figure out what I want this flower to be (pin? headband? clip? belt?) and buy the necessary hardware (Michael’s, Joann’s, Walmart!). I cut a felt circle, just big enough to hide all the ugliness, and cut slits in it to slide a part of the hardware behind it. Can you see in the above pic how the top of the hair clip is covered by the felt, and actually directly glued onto the bloom? I then thoroughly hot glue the whole thing down!

And that’s it! Flower accomplished! heehee.

My peony is a really big flower, but you can make these smaller or bigger as you please. These flowers are so fun and pretty to glue/stitch onto soft hairbands for your baby girl, or to wear as a crazy headband (like I do). They brighten up blazers, plain blouses, Bible covers, kindle covers, aprons, home decor….and uh…..lots of other stuff!!

By the way, this peony is up for mutual donation. Check out my new mutual donation page to see what that means!

🙂 Have fun!

A Crisis and a Question

A veritable holiday crisis: wrapping presents at some crazy hour after midnight, and realizing you don't have that gift bag you urgently NEED! All you can find are empty cereal boxes! How many times have you wished your cereal box would magically turn into a gift bag?

Well wish no more! Simply trim one of those cereal boxes to the height you need...

...and wrap it in wrapping paper, glueing down each surface as you go. Leave about 6 inches of paper at the top (the opening).

After wrapping around the entire box and securing all edges with glue, snip the wrapping paper around the opening down to the four corners to make four flaps.

Fold each flap in half, then fold again to lie flat on the inside of the box. Glue down and repeat on all four sides!

Makes a niice neat opening 🙂

Don't forget to make the bottom nice and tidy!

Use a straight edge to carefully and cleanly to make side creases (side note: I would NOT recommend making it completely gift bag-gy by quashing the bottom rectangle flat against the front of the bag. I tried this and the paper wrinkled terribly waaah)

Hole punch and hole puch. Repeat on other side!

Thread ribbon through...

..and double knot, double knot!

Throw your present in and you're DONE! Crisis averted ha-HA!

Now for a random question: I've made my first baby head wrap. That white material is the super soft stretchy part that wraps around baby's head. Ok, my question is, would you let your baby wear this? Making accessories for babies makes me nervous because I feel like there is so much...at stake? Err...does that make sense?

Thanks for your input in advance. Happy wrapping and have fun everyone! 🙂

The Skinny on Skinnies

MATERIALS NEEDED: pants to skinnify, marking pen, pins, sewing machine with coordinating thread.

I have these pants that my sister found for $1. I never wear them because they make me....well....you can see for yourself in the picture. 😦 sigh. It's such a shame because the waist and length are perfect, but they make me feel like a man.

SO...I laid those babies out on the floor inside out...

....and lay some existing skinnies directly on top. Matching up the outside seams, I used a fabric pen to trace where the inside seams of my skinnies fell. If you're doing this, you'll want to look at your own pants and see which seam will be best to take in; usually there is one that has a thick decorative seam, and another that lies flat. If your outside seam is the flat one, then I would bring that seam in rather than the inside seam.

(sorry bad picture) see the line? After this, I pinned one of the legs up with pins...

...and tried it on (yep, inside out!), adjusting where the fabric was pulling too tightly.

Starting at the crotch, I sewed down the new inner seam.

After trying it on one more time to make sure it fit the way I wanted, I cut the excess fabric, and zigzag stitched over the unfinished edge so that the fabric wouldn't fray.

I folded the pants in half and marked the other leg up (do you see the blue line?). I did it this way to make sure my two legs were symmetrical. Repeat the process on the other side (starting at the crotch, sew down the leg, cut excess fabric. Check to see if they fit and both legs are even)

and heeeyyyyyy~~

New skinny pants! 🙂 I still look dumpy, but....LESS dumpy, right?? 🙂 hehee.

so. many. tutorials!

Leather Obi Belt

Materials needed: 1/4 yard of leather or pleather, 1/8 yard of coordinating silk or rayon, thread and machine, some silly posing skillzz

Step 1: PATTERN. Grab some newspaper and cut it to the length you want your belt, plus a half inch. My pattern measured about 24 inches. Then, fold the paper into fourths, and cut it into the shape you want. (Having it folded will ensure that the belt is symmetrical). I wanted mine to be like a long oval, so I cut it the way you see in the picture, but you could also do it in a rectangle, or other shape.

Open it up and hold it up on your body to make sure you like it. It's ok if it's a bit big because you will lose half an inch for the seams. YYEaaah your pattern is DONE 🙂

Step two: LEATHER FACE. Fold your pattern in half, fold your leather in half, and lay them on top of one another with the folded edges lined up with one another. Carefully cut the leather around your paper pattern.

Repeat this with another piece of leather sooo...

...you've got two symmetrical leather pieces (for the front and back). Cool the leather cutting is DONE! 🙂

Step three: TIES. Take that 1/8 yard of silk or whatever you got and cut it in half, length-wise. (This pic is really misleading. It shouldn't look as skinny as this -__- sorryy)

Take one piece and fold it in half, length wise again, so it's a long strip. Sew down the raw long edge...

...but when you get to the end, sew down the short edge at a 45 degree angle...

...like so. This will give us pretty points at the ends of our bow 🙂 Backtack right there (backtack means to sew backwards a few stitches, then forward again to secure the thread from coming loose), and repeat for the other strip

Grab a pen or knitting needle or some similarly long rod like object, and flip those strips inside out...

...and tada! Two ties for our belt 🙂

Step four: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER. ooohhh k! So, make a sandwich - leather (right side facing in), two ties (with raw edge sticking out, one on each side), and leather (right side facing in). I know, it's a crazy inside out sandwich, but just trust me on this!

So it looks like this, ok?

Start by sewing down one of the ties...

...and keep sewing around - sew down the long edge (being VERY CAREFUL not to sew any other part of the ties down!!!), sew down the other tie, and sew back around the other long edge (keep those ties out of the way!), BUT leave an opening, about the length of your hand. Backtack!


It looks like a pizza pocket?

Any way, stick your hand in that opening and grab the two ties, and pull them out carefully. Gently coax out the rest of belt until it is flipped inside out. Yes, it will feel like this brown thing is literally giving birth, but it will turn into...

...this almost-belt-crab-looking-thing! Hand stitch the opening closed using an invisible stitch (youtube this).

To make it decidedly more belt-like, topstitch around the belt.

It will look like this! Better, right?

Lay the leather on your waist, wrap the ties around your back, pull them back to the front and tie a knot...

...and you've got a super cool new obi belt! I love the pointed edges on the knot.

Wear with that pretty dress you have. 🙂 Have fun!


Linked up here!

Ombre Glitter Shoes

MATERIALS: old shoes, newspaper, modpodge, two shades of glitter, foam brush, plastic knife/spoon, paper plate. NOT PICTURED: tape OPTIONAL: coordinating ribbon, hot glue

PART 1: RAZZLE-DAZZLE! Start by taping off the soles of the shoes. I used scotch tape, but I would recommend painter's tape b/c the scotch tape did NOT come off easily, y'all 😦

Precautionary, but not necessary: stuff with newspaper to keep yourself from getting glitter in the shoe

Take the color that you want at the back of your shoe, and mix it with mod podge in a 50/50 ratio. I only needed a little bit of mod podge, like a small spoonful. Start with just a little bit of mod podge, and add more as you need it (a little goes a long way, though!)

The magic is beginning!!! If you do it this way, instead of applying glue and shaking the glitter on, you will leave a LOT less glitter trailing behind you. The glitter stays put wayy better this way (I found out the hard way)

Dab dab dab. Lay it on THICK or else you'll have bare patches, and it's a pain to do touch ups.

Razzledazzle phase 1

Mix in a little of the other color, so the color ratio is like 2 (color 1) : 1 (color 2). Dab that on and...

Razzledazzle phase 2. Mix in more and more of color 2 with the mod podge, dabbing it on in phases until your shoe is done!

Razzledazzle phase 3

Razzledazzle DONE! Notice how there is no glitter mess? Mixing it with the glue is so much cleaner/more efficient

After it's dry, peel off the tape from the soles (carefully!)

And that's it! You have a new pair of sparkle shoes! I really LOVE the ombre effect.

PART 2: EMBELLISHMENTS. Call me crazy, but even after covering my flats in not one, but TWO shades of GLITTER, I STILL thought they were too plain! So out comes the ribbon. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon, about 8 inches? Snip the edges

Crease them at the middle, and crease both ends at about 1.5 inches (?) I'm going to call them the "middle crease" and the "side crease"

Squeeze a *little* bit of hot glue over the middle crease. Bring one of the side creases over to meet the middle crease and pinch to glue (watch your fingers!) See how the snipped edge is peeking out? You want that...if it doesn't peek out, try to re-crease to ensure that it does

Repeat with the other side...

...and when you turn it over, it'll look like this!

Cut another piece of ribbon, about this big

Fold in half lengthwise, and glue one end to the middle of the back of the bow (where the folds are)

Wrap around...

...and glue in the back!

Cuties! Apply a liberal amount of hot glue to the backs of these and stick them onto your shoes!

and they're DONE! 😀

I've heard you can spray them with hairspray to further ensure that they don't leave a trail of glitter behind you. But make sure you stuff your shoes with newspaper, so you don't get hairspray inside your shoes!

The colors are a lot more saturated in person, but can you see the ombre?

Do a happy glitter dance and enjoy! 🙂

More sparkly feet here and here!

linky link!

When You Have a Shirt to Skirt

Materials Needed: a big, old, man shirt and a sewing machine 😛

Grab a skirt that fits just right and measure its width at the waist. This will be measurement #1. Ok, now go steal an old shirt from Mr. Husbandman

Goodbye sleeves!

Cut that baby into pieces! So there are 3 parts to this: That bottom will the pleated skirt part, the middle will be the paper bag ruffle on top, and the top will be cut up to be the waistband. Sleeves will be used as extra fabric and pockets.

PART 1: PLEATED SKIRT. Take the bottom section of the shirt you just cut, and measure and mark it into even sections around the top. I dotted mine into eighths.

Pleat the skirt by matching up the dots with one another until equals measurement #1. You'll have to play around with the pleats to reach the waist measurement that you want.

Pleat close up! Hey! 🙂 Part One: done! Ok, before you move on the Part Two though, unbutton this pleated skirt part and lay it flat. Measure its width - this will be measurement #2. Measurement #2 should be an inch or two longer than measurement #1 because there is an overlap where it buttons (I hope that makes sense :P)

PART 2: PAPER BAG DETAIL. Take the strip cut from the middle of the shirt and some material from the sleeves is necessary, and sew together a strip that is double of measurement #2.

MINI TUTORIAL ON RUFFLES: That big strip of fabric we just sewed together? Fold that in half lengthwise and sew the two ends shut. Flip it inside out (now the seams you just sewed are hidden, right?) and, on the longest stich length, stitch two straight lines down the raw edge, leaving the threads at the ends long

To ruffle up the fabric, grab the strings you left long on either side. See how there are four - two on "top" and two on the "bottom"? Grab a pair of "top"s and leave "bottom"s loose.

Holding those two "top"s tightly in your fingers, gently but firmly pull the string (as if pulling it out) while your other hand slides the fabric down (to scrunch it). With practice, ruffling gets pretty easy! 🙂 Ruffle the entire piece, and then tease the ruffles back out evenly until it is equal to measurement #2. Woohoo! Part Two is done! 🙂

PART 3: WAISTBAND. Grab that top section with the collar and cut the back into strips. Mine are about an inch and half wide? I used the back near the collar because it had a double layer of fabric.

Sew those two together, end to end, so you have a long strip, then finish the ends by rolling them over twice and sewing it down. This long strip should equal measurement #2. That's Part 3!

PIECING IT ALL TOGETHER. Pin the strip to the pleated bottom, right sides together (if your fabric has a right side)

Sew it down and....

Tada! 🙂 🙂

And repeat for the ruffle on top: pin the ruffle to the waistband right sides together. Sew it down and...


TIP: I knew I would need a button at the top of my waistband, but I don't know how to use my button hole foot on my machine yet. 😦 So I cheated by sewing on a strip with an existing button hole (just sandwich it in there when you're sewing your waistband in)...

Use a seam ripper to rip through the waist band underneath the button hole...

and hand sew a button!

Something else I did was use fusible webbing to fuse the seams of the ruffle and the pleated skirt section on to the waistband. I then cut another waistband strip and sewed it to cover the webbing. Sorry no pictures 😦 but hey - PARTS 1, 2, 3 - DONE! 🙂 This is ready to wear, so you should try it on! But read on if you want a few more special details...

PART 4: DETAILS. First, belt loops! So I took what was leftover from the shirt remnant near the collar and cut it into a rectangle, and then I cut THAT into little rectangles.

Fold each in half and sew shut, lengthwise

Use a pen or knitting needle or whatever to flip them inside out.

Fold down the top and bottom and place on your waistband with pins. Trim excess if they are too long (mine were)

Sew them down and voila!

Next detail: pockets! What girl doesn't like pockets on her skirt? 🙂 Cut the cuffs off of the sleeves.

Cut those in half width wise and arrange them to make a "u" shape with a straight top.

Sew the two pieces together, right sides in. Fold over the straight line so the raw edge won't be exposed at the top. Iron everything down flat.

Figure out where to place your pockets and pin them down.

Sew them down (make sure you're only sewing around the "U", NOT the top - leave that open!) Heyy...guess what?

you're done!

Pocket love! ❤

Wear this as your final summer hurrah


Project inspired by this and this

Linking up here and here!

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