the ReFab Diaries: refashion
Showing posts with label refashion
Since my daughter was a toddler, I've been refashioning her clothes (see here, here, here, here, and here.) Why go to the trouble? Well, because I'm me. Also, kids tend to outgrow clothes before garments are actually worn out. Or, they destroy some part of an item (stains, rips etc) while the rest of the piece is in great shape.


Every now and again I'll go on a mending or refashioning spree, and I'll share it with you guys. What I don't share are the many times I thread a needle to stitch on a button or repair a small hole in a shirt I love ... or put small darts in a dress otherwise too wide for my daughter; by hand. I was raised by a tribe of woman who sewed - not in some precious, artistic way... it was simply a survival skill for them, like being able to boil an egg. I realize that this mindset has shifted, and our generation is more likely to replace than repair. So I recently gave the 7.5 year old Ms R her first lesson in sewing on a button. And as we worked together, I realized again how valuable it is for her to learn things like this. Why?




It's been a while since I shared a refashion and I'm excited about this one! I bought this shirt because I loved the detail. And while I've worn it often over the years, it's never felt right with long sleeves. The detailed cuffs have also always felt too heavy. So, I decided to turn it into the summer shirt it should always have been, and repurpose the detailed cuffs on the shoulders.


If you're in the northern hemisphere, you're optimistic that spring is around the corner and you're probably wanting to cull old sweaters because (a) they don't fit you and/or (b) you didn't wear them all winter because you hate them.

If you're in the southern hemisphere, you're unpacking them, trying them on and realizing that you (a) hate a few of them and/or (b) can no longer fit into a few of them. Ahem.

But don't throw them out! Fun ideas for upcycling below care of Fix.com. I also have refashioning ideas for you here, here, here and here.


Source: Fix.com Blog


To say that this refashion was years in the making is no exaggeration. I started it three years ago. Then shelved it because I had an idea of what I wanted to do next, but didn't have the know-how. Last month, my parents came to visit. And I hauled it out and asked my mom for help (pro sewer) - so glad I did! Along with the know-how, this really needed someone else's eye and patience. 

Here's some version of a how-to:

Winner! Refashion giveaway

in , by ReFab Diaries


Time to send these books to a new home! As always, I used a randomizer to pick the winner and it chose entry #17 - that's Laura D.

Laura, congrats! Expect an email from me to get your shipping details.

A big thank you to everyone who entered for your interest - if you can find these books gently used, they're worth grabbing - so many good ideas for upcycling and refashioning.






Goals - Week 31:

  • Give away what I don't need
  • Say thanks for all the support I've been given
  • Encourage all of you to upcycle and relove! 

I'm 31 weeks into my challenge! I'm celebrating this milestone by giving away lovely books I don't need. Because I now have multiple copies of them.



Goals - Week 25: 
  • Repair things I love to wear
  • Admit that I'm not going to lose "those 5 lbs" before September (and so resize stuff!)
  • Go on a mending (rather than a spending) spree

I live in Chicago. It's either cool or cold a lot and I wear some version of jeans most of the year (because I have the kind of full-time job where that's ok). Then summer happens. It feels like it will never come and then it does. And it always surprises me. The first time I try on things I haven't worn in a year... well, it's rarely fun. Because I've gained a few inches. Or because I realize my favorite things are still unwearable. Because I neglected to fix something that was a problem a year ago. 
What to do with an old sweatshirt or sweatpants?

If you're interested in upcycling some cozy old loungewear, you're in the right place. Turning an old sweatshirt into a coat for chilly puppy is easy!



Goals - Week 24: 
  • Celebrate upcycling of every sort!
  • Encourage everyone to just start somewhere 
  • Keep reminding myself (and you): a "zero-waste" lifestyle is about mindfulness, choice and creativity - not perfection

Meet Peanut. Four months old and just 1.7 kg (3.5 lbs). She's not only the star of this (p)upcycle, she's also the newest member of a popular Instagram family! (see them together below)


Goals - Week 22:
  • Clear out closet clutter 
  • Repurpose what cannot be donated or easily recycled
  • Have a little more guts when it comes to "refashions"

I went to bed on Friday night with a head cold and woke up Saturday feeling dazed. You know when you feel too crappy to leave the house, but not so sick that you can't function? Yeah. That. Which means I made myself tackle one small task so I'd feel like I'd accomplished something. The task: put the heavy duvet cover away for the summer. 

This involved clearing out the bag I use to store it... and what did I find in there? Old clothes, most of which I dropped into a donation box on Sunday. And the two shirts that are the stars of this post. I've been storing them for over a year and as soon as I saw them, I remembered why! 

New York-based visual artist and musician Rachael Sage has been creating mixed-media artwork, drawing and painting since grade school. Working primarily with acrylics, ink and - of course - glitter, Rachael deems her hometown NYC to be her greatest inspiration.

She's also a singer-songwriter and producer who runs her own record label, MPress Records. A soulful vocalist and innovative multi-instrumentalist, Rachael has shared stages with Sarah McLachlan, A Great Big World, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Jamie Cullum, The Animals and Ani DiFranco.

And I get to feature a refashion she created just for you guys!! 

I share my world with a 5 and half year old who is on her way up. Like a weed, as they say. Which means we're drowning in perfectly good long-sleeved t-shirts that are way too short for her. Way. And then we got a big bag of hand-me-downs from her cousin and suddenly had even more of them. All. too. short.

Hi rebfabbers ... it's been a while since I posted! I have a few things to share in the next couple of weeks, but first a quick, practical fix. I've been playing with ways to make kid's clothes last longer and work harder since Ms R arrived in 2010. I've turned long-sleeve onesies into short sleeve swing tops (tutorial), used the legs of too-short pants to add sleeves to old t-shirts (tutorial) and combined a shirt of mine with a onesie of hers to make a dress (tutorial). 

Coming to you live, from the department of cocky refashionistas and people who own sewing machines but have no real training in how to use them well: an apparently basic alteration that failed. 


This amazing T-dress isn't the first Of Dreams and Seams project I've featured (see here), but it might be my favorite. I love the color mixing and the attitude in everything Katya makes. Click through for the whole project and stay for the vision!



As I write this post, there are just a few hours left to enter the Retrash giveaway. The lovely Nathan (Retrash founder) just repurposed an old flipflop (thong) and then I saw this! If you want to see some extreme flip-flop upcycling, check out Kenyan based Ocean Sole. If you want to re-purpose a pair of your own old soles, keep reading.




The insanity that is SXSW is happening this week so I'm thinking... American South West. And nothing says that better than cowboy boots, right? I've never owned a pair. Not sure they're really me? But I admire them from afar - the work that goes into them is incredible. So once you completely destroy the soles, what can you do with all that beautiful leather? 

I think cowboy boot purses are cool (DIY here and here) but still a little too ... cowboy for me. I love this wallet because it saves the best of the leather work. But doesn't force "American South West" on you.  Complete DIY at Poppytalk






I haven't seen a really good kid-centric upcycle in a while. And when I saw this, I thought "duh!"

Kim, who blogs at A Girl with a Glue Gun, created this tutorial for Peek-a-Boo pattern shop. She was inspired by mountains of hand-me-down shirts ... and the number of new babies on the way.

Get the full how-to here. Thanks to Amy Hindman for permission to share.





Repurpose: Leather Coat Bag

in , by ReFab Diaries



I love vintage leather coats and jackets, but they aren't all wearable. So how do you upcycle a leather jacket that's too wrecked to wear? 

When I stumbled upon this fantastic coat refab by Luz (of Luz Patterns) I couldn't wait to share it! Then I had irritating internet issues that shut me down for a bit. But I'm back and here it is. I've seen old leather upcycles before (old round up here) ... but nothing this beautifully crafted. And she shows her makeover in detail.

Thanks to Luz for permission to share!  (PS: She's a crochet, sewing and DIY whiz so enjoy the blog)







I spotted this idea on Pinterest about a year ago and left a comment asking for a tutorial. Guess what? One popped up!  Care of Sheri at Awesome Sauce & Ass Hattery. 



There are so many beautiful, vintage tea towels, placemats etc out there.  I love the idea of using them to personalize a bland t-shirt. Thanks Sheri.  Click through for the complete tutorial. 






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