Category Archives: great inspiration

upcycle that dress, upcycle that life! A thrift store vintage maxi dress gets a remake.


Clothing can be powerful. It can be transformative and can be transformed itself into something new. Sometimes, clothing takes you on a journey, sometimes it follows you on a journey. Upcycling a dress is a great analogy for going through the process of divorce. There were some really, really great parts of the relationship I had with my husband that I really didn’t want to loose. Overall though, it just wasn’t working. Sorta like this vintage maxi dress I found at the thrift store.


snippyitydoodaaa! begin upcycle!

snippyitydoodaaa! Isn’t it wild?

Near the end of my marriage, I went thrifting with Lou. It was a hard thing to do. My heart just was not in it. Then, this vintage maxi dress, probably from around the late 60’s, maybe early 70’s appeared. Poor vintage maxi was so awfully dated but the fabric was, well, groovy! She spoke to me. Then Lou came up behind me and said “What is That?!?!”






I really wish I had a pre-cut  photo. It was so, so groovy.


Next thing I knew, I was packing up my studio lock, stock and Singer and moving on to a new home, new life and the great unknown. (Kinda like the dress did!) A whole bunch of stuff followed and a whole lot more didn’t make the cut. After a couple of weeks in plastic bins, I began to miss sewing and started digging around. What do you think showed up? The groovy vintage maxi dress! This time, it didn’t just speak to me, it vibrated. There was music, I saw a vision (I was probably experiencing a flash back from my less than stellar youth, but that ‘s another story.) ANYHOOOO..


Let the upcycle begin!

what's your number? upcycle

measure once…


I took to chopping. First, I measured the length of the dress to make sure that it would work as a dress AND a skirt. No matter what happens, life or fashion- you always have to make sure your ass-ets are covered.

dress length- it's gotta cover all your bits. and upcycle

measure twice!





not once, but three times! upcycle

measure thrice!












Next on the block were the very dated ruffles all around the neckline. ( I really wish I had before photos. I’m sure when the dress was originally born, it was very a la mode!)

snip snip here, snip snip there...upcycle the neckline

cut, cut, cut and oh, maybe a bit of this purple stuff, too?


Then, the rest of my summer and fall was spent trying to get my past life cut all apart for court and divorce lawyers. I also got strep a couple of times and jury duty (yes, all at the same time!). Everything went on pause. Poor groovy orange maxi dress had to be put on hold once again.

Prepping for the spring line typically begins during the winter doldrums. Groovy vintage orange maxi dress appeared in the middle of a very high pile of clothing all pulled apart and cut up looking like it she’d had a very long nap. She’s been with me all along, and now it was time to finish her up!

snipsnip here.. upcycle belt

the little loops and matching buttons are very matchy matchy but fun. A little snip is all they need..

Having the belt with the dress was such a stroke of luck!

Belts hardly ever stay with the original garment. If you look closely at the starting photo, you can see the original belt on the dress. Very matchy, matchy- ick! I decided that the new dress would need a little bit of color change around the waist, so the buttons got cut off and the fabric from the old belt was used to hold the new elastic waist for the skirt.Then, a new belt for the dress was made out of some purple fabric which was on hand that happened to match perfectly. Karma?



awful hem! upcycle it!

I make all sorts of mistakes!

The new hem of the dress which was originally sewn on by moi, was just awful. Redo!







Then, the original ruffle which had been removed was restored along with some of the purple fabric in a much more modern fashion.

neckline ruffle detail upcycle dress

fab new look!









upcycle making casing

picky, picky, picky..just rip that seam open!

Next, I made a casing for the waist of the bottom portion of the dress which was to be the new skirt, so I measured the width of the (new) elastic I would be using, tucked under the raw edge the width of the elastic and about 1/4 of an inch and sewed it up.


upcycle pin elastic

make sure to secure your end, you don’t want to have to start all over.

Then, picking open one of the seams halfway, I secured one end of the elastic to the opening and attached another pin to the opposite end of the elastic in order to easily feed the elastic through the casing.

upcycle inserting elastic

feed the monster..nomnomnom!



Once done, sew the two ends of the elastic together and whipstitch the casing shut. Case Closed! Need a visual? Click here.


At last! It took some time, patience, love and some crazy hallucinatory style visions to make it to this point, but it sure was worth it, don’t you think?

upcycle skirt

cute new large skirt!


upcycle dress

Cute update to a vintage dress!













Like this lovely vintage maxi dress, my old life was cut in two. However, nearly everything can be upcycled and why not my life too? Clothing can have the power to change your life, so upcycle your wardrobe and upcycle your life. It’ll be an adventure and I sure do love those!

Take care y’all!


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Happy New Year! Craft countdown..

Christmas time is always a wonderful and crazy time of the year, isn’t it?

I love how I look back at November- January 1st and think “Next year, I’ll relax and enjoy the moment more. I’ll make sure to take time to mentally note the special things that happen.”


yeah, right.

This year, in the frenzy of buying, wrapping and giving; making, baking and eating; waking, running, juggling and eating, I found myself with an extra half hour between work and my hair appointment. Of course I had to use that time to buy gifts and wrap them up!

I had already planned this gift for a friend of mine:



I thought I had the perfect gift bag for it. Made of lovely linen. Guys like linen, right? Anyway, it was waaaayy to big. You should never be giving anyone that much alcohol. Ever.

Only having 20 minutes until my hairdresser needed my tresses, I ran into the studio. WHAAT TO DO?!?

I saw this:

thrifty men's shirt

thrifty men’s shirt

Very blurry shot, I know but I was in a hurry and I’m pretty certain that everything this time of year is a little blurry and it’s not just my memory.

This is one of the few shirts that survived the move (yes, that happened this year too.) and for some reason I love gingham. Especially on guys. It’s such a southern, preppy thing.

Let’s begin the fun! Craft countdown!

First, I did a little snippping..

snip, snip here..snip snip there..

snip, snip here..snip snip there..


I swear, I was not drinking while making these photos.

Then, I did a little sewing.




I turned the sleeve inside out and stitched across the bottom twice for extra durability. There is nothing sadder than a broken bottle.

The perfect gift bag was almost complete and I was really excited by how clever it was beginning to look. Something was missing, though it needed  a way to be cinched up. I only had about 7 minutes left on the clock so frantically I scanned the room.



I had this lovely tie left over from a vintage cuff project we did a while back. It’s a beauty, isn’t it?

dapper looking, isn't it?

dapper looking, isn’t it?


I loved the way this last minute project fell together. If you don’t know how to tie a tie, it’s pretty easy. Just a little practice makes perfect.

Happy New Year, Y’all!


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