Monday, June 22, 2015

Making New Clothing and Accessories From What I Already Own

You may have noticed that I am adding quite a few blogs to my sidebar. Many of these are not retirement blogs, but lifestyle, travel, or other interesting topics. One of those blogs is Nomadic Matt, who travels on fifty dollars a day. Right now he has a great blog post on Napa Valley on a budget. While I can no longer ride bikes great distances or couch surf, I appreciate most of his suggestions and he is a great resource and fun to read.  I also want to mention that I have had some offers of things to give away on the blog, and I will be going that on a regular basis her fairly soon.  One of the giveaways will be a large quilt made by me, so keep your eyes open!

When I returned to the states and began what I know now was early retirement, I purchased a fair amount of clothing. I had moved from a different climate, to a different lifestyle.  Fortunately for me I knew my own tastes well, and most of that clothing was quality items that would last a long time.  Those purchases were made in 2006 and 2007, however. I am now finding that many of my clothes no longer fit and need to be replenished.  Some clothing is no longer wearable, some of the items no longer fit. It is time to replenish (I have exactly one long sleeved shirt).  I have previously shared some of my purchases, which have been made at thrift stores, upscale department stores and in between.

In the past week or so I have been looking to that "get rid of pile" in terms of making new items and getting more use out of them. This is not due to cheapness as such, although my frugal mindset tries to avoid waste and always get the best deal.  It's also a question of having specific tastes and colors that work for me, and how I can use these things to my advantage. It's also, honestly, a case of not wanting the not consign-able clothing to hit the goodwill flood of overseas goods (only ten percent of goodwill donations are sold, the rest are sent to third word markets where they flood the economy and eliminate jobs and factories).

To that end, I've reading blogs, checking out photos and looking at both Pinterest (my number one addiction) and Etsy both to get ideas and to see how difficult the process is.  Although I am a skilled sewer, from what I can see most of the examples simply require a good eye and some very basic needle and thread sewing skills (some are non sew).

I found this tutorial on how to turn an shirt into an infinity scarf, and immediately thought of this top. I love the color of this shirt, and was frankly loath to throw it away. Unfortunately even after shrinking, the neckline was so wide that I needed a tank top underneath. It was already painful for me to let it go, I loved the color, and I could see in my minds eye both how to make it and how to wear it (a fabric rose and or a big pin are still coming. 


after cutting a tube from the shirt and before embellishing and hemming

After that experiment I decided to step up to something a bit more complicated, but not time consuming. Even though I love to sew, I am all about DIY projects that are useful and that I can see the reward of in a short period of time (whereas other family members are into the long, time consuming projects like painting rooms and ceilings).  This top has the general idea of what I was looking for, although my plan is/was to make the fabric additions in a circular pattern rather than hanging from the top.  I'm still trying to make a rough sketch but hopefully that makes sense. 

found at a site called Broken Ghost clothing

I chose this top in my donation pile to work with.  Again, I love the colors, it's just that length where it has become too short and yet too long-a length that really works with nothing (I don't tend to specially wash any clothing although there are items I wash and do not dry). I also figured it would work because it has many colors in it, and will match with cream, peach, rust, gold and more. I'm still working on the specifics-how wide to cut other clothing to make the pieces, where to cut this top off in the bodice and more.  I have a plan though, and the thing about using things on hand, and experimenting this way is that well, even if it's a bust, I'll have lost nothing. I'll surely have had a fun afternoon though, and learned more for my next attempt.  After all, we learn as we go, and creating something from (almost) nothing is always the best choice! 

Too bright and too short but I will be cutting, trimming and adding neutral layers. I see shorter sleeves and at least two layers of fabric coming as well.

Meanwhile, I still have not actually spoken with an agent from the "other side", although she has authorized the car shop to write up an estimate and send pictures.  I'm waiting for his response as well, wondering both the cost and the time to repair. If I haven't heard from her regarding a car rental by Wednesday, I'll start screaming-and share across every platform I know. Meanwhile, thanks heaven for my college student and Bob the truck!


  1. Wow, I love how your infinity scarf turned out.

    God bless.

  2. I've been thinking about pulling my sewing machine out and doing something like you are doing. Finding colors or fabric I still like but don't work and making something different with it.

    1. Let me know how it works for you! This is a new area completely of sewing for me.

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