Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DIY Dress Refashion: Sheath to Full

Hello, everyone!

As some of you know, I've been going a little crazy lately. The arrival of spring has filled me with a need to decorate and DIY, but Kenny and I are too close to moving out for me to spruce up our current apartment, and too far away for me to focus on packing. And I'm bursting with ideas for how to decorate our new space, but I have to wait nearly two months to start acting on them! ACKJHG.

So instead, I decided to channel my energy into revamping one of my much-loved, but rarely-worn dresses.

Probably should have ironed this dress before taking a picture of it. 

And here it is with a belt and ill fitting shoes.  See why change was needed?
To be honest, I've only worn this dress a few times. The fact that this is a sheath dress and I have hips means that the dress and I were doomed from the get go. But when I saw it in the store years ago, I fell in love with the purple color and the flower print and the $5 price tag. Which is how we arrived here, 4 years later, with an unflattering dress that gives me a faux baby bump every time I put it on.

So this weekend, I decided to refashion this dress and give it a fuller skirt. Now for many people, this would be an easy task: rip out some seams, throw in some new fabric, take in the waist: voila! Me? I still can't figure out how to thread a bobbin correctly in my sewing machine (but that's another story).

When I decided to take on this project, I was full of aspirations: I'll create a fabulous DIY tutorial! Women everywhere will thank me for these simple, easy-to-execute instructions! Pinterest will worship my beautiful transformation.

What I failed to take into account was my ongoing war with my sewing machine, my inability to sew a hem and my crooked hand-stitching. So this 'tutorial' has turned into more of a cautionary tale. Buckle up. Here we go.

How (Not) to Refashion a Sheath Dress

1. I started by using a seam ripper out the seams. I took out all of the thread on either side of the skirt, stopping once I got to the waist. If you are a novice like me, be super careful not to decimate the actual fabric. Or accidentally pick at an edge until it starts fraying. I also recommend keeping as much of the original hem (at the bottom of the dress) intact as possible.

2. Next, I put the dress on top of a dress that has a skirt I love. And then I aimlessly took measurements, not really knowing why. Then I draped my fabric over the dress, realized I couldn't just cut willy nilly, and decided to make a pattern.

Apparently the dress has an 18" skirt. Now we know. 

3. I don't know what people usually make patterns out of, but I used parchment paper. Because I had it. I used a ruler to measure an iscoceles triangle with sides that were the same length as the dress. Then, because I am clueless, I just kind of eyeballed how wide to make the triangle based on how full I wanted the skirt to ultimately be.

3.5 I think this is when I ironed everything? I probably should have ironed things earlier. I'm assuming you get the most accurate measurements when fabric isn't wrinkled.

4. After cutting out the pattern, I pinned it to the dress to make sure it was the correct shape and size.

Then, I unpinned the pattern from the dress and re pinned the pattern to my new, pink fabric and cut out the fabric shape. (I don't really know if that's how you're supposed to use patterns, but it worked for me!) Then I repeated the whole pinning process, because I kind of wanted to add fabric on BOTH sides.

I didn't cut a flat bottom to my triangle. But I should have. You should!

5. Next, I turned the dress inside out and pinned the edges of the triangle to the dress' original seams. BUT, I forgot to get a picture of that stage. And I'm sorry. Because that probably would have been the most helpful thing to have a picture of. I warned you this was a cautionary tale, right?

6. And then I started sewing. By hand. Because my sewing machine hates me. And that took...a while. But it turned out okay. Not terribly straight, but okay.

7. Then I attempted to hem the poor thing. If I had remembered basic geometry, I would have known that you can't just fold the bottom of a triangle up and expect things to line up. But I didn't, and the hem didn't line up, so here we are. Ready to laugh and cringe?

In the end, I think it turned out okay. And it's definitely more wearable than it once was! Pairing the dress with the gold shoes from my latest thrifting trip helped tremendously too.

And here's the Before and After:

And my 'fall' look, because apparently I should still expect 45 degree weather in May in Minnesota.

Want to remember what NOT to do the next time you're tackling a dress refashion? Why not pin a beautiful picture (haha) from this blog? Look at this picture, just perfect for pinning!

Check back next week, when I attempt to hem my new coral jeans (ha.).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Carefree VoxBox: April 2015

I messed up the spacing on this title and now it is eating away at my soul. 

Hello, everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to write - there have been big changes taking shape:

Kenny and I are moving! I recently decided to return to grad school to get a Masters in Student Affairs. But that's not why we're moving - I also got hired as a hall director at a liberal arts college here in the Twin Cities! I'm SO excited about the new job. I'll get to work with students again, have an outlet for my craft obsession (can you say door decs?), and apply the things I learn in class to the work I'm doing every day. Plus, I really identify with the goals of the school and their goals for the student body. I can't wait!

All of this means that my blog will soon be filled with moving tips (and failures) as well as before and after shots of our new apartment. There will be so much to do and share!

Goodbye, beautiful apartment. I wish we could have had more time together.

In the meantime, I wanted to talk about my latest VoxBox from Influenster! If you remember Influenster from my last post, go ahead and skip to the review and the pictures. In case you missed my last post, here's the deal:

Influenster is a site that allows you test out brand new products for free. You fill out surveys and review the products you already use and love. Then they send you new products to try out. For free. I'm a sucker for free stuff, guys, so this was a no brainer. The catch (because of course there's a catch) is that they want you to share and discuss your feedback on social media.

I was a little wary of promising to promote a product in exchange for free samples. I'm not a fan of posting fake or falsely enthusiastic things. Even if I didn't feel gross about it, I'm a terrible liar. But Influenster doesn't want you to blindly praise the stuff you get. See my lack of enthusiasm for the John Frieda products they sent me last month, for example.They want you to share your honest opinion. And I can definitely get on board with that.

Carefree Body Shape Pantiliners Review
This month, Influenster sent me a full pack of Carefree acti-fresh pantiliners to go (affiliate link). And I have to say, I love them.

Ellen, you ask, how can you love them if you haven't even opened the package? It's because I've been using them for years! Once I started using a Diva Cup, I wanted a light pantiliner for back up in case my Diva Cup failed (affiliate link). It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I don't put the cup in correctly, or I don't get a chance to empty it in time. These pads are perfect for those instances.

But Carefree wanted me to try using the pantiliners throughout the month, not just on my period. So I tried it, and here are my thoughts.

--Great for protection against a leaking cup or tampon during your period
--Great for keeping your underwear dry when you're ovulating
--Great for keeping your underwear fresh when you're working out or it's just super hot (I'm sorry - it's gross, but it's true)
--Thin, discreet, easy to carry and use.

--Definitely couldn't be the only thing you use during a period. Unless you are gifted by the Gods and barely bleed at all.
--Each one is wrapped in plastic, which can't possibly be environmentally friendly.

If you'd like to sign up for Influenster yourself, feel free to use my referral link: (I get meaningless internet points, but it makes me feel cool.)

What do you guys think? What are your favorite period products? And more importantly, has anyone else tried out Influenster?