Me Made Metallic Number...

Hi There! Any changes in your life since we last spoke..? Anything that looks different... or makes you feel renewed or excited..? 

This morning I had a sudden flashback to when I was around eight years old... it's not the first time I've remembered it, but when it pops up, unexpectedly, it still makes me laugh... 
I was on a family holiday in Jersey, and there was a dancing competition held in the hotel we were staying in. I've always been an enthusiastic dancer (!) so I entered, and won! OK, there may well have been only three other kids in the running, BUT STILL! I was so excited I ran straight into a one of the columns in the hotel lobby and knocked myself out.
I can't say it's the only time I've knocked myself out like that (and I wouldn't mind if it didn't happen again...) but it's the feeling of pure excitement I remember, being just so gleefully happy! (before the mild concussion and ice pack...). The point is, sometimes I feel those moments of exhilaration aren't expected in adulthood. Which is strange, isn't it..? I mean, surely we should know more about ourselves as we grow into our own skin - and therefore what has the power to make us feel elated? It seems to me like we're so aware of our fears, or short-comings, that we don't allow ourselves to really feel HAPPY. It's not that the opportunities aren't there, it's that we don't allow ourselves to ENJOY. And so, in the middle of everything you have to do with your week, here's my assignment for you (bold, I know!) - find something that will make you happy... laugh like a drain... forget your age... open your arms and look to the sky with gratitude... We are alive - and THAT is worth celebrating. OK. Enough of the self-help talk... here's this week's blog post soundtrack, if you have the ability to listen at the same time as reading this, a track that NEVER FAILS to get me dancing around the kitchen... cheesy? Yeah Baby!

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a fan of Me Made May 2014 - honestly it's just fantastic seeing the month progress with a wonderful celebration of handmade garments online, through various forums like Twitter and Flikr. And although I've been an avid viewer (!) I've 'consciously uncoupled' from the challenge this year - choosing to get inspiration and ideas, rather than feel any pressure to perform... BUT! That's not to say I haven't done anything at all this month, OH NO! But I'm not lying when I say this particular refashioning has felt a bit like cheating...

So what constitutes a Refashioning Cheat..?

To me, anything that takes HOURS to transform from one thing to another, can be called a refashioning. And by that I also mean the creative, imaginative thinking part that goes into it, before picking up the scissors. Anything under an hour, needing very little sewing/cutting/thought in general, is cheating. The funny thing is, I'm never that judgemental when I look at anything someone else has done, I find nearly every project on the Refashion Co-op blog interesting and inspiring, no matter how long it's taken the seamstress to do... And surely the only thing that matters is the final product, not the journey...? It's like the reverse of life! Granted it's a bonus if I learn something along the way, (and I endeavour to try new techniques on every garment to make sure I'm expanding my knowledge) but sometimes it's just as worthy to make something quickly, and wear that thing QUICKLY!

So now I've over-explained myself, here's the refashioning I undertook on Wednesday, in under an hour...

Introducing a UK Size 20 metallic dress I found in the sale, for £8... 

You can see it's fairly heavy-weight dress, made from shiny, stretchy high-lycra-content fabric, gun metal in colour, and fully lined... If you can imagine the way oil behaves with light, that's what this fabric is like - which is why I've added that first pic showing the 'ripple' in the dress.

Here's a picture of how I altered the straps; I felt they were too wide as they were, so I folded the fabric over on itself (imagine like the letter 'Z') and sewed it down. I also liked the drape it created in the front of the dress. 
The reason why I've put two pics, with the 'before' on the left hand side, and the 'after' on the right - is to show the finish is completely invisible. I sewed the shoulder down in the ditch, following the seam that was already there... I think it turned out quite well... Although I'm still thinking about shortening the straps a bit... 
I then put the dress on inside-out, pinned it down both sides of the body (yes, I did prick myself), converted the pins into chalk lines, and sewed in the new side seams. 

I've got to admit, I didn't feel particularly optimistic when I sewed the alteration, I'm used to be a little more formulaic... but I've been reading a lot of refashionistas blogs recently, and this seems to be a tried and tested method, so I though, why not?! I left enough room to pull the dress over my head, so I didn't need to sew in a zip - although I'll see how I get on, as I think it could do with being a little more fitted... so maybe that's a future project, adding a zip... maybe in the side seam...

Back to Front... or should that be Front to Back?

As these photos show, I used the original detail on the front of the dress (right pic) for the back of the 'new' dress (left pic). I think the princess seams down the bodice, that continue into the skirt, work well to shape the dress into the small of the back.

So what I was left with, was the much-less 'ornate' back of the dress for the new front of my dress. It was very plain, but I quite liked it... So instead of trying to be extra-arty, I added a tiny stitch in the deepest point of the neckline, just to add some interest... 
What do you think..? I'm still considering taking it up so it sits on the knee, but part of me likes the 'wiggle' dress part of the length... 

If you're wondering why no smile, I thought I'd go for something a little different! Don't worry, goofy pics, as usual, to follow. I was just trying to embody That Tough Chic From The Matrix. 

She doesn't smile, only wears dark futuristic clothing, and keeps her shades on most of the time. See? It's like we were separated at birth... AS IF! Well, I can wish...Pah!

Reading material...

As I mentioned before, I've read so many blogs where a BIG dress has become a SMALL dress in just a few easy steps, one of my favourites blogs for that is Refashionista. Let's face it, with a blog name like that, you know you're going to learn something about refashioning..! The thrust of that blog is that pinning along the sides of your body, or your dressform, leaves you with an outline you can sew up, and step back into - ET VOILA!
So take a look at that blog, or if books are more your thing - here's one I've had on my shelf for a while, DIY Fashionista.... written by the author of popular blog A Pair and a Spare...

This book is great for beginners; there are plenty of easy projects to tackle - and stunning projects to pore over. I felt some of the projects were unsuitable for me personally, because I don't have a model's figure - and there are plenty of outfits/dress shapes I avoid for that reason. But there is still plenty of inspiration to be found in this book, whatever your body shape! The accessories, in particular, are great! I will say there were points when I found myself saying "Yes, that's true... unless you're working with *enter fabric name here*, in which case I'd say it's better to *enter technique here*, but I think that's because I've had a lot of trial-and-error experiences along the way on my journey. Here's one step-by-step from the book which suggests working on the hem first, before working on the shoulders, then on the waist.

I'm not sure I completely agree with this... if you follow my thinking, with a large dress, it could arguably require shorter straps (if there's too much décolleté on show). If you start with that, by shortening the straps you are thereby shortening the dress length, and then maybe there would be no need to take any off the length. BUT if you alter the hem first to where you want it to sit, and THEN change the strap length, you'll end up with a much shorter dress than you originally wanted... I see it the same as how you should decorate a room, from the ceiling down to the floor, it's an easy rule of thumb that allows for alterations to fit... organically... in my opinion... without wanting to sound like a pompous ass!

And Sew to the Final Finish...

Here are some pics taken with my iPhone, using the 'Lomo-ish' filter on Picassa at the collage stage, for somethin' a little more artistic! :)

Hope you had a wonderful laughter-filled, barbeque-laden Bank Holiday Weekend! And if not - here's to the week ahead... (no pressure!)

Oh yeah, meant to say - I got my hair cut this week, to a much shorter style than I'm used to. I've been YEARS with the same hairstyle, *yawn*. So although I asked for it, and I don't HATE it, I'm still getting used to it... and feeling rather light headed (less weight I s'pose...) which *may* explain some of the more radical Go-Get-Em-Tiger elements of this post. That is all! ;)


  1. I think the filtered photos are excellent, as is the dress, I only noticed that your hair was shorter when they play the video clip of you on SC, I know shortening hair is a big deal for girls but as I said I think it looks elegant, be interesting to see if it's easier to wear if and when the summer comes..

    I take what you say about showing excitement etc, as we get older we're always aware that there may be a trap door open as we gallop down the road..
    Fortunately I've never been knocked out, I think I'm the only one in my family whose never been in hospital, my one and only major accident happened at home when the midwife dropped me in the fire.. (long story)

    1. I'd like to thank-you Brian, for being as complimentary as ever, but all I can think is THE MIDWIFE DROPPED YOU IN THE FIRE?! Lost. For. Words.

  2. I was born at a young age..well I almost stayed that way, I was born at my aunt's house in Fazakerley in the early hours of the Ides of March, I must of come out quickly, the midwife at first slip dropped me into the fire, only briefly, but long enough to lose the little toe on my right foot and most of the muscles on the right side of that foot, I've always boasted about having a foot long scar..
    It has led to a life of awkwardness and pain for instance I can't balance barefoot on my right foot so putting trousers on often resembles a Brian Rix farce.. but as I got older the bitterness left me as o family tragedies came to the fore, besides I could have gone on face first so you have to count your blessings..
    It means I'll never play the piano for England or some such cliché father wrote an affidavit to say that he did it to save the mid-wife's job as she did have to travel through deep snow to get to me, different times back then :)

    1. Oh my lord Brian, what a story... and as you said, you're lucky to be alive (I'm summarising, of-course!)... What strikes me is how charitable your Dad was, after you going through that, to defend the nurse... Yes, different times back then.

  3. Very cute refashion!

    1. Thanks Marissa! And I love your secret-compartment travel scarf..!! Ingenious! :)

  4. the dress drapes nicely, well done, keep on cheating :-) I also like easy and effective refashionings

    1. Thanks Cristina! Yes - I might just do a few more low-maintenance refashionings...! ;)


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