Project ReStyle #7: Royal Blue Grecian Gown

I’m back in the ReStyling game! After a few weeks off, I thought it was about time to get back into the Project ReStyle gang and share a new project with you. I may have missed a few weeks there, but I have every intention of catching up and have 52 new projects before 2011 is over.

This week’s ReStyle is one of my restyled formal dresses that I made for the charity fashion show I participated in earlier this month. Originally, this dress was a shapeless, bland plus size gown that a church lady or grandma would wear. Now it’s a fun Grecian inspired gown that a plus size (or not so plus size) lady can wear on a hot night on the town!

Click image to view Etsy listing

First, I removed all decorative buttons and baubles from the dress. I removed the original long sleeves and transformed them into robe gathered shoulder ties that drape elegantly on the backside for an extra bit of back arm coverage. I also separated the top layer of fabric up the back seam to better accommodate the overall flow. After adding a simple gold lame rope belt, the transformation was complete! Originally a size 30 dress, now even a size 6/8 like myself can rock this look!


Click to view Etsy listing



#6: Simple Pin Cushion// Project ReStyle

For this week’s Project ReStyle, I transformed this random little brass pot I found in a cabinet a few weeks back into something that I really needed in my new studio- a pin cushion! This simple little project only took a few minutes to complete and you could pretty much use whatever little cup or pot you have on hand.

First I cleaned my pot with a little Brasso, just to make it shine a bit. Then I grabbed a handful of quilt batting. You can also use poly-fill, which would make for a softer cushion, but I was all out of that. Make a ball out of the stuffing of your choice.
Take a square piece of scrap fabric and wrap around stuffing ball. The size of fabric needed will depend on the size of container you use; mine was about 9″. Pull edges taut and secure with a rubber band.
Stuff into container. Stick in your straight pins and you’re done!

#5: Cocktail Dress// Project ReStyle

I told myself that I was going to do a project this week that didn’t involve sewing, but that didn’t so much happen. What did happen though was I restyled this matronly cocktail dress into a hot little number that I would actually wear out on the town!

Before, she wasn’t much to look at. The skirt was an interesting fabric and texture, but an awkward length and way too straight. I loved the poofy sleeved top and the awesome embroidered detailing on the belt though.

I decided that because the fabric looked like it would be difficult to work with, I wouldn’t even try cutting any length off the skirt. Instead I simply turned the dress inside out, folded the skirt in half, and hand stitched the bottom hem to the top using some heavy duty thread. Luckily there was a wide hem already at the top of the skirt where the belt was attached, so I attached it to that so that my new skirt length would be equal all around. The multiple layers and the crinkly fabric created a bubble skirt look that I really liked!!

The skirt is definitely on the short side, but doable, especially if worn by someone whose legs aren’t as long as mine. As much as I love the dress, I decided to put it up for sale in my Etsy shop. I can’t keep everything I make (at least that’s what I have to keep telling myself). I figured that since all the extra length is still sewn in there, if her new owner needs to alter the skirt length there will be plenty of fabric to work with.

#4: Vintage Samsonite Camera Bag//Project ReStyle

A few weeks ago, I saw a picture of this lovely camera bag online and immediately fell in love.

Made by Jo Totes, this bag (in any color) was just what I needed to carry around my new camera that I got a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was going to have to save my pennies before I could buy this baby though, and with a price tag of close to $100, it would be a while before I found that many pennies.

Luckily, the next day I ran across a vintage Samsonite travel bag in a thrift store and got a brilliant idea. For less than $5, I got this yellow bag that was the perfect size to hold not only my camera equipment, but also all my cords and my laptop! It was a little roughed up, but I knew that could be fixed. Plus I needed to add some extra padding for my goods, but I had a plan for that as well. After a few hours of sewing and cleaning, she’s good as new and just the thing I needed!

Here’s how I did it, in pictures:


Before, not bad, but not quite awesome yet.

I cut up an old laptop case to use as my padded layers.

Using some leftover upholstery fabric I had, I sewed sleeves for the padding. I also added a layer of quilt batting for some extra cushion.

The finished cushions.

The bottom was already reinforced with heavy cardboard...

... but I added a layer of cushion.

I fashioned a coozy of sorts for my extra lens out of one of the cushions.

Because the pads are removable, I can pretty much fit whatever I need in here.




Camera, lens, laptop, planner, cords, even an external hard drive, all snug and secure!

Without the cords and laptop, I could fit my wallet and purse goodies in here instead.

A little mink oil rubdown and the exterior leather looks good as new!

I even found a spare Samsonite luggage key lying around, so now I can lock it!



#3: Two for One// Project ReStyle


My selection for Project ReStyle this week is what I like to call a happy little accident. Here at The Fainting Goat, I’ve been working hard to get my spring collection ready to debut in a few weeks. Yesterday I spent a little time digging through my selection of hideously beautiful 80’s prom dresses & church lady clothes looking for items that I could redesign and add to our spring line. For me, this means trying everything on with pin cushion in hand to see how I could make it fit better and look more up to date.

I had held on to this mint green number with the intentions of snatching that awesome flower detail from the front to make into a headband or hairpin, I hadn’t decided which. When I finally tried it on yesterday though, I immediately envisioned a new purpose for this little lady. (Yes, I personify clothes. Most dresses are women… but not all.) First, I realized the color looked awesome on me and went really well with my hair and eyes, so I knew I was making something for myself to wear. (This was further confirmed later when I accidentally cut a tiny hole in the dress. Like I said, a happy accident.) Second, once I had the dress on and realized how great the top fit me, I knew there was no way I could pick that flower from its home. I decided to keep the top as a top, and repurpose the bottom into something equally as awesome.

I don’t have pictures to accompany my how-to, mostly because it’s not very pretty. I really do not know how to sew, my first attempt was the scarf I made in week 1, so everything I do is pulling from the faint memories I have from 6 weeks of Home Ec in middle school and my keen MacGyvor-like crafting instincts. The finished products look great though, and that’s all that really matters, right?

For the Top

This one is pretty simple. I just cut the lining about an inch from the bottom of the top shell, removing the skirt from the top. I thought about removing the liner from the top altogether but held off on that for now. The back, which I realize that I didn’t take any pictures of, has this great button detailing that exposes the satin liner beneath. If I removed it, you would be able to see through to the skin beneath, which could be kinda cool, but since the top fabric is pretty sheer, I’d probably wear a cami under it anyways. I love how the bottom edge comes up just a little where the flower is; I think this detail makes the top! Even though the fabric has a bit of a sheen to it, I could totally see myself wearing this with black jeggings (like I am here) and strappy heels (like I am not wearing here) any old day of the week.

For the Skirt/Dress

This part was a little more tricky. Actually, a lot more tricky, but we’ll get to that later. After cutting the top off the dress, I was left with about 1 inch of flat satin fabric above the top of the skirt. My original plan was to hem this into a tube, run a piece of elastic through it and BAM, awesome dress. I didn’t realize until I got ready to sew however that the top edge of the skirt wasn’t a straight line. It mimicked the hem line of the top, meaning that in one point, the skirt line came up into a slight point. At this place, my 1 inch of flat fabric shrunk to about 1/3 of an inch. Bummer.

With my easy peasy idea no longer an option, I decided to sew the elastic straight to the fabric, then roll it over and attach again. The only place this became an issue again was at the uneven edge. My solution here was to sew across the crimped skirt part in a straight line (well, as straight as the rest of my lines are), and attach the elastic that way. Once I got this done all around the top of the dress, I went back and tacked down the extra fabric in my problem area so that it created a small fold at the front of the dress. I figured that most lady’s need a little something extra there to keep things flowing right anyway.


Once I had the top done, I went hunting through my ribbon and belt collections looking for the perfect thing to tie it back with. I decided on this thin hot pink plaid shirt tie. I tried wearing it a couple of different ways: empire waist style for a more formal look, and tied at my natural waist with a nice 1970’s bloused look on top. Either way, this light, sheer gal will be great come summer when it gets too hot to wear clothes here in Georgia!