Sunday, March 22, 2015

Refashioning my Wardrobe

Yesterday I said to stay tuned for more refashioning news. I thought I wouldn't get around to blogging again for a few days, but now I have a few hours to kill before I have to leave for rehearsal* and I'm trying to avoid doing housework. So here I am, blogging two days in a row. Like a madwoman!

So here's the deal: Over the last year, I've gained some weight. I've always been super duper skinny, so this weight gain has not been a bad thing. I feel better about my body now and it's easier for me to find grown-up clothes to fit me in stores. I'm not sure why I've suddenly been able to gain weight when it was always a struggle in the past, but I think it's partly just getting older and losing that youthful metabolism. I also had a serious intestinal infection at the end of 2013 that caused me to lose a lot of weight (I got to under 100 lbs for the first time since middle school, it was horrifying). Once I got over that infection I got to work putting on the weight I lost and ended up putting on an extra 10-15 lbs over what I lost.

So while I'm not unhappy with the shape of my body, I am irritated that so many of my clothes no longer fit. I had a recent panic the morning of the 17th realizing that I didn't have anything that was clean, green, work appropriate, AND fit me. St. Patrick's Day sneaks up on me every damn year. I finally just wore a dress that is definitely too small, but with a blazer over it and thick fleece-lined tights underneath it was passable for work. It's a good thing the over-layer of this dress is so poofy that it hid the fact that it was too small, but the built-in slip was tiny and riding up all day, and it was really tight around my arms.

That is not where the elastic waist is supposed to hit.
And ignore my goofy face, this pic was intended for my mom.

I'm going to have to go through my closet and try everything on. I'm not really looking forward to it, because I love my clothes. And the bigger issue- I don't know how I'm going to replace everything I get rid of. Now, I know that I have WAY TOO MANY clothes so I could definitely do with culling the herd (so to speak), but I'm still going to have to have something to wear. I'm guessing roughly half of my closet isn't going to fit. I can't keep wearing the same 3 pairs of pants and handful of tops to work.

But I'm not sure if my weight has plateaued yet, and I'm still living on a small-town librarian's salary. I don't want to spend tons of money on a new wardrobe, especially if it's not going to fit me in a year. I am willing to put out the money for a new business suit to wear for potential job interviews, but what about day dresses or new blouses? I've decided to take a page from the ReFashionista's playbook. I'm going to hit up garage sales and Goodwills, looking for those articles of clothing that may be way too big or way too old-fashioned, but that are made from fun fabrics or have hidden potential. If she can do it, I can do it. I was on the fence about giving this project a try, but then I watched a talk Jillian gave about refashioning. During the talk she said something along the line of "What are you afraid of? That you're going to ruin an ugly $1 thrift store dress?" She was exactly right, I had avoided refashioning in the past because I was worried I would screw it up. That was when I got the urge to finally fix those embroidered jeans, since I figured the worst that would happen was that I would end up with a pair of jeans I couldn't wear. Since they were already a pair of jeans I wouldn't wear, I really had nothing to lose. And they turned out great! I can't wait to give this project a try.

But of course, I am going to wait, because I'm currently starring in a play* and I just don't think I'll have the time to dedicate to thrift-store perusing and clothes refashioning for a few weeks yet.

*If you're in the Chicagoland area in April, come see Made of Stars at Bolingbrook's Theater-on-the-Hill. Abby, this is a hint. Coooommme tooooooo Chiiiiiiicaaaagoooo foooor myyyyy plaaaaay...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2003 called, they want their flared jeans back.

Well, I'm sorry 2003, but I'm keeping these jeans. I tried my hand at a little ReFashionista-ing today, and I'm really pleased with the results.

The Before

I've had these jeans for years. I can't remember for sure when I got them, but it was definitely late high school, early college. So sometime between 2002 and 2005. Which explains the flare.

Why do I have 10+ year old jeans in my closet? I have reasons.

First of all, they're still in really good shape, mostly due to the fact that they haven't been worn that much. They were a little big on me for a long time (more on that later), and the embroidery made them more difficult to pair with tops than other jeans. So while my other jeans were worn to threads, these have been "gently used."

Another reason they're in such good shape is that the denim is really sturdy. Most jeans I see in stores now are such thin material that I don't feel like they would hold up for very long. These jeans are made from really nice, thick denim. Every time I went to clean out my closet I always kept these because I thought it was such a shame to get rid of good denim.

And it's a good thing I kept these jeans hanging around, because as I approach 30, my ass just keeps getting bigger. I wear these jeans now and wonder just how freaking baggy they used to look on me. Why didn't anyone tell me?!? So with my expanding size, I'm down to just a handful of jeans in my closet. And yet I still hardly wore these because of how flared they were. Every time I put them on I thought "God these are so flared" and then put them back in the closet.

Taking some inspiration from the ReFashionista and Pinterest, I decided to do something about those flares. [Sorry, I didn't take any pictures during the refashioning process. Use your imagination] I turned these jeans inside out and ironed the inside seams flat. I laid these jeans flat on the floor and laid another pair of jeans that were the right shape on top. This gave me a guide as I pinned. Most tutorials on Pinterest show the seamstress taking the pants in from the outside seam, but because of the embroidery on these jeans, that wasn't really an option. But since the inner seams on these jeans weren't top-stitched it didn't really matter. After I had each leg pinned I quickly tried the jeans on again (inside out) so I was sure they fit right. Then I just ran the jeans through my sewing machine, trimmed off the excess, and voila! New straight-legged jeans!

Now, I probably could have taken them in a little more. I could have gone for more of a skinny-jean look rather than straight-legged. But these already feel so much more modern that I'm happy with the transition. In fact, I'm wearing them right now, getting ready for a Froyo date with my cousin Morgan. I love that I was able to give new life to something that has just been taking up space in my closet for way too long. 

Stay tuned for more refashioning news!