Emerald in the Rough

Hello everyone!

A few months ago, I picked up a dress at Goodwill. It was the most beautiful emerald color, made of a wonderfully soft and thick jersey fabric, and even had pockets! No holes, no stains, no funky smell. The only problem was the era. See, this was an eighties dress. Huge plastic belt buckle, long baggy sleeves with elastic wrists, turtle neck, shoulder pads, ankle length: The works!

Artist's rendering

Artist’s rendering,  with the help of MS paint!

I knew I was going to alter it, but put it off. I was busy that week, and the dress got buried. I didn’t even take a before picture. But one night I was getting ready for a swing dance and just wasn’t feeling any of my existing dresses. So I dug this thrift dress out and set to work hewing an emerald out of the rough!manayunk phot

I hacked off the sleeves, ripped out the shoulder pads, slashed the hem, and carved a new neckline. And even with raw edges and slightly jagged cutting, I loved it! I wore it to the dance and it was fun and spun wonderfully!after1

So the next day I made the necessary finishing touches, evening out the sleeves, attaching a band around the neckline (cut from the removed sleeves!), shorting the hem a touch more and actually, ya’know, hemming it!

I also swapped out the belt for an updated look that was more in keeping with my proportions. afterAnd now I can just prance around, totally in love with my new gem!


“Light on the Water” Summer Skirt

Summer is here!DSCN2246…Which doesn’t really change my sewing habits much. I pretty much always like making cute skirts. This week’s skirt is special, though, because I made the print, as well as the skirt. The skirt is super basic: a rectangle seamed up the side, a casing for elastic and a simple folded hem. The fabric, too, is basic. I hit up the linens and bedding section of my local thrift store and found a lovely top sheet, 100% cotton in a sort of dove grey. Yards of fabric for $3? Yes, please!DSCN2249But at home, I decided the grey was a little too plain. I first thought of painting it, but even with textile medium, it felt too stiff. So I decided to play around with bleach! I used an old wine cork as a stamp, because simple shapes are sometimes best! I planned to do a sort of polka-dot ombre, with the spots getting less dense as I worked up from the hem. And that’s what I did, with the addition of a pleasant discovery — If you look closely, some of the circles are cross-hatched! DSCN2244

I worked on this table:DSCN2250And I found if I stamped lightly the bleach only imprinted the table’s design! So I worked with that discovery and love the end result! I reminds me of the way the sun sparkles on grey lake water.DSCN2243So it’s pretty, light, lovely, and a great example of letting surprises guide my work 🙂