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A Sustainable Life. Make Magick.


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Work Capsule Wardrobe: Retro Shift Dress

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So I looked through my closet for suitable “professional” day job wear while I search for the perfect day gig and wasn’t impressed. My last refashion, the black shirt dress was the first piece in and beginnings of a work capsule wardrobe in the making. For this dress, I had already made the bodice and the skirt of this dress over the summer with the intention of using them for mix and match separates. I didn’t really like the fit of the two together and decided to make a dress, which kind of makes this a refashion!  Once I had the shift together I had some adjusting to do since the tank started out pretty billowy.

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Then I looked through my drawer of sewing patterns and hallelujah found this sleeve pattern. Which made me ecstatic! A little early 70s vibe was what this simple shift needed for me to make it feel more special and give it some School Marm Boho styling appropriate for work. YAS! This look also fulfills a goal of making a print/color blocking piece as noted in my 2016 Make and Refashion Planner, that I made at the beginning of the year. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!

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retroshift-5 I am not mad at the results! I made the sleeveless sweater coat above with leather cap sleeves a few years ago now! All of the fabrics here were bought in the last few years from my favorite spot, the Loft, at Michael Levine fabrics in Downtown Los Angeles. The loft is the outlet that sells remnants and bolts and pieces that are out of season before they are discarded which can mean shipped abroad or put in a landfill somewhere. I still love wearing this sweater coat with all sorts of outfits from a t-shirt and joggers to interview wear and will definitely be using it in my work capsule wardrobe. In this case, I am loving how the additional print and cap sleeves show off of the bell sleeves of the dress. You know I love some print on print action!
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xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015: What A Year!

 

Thanks so much for joining me for ReFashion 2015 Loves! IT has been a great year and my ReFashioning has given me so much joy. I love creating. And if anything I hope it has sparked you to look at how you use your closet. I hope that this year you are more mindful about what you need vs. what you want than in 2015. I hope you consider whether what you want can actually be achieved in the closet you have right now.

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This journey was a bit of a surprise. I have been chronically unemployed and out of the traditional job market for years now and besides not being able to afford the influx of fast fashion available in plus sizes, I grew tired of seeing so many people in the same clothes that didn’t quite speak to me. And if they did, I realized that the devil was in the details and that I often could re-envision what I have in my closet to meet those sometimes transient needs….

I hope ReFashion 2015 reminded you and inspired you to creatively play in your closet. Know that you don’t have to settle for what a manufacture created, but can personalize your closet. If you don’t sew, and don’t do DIY consider tailoring your clothes to fit you the way you would like them to. And don’t forget to alter them around trends that speak to you.

Anatomy of a ConsciousBabe

The planet is hurting from our wasteful ways which causes people to hurt, whether it is chemicals in the manufacturing process in our clothes and contaminating our water or the literal garbage we create by not recycling them reducing our carbon footprint, is EVERYTHING. People being exploited for their labor is always something to keep in mind. Consumers are always demanding more. But do we need more?  We must call on big corporations to be responsible to their workers and to the planet.

Part of me really likes living off of the fast fashion grid and choosing this extreme variation of slow fashion. I often prioritize other things besides my wardrobe and taking time to make all that I need is not possible. The point is not to make everything in your closet, but to recycle, reuse, shop vintage and thrift often and maybe first. The point is to be mindful. Mind the chain of people affected by your shopping habits. Shopping local, shopping small, supports community and sends a message to big retailers to be more mindful too.

This Is REFashion Kimono

Lastly, ReFashion 2015 is very much about body love, and my body politic. As someone who lives outside of traditional sizing, including plus sizing at a size 26/28 currently with a non h/w proportionate body type, I decided to make my clothes work for ME. I don’t have expectations to fit into mass manufactured clothing. Even when I do, I generally alter my clothing to my tastes. I invest in my closet so that I use it. I invest in personalizing my clothes so that any and every item in my closet works for me. How many people can say that every item of clothing is working for them?

I don’t believe that my body whatever size and shape should fit into the clothes as they are made. Because they don’t. And that is not something I feel good or bad about. If your body is made for commercial fast fashion more power to you, but understand that it is not true for many bodies of all shapes and sizes.  I believe the clothes that I wear should fit my unique body. And I’ve found that that requires some help a lot of the time. So I encourage you, to dig deeper, look further and take your closet into your own hands. Harness your creativity, love your body as is, and make your closet work for YOU. You deserve it!

I will be back with more ReFashion and more Makes in 2016. I have plans for my sweet little shop to include more post consumer made millinery accessories and some home goods too! Let me know what kind of things you’d like to see in the SweetLeigh shop. Sewing Patterns? ReFashion Kits? I’d love to know! Thanks for joining me on the journey loves! Happy New Year!

xoxo,

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ReFashion2015 Alterations: Gussets 101

Sheer Shirt Dress with Gusset 1

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It’s the end of 2015!!!! ReFashion 2015 is almost over. No worries, there will be a ReFashion 2016! So there have been many an alteration that I haven’t documented this year. Most of which feature my quick go to’s for solving fit issues. Inserting Gussets and using my trusty seam ripper are my main tools! By the way I need a serious upgrade on my seam ripper and have my eyes on this beauty – #seamstressporn 😉

Gusset: a piece of material sewn into a garment to strengthen or enlarge a part of it, such as the collar of a shirt or the crotch of an undergarment.

The first thing I do very often is add a gusset (normally a triangle or diamond shape) into tops and dresses that don’t fit with enough ease. Ease is the space in your clothing that allows you enough room to walk, and sit and eat… you know just be in your clothes without restriction. I am at the high end of mainstream fashion’s plus sizing and often find my belly needs more room than manufactures want to give. I pretty regularly opt for a gusset!

Gussets 101

Sheer Shirt Dress with Gusset

So, the perks of inserting gussets is simply that you can create any additional space you need without dramatically altering the original shape of the garment. OR DRAMATICALLY altering the shape of the garment!  This technique was used on the side seams of this tunic below that I sometimes wear as a dress as well. I had no matching  fabric, but because it was a patchwork style print with the color black in it already I used some leftover black double knit which worked well for me. A new print in a similar design or color would have been an options as well.

Tunic

The boots featured with both of these outfits above are a different kind of quick fix that I will get into on my next blog post. In the meantime, I used gussets to widen the calves on these Gladiator sandals! Really the possibilities are endless.

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I am also in the process of finishing up this denim jacket ReFashion below and about to put insets into the sleeves to create a mini car coat shape! Really the possibilities are endless.

Denim Jacket Redux Gusset

So my loves there is a brief recollection of my love affair with the gusset. A savvy smart stylish ecofatshionista‘s best friend! Get acquainted!

No matter what size you are, no one’s body is made to fit into the fast fashion made for massive consumption. There are too many body’s out here in too many shapes and sizes to think that your body has to conform to fit generically made clothes. Your clothes should fit YOU, and YOUR body! Just remember that! Next up- a ReFashion manifesto and another Quick & Dirty Alterations guide before the new year.

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015 Kimono Style Robe

 

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Last week I previewed my kimono style robe along with my upsized pants to jeggings ReFashion. This week I’m breaking down the Kimono Style Robe ReFashion from a thrifted skirt! I was a huge fan of this skirt on first sight. It was unusual, and a steal at $10.00. I scored it on FB from Zoe’s Vintique which also sells on Instagram. What you can’t necessarily see in my picture is that it’s covered in reflective sequins. Le sigh.

First of all, being a large bodied woman in the world, gathered skirts, especially gathered elastic waist skirts are one of the few items I often find at thrift stores that fit me, as is. Gathered skirts are also very simple to upsize. Secondly, with a few fabulous exceptions, I am not crazy about wearing this style of skirt, so repurposing this style is ideal for me. Also, they are generally found in paisleys, florals and ethnic inspired prints perfect for a kimono or robe.

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The breakdown. My approach to all ReFashions follows the same formula. Envision your new garment. Deconstruct your old garment, if necessary. Reassemble your garment. Finish with  attention to detail. Rock your new garment!

Materials: A Mid-length full gathered skirt, scissors, a seam ripper, a threaded sewing machine or needle and thread for hand sewing. The same result can also be achieved by using heat bond and an iron to close seams.

Kimono Style Robe How To

  • First I picked out the seam of my waistband and side seams. This left me with a long rectangle of double layered fabric.
  • I then oriented the fabric so that the decorative border would appear on my sleeves.
  • Next I turned the garment inside out, sewed up the top seam and then the side seams about 2/3 of the way up.
  • Next I cut off the excess decorative border on the inside of the kimono. I then reattached them to the bottom of my kimono.
  • Lastly, I finished up by hemming the neck seam.

Tip: If working with a beaded or sequined fabric you will want to remove any beads or sequins where you plan to use a sewing machine or the heat bond tape method.

Optional: With excess fabric make a simple tie belt so that you can wear it as a robe.

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So needless to say, I’ll be making more of these babies. If not for easy layering in fabulous outfits then for lounging around the house. I quite like lounging around in my ReFashioned Kimonos.

I will wait til January for my year end review on ReFashion 2015, so I can try to fit in another couple of ReFashions before the year is up!

This Is REFashion Kimono

 

 

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015: Upsizing The Patterned Jean

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And we’re back with another ReFashion 2015! I am not much of a jeans kind of a girl, or a t-shirt kind of a girl, so this is my take on jeans and a t-shirt! This ReFashion is another Upsize! When I bought these cute bongo jeans from KMart, years ago, I knew it was a tight fit and the fact that they don’t have any stretch to the material is not a good thing for me.

The waist is way lower than I like and I generally stay away from cropped pants, but I actually LOVE the tropical leaf print so much I figured I would make it work. Years later, I finally have!

Tropical Trousers ReFashion Details

Most of how i converted these poor fitting jeans into comfy stylish jeggings is in the graphic above. I also removed the zipper and sewed up the crotch. After removing the waistband and adding more room on the sides of the jeans with double-knit fabric, I added a new longer and wider waistband with elastic. This made the pants a pull on style and the strong stretchy material keeps them from becoming baggy with wear.

 

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I played with different shoes to get a different vibe. I also tried the look with a heavy cardigan and my favorite Black Drapey cardigan, but the leather was my favorite. And I love a metallic leopard pump. If only I could walk in a pointy toe for longer than it takes to look adorbs! Luckily I have some pointy-ish faux snakeskin flats that will do nicely.
Sequins Kimono ReFashion 1

The kimono style robe in this pic is my favorite ReFashion & this outfit is my favorite pattern combining this year so far. The full tutorial will be up next week. This number used to be a fabulous thrifted skirt! Can’t wait to get into the nitty gritty about it! ❤

xoxo

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ReFashion2015: Minimal Glam

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So I debuted this number last week in a post in homage to Halloween. Although it was the center of my Afrofuturistic Cleopatra I knew it could be an easy and fun option for holiday gatherings that bring folx together around this time of year.

Make Sequins Dress

The quick and dirty on this sweet little number was pretty simple. Although the dress is more of a Make then a typical ReFashion, it was made from thrifted fabric and the styling elements are either thrifted/resale, refashioned, or investment pieces. I pulled out some seriously neglected shoes and styled it up.

Holliday look 1

The first look features some very fab Jelly shoes in a glossy black, I ‘ve had them for years and they always come out when I want to be comfortable and a little saucy. You might remember the lace crop top I made for my Halloween costume last year. The Sweater Coat is one of my favorite staples that I have made. Whenever I want to style something up I throw on this sweater coat to add a little texture and pattern.

It’s made from a medium weight knit fabric and lining both from Michael Levine Loft. The Leather on the cap sleeves are recycled from a leather skirt most of which I’ve used for SweetLeigh Millinery.

Holliday Look 2

This outfit is as simple as it gets. I added a handmade slip that was part of my Mermaid costume a few years back. I removed the crinoline and tulle fishtail I had attached to the bottom. The slip worked great to provide a comfort zone around my deep V neckline on the dress. I simply added some silver platforms from New Look. And lastly I love this little knit metallic thread jacket that I found at a thrift shop when I lived in Brooklyn, almost 10 years ago! Wow that’s a long time…

Holliday Look 3

This look might actually be my favorite for its ABSOLUTE comfort factor. Turning my deep V dress into a romper I slipped an oversized white shirt underneath topped it off with my leather jacket and kept it casual with my creepers. I scored those babies at a Domino Dollhouse closet sale. Wicked happy day! And here I am feeling pretty holiday ready! Not to mention just enough glam.

Holliday Minimal Glam - Yes please

I tend to under accessorize the main accessory generally being lipstick, hence my “minimal glam.” I have only been wearing my gemstone rings for their powers. But, I think a great evening friendly bag is on my list of makes! Back soon with more ReFashions.

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015: A Swimsuit Makeover

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ReFashion 2015 Continues. I am late on this one! When my love Sheri from Confessions of A ReFashionista announced that this week’s Thrifty Thursday was Fab Florals, it gave me the push I needed to finish up a new swimsuit bottom. That is a future tutorial, but gave me the opportunity and showcase this swimsuit Refashion.

Fab Floral Swimsemble

Of course my gifted and refashioned kimono is my remade floral, and a great thrifted sun hat make this a Thrifty Thursday special! Some more floral love comes from my me-made swim skirt. That tutorial is coming soon! In the meantime. How do you make a skirted swim bottom a swim top!? Read on!

SwimsTop ReFashion Collage

So I had this hot pink swim bottom for a couple of years now. But I couldn’t seem to find a top I wanted to wear with it. So although I love a fringe suit, I loved the idea of the flouncy swim top. So I endeavored to take my swim separate from the bottom to the top!

  • I used a strapless bra to measure cup height and cut across the brief.
  • Next being a compulsive sewer and having a huge stash of fabric, found some orange swimsuit fabric and some floral mesh.
  • I cut two rectangles of Swimsuit fabric and one of the floral mesh about two inches wider than the former swimsuit brief now tube top.
  • I sewed my rectangles together. Mesh on one side and swimsuit fabric on the other.
  • I then sewed the rectangular to the bottom of my new tube top (mesh inside). Then I sewed the excess fabric from the sides to the backside.
  • Then I made two elastic casings in the swimwear material. I inserted the elastics and attached them to each other first, and then to my tube top.
  • Lastly, I added some elastic strips at the center bust and sides of the breast for a little definition.

The best part is that I can wear it two ways. Upside down creates a long peplum or babydoll effect, right side up I have my flounce. What’s more I can rock it as a top!

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Coming up in ReFashion 2015 are upsizing pants, my first pair of cutoffs and how to make this darling swim bottom!

xoxo

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