Browse Tag: redesign

Tutorial: How to Close the Gap!

I have come to believe that all clothing is made to fit a variety of shapes and sizes, but that “fit” might not be what’s best for you no matter what you try. We are not built the same, our bodies retain weight in different areas and we sometimes never lose or gain it in the places we hope for. For instance my shape is very hour glass, my thighs and hips are a healthy size – small waist – and then back out for my ribcage. Now most would think this is an easily flattering womanly shape to have, but if you are this shape, you know that isn’t always an easy task.

I cannot speak to all shapes but having seen thousands of women try on clothing at the store, I know its very few and far between when an outfit fits your shape perfectly first try. More often than not is the “model-esque” bodies that appear to look the best in everything, but that is mainly the result of these women having essentially no body fat or curves to worry about. The clothing appears to hang loosely off their body as the designer probably intended. Often we will sigh and say the designers these days just aren’t making clothes to fit “real” women, when really we should be saying to ourselves: this doesn’t work for me, but there will be one that will.

How to Close the GapIn my case bottoms are a real challenge. I have a sizable behind, wide hips and thick thighs – but my waist is very small. Naturally I have to go a size up to fit in the thigh and bum. This also means I will have a lovely gap at the back of my pants due to the serious difference in size between said tush and waist area. Luckily there is a rather simple fix to this issue, so long as you are will to spend a few minutes sewing!

How to Close the Gap I’m now at a point where I don’t really have to measure the amount that it needs to come in, its a rough 1 inch typically. After analysing the fit of the pants in the mirror I estimate how much needs to be taken in. Flipping the pants inside out, I can fold the amount that needs to be removed from the top of the waist to the point where it will meet my bum. This is the length that the “dart” will need to be.

How to Close the Gap Now that you have an idea of how much space needs to be removed, my first step is to unpick the label that is inevitably sewn right into the back of the pants. If you’re lucky it’ll be screen printed to the actual fabric and you won’t have to do this tedious task! Once the label is out you will have an easier time removing the belt loop. Set it aside for reattaching later.

How to Close the Gap With the belt loop off and the label removed you can now fold the centre back of the pants at the seam. I like to fold it tightly and pin so that it doesn’t shift, making sure the reverse side seam is lined up. This isn’t crucial its just a nice little detail to be aware of. I often forget!

How to Close the Gap With my sewing machine I begin with a stitch that runs from the top of the fold (in this case about 1 cm into the fold) and angle the stitch slowly toward the edge of the pant. This so called “dart” makes the alteration taper nicely, unnoticeable even!

How to Close the Gap Once your folded stitch has been completed – I usually do it a max of 2 inches long – try the pants on to see how they fit. If all has gone smoothly you won’t have to make any further adjustments. Worst case scenario you’ll have to remove the thread with a seam ripper and try again either folding more fabric or less, perhaps making the length of the dart longer or shorter depending on the issue.

IMG_7116 And finally, once you are completely happy with the adjustments you’ve made you may (if you want it to be permanent) trim the excess from the fold and reattach the belt loop by stitching it on manually.

Redesigning Your Shoes

ACo FlatsI’ve talked about the wonders of redesigning your footwear a number of times but I have revisited it quite a bit lately for two reasons:

1. The store doesn’t sell my size in the colour or style I want.
2. I realize after the fact that my toe nails dig into the end of the shoe.

Most people would be afraid to attempt such a feat, but I however, love a challenge!

Ardene is currently having an 80% sale storewide so I took the opportunity to see what they had in regards to my beloved flats. Yes not the most comfortable in regards to standing all day long without support, but they seem to be the only shoes I can wear. After perusing the nearest store, I found only 3 pairs of size 6 in the entire store. If I hear a woman with larger (8, 9, 10) sized feet come into work and complain about there “never being any shoes in my size” I will flip my lid!


Redesigned Shoes I managed to find blah beige flats that would be great for painting. As you can see with this work in progress shot, it sure isn’t hard to paint a pair of simple flats! These are a very cool gradient from white to mint blue! I have prepped a second pair from stone to white and still have one more pair that I haven’t decided what to do with. Perhaps maybe pink?


American Eagle Navy Flats My second issue with footwear is the fact that my toenails point upwards, at least on my big toes. This you’ll find, digs a hole into the top of the shoe! Even if I have them filed down it still seems to happen, its just the nature of my feet. This latest pair of navy blue flats I thought were too adorable to pass up, and at the time fit quite well.

Unfortunately when I got home and wore them around with a potential outfit, I noticed my toes were starting to pinch in the usual area. So taking inspiration from another pair I had altered, I grabbed the scissors and created a new pair of peep toes!

Vintage Redesign!

Vintage RedesignI finally wore my vintage redesign project dress out on the town on Saturday night and it occurred to me I had never blogged about this wonderful creation of mine! To be honest I was very surprised at how comfortable the dress turned out to be! It all began with a very dated dress from Value Village. On half price days I like to pick up what I call  “project dresses” that I can redesign and create into very stylish new pieces. This dress is one of my greatest challenges and successes.

The dress I found was a high neckline (which I love!) and 3/4 sleeve with a lovely shimmery black and pearlesque print fabric. Although the dress was several sizes too large I spent several hours making adjustments the the shoulders, removing shoulder pads first off – then stitching them into a somewhat Lady Gaga effect.

Now the original dress was awkwardly long and simply had no appeal for me. The second thing to go was the black section at the bottom. Conveniently the dress was made in such a way that was easy to alter. The great challenges arose when I decided to make it an open back. Unfortunately I felt disheartened by my sewing skills and inability to structure it the way I wanted to. Due to the mass of fabric and lack of strength within itself, I was forced to add strips of lace to the back to keep it from sagging.

Vintage RedesignIts amazing what a few lace details can do for a dress! I opened up the sleeve slightly as I often find the upper arms on tops and dresses too tight. The bottom of the dress was finished easily with a black lace trim which was also added to the arms. It was certainly a lot more work than I had originally anticipated, but I feel that it turned out beautifully!

Vintage Redesign

Vintage DressI have a keen interest in re-inventing dated styles and turning them into modern fashionable pieces. My latest find was based on fabric alone. One of my favourite colours is mint, and this dress by Quintieri has a beautiful mint blue and pastel yellow print. During my recent Ottawa thrifting adventure I found this vintage dress deep in the mess of dresses at Value Village.

Surprisingly when I actually tried it on at home it fit almost perfect without alteration! I did take in the shoulders a bit due to the seams beginning to shred and decided I wanted it raised up to a more flattering knee height. Silly me didn’t measure properly, as I tend to do because I do it by pinning the dress while wearing it, so when you bend over you end up making it shorter than you think.

Vintage DressI was excited at the thought of having a scarf of the same fabric, but after cutting and hemming I realized it was way too short. So I scrapped the additional scarf idea and began sewing the remaining trim fabric into a rippled effect along the bottom. Now the detail at the bottom of the dress is feminine and playful.

Because the fabric is quite light I decided to pair it up with a brown sparkle sweater from Urban Behaviour to wear to work. When I returned to Kingston I popped into Value Village and saw this light yellow vintage necklace, normally I would debate price but I just had to have it for the finished look!

Giving Your Shoes a Facelift!

It can be pretty expensive at times even when you thrift, to keep up with the latest styles and trends. Some days we even find ourselves caving and rushing to the mall and spending a fortune because at that particular moment – you HAD to have them! Honestly I do not recall an instance where I was thrilled with my decision to do this – and nine times out of ten the item sits in the closet because I found something better thrifting several months later.

Painted Shoes Painted Shoes

One thing that I have always found interesting about friends is their shoe collections. Not to mention the widely acknowledged joke about women with far too many shoes. Because of my uncommon tiny foot size, fat-less ankle and high instep, finding a size 5.5 shoe that doesn’t look like grandma’s is a very difficult feat. Lately I have noticed my feet shrinking even more, combined with the wear and stretching ability of thrift footwear.

Painted Shoes Painted Shoes


Two years ago I was invited to a military ball. As you may or may not know, these are very formal events usually requiring an expensive gown of some sort. You know me, to Value Village I went! Lucked out with the dress but the footwear was impossible as always. I found myself going to Spring and dishing out a pile of money for gold sequin wedges – quite simply because the sparkle pumps I was hoping for I couldn’t walk in! I am a dancer so I need something I can dance all night in. Wouldn’t you know it, the guys wanted to leave the ball before the dancing even started!

It was a pointless purchase as cool as they were, I never wore them again… until one day I decided I wanted a pair of nude/fleshtone shoes to wear with my dresses. When I go out on weekends I like to have some height so I typically wear either a medium heel or my J.Lo wedges which always grab attention due to their huge size. Believe it or not, they are the most comfortable bar shoes I have ever owned.

I got out the paints and decided to attack these sequined beasts in hopes of improving them. I was never going to wear gold sequins, the outfits one could wear are just too limited to justify owning such a pair of shoes. So I mixed paint over and over to achieve my skintone in acrylic paint. It was certainly going to have a textured effect which was just fine with me. I gave them a good two coats, even changing the colour a second time so it was more accurate.

After the two coats I did a light sealer of clear gloss medium in hopes of giving it a more finished look. Honestly that step should be repeated as it was a very thin coat. But I wore them out that weekend and they went over really well! They didn’t stand out and by extension, made my legs look longer.

The topic of painting shoes came up at the office one day last month, as to whether there were techniques and methods of doing it successfully. I didn’t really have any answers just my basic acrylic application – so I decided to do a little research! I found three great articles that are very interesting for making your footwear more exciting!

Refinished Headboard

I’ve been watching Kijiji for some time collecting pieces to form a real bed. I started with the expensive mattress purchase which was a house-warming gift from the bank of Mom & Dad. I’m not exactly fond of living a student lifestyle with a mattress on the floor so after about a month I started searching for the rest of the pieces. I was looking for a double bed frame first which I found quite easily within a week or so of beginning my classifieds monitoring for $10.

Unfortunately that day it decided to snow and like most Prairie provinces the wind was not kind. But being the trooper that I am, I found my way into the scariest suburb of Medicine Hat, mounted the bedframe onto the top of the Tuscon and tied with the cheapest rope known to mankind… All while the woman and her family stood in the window and watched. I did have a man approach me and offer to drive it to my house in his truck but at this point I was still on my independent woman high.

DIY Headboard DIY Headboard
I got that off the car, up the stairs into the bedroom and adjusted to a double size, only to realize that slats are required or a boxspring – which I did not have. Funny how you don’t process the structure of something when you’ve always just arrived and it has been pre-constructed for you. As resourceful as I am, I searched in my minimalist apartment for a makeshift way of elevating the mattress until I obtained a boxspring. Success! Two unused wood shoe racks (that I use as regular shelving) laid on their side would do the trick. They were taller than the frame mind you so it was a good few weeks of teater-tottering. Another week passes and I find a double boxspring for $15 from a gentleman trying to get rid of some of his parent’s retro furniture he had been left with. Gawd awful 60’s floral? No problem. Luckily I had a friend (aka Superman) bring his truck and assist (by assist I mean do all the work for me because I’m useless)… in the end the poor guy wrecked his back for a good two weeks being all the muscle to get the thing up those stairs on his own. My bad!

So with the bed established I was pretty content with it but I kept my eye open for a head board as I had always admired them, the iron style that you really only find in a twin size and extremely pricey. Early this week I found a posting for a $25 black and gold metal headboard. Compared the prices I had seen recently this was a steal! Luckily I can look past the outdated style of the black metal with cheap gold accents and look at the overall shape and style. All it needed was a coat of paint! I went to Rona, got myself a small can of flat white Tremclad, a sponge and the bolts required to install it. Sadly my measuring and overall understanding of the bolt construct was very off – so tonight I’ll be going back and hopefully finding some that are half the size! There is about an inch of space after it has gone through both holes, followed by an inch of actual grooves where you twist the nut onto. So the headboard is currently attached but not well.

DIY Headboard DIY Headboard
The painting process has taken a few days as it takes a long time to dry, not to mention covering a black metal bar with white paint is never an easy job. I still feel after 5 coats it could use another one or two, seems even when you think it’s dry – you can still move the underlying paint around with your new coat. Ugh. Being the impatient girl that I am I was dying to see what the finished product would look like – so with half painted white hands and the strength of my knees to lift the bedframe up to the proper height for the bolt – I attached it to the frame minutes before I expected to sleep.

Always a healthy idea to use very strong paint that probably should only be used outdoors – in your living room so you can get high on paint fumes while watching tv. Then like the genius you are, move the object you’re painting into the room where you are sleeping so that you can kill the maximum amount of brain cells you can in a day. I did leave the bedroom door open so there was a bit of ventilation and I slept with my feet against the head board so I wasn’t as close to it and didn’t paint my hair in my sleep!

It is by no means finished as I had bigger ideas for a more fun look for it aside from flat white. My grand scheme involves ribbons but I have been unimpressed with the price of such things!

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