“Fiery Coral” is a Crazy Color for Shoes

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 in Refashion

fiery coral shoes in progress_reducedWhat do you do when you want a pair of shoes in a really specific color (“Fiery Coral” to be exact), and the only thing you can find in that color is Satin Blanket Binding? Well, you find a way to make it work.

fiery coral converse_reduced

“Fiery Coral” Converses

When my boyfriend, Rob, and I decided we wanted to wear crazy-colored, matching converse sneakers at a wedding, we selected a color from the Converse website. I needed the shoes on short notice to get heels and make a dress to match, since I didn’t want to go to the ceremony in the sneakers. I picked them up from Nordstrom, which was the only place that had them in stock, and found them to be much brighter than on the converse website (see right).


With the shoes in tow, I went to every shoe store in Pittsburgh and found exactly zero pairs of heels in the same color. So I went to Joann Fabrics, with the shoe in the child seat of my cart (the joy of living within the borderline midwestern world of Pittsburgh is that total strangers actually comment, in a friendly way, if you do silly things like that). The only product they had to match was the satin blanket binding, so I decided to make it work.


fiery coral shoes before_reduced

The shoes before

I dug an old, yellowed pair of shoes out of my closet and set to turning them Fiery Coral. I’d seen tutorials around the internet about covering old shoes in new fabric just by removing the old soles, gluing the fabric on, and then gluing the soles back on. Well, that didn’t work. The soles of the shoes would not come off, at least not intact. The satin isn’t flexible at all, the pieces weren’t quite wide enough, and the glue didn’t hold anyway and created unsightly marks in the glossy surface. It would have been an excellent example of a pinterest fail.

So then I tried to wrap/pleat/fold full strips of the material around the shoes. I still couldn’t glue them on, so I hammered flathead dressmakers pins through the fabric and into the sole of the shoe. The soles of the shoe are pretty hard, so it wasn’t easy to get them all in, and resulted in a lot of mangled pins, but in the end it worked like a charm.

pin carnage_reduced

Pin carnage!

I secured the loose ends on the inside with duct tape, a combination of the regular silver kind and the new fabric duct tape you can find at craft stores. The end result isn’t the kind of shoe you can wear for years, but they held up great for the single day that I needed to wear them at the wedding. The dress was Simplicity 2212 and you can read more about it here.

fierycoral3_reducedfiery coral shoe_reduced


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Another T-Shirt Refashion, Corset Style

Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Projects, Refashion

corset t-shirtThis shirt had been hanging in my closet for years, always with the best intentions to wear it because I love open back shirts. But the fact is this one takes open to a level that makes it really hard to wear, mostly because it gapes so much in the back that it actually exposes too much, like… your whole chest. And I have no qualms about exposing some flesh from time to time, but I do have some limits.

I spent a long time trying to fashion a panel to fit in the giant hole, or some type of dainty lace inset, but ultimately I came to this simple eyelet corset-type closure. It preserves the open back but doesn’t dangle my stuff (or lack thereof) for the world to see. Now I just need to design the perfect invisible bra to wear with it…

tiny bowI used a pair or eyelet pliers (these ones) to set the eyelets. I used the colored ones that had come in the kit, mostly because they’ve been sitting around since I bought it and I wanted to use them up. I found that the paint has a tendency to crack, but I found putting a piece of stretchy spandex in between the pliers and the nice side of the eyelet was helpful in protecting it.

The tiny bows were made with the adorable little fork tutorial that’s been going around pinterest. The bows are permanently tied and knotted so the t-shirt doesn’t actually “unlace,” but it’s stretchy and all, so I’d rather have pretty bows than lace my t-shirt every time I want to wear it :-)
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Put a Bow on it (or seven)

Posted on Mar 13, 2013 in Projects, Refashion, Sewing

bowshirt back reducedI’m going through a bow phase. The tinier the better. I even have a pinterest board dedicated to them right now. So when I saw Asperge’s awesome shirt with bows down the back on BurdaStyle, I couldn’t help myself. I had a plain blue shirt that I bought at Target a few months ago sitting in my closet – I didn’t try it on beforehand and it ended up being way too big for me, especially in the bust area, so it got slated for transformation. It went together easily, I cut a significant chunk of fabric out of the upper back and then I used green scrap jersey to make the bows and bind the cut seems. Originally it was going to be 5 bows, but it was hanging off my shoulders so I took it two notches higher.




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Rescuing a Too-Short Dress

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 in Projects, Refashion, Sewing

skirt5bluesequin1 reduced

Every once in a while I find myself at a clearance rack in a store and end up talking myself into buying a dress that is gossip-girl-short because it’s super cheap I have nothing to lose, right? Then I get it home and remember that I’m 5’9″ (which Wolfram Alpha tells me is in the 98th percentile for women) and that a short dress is always a really short dress on me. Really I have no idea how Serena Van Der Woodson ever sits down. Then it sits in my closet for years while I wait for an event where I might find it acceptable to wear it.

So I decided it was time to get realistic with myself and make some of these dresses wearable!

Dress #1 was 10 years old (H&M in 2003!). I was a simple refashion – I cut it down and turned the raw edge into an elastic casing with just a little stretch to it so it didn’t gape at the waistline:

Dress #2 was a post-prom 2011 find –  $150 Haley Logan dress which I practically stole for $7. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it because really it doesn’t even cover me up standing straight up, let alone in any other positions. But I couldn’t just give up the ruched tulle and sequins, so I found some jersey knit at Joann fabrics that was a pretty close match to the lining of the dress, cut off the bodice, and made a tie-back waist band

They both ended up making for really great skirts. Maybe I should buy scandalous dresses even more often than I already do?
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A Simple Refashion

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 in Projects, Refashion, Sewing


I bought this dress when I weighed about 30 pounds more than I do now and never actually got to wear it. I originally had plans to take it in rather than to refashion it, but then I made a mistake… when I went to slash, I had a moment of incompetence with a pair of scissors, and let’s just say a dress wasn’t really possible anymore.

So in an attempt to salvage it, I turned it into a blouse! The bottom hem is bound with black bias pe and slipstitched on the inside. Otherwise, it’s just the bodice of the dress taken in. It’s still a tiny bit snug, but not entirely unwearable :-)

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52 Weeks of Sewing – A Refashion – Pink Sparkly Tank

Posted on Mar 4, 2012 in 52 Weeks of Sewing, Projects, Refashion


Sew Weekly
‘s challenge this week was a refashion, so I decided to join in. I started with an old v-neck sweater that was too big for me. I’ve been infatuated with plunging backs on tops lately, and I pictured the sweater’s deep v-neck becoming a v-back. A bit of cutting, some pinning on my dress form, and an hour later I had this!


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