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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Watercolor Dress Re-Size!! on: November 17, 2014 07:28:45 AM
Hi all!

I resized a pretty wild dress this weekend and wanted to show it off here. Smiley

At the Goodwill a couple weeks ago, I found this dress and my friend and I laughed and laughed at it because it was so ridiculous.

Then I ran back and snatched it up before anybody else could take it. Tongue

It was...pretty bad. Hahaha.

But, I snipped off the sleeves so they're more cap-sleeved:

Took in the sides of the dress by about 2 inches:

And then took the bottom hem up a few inches so it didn't have that frumpy just-below-the-knee look (which I love normally but always manages to look awful on me).

And here is the final product!!

I don't know that I would ever have bought this dress if I didn't see that it had potential. The colors and pattern is something I would never have worn a couple of years ago. But lately I've really been expanding my horizons as far as general "wildness" of clothing, and I really think I'll be able to get some use out of this dress now!

Here is a link to the full blog post which has some more pictures: http://myhandmadehell.blogspot.com/2014/11/watercolor-dress-re-size.html

Hope you like it!! Happy Monday everybody!
2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Another Sweatshirt to Cardigan Refashion! With Tutorial! on: October 21, 2014 12:53:13 PM
Hi all! I have decided I'm never buying another cardigan again. Smiley

There's a tute below but here's a link to the full tutorial: http://myhandmadehell.blogspot.com/2014/10/sweatshirt-to-romantic-cardigan.html

I had this very soft, very warm, very, very large sweatshirt that I got at Goodwill for $3:

And with a few little hacks, I turned it into this:

I started by cutting off the collar, sleeves, and the ribbing at the bottom, then cutting a straight line up the front:

Then I used an existing top that I had that was the right shape to mark new shoulder and underarm seams, and cut away the excess:

I sewed up the sides and hemmed the front opening and the bottom:

Then I reattached the sleeves, giving them a little pleating at the top so they'd be a bit poofy:

It was still a little wide, so when I reattached the collar piece I'd cut away previously, I pleated the center back to bring the shoulders a little closer together, like so:

And it fit a lot better!

Then I cut some flowers from a scrap of vintage fabric I had and appliqued them to the front one at a time. It took a while but I loved the effect so much!

And bam! I have wanted a cardigan that looked like this for a while. I'm so glad I finally have one! Now if only south Texas would drop below 80F soon, I can actually wear it somewhere...

Oh and I used the ribbing from the bottom that I had cut away as a tie for the cardigan, to make it a little more shapely:

3  COOKING / Dessert / Ugly but Delicious Apple Cider Spice Cake on: October 10, 2014 11:28:10 AM

Last night I used about 18 different recipes to create this apple cider spice cake. It's ugly as sin because I screwed up the frosting, but darn if it isn't DELICIOUS.



1 1/2 cups cake flour (you could probably use AP flour if you wanted to)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick of softened unsalted butter cut into thin pats
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves -OR-
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 room temperature eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup apple cider


1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare a bundt pan by smearing butter in it then sprinkling flour over the butter.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl to fit your stand mixer.
4. Mix together on low speed until combined.
5. Increase speed to "maximum warp." I mean "creaming."
6. Drop the pats of butter into the mixer one at a time, until all butter is added and the texture resembles playground sand.
7. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar and continue beating until the texture is more like slightly wet sand.
8. Add the spices one at a time (or 1/2 tsp. at a time) until thorough combined.
9. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine.
10. Add the vanilla and slowly pour in the apple cider. Don't overbeat at this step - just get it well combined so it's all the same consistency.
11. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake 25-30 minutes until a knife tests clean.



1/2 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
scant 2 cups powdered sugar
a few tablespoons of apple cider
orange and brown (or orange, yellow, and red) food coloring (optional)


1. In your stand mixer, blend up the butter so it's nice and creamy.
2. Slowly add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup or so at a time.
3. Once the sugar and butter are all incorporated with each other, add the apple cider one tablespoon at a time, letting each tablespoon blend entirely before adding the next. Do this until it looks like frosting.
4. Add 3 drops of orange and 2 drops of brown (or experiment until you get a color you like).

Remove cake from oven and let cool COMPLETELY (really, don't cheat like I did or you'll get gloppy melty frosting!).



There are more pictures and a full write-up on my blog: http://myhandmadehell.blogspot.com/2014/10/adventures-in-fall-baking-week-2-apple.html
4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Roaring 20s Style Dress for a friend on: October 07, 2014 06:54:01 AM

Last weekend my friend asked me to make her a dress for a party she was going to. I would have posted this in costumes except she wanted something she could wear outside of a costume party, so this is more of a "20's inspired dress" rather than a costumey thing.

I think it looks pretty neat! I've never made a dress from scratch before, much less one for a friend on a short timeframe, so even though it's not perfect, I'm pretty happy with it. And most importantly, so is she! She got a lot of compliments at the party and was even able to dance in it!

I sort of made it up in the hours before starting - it's just a basic rectangle for the top that fits just above her bust and right at the widest part of her hips. I added some trim to the top and bottom, then stitched in a zipper in the back.

Then I made the widest possible skirt with the fabric I had available (which unfortunately wasn't much wider than the hip measurement) and cut a shallow hi-lo in it, then gathered the top of the skirt and attached it to the bottom of the bodice piece.

The straps were the easiest part because all I had to do was measure over her shoulder while the dress was on, cut straps about 2.5" wide, hem the edges, and sew the straps in place. I wanted to give her nice wide straps so she could wear a bra underneath.

Then I hemmed the skirt.

I did make a couple of mistakes. For one thing, I (stupidly) didn't take measurements before we went to the fabric store. So while we had enough fabric for the dress, I did not have enough trim. She was okay with having trim on just the front side of the dress's waistline, so that's what we did instead.

The other mistake was that the bottom of the bodice piece was too narrow at her hips, so I had to awkwardly add a triangle gusset underneath the zipper so it would fit over her hips. It created an unsightly wrinkle in the dress, but she didn't mind it (because she is AWESOME).

So basically I failed at measuring. But otherwise I think the dress was a success!

There are more pictures and a more detailed tute on my blog here: http://myhandmadehell.blogspot.com/2014/10/i-made-thing-20-party-dress.html.

She was a happy customer so I was a happy dressmaker! I'm proud of my efforts here and I feel a lot more confident about making things from scratch now!
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Repainted Filing Cabinet on: October 05, 2014 11:38:08 AM
This is one I did a while ago (April 2013 I think) and I meant to post it here but forgot.

Here's the finished product:

I bought an old crappy file cabinet for $3 at a garage sale (I think if I had negotiated hard enough they would have paid me just to take it away). It was in good shape structurally speaking. The drawers were well set in, no pieces were missing, it didn't squeak or whine when the drawers opened. But it was uuuuuugly.

It was painted bright orange. Usually I like bright orange but in this case, the paint was chipped and scratched all over. Plus the drawers were being held in place with duct tape, which left a nasty film when I peeled it off. AND the top had been covered with this really nasty brown "wood" vinyl sticker panel, which was a huge pain in the butt to scrape off.

Here it is "in progress":

Ultimately, including the cost of the paint, the whole reconstruction was less than $10. I love it!!
6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / 90s Dress Refashion (with Tutorial) on: October 02, 2014 10:34:33 AM
Hi all! I have really got the "making things" bug right now, so I have another refashion to post!

I found this hideous 90s-style dress. I loved the pattern and the colors, but the fit was horrific and the length was really unflattering:

So I fixed it! Here's a link to the full tutorial on my blog, but below is a more streamlined version of it if you don't want to click.

First, put your shapeless 90s dress on inside-out and figure out where you want your waist to be. Mark it with tailor's chalk or pins, then take it off and cut straight across:

Then cut 9 or so inches from the top of the skirt portion (or however much you need to cut so that the bottom hemmed part of the dress is the length you want for your skirt):

Then try on the top part and pin it so it fits more snugly. Make sure you can still put it on over your head, unless you want to screw with a zipper (which I did not). Sew up your new side seams and try it on AGAIN to make ABSOLUTELY SURE (I had to do it over a couple of times to get the fit just right).

Now you should have a nice wide skirt portion and a nice narrow bodice portion. It's time to gather the skirt up a little so it fits the circumference of the waist. I found that the easiest way to do this was to pin the sides together so the seams match up, then make little pleats in the skirt on the front and back before sewing.

If your skirt is way huger around than the waistline, you might find it easier to just straight-up gather the skirt by running a long baste around the top of the skirt, then gently ruffling the waistline along the thread until you have the right measurement.

Then sew the skirt onto the top!

You should now have a dress with a somewhat gathered waistline and a little more shape:

You can stop here if you want, but I don't ever stop. I wanted sleeves.

Take the piece you cut from the middle and re-fold it so that there is a non-seamed fold at the top and bottom (basically repositioning the seams so they line up in the middle of the "tube").

I took pictures of this part but they were hard to see because of the pattern of the fabric, so I drew out what I did and that's the pic I'm including below.

Lay the excess piece behind your armhole at an angle that mimics the angle of a set-in sleeve. Pin in place. Then trace around the armhole onto the excess piece to get the curvature right. When you reach the bottom of the armhole, draw a line straight out to the end of the fabric starting at a point about 1/2" from the bottom of the armhole. Here it is drawn so you can see what I mean:

Note that the fold of the excess fabric is on top so you don't have a seam coming down the top of your arm.

Cut the part you traced, giving a little for seam allowance. Repeat with the other folded edge of the excess fabric. You should end up with two pieces that look like this:

I'd recommend finishing the sleeves in the following order:

1. Hem the edge of the sleeves.

2. Sew up the long tab along the bottom of the sleeve (right sides together).

3. Then set the sleeve into the armhole, pinning and sewing from the armpit seam so you can tuck or pleat in any excess you end up with.

Here's a pic of the sleeve pulled out from the armhole after pinning:

Once the sleeves are sewn in, turn the dress rightside-out again and try it on.

Here was my finished product:


It's so much more fashionably relevant now, and it gets along beautifully with my wardrobe. The best part is, it went from a piece I would never wear outside the house to something I would wear on a date or to work or to a wedding!

Hope you enjoy it too!!
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Giant Sweatshirt to Adorable Cardigan (Tutorial on Post 3) on: September 29, 2014 09:04:09 AM

Last week I took this giant, unflattering sweatshirt:

And turned it into a precious little cardigan that I canNOT stop wearing!

I'm so proud of this!

I did a tute on my blog but it's super long...does anybody know if it's cool to just link to my blog here for anyone who's interested in a tutorial? I don't want to "use" Craftster to get hits on my blog, but it is a long and image-heavy tutorial and would take forever to recreate here... Smiley

Hope you like!
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Painted $3 Filing Cabinet on: April 12, 2013 03:21:21 PM
Hi all!

I bought this filing cabinet for $3 at a garage sale last week:

I loved the orange, but it was all chipped and faded and there was some rust on it. So I sanded the crap out of it, primed it, and painted it with the first two colors I fell in love with at the spray paint cage at Home Depot.

The whole project took less than three hours and cost less than $10 (including the purchase of the filing cabinet)!
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Color Block Skirt from Boring Green Dress on: March 10, 2013 06:33:03 PM
I made another thing! And I can also wear this thing out of the house! This is a good trend, and I need to keep it up.

I've been really inspired lately by some of the color-block style skirts and jackets that various Etsy sellers are displaying in their shops, so I wanted to do something like that. It's actually kind of a funny story...I went into this with a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted, and after I'd cut all the garments to pieces, I realized it wasn't going to work. Nothing like the befuddled panic of sitting in front of a pile of virtually useless fabric scraps to get the creative juices flowing. Smiley

I used a kind-of-sweet but boring green dress as the base, and threw in pieces from a tartan schoolgirl skirt (no pic, sorry) and some elastic lace inserts. This is the dress:

I've had it for years but literally never wore it out of the house once, although I always liked it. I like it even better now!

I think I pulled this off pretty well under the circumstances, and I'm very excited to have this thing in my wardrobe now.
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Ugly longsleeved tee to cute flirty top! on: March 03, 2013 08:56:52 PM
I made this thing!! All by myself!

This started off as kind of a schlumpy long-sleeved hooded tee that I only wore a couple of times - I liked the color and the fabric, and it was comfy enough, but the sleeves were too short, the hood was too short, and overall it was just a really unattractive garment that I never wore out of the house:

It was way easy! I just cut off the sleeves and the hood, and resized it until it fit me pretty well, then used my leftover fabric to make cap sleeves and a ruffle for the front. All in all it took less than a couple of hours, and now I have one less ugly shirt and one more pretty shirt to put in my closet!
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