Saturday, September 28, 2013

Refashion Runway Week Two: The Very Emerald Muumuu

About four years ago my husband bought me a sewing machine, and since then I've been teaching myself how to sew by trial and error.  It often happens that the design in my head doesn't quite match my sewing skills, and I end up spending hours upon hours trying to figure it out.  In the case of this week's refashioning challenge, I found myself up against a steep learning curve.

Because there were very few emerald pieces to be found, I ended up with this very emerald muumuu from a church thrift shop for $2.50.

When I first saw this dress, I immediately thought of retro beach wear.  And, because I  wanted to get away from my usual dress or skirt refashion and try something new, I decided to make a pair of shorts and a tank top.  One of the major issues that I faced with this refashion was the fact that this muumuu was made up of bits and pieces, and when it was taken apart, there weren't any large pieces of fabric to work with.  Another major issue was that I had never made a pair of shorts without a pattern.  Initially I thought it would be easy, but when I got started, I realized that I had a lot to learn.

I used a pair of old jean shorts for the pattern.  I folded them sideways and traced around the front, leaving about a half inch all around and going up to the top an extra inch and a half or so.  I did the same for the back and got my base pattern pieces.

Now here's where I made a big mistake.  I thought it would look cute to add side pockets out of the solid fabric and trim them in the white bias tape.  Well....  I didn't exactly measure the pockets very well, and once it was finished, it looked awful.  They went way too far down my leg and didn't make my thighs look very flattering.

So, I cut the front of the shorts down the middle, and luckily scrounged up enough floral fabric to add another panel on each side.  It worked!  Filled with relief I began working on the cuffs and top band.  I didn't have enough fabric to make proper cuffs, so I added them on with strips.  After a few tries, I figured out how to sew the cuffs.  I measured the strips and sewed them on both sides to create a tube.  I then turned the tube inside out and placed it under the short leg, just about 1/4 inch above the edge.  I stitched it on and rolled the tube up the shorts.  The right side of the tube was now laying on the right side of the short leg.  Next, I folded the tube edge down and stitched it all around the leg.  Viola!  Cuffs.

The band was easier.  I stitched together pieces of fabric to create a long strip.  I then sewed it to the top with the right side of the strip against the wrong side of the top.  I flipped the band down and folded it under just a bit and stitched it down.  I left the side open and added a zipper.  Whew!  I think they turned out great, and now I know how to make shorts without a pattern.

As for the top, I cut a rectangle out of the middle section (after removing the zipper) and put it inside out on my dress form.  I added a princess line in the front and darts and zipper in the back.  To give it a little extra something, I created a tie for the neck and gathered the chest line.  Then, remember the applique on the bottom of the dress?  I was able to stitch it on with my sewing machine.  It turned out very beachy and retro!

I later took the dart up to the top to create a princes line.

I hope that you head over to The Renegade Seamstress and vote!!


  1. Love the shorts - super cute! And congrats on the win last week!

  2. This is what I posted to my fb group of avid refashionistas and upcyclers at Melton Bowerbirds.

    I admire this blogger's perserverance all for a green twosie upcycled
    from a big green frock. What an effort and to think she even used
    shorts to trace a pattern - pretty amazing woman! Inspiration +++"

  3. Congrats on the well deserved win! How creative making shorts and a top from a looks great! Good luck!

  4. Congrats on winning last week's challenge... I have the feeling you'll do it again! I love your refashion, almost dare to say it is my personal fave. =D

  5. I love this worn together or as separates! You are amazing and I am jealous that I don't have both week's refashions in my own wardrobe! Congrats on the win!

  6. Congrats on the win last week. This refashion was great. Got to love mu-mus. :)

  7. Love your emerald refashion, doesn't hurt that I have a weakness for pinup style. :o) I combed through the rest of your refashion posts and loved what I saw!

  8. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to look through my blog. And thank you for your kind words.

  9. Thank you, Laure. Yes, this muumuu was tough. They are usually great to work with. Surprisingly, they can be kind of expensive at the Goodwill here. I was lucky to find this one so cheap.

  10. Thank you, Jen. This week's refashion really stumped me. I was almost ready to give up. I really appreciate your sweet comments.

  11. Magda, I really loved your little suit. After looking at your blog, I realized that you even added little adjusters to the inside of the shorts. That takes talent. I also really love your shirt this week. I have never thought of turning the collar around. I always just get rid of them. What a great idea! Thank you for your kind words.

  12. Thank you, Susan. I think you did a fabulous job on your plaid dress. My family, friends, and even my husband commented on how cute it is. They were very impressed with your sewing skills.

  13. Wow, Karen. What in incredibly sweet thing to say. This comment warms my heart and makes my day. Thank you.

  14. Thanks, Carissa. I think your dress is so, so cute. I would definitely by it in a store. I love how you cut out the back and added pockets. Great job.


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