JULY 2021 :: Tie Dye

This is the seventh blog post in my 2021 Sewing Plans blog series. Click here to see the video where I share my inspiration for each month. My July project was to dye secondhand clothing.

I go through waves of being obsessed with tie dying. It’s a great way to upcycle clothing, especially if an item has a stain or if it’s just something that could be improved with some color.

The images below are taken from my Dye Job Pinterest board. As you can see, I’m mostly drawn to blues and muted pastels. I love bold colors but I’m less likely to wear them in my daily life.

I purchased a large vintage nightshirt from Tom Cat Bazaar on Etsy. I don’t remember what I paid for it but I remember it was very reasonable. I imagined that if I dyed it — it might make a nice market dress.

I decided to use blue-gray dye and a simple scrunch technique. I like how it turned out! What do you think?

I think if I pair it with leather sandals, an oversized straw bag, and a low bun it would make a nice beach coverup or a comfy dress to wear to the farmer’s market. The cotton is a little stiffer than I would like so I’m going to treat it with salt or vinegar to make it softer. This is what I found with a Google search:

“Create a mix of water and salt, or water and vinegar in a large plastic bucket. For one quart of water, you will need ½ cup of salt or vinegar. The salt and vinegar both help to open up the fibers of the shirts, and the mixture will add volume to the cotton, making it feel fluffy and soft” – findanyanswer.com

What I learned on this project:

Creative work is work. It takes time. It takes space. It can take lots of tools and prep work. It sometimes gives you a bad back. This project was pretty simple but I did avoid it for weeks because of the work involved. I love creative work but it’s good to be reminded that it is work. It can make you feel amazing when things go right but it doesn’t mean that it’s not work like other work. Think of that the next time you buy something from a local maker.

I’m so excited about my August Project — SHOES!!!


JUNE 2021 :: Kaftan

This is the sixth blog post in my 2021 Sewing Plans blog series. Click here to see the video where I share my inspiration for each month. My June project was to sew a kaftan.

I’ve long wanted a plain deep v-neck black kaftan. You’d think that would be easy to find — but noooo. There is always something I don’t like about versions I see online. Rag & Bone has a pretty great one but it is $500. And Universal Standard has a great one for $168 but it is made of satin and I really want my kaftan to made of linen or cotton.

Below are images from my Kaftan Pinterest Board. These images capture many of the elements I want: Minimalist design. All black. No extra surface design. Straight hem, not handkerchief style. Deep v-neck. Cocoonish shape. Midi length. Some upper arm coverage.

I shared my sewing process in my Instagram stories. Check out the JUN highlight for process videos and photos.

The image below on the right is me wearing the final dress. Please forgive the bad photo. It was actually the best photo of the lot and I think it does at-least give you a sense of the shape of the dress. I bought the fabric from JOANN Fabrics. It is a linen blend with a heavenly drape. So soft and comfortable. And washable too.

What I learned on this project:

What I’ve learned with this project is that secondhand fast fashion items can be used as patterns for home sewers. When I shop at charity shops I’ve ALWAYS ignored fast fashion items because they are made with cheap polyester fabric and because the construction is generally very poor …. HOWEVER…. often the silhouettes are more inline with what I’m interested in sewing than actual clothing patterns that I can buy in a store like JOANN Fabrics.

I know there are lots of independent designers that are selling clothing patterns online but — A) I don’t know how to search them all to find what I want, and B) I am not interested in printing out multiple 8.5 by 11 pages and taping them together to create a pattern. Store bought patterns come with directions but I personally learn so much about construction from seam ripping apart a piece of clothing. Also, secondhand fast fashion items are sometimes only a few dollars which is probably cheaper than buying a clothing pattern. It’s definitely not great that charity shops are filled with so much fast fashion but if home sewers can use them as patterns it’s better than it just ending up in a landfill, right?

xoxo recovergirl

MAY 2021 :: Wrap Pants

This is the fifth blog post in my 2021 Sewing Plans blog series. Click here to see the video where I share my inspiration for each month. My May project was to create Wrap Pants. I love wrap dressing because it can grow or shrink with your body. I also appreciate the feeling of wrap dressing — like an apron that hugs you but doesn’t feel constrictive.

Below are images from my Wrap Pants Pinterest board. I love the casual yet sophisticated nature of these pants. I particularly love the black pair by Center For Cosmic Wonder. I think all but the jean pair could be dressed up or down. Watch the video below for tips on how to style wrap pants.

I shared my progress in my Instagram stories. Check out the MAY highlight for process videos and photos.

What I learned on this project:

From now on when I’m sewing something complicated like this — without a pattern –that I’ve never done before — I’m going to start referring to these pieces as prototypes. It helps me to reframe the results as a success. Instead of thinking that I made pants that didn’t meet my expectations, I’m going say to myself — ” I designed and finished a prototype!” 🙂

xoxo recovergirl