Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sewing Tips -- Hidden Potential

It's been quite a while since I posted a sewing tip (and I'm not quite sure this "counts" as a sewing tip!). But it's something that's certainly helped me, so I thought I'd share.

Since I do quite a bit of thrifting, I sometimes come across a garment that I like, but isn't *quite* right and usually I don't find out that it's not *quite* right until I've gotten it home. The optimism I felt at the store just won't make sleeves a tinch longer, or make the buttons a smidgeon cuter. So sometimes my clothing has to be "repurposed."

For instance, I just finished modifying two long-sleeve shirts. One was a plain white shirt with very plain buttons. There was nothing wrong with it, but I just didn't wear it. So I cut the sleeves down to 3/4 length and put on new buttons (I just happened to have the exact number of buttons in my stash -- a little bit pearly, and just the right size). Voila!

The other shirt was a bit tight in the sleeves, but it was an adorable eyelet fabric that I couldnt resist. I modified twice -- I tried 3/4 length sleeves first, but they were still too binding. So I chopped off some more, and had enough left over from the sleeve to make a little pleated ruffle:

I bought if for less than I would have paid for the fabric, and it took much less time to alter it than it would have taken to make it. Cheaper + easier + cute = Happy Me!

Other repurposing can include buying a garment for the buttons (Those $1 deals with ten or twelve mother-of-pearl buttons are great!), cutting it apart for other uses (bags, bias tape, pincushions, you-name-it), and even using dresses or skirt to make a whole new garment (those pleated skirts from the 90's have the most beautiful rectangles of fabric).

While I'm not a "Save the Planet" kind of person, I do think it's good old-fashioned stewardship to re-use what I have (or what others have had before me!).


  1. Thanks Shannon! Those are great tips! I am not a very good seamstress and have to learn all the little tricks and things myself so I really appreciate all you sewing tricks and tips, etc.! =:) The shirt with the eyelet is gorgeous! You are so creative!


  2. These are wonderful tips, thanks! I, too, like thrift store shopping and will keep the fact I can fix things in mind.

  3. Wonderful tips! I never thought about buying old skirts and using the fabric! That's such a great idea and I am going to try it. :) Have a blessed day!

  4. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I like old things so much better than new things.


  5. Thanks for sharing the great tips!
    I got a skirt and blouse set from a thrift store a long time ago - the skirt is fine however the blouse is way too large and is cut in a rather odd style (to me) so it'll need some remaking. I'll see what I can do! :-)

    I enjoy your blog!
    ~ Kristy

  6. Hi Shannon,

    I love the eyelit shirt! Is it short sleeves now, then?

    Thrifting is such a great idea and, I've found, very practical and inexpensive.

    A friend of mine recently made a trip to the thrift store, bought a plus-size skirt made with adorable fabric, and sewed skirts for her little girls. So cute, and I thought of you. =)

    Thanks for the tips!

  7. I'm so glad this was helpful to some of you! And it's always good to find some fellow thrifters! ;-)

    Cristina, yes, the shirt is short-sleeved now.

    Yours in Christ,


I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for stopping by!