Tag Archives: upcycling

FBFF: Refashioned Clothing

Today’s post is a challenge by Fashion Beauty Friend Friday. This is a group effort; a lot of bloggers will be answering the call. Be sure to read all the other posts at ModlyChic.

When I was challenged to share something I’d refashioned, I was initially stumped. I buy a lot of second-hand clothes, and I sometimes take them in, hem a bit, or add ruching. But would that count as refashioning? Then I remembered my Windows 7 skirt:

refashioned skirt

Top: Swapped
Blazer: Swapped
Skirt: Thrifted and refashioned
Boots: Thrifted

I wrote about this skirt once (shortly after I made it). It once was a giant t-shirt. A men’s XXXXL to be specific. The corporate logo is so subtle. It’s a white “7” on a black t-shirt. I found it at the Goodwill in Bellevue, a mile away from the Microsoft campus. I bet a Microsoft employee got it free at work and then donated it. I picked it up for $1.99. I cut off the sleeves and neck, took in the sides, and added a 2″ wide elastic band to the waist.

Windows 7 logo


I tried a subtle pattern mixing by wearing a pinstriped blazer and a black and white geometric print tank top. All in all, this outfit cost $12. Do you change-up your clothes too? What’s your best re-creation?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fashion

Upcycled Sari and Repurposed Wedding Jewelry

My friend Karthik recently attended a wedding vow renewal wearing fabulous upcycled items, including some of her own wedding jewelry. I love the story behind each piece and how they’re all so ingeniously reused, so I’m sharing it with you. Karthik’s vintage dress was originally a South Indian silk sari that was turned into a great cocktail dress. She found it at a Seattle vintage shop.

upcycled sari

Vintage dress: Red Light Vintage
Vegan clutch: DSW
Vegan shoes: Bandolino
Earrings: Sukra
Right-hand bangles: Vintage family heirlooms
Left-hand bangles: Repurposed vintage family heirloom
Ring: Repurposed vintage family heirloom


Karthik accessorized with fantastic pieces. See the ring on her right hand? The ruby was originally part of a long necklace that belonged to her great great grandmother. Karthik’s family worked with a jeweler to have the pendant removed and remade into a ring. They added a new pendant to the necklace and had it made into a choker. Karthik wore the choker, ring, and earrings at her own wedding this past winter. Her look then was much more traditional and elaborate, but she shows how even the most formal pieces can be dressed up and down.

The vintage necklace had other rubies too, and they were removed and turned into a watch band. Later, Karthik had the watch band converted into a bracelet. She wore the bracelet at her wedding and also at her friend’s ceremony.

Karthik proves you can be eco-friendly in vintage, honor your heritage, and stay true to your values (in this case, animal-free accessories)—all while looking great! Thanks, Karthik, for sharing your story.


Filed under Fashion, Street Style

Another Cable-Knit Pillow

My first cable-knit pillow sold on Etsy so I decided to make a few more. I bought some cable-knit sweaters at Goodwill and washed them. So far, I’ve completed one. The others will be ready soon.


First, I flipped the sweater inside out, measured and marked a square the size of my pillow form (I bought a pillow casing at a craft store), and sewed it on three sides. Then I cut it and turned it right-side out. I used the sweater’s original finishing at the waist as my fourth side. I slipped the casing inside the cover and sewed it shut with two non-functioning brass buttons. If that sounds like too much work, you can just buy this one.

After I cut apart the sweater, the remnants looked rather appealing. I tried it on and whaddaya know. It’s bold, it’s unconventional, but it’s stylish.

cropped top

By a weird coincidence, unbeknownst to me until I was surfing around blogs a couple of days ago, I found a DIY project showing how to make such a cropped sweater. And the idea originally came from Preen, a London-based design label often described as evocative and sexual. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all. Well, except that when I wear this, I want to say (in a Dieter from Sprockets voice) “I turned this sweater into a pillow but the sleeves still work.” That’s a bit crazy.

two for one


Filed under Crafts, Decor, DIY, Fashion

Days Ten to Twelve

Day 10: I second-guessed myself when I added boots to my 30 pieces. Boots? In June? Well, I’m so glad I did. We’ve had rain and cool temperatures and the boots have come in handy. Today I braved the crisp weather in bare legs but I did keep my toes warm with my thrifted boots.

day 10

Dress: Express
Tank: Wet Seal
Scarf-as-belt: Thrifted
Boots: Naturalizer via thrifted
Sequined purse: Swapped
Recycled Leather Cuff: Greenbelts

Day 11: I caught a bit of sun today. Don’t worry—I wore sunscreen. It was a great day to take off from work. I walked my dog, enjoyed a leisurely latté, and stopped to take pictures of wildlife at Lake Larson. I saw a blue heron, ducks, and red-winged blackbirds. No turtles today though. Later I went to a concert with a friend. I felt cool enough to go from the lake to the show—mainly because of my rock ‘n’ roll cuff. This is my first repeat in the 30 for 30. On Day 1 I wore this dress. This time, I skipped the belt and swapped out my accessories.

day 11

Dress: Wish, Seattle
Tank: Wet Seal
Shoes: Flexx
Purse: Shiraleah
Cuff: Greenbelts
Necklace: Thrifted

Day 12: It’s Gay Pride weekend in Seattle. I met friends for drinks in Capitol Hill this evening and I wanted to be colorful for the celebration. I wore a tank top with multicolored sequins and painted my nails to match. I added blue and purple temporary streaks to my hair, but I have to say, in the photos, it kind of looks gray. Not exactly what I had in mind.

day 12

rainbow nails

Tank: old Navy
Jacket: Betsey Johnson via thrifted
Skirt: Boutique in Portland
Sandals: Naturalizer
Necklace: Dancing Turtle Studios, Santa Fe


Filed under Fashion

Upcycling a Necklace

I bought a cheapie necklace on sale a few years ago and wore it only once. It was the wrong length, the charms weren’t in the right places, it just didn’t work. So, I thought about ways to change it. I like sculptural, asymmetrical pieces and figured I had nothing to lose by trying to change this long strand into something different. I grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers and off I went.





Here’s the necklace on me so you can see how it lies. I also wore it on Day 6 of the 30 for 30 challenge.


I hadn’t planned on making earrings but I had extra chain and charms when I’d finished the necklace so I grabbed a few hook backs from my craft supplies and ended up with three new pairs!

If you have a before-and-after story to share, tell me in the comment and link to your post if you have one.


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Days Four to Six

Day 4: Sun’s out! Finally. It wasn’t supposed to last long, so I took advantage of it and wore capris and this boho top. True casual Friday. I’m so used to thrifting and buying things on sale, that it felt weird when I forked over the full $29.99 for this top. It’s pretty versatile though and I’ve enjoyed it for two summers already.

day 4

Top: Metropark
Capris: True Originals
Shoes: Timberland
Purse: Nine West
Necklace: Gifted
Sunglasses: Target

Day 5: It rained pretty hard this morning but stopped in time for the Seattle Style Bloggers picnic. Still, most of the day, my outfit was hidden by my raincoat. I braved the temps to show off my tunic, but put my coat back on again. I’m so glad I added boots to my 30 for 30 mix.

day 5

Tunic: Damselfly, Seattle
Tights: Newport News
Belt: Ross Dress for Less
Boots: Naturalizer
Bracelets: Lucca, Seattle
Umbrella: Baby & Co.

Day 6: Hubby and I went to Sunlight Vegetarian Cafe for a delicious brunch. At least the sun was in the name of the restaurant; it sure wasn’t in the sky. I concealed my sweater behind my clutch for this photo. Trust me, I needed it today!

day 6

Dress-as-tunic: Edun
Jeans: Bluenotes
Necklace: Upcycled DIY by me
Shoes: Flexx
Clutch: Thrifted


Filed under 30 for 30, Fashion

Imani Necklaces: From Uganda to Me

While reading posts at The Compassion Fashion Project, I found out about an inspiring group of women in Uganda and how they are changing their lives by making and selling jewelry.


The tough part: Their pasts. The women, often victims of war and rape, were forced into the sex industry.

The good news: They are now involved in a community where they receive counselling, education, and job skills. As the Imani website says, the women “are paid fair Ugandan wages for each accessory they produce, are enrolled in a savings program to support their children in school, and receive help with medical issues.”

necklace 2

In my sheltered, privileged life,  I haven’t ever had to think in terms of survival. To me, fashion has been fun, even trivial. Now, I can put my money toward items that literally help free a woman from forced prostitution. She can now earn as much money making a necklace as she used to make selling her body.

The necklaces are beautiful. They’re made from recycled magazines, meticulously rolled into beads, and lacquered. Each bead is unique, just like the women who made them. And the women, who were once discarded, give discarded materials new life as something precious and beautiful.

There are many different styles to choose from. Both of mine are colorful and bold. You’ll see me wearing them in upcoming outfit posts. Now you have a reason to shop. Check out the store and buy some jewelry today! The prices are reasonable, and you can’t find a better cause.

necklace 3

Imani beads

Once again, to celebrate National Poetry Month, here’s a poem:

from Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women
by Maya Angelou

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman


Filed under Crafts, Fashion

Inspiration: Cherry Blossoms

Have you noticed how often I’m carrying an umbrella in my photos? Too much for my liking. But that’s fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. And when it’s raining too hard, I end up posing indoors.

I skipped the umbrella today. The dark gray rainy days and pink spring cherry blossoms inspired me to mix this outfit together.

pink jacket

Jacket: JC Penney
T-shirt: Old Navy
Necklace: Reconstructed Clothing Co.
Earrings: Claire’s
Purse: Nine West (thrifted)
Jeans: Gap (thrifted)
Boots: Dr Martens


In honor of National Poetry Month, I wrote a Haiku:

Cherry blossoms bloom
Reminds me spring is here now
Hope the rain will stop

color scheme

About the jacket: I can’t believe it’s not leather. It’s buttery soft and oh-so-pale. I feel really pulled together when I wear it. Coincidentally, the little upcycled necklace I bought last week matches it. The necklace is an old ticket stub glued to wood and lacquered. What I want to know is “a ticket to what?” Admit one cat? My cat never admits anything, so I suppose we’ll never know. Regardless, it’s cute. And it adds cheer to a gloomy day.



Filed under Fashion

Cable-knit Pillow Project

I went to Goodwill this past weekend and got inspired. In addition to the Windows 7 skirt I fashioned from a gigantic men’s t-shirt, I made a cable-knit pillow from a sweater.

cable-knit pillow

Here’s how I did it: Fearing the knit would unravel if I cut the fabric first, I flipped the sweater inside out, measured and marked a 14″ x 14″ section (of the front and back of the sweater and sewed it on three sides. Then I cut it and turned it right-side out. I used the sweater’s original finishing at the waist as my fourth side.

I bought a pillow form, slipped inside the casing, and sewed it shut with three non-functioning buttons. Well, I guess they function as closures for the pillow. They don’t function as buttons because I didn’t add buttonholes (who am I Martha Stewart?).

If absolutely necessary, I can always cut the buttons off and remove the stuffing, but both the pillow and casing are washable so, when needed, I can just throw the whole thing in the machine. That is, if you don’t buy it first. I added the pillow to my Esty shop, just in case someone finds it easier to buy this one instead of making one from scratch.

As always, I give this project an E for easy (I wouldn’t have it any other way).


Filed under Crafts, Decor, DIY