Same sweater, more options

I have found in the weeks following my creation of a repurposed sweater-skirt that I haven’t worn it much.  I still like the concept and look, but not the functionality.  This inspired me to take a different approach with the same sweater in a different color.

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I specifically chose my least favorite of the remaining 3 colors in case it did not work out.

I have been jonesing for a poncho-like/shawl piece for quite some time.  To steer my sweater in this direction, I cut open the side seams of the body and straight down the arms.

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I pinned the cut sides of the arms to the cut sides of the body and sewed four new seams.photo (9)

Since the arms are longer than the body, I had to trim the fabric at these intersections.photo (10)

Then, I pinned and sewed over the entire bottom to finish these cut seams.

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Here is what I ended up with:

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And here is the piece from various (selfie) angles as I had envisioned it to be worn.

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As happy as I was with the end product, I had to think about the practicality of trying to wear this with a coat.  I love that it could double as a scarf.

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Or triple as a hood…

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While I’m sure there is something similar on Pinterest or other areas of the internet, I can proudly say I thought this up all on my own while taking an extra long shower one evening.  Now I have an even better idea for this same sweater in grey…the color I wear the most.

Same poncho-style, more freedom for my arms…off to the shower I go.

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Sweater repurposing…a 2 for 1 session

I purchased these sweaters last year from Victoria’s Secret.

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don't find them particularly exciting

At the time, I was urgently searching for work-appropriate, basic sweaters to replace what I got rid of during the Purge.  Since shipping with VS can take awhile, I decided to take a risk and buy in bulk.  While they did fill the immediate need, I found myself staring in the mirror feeling “meh” about the look they produced.  I tried scarves and pairing with different colored jeans, but nothing really popped.  This is how, while practically like-new, they ended up in my repurpose pile.

Since leggings are a fashion favorite of mine, I’m always on the lookout for items that pair well and broaden their use.  It can be difficult to find tops long enough to make it look like I’m using my leggings as an accessory, NOT pants.  I have pushed that envelope over the years, so I figured if I can’t wear these sweaters “as is” with leggings, why not build some accessories for my favorite accessory?

Sweaters are the perfect item to easily turn into a duet of functional fashion – skirts and legwarmers!

I started with this little lady.

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First, I cut off the arms and neckline of the sweater.

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I pinned over (and slightly under) the raw edge and sewed the top of the skirt to make a casing for the elastic.

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I measured the elastic to fit around my waist and weaved it through the casing to complete the skirt.

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I followed the exact same steps to make the legwarmers, but decided to use scraps from my t-shirt vest project as ties instead of elastic (double-repurposing points)!

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Here is the finished product.

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(My daughter was so excited she had to get in on the action.)

I love the look and intend on doing the same with the grey sweater.  I’m not kicked apart about a coral or bright blue skirt, so I may try a scarf or belt with those.

It makes me smile to know that days before this sweater was doing nothing but collecting dust.   Just like my t-shirt vest, I couldn’t wait to wear these newly recycled pieces!

This.

This.  This is amazing.  I’m already cheating a little bit on my whole plan, but I could not pass this up.  Brilliant.

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Turning an old t-shirt into a draped vest is my new favorite thing.  I say it was cheating because I didn’t use any of my own t-shirts to do this.  I did, however, use one of my husband’s old shirts.

Unfortunately, I was so excited to try this that I forgot to take a “before” picture of the shirt.  Here is the “after”:

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(Disclaimer:  I apologize that the vast majority of my amateur selfies will be taken in the bathroom until I manage to get a full-length, non-bathroom mirror.  I personally think the faucet and pile of my husbands clothes make the picture).

Okay, back to what I was saying.  This.  So unbelievably easy (seriously…a pair of scissors and 3 cuts) and so CUTE!  I wore it out that very day.  This is the perfect accessory item for basic tanks.  I’m just sad that the warm season is pretty much over…I will make it stretch a little longer with short sleeved tops.

I will be raiding my husband’s stash a lot more now.  However, I can handle buying a cheapy pack of men’s t-shirts if needed.  Free or way cheaper than what it would cost at any store.  I like those options.

 

Wardrobe roadmap

We have a starting point, now we need a destination.  While I try to steer clear of  labels as a general life practice, I do feel that finding words to generalize what I’m looking for in my wardrobe remix will give me a tangible goal.  This is where Pinterest becomes  the therapist.  I have been hesitant for years to lay on its couch and spill my loves, interests, and aspirations for fear of feeling inadequate.  Pinterest is a slippery slope and not for the faint of heart.  I find myself  smiling, getting butterflies, jumping-up-and-down with excitement only to crash and burn in a pile of procrastination and envy.  Who are these people who have all this time to make a bajillion boards and pin and repin and then have the nerve to actually follow through with any of it?  I wasn’t about to get tangled in the “keeping up with the Joneses” web, but then again I certainly can’t do this alone.  With all of its hang-ups, Pinterest is actually really good at its job.

Letting go of my fears, I jumped into the heaping pile of fashion pins and discovered that, in addition to being a  fashion minimalist, I really enjoy Parisian-chic with a hipster flair.

I’m a visual learner which is what makes a Pinterest fashion-therapy session so productive.  Here is a sampling of what I chose to “love” button:

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If I had to choose a single photo to encapsulate my wardrobe-vision, this would be it.

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These leggings offend me with their cuteness.

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I need more flannel in my life.

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Moto and classic beauty make a baby.

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Love me a denim shirt!

Neutral colors, lots of black, scarves and functional (but adorable) shoes, jackets, minimal jewelry, comfortable but sleek, and purposeful.

Now that I have a general destination, my wardrobe and I have to accept that there are certain items that may need to be purchased along the way. My goal is not to craft an entirely new wardrobe out of an old one, but to utilize what I have as much as possible.  While I may not be able to recreate the above items, I can steer my current items to recreate the style.  I may aspire to be a minimalist-hipster-Parisian,  but I also just want to wear what I like.  That means I’m willing to change course and add in items that don’t fit the style if it presents itself.

That takes us to the next step in this process…the repurposing sessions.

I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are

So I don’t rock mom jeans or cat earrings, but I will extrapolate my feelings when it comes to my current fashion situation.  This wardrobe/style therapy session begins with owning where we’re at so we can start the rebuilding process.  I went through and pulled out everything I have to work with (minus a small pile of summer-specific items and workout clothes).  I sorted them first by items that I intend to leave “as is”  and items that I either want to repurpose or remove completely.  My “as is” items were then sorted by clothing category.

Here’s my whole wardrobe (fit into two baskets):

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Repurpose/remove on the left and “as is” on the right

My guidelines for an item to be “as is” had to meet most of the following criteria:

  • good condition
  • classic pieces
  • easy to mix-and-match/accessorize
  • frequent wear/loved items

Here is what I decided…

Camis, tunic tanks, and crop tanks in neutral colors

Camis, tunic tanks, and crop tanks in neutral colors

Blouses with 3/4 sleeves (the black one in the middle has a collar the others have are v-neck)

Blouses with 3/4 sleeves (the black one in the middle has a collar and the others are v-neck)

My favorite knit sweater to wear over a cami and pair with leggings

My constantly-worn knit sweater 

Short black blazer that I wear alllllll the time

Short black blazer that I wear alllllll the time

longer black blazer that I never wear but want to work with

Longer black blazer that I never wear but want to work with (and it’s practically brand new)

My one-and-only denim jacket (a "love" item)

My one-and-only denim jacket (a “love” item)

Chunky knit boyfriend

Chunky knit boyfriend cardigan (not loved just yet, but versatile)

Long, crocheted cardigan (love, love love)

Long, crocheted cardigan (very loved)

Hooded, puffy vest (had it for years)

Hooded, puffy vest (had it for years)

My denim collection (one cropped pair and the rest are regular skinny jeans)

My denim collection (one cropped pair and the rest are regular skinny jeans)

Leggings - two regular black (wear constantly) and one grey sweater material

Leggings – two pair are black (that I wear constantly) and one with grey sweater material

Black pencil skirt and black mini

Black pencil skirt and black mini skirt (which I never wear, so it may have to go)

Maxi dress (super cute, but incredibly long)

Maxi dress (super cute, but incredibly long)

Peplum top (pair only with my pencil skirt)

Peplum top (I pair it only with my pencil skirt but I love it)

My guidelines for repurpose or remove were:

  • fair to rough condition or fading
  • rarely worn
  • limited versatility
  • awkward fit
  • just so over

Here is what I ended up with:

Plethora of layering camis

Plethora of layering camis

Other tanks

…and other tanks

Random tops

Random tops

Long sleeved tees

Long sleeved tees

Love these blouses, but I have had them for years and they no longer serve a purpose as the are

Love these blouses, but I have had them for years and they no longer serve a purpose “as is”

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Not a fan of the sleeveless or the design on the tee and my NYC shirt unfortunately has some holes

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don't find them particularly exciting

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don’t find them particularly exciting

These chunky cowl neck sweaters are super thick and itchy

These chunky cowl neck sweaters are super thick and itchy

Long sleeve sweater and sweatshirt

Long sleeve, v-neck sweater and sweatshirt

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Boyfriend and sheer black cardigans showing wear

Fold over skirts

Maxi and fold over skirts

Maxi dresses

Maxi dresses

Old yoga pants

Old yoga pants

Fading leggings and one terrible pair of jeggings

Fading leggings and one terrible pair of jeggings

A single pair of capri "work" dress pants

A single pair of capri “work” dress pants

 

Here are my on-the-fence items:

I like both of these tops, but can't seem to find purpose for them in my current wardrobe.

I like both of these tops but can’t seem to find purpose for them in my current wardrobe.

Wool cardigan that's itchy, slightly pilling, not a very versatile color, but I love the length and how it has almost coat-like qualities

Wool cardigan that’s itchy, slightly pilling, and not a very versatile color, but I love the length and how it can double as a coat

 

Just for fun, here are the accessories I am working with right now:

My scarf collection

My scarf collection

Belts (which I rarely wear)

Belts 

The only jewelry I wear (minus my earring studs)

The only jewelry I wear (minus my basic stud earrings)

So there it is – wardrobe transparency.  Now that there are no more secrets, up next is Step 3:  Drafting a Plan.