Tag Archives: refashioning

Dress This Mess: A DIY (The Carry All Bag).

So I am obsessed with the fold over clutches that are popping up everywhere. Like these by American apparel and by Clare Vivier:

But these bags, as simple as they are, break the bank. Instead. I am following the advice of ECAB (Eighteenth Century Agrarian Business) and Just B. It’s a DIY experiment folks. I am going to take ECAB’s tutorial on making the clutches and Just B’s refashioning ideas to make two spectacular, versatile bags.

Here is what these two crafty bloggers came up with:

All the materials you need can be bought at your local fabric store without a problem. Here’s what you need:

2 pieces of fabric both 13.5″ by 24″. (The fabric should be a heavier weight so you can get the necessary structure for the bag. I chose two types of linen.)

1 metal zipper

need and thread

…and maybe a thimble

I am not going to belabor you with the instructions on how to make these. I am no seamstress. Instead,I am just going to direct you to ECAB’s directions here. The directions are clear and simple, she even has images to help you. I had a bit of trouble with the zipper but I worked that all out.  My DIY carry all clutch went a little like this:


Amazing how I went from having a zipper prepped to a whole bag! To be honest I was struggling and the prospect of photographing each step got to be a bit overwhelming. Next time folks I’ll give you the whole low down on how to do this.

Obviously my bag is a little wonky. But ladies (and the few gentlemen that probably read this), this was only take one of this DIY. I also purchased some white linen I am excited to use. For that bag I am thinking I will do the color blocking recommended by  Just B. If linen isn’t your thing I am sure you could try you hand at this with some faux leather. That will be attempt three at these bags for me I think.

The grand total cost for this bag is a whopping $13.00. I’ll take $13.00 over upwards of $50.00 any day.

Thanks ECAB for the formula and thanks Just B. for the ideas.


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Dress This Mess: Skinny Jeans Dressed Up.

Let me be honest with you, I never excelled at the whole dressing up for going out thing. In college I was pretty much always dressed up in skinny jeans, a t-shirt, boots (or Toms shoes), and some sort of accessory. However, my new wardrobe and life no longer accept that sort of casual going out look. So my goal was to dress up my favorite pair of Ann Taylor skinny jeans in a more adult way. This is what I came up with.

(Top--Found deep in my closet, HM, price unknown: Jeans–Ann Taylor, Sale rack, $10.00: Shoes--HM, $15.00: Bag–Ann Klein, Macy’s Sale, $60.00: Sunglasses–Ray-Ban, gift: Earrings-Thrifted, $.75)

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DRESS THIS MESS: Lesson One (Thrifting)

Diploma in hand, I opened up a bunch of cards congratulating me on my success. They all said the same thing: “Good on ya,” “Way to go champ”, and “You did it.” Well, to be honest, they weren’t that cheesy. (I should clearly cross the greeting card writing job of my list of potential careers.) Scribbled under these prefabricated salutations were notes like “welcome to the adult world.” Being me, my mind didn’t go straight to the financial responsibilities loaded in that statement. Instead, I thought I have to start dressing like an adult now.

I am a petite girl…woman. I could easily still fit into a pair of jeans at Pacsun marketed for preteens who haven’t hit puberty yet. However, “adults” don’t wear preteen jeans. So, I immediately dug through my closet and did a major purge of all clothing the screamed teen. With an empty closet and a head full of ideas, I hit the net looking for things that would become my new adult, graduate-of-college style. I quickly found that the items I loved were far far far out of my price range. For example:

Madewell Shutter Bug Top

Madewell's Shutterbug Top for the small price of an arm, a leg, and $89.50 from my wallet.

Anthropologie's Freya BlouseA

Anthropologie's Freya Blouse for only $69.00

I quickly realized, I like expensive clothing. I also realized, I really like silk blouses. But unfortuatly, there is no way I could ever afford these with no job, meager savings, and a car that dosen’t have the strength to make it to the nearest Madewell or Anthropology. So I took fellow blogger Jentine’s (from her blog My Edit) advice on thrifting silk shirts. My town has a small thrift store called Select Seconds. I was feeling pretty unsure of myself shopping there: it quickly became apparent that I was SIGNIFICANTLY younger than their average clientele. I quickly got over my awkwardness when I spotted a whole rack of blouses, the majority of them silk!

One thing Jentine teaches about thrifting is to check the quality of the clothes you see: read the tags to check that they are 100% silk; give them the wrinkle test, silk wrinkles; and, be conscious of sizes. I ran with her advice and found three blouses, each for $3.00, and two belts, each for $.75.

Only the pink shirt is up for an immediate debut in my wardrobe. The others will have to be refashioned into something wearable. I am thinking the white shirt will be turned into something like the Madewell ShutterBug top (but with pockets). I guess my thrifting experiment has also turned into a sewing one. In the end, thrifting pays. No need to break the bank when the things I want can be found relatively inexpensively.

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