Stitching, Cutting and Dyeing a New Wardrobe

I’ve been making some changes to my wardrobe this week.  I have a new favorite pair of jeans that are great with boots, a jacket I will wear often because it matches everything, a new shirt in a color I’ve been wanting to find and a leather jacket that might be my new prized possession.  But I didn’t buy a thing.

My opinion about clothing is this – if I haven’t worn it in a long time (or ever) and I’m going to get rid of it anyway, I really can’t go wrong trying to make it into something I can actually use.  There are a couple of incidents in my past that lead to something I couldn’t even send to Goodwill, but overall I’ve had pretty good luck. 

The jeans were super-wide legged.  I have rather short legs in relation to the rest of my frame, so I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought them.  I also don’t have skinny calves, no matter what the rest of me looks like, so skinny jeans are out.  But, I love wearing boots, so I basically turned the jeans inside out, stitched straight down from the knee, cut off the excess and zig zagged the edge.

New Wardrobe 1

As you can see, I had already used this great hemming technique to keep the original hem.  Here’s a closer view of how I carried the stitching from the original seam and into the new one.  The original is the darker one that veers off toward the top.  Piece of cake and I love wearing them now.

New Wardrobe 2

Another piece of clothing I had just about given up on was a cotton jacket.  It was a cream color, but at some point it must have gotten something on the back because when I went out into the daylight it looked like I’d been sprayed with bleach.  I didn’t have the heart to get rid of it, so I stuck it in the back of my closet for a while. 

I failed to take a before photo, but the story here is that I found a package of black dye in my sewing room and decided to give it a go.  However I failed to set the timer so I could restart the washing machine, so it didn’t stay in the dye long enough and came out lavender.  Not my color.  In fact, this photo doesn’t do it justice.  If it had looked like it does here I would have been perfectly happy with it.

New Wardrobe 3

So, I bought a second bottle of black dye.  By the way, I highly recommend the liquid dye and washing machine method.  I think everything comes out with a much more even color and it’s less messy.  Just make sure you clean your washing machine well afterward, using the instructions on the bottle.

New Wardrobe 4

I didn’t want to use a whole bottle for just a jacket, so I dug through my closet until I found a shirt that I’d hardly worn.  Again, cream in color, which just doesn’t work on me.

New Wardrobe 5

Make sure you soak the clothing items you’re going to dye well before you throw them into the dye bath.  Any dry spots will not take the dye the same way as the wet areas, leaving spots and streaks.

New Wardrobe 6

A second go-round was exactly what the jacket needed.  It’s a darker, greyer color now and all hint of purple is gone.  I especially love how the stitching didn’t take the dye and stands out.

New Wardrobe 7

This shirt was just a bonus.  The grey is much more me, and I can see myself wearing this often.

New Wardrobe 8

The leather coat I mentioned?  Here’s the before photo.

New Wardrobe 9

I’ve had this for over 10 years and I’ve never worn it.  Not once.  I missed my window to return it.  Now, I LOVE it.  Come back Wednesday and I’ll show you the beginning of this coat’s new life!