That’s a wrap

As of the winter of 2016 the IWOM has gone capsule, so that’s it for A Life Without Clothes as a refashion blog.

You can see my last refashion here.

Funny that it is number 89 — 1989 was the year I met Himself.

It’s been fun!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Road to Somewhere




This dress, made in 2004 (gulp) for our drive along the road to Hana is our bright red hired convertible, has been in two pieces for quite some time. I’d thought I would simply make a long skirt and some sort of fifties retro top (admittedly not all that clever) but after my success with my last project here on the blog, I thought I’d keep to that style and make another summery dress.

Plan was to use this top, which already had the neckline, hem and cuffs removed



for one of those slice up the back of the sleeve



put on and pull over your shoulders then arrange nicely



tanks for the top. Trouble was



it didn’t do anything for me. I briefly toyed with the idea of a much more tropical dress,





but, meh. I don’t need this sort of thing all that often. Back to the Ts and tanks to be refashioned tub!



I chopped six inches off the bottom of this pale purple tank, eight inches from the TOP of the skirt, stitched them together then made a belt from the tank scrap.



The oddly scary thing here? As I was looking for something to put on in the background on my iPad, I stumbled across Fifty First Dates.

I know. That’s Oahu, not Maui, but I’ll take ANY views of one of my favourite places to vacation. Must take a mental note to bring this dress along next time. It’s been nearly two years since we were sipping things from coconuts at the Moana Surfrider! Something needs to be done about THAT and soon!


I’m such a Dork

On my document of links for refashions I might want to try someday (sort of a private Pinterest if you will) is this tutorial for turning a tank top and length of fabric into a summer dress. With the weight continuing to come off (back to a USA 14 I think I mentioned recently, which for a 5 foot nine and about three quarters gal is pretty okay) I can stand to look at myself in dresses again. We’ve a long weekend in Barcelona next month and the average September temperatures make me think some summer dresses might be the thing for our three nights there. I could be a 12 by then! What a goal to set. At this point I am just concerned with firming up what’s there, not losing more of it.


You might possibly recognise the black top as a March refashion. I don’t need much swimwear so took the lower bit off the initial refashion to use for a dress. The length of batik picked up in Kuala Lumper had nice looking selvages so I had merely hemmed the two other edges to use as a sarong for the St. John trip this past April. It was always the plan to use it for something else as I don’t live a life that requires many sarongs.


I had to trim a little off the raw ends once I’d unpicked in order to neaten things up before making a simple tube with a French seam, the top edge of which I divided into eight sections. I did the same with the bottom edge of the top, but not before making a quick copy of the top! It fits really well so it seemed a good idea to keep it around for future tops — bathing or otherwise.



I matched up the eight pins then created pleats:



Gathering the waistline would be an option, but that screamed to me ‘maternity dress’.  (Always listen when your brain actually SCREAMS at you. If it merely talks to you, you can enter intelligent debate). I’m leaning toward stitching down said pleats but will let it hang overnight, which is a rule I learned from one of my fellow Sewing School tutors at Liberty back in the late 90s. Hang before hemming was Geoff’s credo.


It’s a little long for my liking (three and a half inches above my ankles to be exact) but a). maxi dresses continue to be ‘in’ (sigh) and b). I’m not ready to do an serious cutting of this fabric yet! Sewing Dork uses a tank top for her dress and I’m sure a T-shirt would be equally suitable. Sorting out all my knit lengths, T scraps and first class sleep suits is on the list of this afternoon’s tasks so the chances of a shorter version being created before long look pretty good.


It also helps that it’s another double golf widder weekend: Himself’s Saturday round is at his club and the Sunday one involves a rather long drive. Time is one thing I am not short of during golf season….

Sentimental value


About 12-15 summers ago, I admired a short sleeve denim top my Mom was wearing. She promptly took me off to Marshall’s ( we were on the other side of the pond) and I got one quite similar in style but a different brand as they were out of the one she’d bought:



It is comfortable after so many years of wear, but slightly UN-comfy when worn in hot muggy humid weather therefore does not get much use except for vacations where the weather and climate comply.  I removed the pockets and sleeves


then went swimming through my Tana Lawn scraps. It has been a LONG time since I worked at Liberty, but I am nowhere near running out of fabric bits. I don’t think there’s anything more than a fat quarter up in the studio now so I’d have to hit up a few folk I still know there to get me lengths for clothing. The IWOM don’t pay full price for Tana! Not after so many years of getting it 60% off — and even more on remnants.


I patched together some bits for new pockets and made binding with one and half inch strips for the neckline and armholes — no two fabrics the same!


I’d already processed lots of my Tana so had plenty of one and a half inch bits: you know what that means!


I just knotted the ends after passing them through the holes: I’ve seen some  heat shrinky plastic tube stuff (used in some of the online tutorials where I searched for advice) with which you can make tips but it isn’t worth the postage to have some of it sent just for a few pair.  I’ll ask Little Sis to acquire some for me for the drawer in her guest room that is usually stuffed with things for me when I visit. These would be a great item to make for charity next time I’m asked to provide something to sell.



I’m sorting out the next quilt, which will have a black and white color scheme. There was a good yard of this polka dot cotton in the stash — couldn’t resist making another pair! We don’t reinvent the wheel here: try this tuts for that basics. Tape seems to work for the tips, or you can pinch a bit at each end to heavily zig-zag.

Back in the saddle

IMHO, there is no reason to sew or refashion if you are not happy with your size (apologies to Carissa). The few things made for our Easter trip to St. John were the exception, but I chose things that could be easily altered down once I got a grip on this condition of mine which has plagued me in assorted ways for a year and a half-ish. I thought it was under control in March. It took another four months.

I shan’t bother you with the boring details, but suffice to say you CAN suffer from two distinctly different problems at the same time which can be diagnosed by a handful of experts as one problem and with that sorted I am on the way to 12 again. I’ve tackled a few simple refashions recently like today’s post over on Refashion Co-op, but I also had a pile of mending which kept putting me off spending much time in the studio. I’d see the stack on the long table every time I passed the door and think ‘ugh’. Actually, I think that might be a reason for putting the 2014 blog on hold — I just couldn’t be comfortable in my studio full of projects that don’t/didn’t fit (literally and figuratively) my life the fist half of this year.

Anyhow, the pile is smaller, thank Deity of your choice, so this weekend I take on these two from-scratch projects from March:



(top Simplicity 1698 and wrap Simplicity 1961: after years of other patterns I somehow have returned to the patterns with which I learned to sew) in order to make them less baggy. There’s loose fitting and there’s baggy. You know what I mean. I washed these after the April trip then stuffed them in a refashion basket as I quite hated the look of myself in the pictures where I wore this combo with a hi lo skirt made of the feather fabric I bought in Paris. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was thinking along the lines of a complete harvesting of the fabric. This lovely lightweight knit is going to be perfect for Istanbul next weekend so I’m glad this coming weekend is a ‘double golf widow’ sort of situation — matches each day for my Better Half, plus there’s some sort of soccer tournament on the television which will keep him occupied.

Brain fog. I blame the brain fog of one of my conditions for not letting me see how chunky I’d become. I also blame Himself. Your husband needs to be taught/have the confidence to tell you that you are tipping over to a weight that is not your own. Doesn’t matter if he thinks it will make you upset. Tell him it is his job to upset you and you will be mad if he DOESN’T.

So, to recap:

Eat less.

Move more.

Do not accept your medical matters as given: keep searching until it is right.

(And buy a Nutribullet — or something like it. Seriously. It really made these last couple months bearable).


Blast from the past

Note to self: check to see that an adequate picture has been taken before taking the scissors to todays re-f. Sorry for the blur.


I needed a little break from the tiny, neat hems needed for Little Sis’s wrap skirt


so decided to refashion this lycra/spandex-y dress from my keepsake box of clothes. It is too young for me now — and a bit too tight through the hips!

It was one of the last things I bought before moving overseas to marry Himself. It was when I was closer to a USA 10 than 12. It was never worn for long.


I’ve been told by The Nephew ‘we wear bathing suits all day in St. John!’ so I decided to acquire another top or two for the modest swim skirt I wear when such things are required. Last time I was in swimwear was Hawai’i 2009. I swam a lot during our second year in Hong Kong as our serviced flat had access to the hotel pools next door. We aren’t beach holiday people for the most part so even though I saw a few things I liked last time I was out shopping, I thought a look through the to-be-refashioned boxes and the fabric tubs might be in order.


It was merely a matter of taking ten inches off the bottom and hemming it with my double needle.



Three-part mantra

Eat Less.

Move More.

Stop taking medication that piles on the pounds despite adhering most religiously to the first two parts.

Refashioning and making from scratch  have not been on the top of my priority list for about six months. A bit of a struggle with some neuropathic woes has been (I think) b***h-slapped into submission with Drug Five: One through Three simply did nothing for the pain in my extremities and Four made me fat.

The IWOM does not mince words. It. Made. Me. Fat.

And the IWOM doesn’t do fat.

I am a tall, strong girl. My 3/4 Irish and 1/4 Slovak ancestry gives me certain characteristics with which I work — and always will. In the past seven weeks I have dropped a size and a half by doing relatively little in addition to the switch from Drug Four to Drug Five.

Stand up to your doctors. Change them if you need to. DO NOT sit back and let them decide for you.

We now return you to this much-neglected refashion blog.

I picked up this maxi-dress at one of my new favorite shops in the January sales: East. It was too big post-weight loss and too long to start with but the style is just what I wanted for a week in St. John AVI next month. It was one of those ‘can’t-get-the-fabric-for-that-price’ moments we’ve all had.

And I loved that blue.


Well, the top was too low cut too. I chopped off ten inches


(as a loop).


I figured I could cut what I needed for a modesty panel to insert into the V neck and make an infinity scarf from the rest.




taking away the weight in ten inches of hem made that V a lot less deep (it doesn’t much look it on Dorothea, but trust me on this). A hook and eye will be just fine. If I do want some more cover,


I can do that quite easily. All I need now is a narrow hem on the mid-calf skirt and I’m on to the Paris fabric.

No self control, me

I haven’t even used all the fabric from my 2011 Paris trip!



Black cotton with white embroidered floral design, cotton with a lovely feather print, black and white dots on stripes in a poly cotton blend and a medium weight two way stretch knit (hard to tell from this pix but it a lovely plum background with robin’s egg blue pattern). Three metres each (the knit is 60 inches wide, the cottons 45 inches).




my Little Sis (a non-sewer, but don’t hold that against her ’cause I don’t!) fell in love with a lovely shear fabric that will be perfect for a sarong or wrap skirt of some sort. All five pieces came home with me yesterday after our time in Paris sans husbands and son/nephew: she had a conference to attend and came early — I flew over and we met up Sunday at CDG for three days of eating, drinking and shopping. We both seriously considered staying until her/Himself’s money ran out.

Really. I’m not kidding.

Now I need to scan my wrap and sarong patterns to send so she can make her selection. Luckily we are about the same size at present so if I make it to fit me we should be good. Luckily I’m in a from-scratch mode at present. I’ll be delivering it to her when we meet up in St. John come April.