January Refashion Month with Desarae from Gladness of Heart

Happy to be back for another week of Refashion Month! Have you guys been enjoying all the guest's posts so far? There's more goodness, and great inspiration to come. 

Today, we're starting a new week with Desarae from the blog Gladness of Heart. I met her when competing in the Refashion Runway II, I was always amazed at how great her refashions were , especially when knowing she had started sewing that same year.  I was so happy she made it to the final week and I was able to see her sewing through all themes. And of course I never stoped following her to see what else she has stored. 


Refashioning is an amazing skill that makes you feel empowered and liberated
when it comes to clothes and fashion!
No longer are you limited to the style and fit of dingy thrift store cast offs,
 now you can create your own fashionable pieces with a little time, effort, and some imagination.

But for some, the freedom of 'sewing outside the lines'
affectionately known as refashioning, can be pretty intimidating.

Maybe you are a great seamstress, but without your patterns,
you feel lost.
Sewing from a pattern and refashioning have similar overtones, but are very different.
I like to compare it to baking and cooking; one requires exact amounts and recipes
while the other involves a lot of improvisation based on what you have and what you need.
The basics are the same, you just have to trust your instincts and rely on personal taste.

Now, say you have never sewn before...in your life.
Then refashioning is the perfect place to start!
 Take it from someone who learned how to sew by refashioning.

Here are some steps to help you get started!

1. Start Small
Don't overextend yourself and try to tackle a project that is too involved on your first try.
Start with a simple project, like shortening long sleeves,
chopping the length off a dress or skirt, or turning pants into shorts.
Once you feel comfortable, work your way into more challenging projects.
Never despise small beginnings!

One of my first refashions was very simple.
I turned a long sleeve button-up into a scoop neck tank top.


Here, I turned a too-small skirt into a top!

2. No Attachment Issues 
Sometimes it can be hard to cut into a piece of your own clothing
that has memories attached to it and has been in your wardrobe for a while.
When starting out, a great idea is to pick out a piece from your local thrift store,
this makes it much easier to cut apart!

3. Check it Over 
 One sure fire way to disrupt a project
is realizing there is a stain or hole in an obvious spot on your garment.
This isn't always a deal breaker, if the problem area is located at a spot
you intend to take in or cut off, then it can be worked around.
 But if they are front and center, it can ruin the whole piece.
Always check it over first.

4. Pay Attention to Fabric
Keep in mind the type of fabric you are working with.
For beginners, cotton or linen are the best choices.
They won't stretch on you like knits, making them easiest to work with.
If you plan on combining two different fabric types,
take into consideration whether they will work well together.


This silky refashioned top turned out beautiful in the end,
but working with this slippery fabric almost did me in!

Make fabric choices according to your skill level,
and be sure you have the correct needle to accompany it.

5. Copy Cat
Here is a no brainer!
When you are just starting out,
nothing makes it easier than following in the footsteps of someone who has gone before you!
Find an easy refashion tutorial from one of your favorite refashionistas and sew along!
When they have it all laid out for you, it is hard to go wrong!

My two very first refashions were copy cats
from some tutorials I found on Pinterest.
I would highly recommend them.
You can read about them here

6. Fit is Everything
 Sometimes all it takes to bring your piece up a notch is the proper fit.
Fitting the shoulders, sides, and arms can make all the difference.

Here, a few fitting tweaks like pleats at the shoulders,
and a pleat at the back, was all I needed to make this piece great!


In this refashion,
I address how to fix gaping arm holes as well as fixing the neckline that was too wide.

7. Try on First, Cut After
 After following all of these great tips, you might whip up the perfect refashion,
only to ruin it all by cutting too soon.
Once you have made adjustments,
always try on your garment before you cut off the excess material from you new seams. 
If the fit is as you want it, then proceed with trimming off the bulk.

8. Bigger is Better
If you are planning a major refashion overhaul,
or any project really that is more than basic fitting changes, then bigger is always better! 
The more fabric you have to work with, the more you can do!

 A great example of a 'big' refashion is this coral blazer.
From all that excess fabric, I was able to make a peplum jacket

9. Sew Inspired
You know that adorable skirt you have been drooling over?
Use it as inspiration for your next refashion!
Start thinking in terms of "could I make that?"
I recommend starting a board on Pinterest, or just a folder on your computer.
If you see a piece of clothing you really like, with some great details,
pin it on your board so you can revisit it later for inspiration.
You would be surprised how much you can replicate from mainstream fashion!

{Make from black overjacket thingy}. Karen Kane Flare Bodice Tank #Dillards
I refashioned this peplum top based off the above inspiration piece!
Turned out pretty similar, didn't it?

and finally,

10. Don't Be Afraid!
  Sometimes making the first cut can be scary...
you might not know exactly what to do...
but don't be afraid!
They are just clothes.
If you ruin something, it won't be the first time
(remember that Pinterest recipe that bombed?? Yeah...we all have 'em.)
and it isn't the end of the world.

Don't be intimidated.
  You don't need a sewing studio,
with all the special gadgets and do-hickeys, in order to refashion. 
You don't need a dress form (the floor works great),
a serger (zig-zag or pinking shears can do that job fine),
or any special classes.

Oh, and some bonus advice...
Each piece has a life of its own.
Sometimes what you want to do just won't work on a particular style.
Play with it, see how it falls, see what works-
eventually it will take on its own flare and become what it wants to.
So go on...pick up those scissors...



  1. Tenho visto trabalhos muito interessantes e se não fosse a minha vontade de mexer em lãs acredita que o bichinho das costuras vinha ao de cima ;o) adorei o refashion nr 8, ficou MESMO lindoooo!! Beijinho

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Obrigado! Estou tão feliz que você tenha gostado.

    3. Pode ser que com tanta coisa ainda te animes e faças qualquer coisinha até ao fim do mês! Eu gostava tanto de verrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... sim????? beijocas
      Ah! E sim o blazer fez-me morrer de amores por ele desde a 1ª vez que o vi!

  2. Brilliant and very helpful post. I really love and admire people like you who so effortlessly re-fashion but haven't felt confident enough to give it a go myself. I think I might just pluck up the courage now. :)


    1. Oh, I'm so glad to hear you might give it a go! Refashioning has been such a great adventure for me, that I so wanted to encourage others to get started too. :) Best of luck!

  3. Thank you, Magda, for having me! I just now realized that I completely forgot to introduce myself at the beginning of the post...oops! :)

  4. WOW! Very interesting works! Refashions super!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Evgenia! Thank you!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Love this post! I am also a refashionista :) and feel that this is so inspiring to newbies!!! I know how I felt when I started and this really addresses everything...great job!

    1. Wow, thank you for such an affirming compliment!! I have been refashioning for just under one full year, so I didn't know if these would resonate with other refashionistas, but it is what worked for me when I was starting out! :)

  7. This is such good advice, Desarae, and very encouraging to those just starting out. Well done!

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful, Jenny! Thanks for coming by and reading! :)


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