Fashion Flip: Turn A $3 Denim Skirt Into A $50 Skirt!

Fashion Flip:

Turn a $3 Denim Skirt into a $50 Denim Skirt

Here is another great Fashion Flip! This time we are taking this denim skirt that I got for $3 at a thrift store and using some great thread and decorative stitches to make it into a skirt that could easily sell for $50! Denim and embroidery is all the rage this fall too, so cheers to us sewists who can create these awesome pieces at a fraction of the cost AND ours will be like no one else’s clothes. I just love being unique, don’t you?

If you have read my blog for any length of time then you know I am a huge Florida State Seminoles fan, so it will come at no surprise to you that I wanted a skirt to wear to an FSU party.

I just love my adorable PINK cutting mat from Havel’s Sewing!

Here is the skirt before I did any stitching. Unlike the Fashion Flip Jeans, I am not cutting any part of this skirt off, so I will have to do my test stitching on a different piece of denim.

I used a scrap from another denim project, but tried to match the texture and color as closely as possible. Not all denim is made alike. This particular skirt is fairly thin and has a decent amount of spandex in it so it is stretchy. I took that into account when I was choosing my stitches.

Stitches look different depending on the stitch width and length so when I found the one I liked, I wrote it in permanent marker on my test piece.

I used a topstitch needle and 50 wt. Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky in the bobbin and Sulky 30 wt. Cotton solid color threads for the decorative stitching.

Because this denim is thin, I used one layer of Sulky Tear Easy Stabilizer under the stitching as well. This kept every stitch nice and even and the skirt moving evenly through the machine.

After I did the three rows of decorative stitching, I felt like it wasn’t quite finished so I added the rows of white stitching.


It proved to be the perfect finishing touch!

I love my new skirt, it’s perfect for my upcoming party and I love that I have seen similar skirts for $50 in high-end stores.

Happy Sewing!

Fashion Flip: Turn $6 Jeans into $100 Jeans

Fashion Flip: Turn $6 Jeans into $100 Jeans

Like most women, I love to shop. I also love keeping up on the latest fashion trends. If nothing else, it gives me something to talk about with my two middle-school-aged daughters! The problem is my taste in fashion far outweighs my clothing budget, so when I saw these jeans for almost $100 on one of my favorite websites, I got really excited.

Why you ask? Because I knew that I could make jeans with that look! You know all those fancy-dancy decorative stitches on your machine that you look at, love them, but have know idea when or how to use them? These jeans are the perfect place to let your decorative stitches be the star of the show.

The first thing I did was head over to Goodwill® to find the perfect pair of jeans for the project (my kids and I call it Goodwill hunting).

Check out my adorable pink cutting mat from Havel’s Sewing!

These jeans were a good fit, soft and a nice color of denim. The best part, however, is they were $6 bucks! Score! So, I brought them home so I could do a Fashion Flip on them.

After washing them, I cut off the bottom seam.

I compared the picture of the jeans I was copying to determine how and where to do my stitching. I estimated that I needed to cut the bottom of the jeans off at an angle to make these sit a few inches above my ankles.

I kept the part I cut off to use for my stitch auditions. If you counted up all the decorative stitches I have on all the machines in my sewing studio, I probably have no less than 3,500 (OK – That might be an exaggeration, but it’s a lot, believe me). So auditioning is a must. What is even better is I can audition directly on the denim that is my final project.

So I picked out some beautiful threads for the stitching. I decided to go will Sulky 30 wt. Solid Color Cottons for all the stitching. 30 wt. is my go-to thread weight because it is thick enough that it stands out nicely, whether I am using it for decorative stitching or quilting; but it’s not so thick that it steals the show. Because I am almost always using 30 wt. thread, my machine is already set up with a topstitch needle.  You’ll need at least a 90/14 Topstitch needle for this project.

I proceeded to test several stitches that I thought would work, in several of the thread colors, until I was confident that I could stitch enough lines on the jeans for the project. Now let’s prepare the jeans.

I measured up the inseam about 11″ and marked with a white chalk pencil. Then, I measured the outside seam about 5″ and marked.

Next, I drew a diagonal line connecting the two marks. This is my guide for the first line of stitching. Now let’s pull out the seam ripper! For this project, it’s best to use a seam ripper with the little red ball on the short end.

You are going to need to rip up the outside seam a few inches above where your white line ends at the inseam, so the jeans can lay flat for stitching. You can do that from the inside, like the picture above, or….

From the outside. I recommend doing it from the outside. Put the little red ball in the seam, hold the two sides of the seam taunt and rip up away from you. If you have a nice sharp ripper, you should be able to do the whole seam in one or two swipes. Once you rip open the first seam, do the same thing with the serger seam. If you do all of this from the outside of the jeans, the serger threads will all stay together and you don’t have a bunch of little cut thread pieces to clean up. By keeping the little red ball inside the seam, you won’t accidentally cut your fabric, just the thread.  (Did you know that is what that little ball is for?)

Once the seams are ripped open, iron the two legs flat. (NOTE: This is why I used the chalk pencil and not a FriXion pen.)

Now it’s time to start stitching. I used 50 wt. Cotton + Steel® Thread by Sulky in the bobbin that matched the color of the jeans so I only had to change my top thread as I stitched the lines of decorative stitching. Start with a locking stitch, and then just stitch your rows!

I used the original picture as a guide for my stitches and color changes, but mostly I just kept stitching rows and switching colors as I liked. I stitched both legs exactly the same.

When the decorative stitching was finished, I used the same 50 wt. Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky that was in the bobbin to stitch a line about 1/2″ from the bottom where I cut the jeans off, and then sewed the jeans legs back up. If you want, you can then serge the inside seam as well.

fashion flip jean embroidery

That’s it! They are done! What do you think? I might be biased but I like mine better than the pricey version, especially the $6 price tag.

You can check out another great Fashion Flip here, where I transform a $3 skirt into a $50 skirt with machine embroidery.

Happy sewing!

Earth Day Featured Artist: Laura Pifer from Trash to Couture

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual, worldwide event held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This week we highlighted two of our Eco-friendly products, Sulky Rayon Thread and Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Adhesive Spray. Both products demonstrate that you CAN have a great product, while still being eco-conscious.

Also in the spirit of Earth Day, we wanted to feature Laura Pifer, founder of Trash to Couture. Laura has reinvented the way we see fashion. With her innovative DIY projects she is teaching her viewers how to up-cycle clothing into creative, trendy looks. Her refashioned designs are not only eco-conscious, they are absolutely adorable! We met with Laura to discuss Trash to Couture, her vision for the future, who inspires her, and much more….

What inspired you to start Trash to Couture?

I was running my own clothing line, and I saw firsthand how wasteful the fashion industry can be even in my own little studio.  I did my best to approach my business as sustainable and Eco-friendly as possible. I handmade every garment made to order.  I used recycled packaging and up-cycled materials whenever possible.  I bought my fabric from local, small businesses.  At that time there wasn’t much information on sustainable brands so it was something I was doing because it felt right.

I ended up closing down my clothing line.  I was young and didn’t understand how much help I’d need with the growth my brand was getting.  I did everything on my own from running the online shop, customer service, marketing, design, pattern making, sewing/construction of the garments, photography, modeling, and shipping, etc.  It got to be too much and all while being at home raising my 2 babies at the time.  WHOA! I think back to that time, and I must have been crazy.  I kind of quit cold turkey.

After a couple of months off from sewing, I really missed the creativity and joy it gave me.  I’ve always wanted to start a blog where I shared sewing tutorials on how to refashion and up-cycle clothing into fashion-forward looks.  I wanted something to inspire me and others to get creative all while being Eco-conscious. Hence, Trash to Couture was born.  I remember one of my first tutorials was where I transformed a t-shirt into a dolman-style top.

What is your mission statement?

I hope to inspire a less wasteful approach to fashion through sharing my refashion DIY tutorials. I want viewers to see they don’t have to sacrifice style and creativity to live consciously.

Who inspires you?

Laura sporting an up-cycled men’s shirt turned dress, with youngest son, Louis

My children are my main source of inspiration. There is nothing better than when my kids get inspired to create art because I’m sewing. Nothing fulfills me more than when I make something special for my kids that they enjoy.  We design and sew their Halloween costumes every year, and they’re “famous” that time of year at school for the costumes we come up with. I also love making booties for my baby every couple of months. He has the biggest feet for such a little guy and we can’t find any that seem to fit. I up-cycle his brothers old fleece pajamas and call them Louie’s Booties (his name is Louis).

How did you get started in the sewing/designing world?

Laura’s homemade prom dress she made from upcycled materials. That’s a curtain top, denim skirt, with ruffles made from the curtains as well! So great!

I remember always being interested in fashion, even at a young age.  It really started with Barbie; I wanted to make clothing for her.  As I approached my teen years, I wanted to sew my own designs that I was sketching orthinking about.  When I saw sewing offered in middle school, I was thrilled. From then on, I was making clothing pieces whenever possible. My mom would bring me to the thrift store where my sister and I would get things to refashion. I wore some ridiculous things to school. I’d have a t-shirt with a denim waist as the collar… or redesign one of my dad’s old shirts. Street style before it was cool.

Do you have any professional training or were you self-taught?

I was trained by the teacher at my school who was a master seamstress herself.  By my senior year, she created a class specifically for me to sew whatever I’d like. That was probably because I’d hurry up and finish the initial project and then start sewing my own designs.  It was my favorite class.  I’m still so grateful to this day for having sewing offered in my school and a teacher that let me create without restrictions.

From there it became just trial and error of learning from the process of doing it over and over. I now have a couple of mentors I’ve connected with that always offer me advice and help when needed and vice versa.  I think sewing is a never ending skill to be learned.  There are so many different channels: different types of garment construction (wedding, active wear, couture, ready to wear, tailoring, costumes, etc.), quilting, crafts…I mean we really could go on. So I always feel there is more to learn, and that’s exciting to me!

What are your other hobbies?

Running was actually my first love. I was one of the best prep runners in the country coming out of high school in track and cross country. I chose to focus on athletics over design and went to the University of Colorado. I do still run but not at the level I used to.  Now I run more for the serenity of it because it helps my mental and physical well-being.  I also enjoy photography, which go hand-in-hand with running a blog and designing.

What is your vision for the future with Trash to Couture?

I really enjoy what I’m doing now which is working with creative brands to design original content. I would like to continue and steadily grow to have a larger platform of partnerships with brands that share Trash to Couture values.

Right now I’m working on a project with Sulky using Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon Embroidery Thread and Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer.  Kelly of Sulky really inspires me to try things I would never think you could do with machine embroidery.  For example, currently I’m embroidering with lightweight textiles like tulle and organza. I’d initially be intimidated by embroidering with these, but Sulky has products for all types of projects and Kelly’s expertise is the perfect combo.

Laura working on her latest project: Embroidery on sheer fabrics with Sulky

What is your favorite Sulky product and why?

It really depends on what project I’m working on. Right now I’ve been using the Fabri-Solvy water soluble stabilizer. To be able to embroider directly onto it, and the stabilizer disappear with water is pretty cool. You can create free-standing embroidery or use it for the finest of fabrics like tulle, knit, and organza.

Sulky really opened up my eyes to what you can do with embroidery. The threads are top notch and the stabilizers Sulky offers are innovative. I think they’ve really changed what you can do with embroidery. I used to think machine embroidery was something you’d do on medium-weight fabrics with heavy iron-on stabilizer, but now I’m free motion sewing my own sketches right onto my clothing!

We love meeting people like Laura, who are living an eco-conscious life.

Want to see more of her awesome DIY projects? Visit Trash to Couture here. 

How To: Upcycle Clothing with Embroidery

upcycle clothing embroidery

Laura from Trash to Couture

Our Friend Laura from Trash to Couture shares how to upcycle clothing. She takes a boring shirt and transforms it by adding embroidery using a Sulky Stabilizer, Sulky Rayon Thread, and the BERNINA 560 machine + embroidery module. We love this concept and are so excited to see more of her work. Take a look!

What did you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Happy sewing!