31 Days: Color – Day 26: Prom Dress Skirt, The Rust-Colored Version

I have been looking forward to this project all month. And it’s October, so I love orange more than ever, so even though I’ve got Halloween costumes to sew, I took a break from it to work on this skirt today. (Which really just plays into the idea that I procrastinate on the projects I’m not thrilled about, but I carve out time for the ones I do. But we all do that, right? We prioritize what we really want to do and sometimes push off what we NEED to do. Hmm, really want to ponder this more, but there’s not time right now. “IN NOVEMBER” is my new mantra!)

orange rust prom dress

So this dress. It’s a prom dress that’s way too big, but I loved the color when I saw it. (It reminded me of this bronze skirt I pinned a few months ago.) I was at a garage sale on the other side of town, and this woman had lots of clothes that her daughters had cleaned out. She said all the clothing was $1. I found a bag of old prom dresses and started getting excited. (Didn’t show it of course – you have to have a good poker face if you’re haggling at a yard sale.)

“A dollar for these dresses, too?” I asked.

“I don’t know, they are nice dresses. They are worth more than $1 for the fabric alone.” This was true. I was already thinking of what I could make for BG with the pink and blue gauzy layered dress and was wondering if I would be up for converting the emerald green beaded dress into a skirt.

“Do you want all of them?” she asked.

“Yes, I like them all. I think there are four dresses in here.”

“You can have them for $5.”

SOLD! Apparently they were worth much more than a dollar for the fabric – like, 25 cents more.


Turns out the dress is made of 4 layers – a top layer of mesh that is embellished with ribbon, another layer of mesh, a layer of satin, and then a layer of a different satin. Even though I was planning to use this technique to turn it into a skirt, I could tell that working with so much fabric was going to be challenging.


Did you notice the little “evening bag” that came with it? After I finished the project and after Husband came home from work, he asked BG to take her purse to her room.

“That’s not my purse, Daddy!”

“Are you sure? I don’t think it’s Mama’s purse.”

“It’s not mine.”

I said, “It’s mine, but you can have it if you want.”

Two minutes later, she came to find me in the kitchen. “I really don’t want this purse, Mama, but thank you.”

I feel the same way.


In an attempt at corralling all that fabric, I started with a quick baste stitch just below the bodice to secure the layers together.


Then I chopped off the bodice.


Next I measured about how long I wanted the skirt and marked that with chalk. (And then my chalk ran out! I’ve been using this chalk pen for over 10 years! I was shocked. And I have LOADS more sewing to do this week, so I grabbed a piece of regular school chalk from BB’s stash. Hope it works just as well.)


Because the dress is so big, I needed to gather it (using this technique) before attaching it to the elastic waistband.


With the dress inside out, I placed the elastic waistband on the inside and pulled the basting threads to make it snug. Then I ran a regular straight stitch (while stretching the elastic a bit) along the top and turned it right side out.

DIY Skirt from a Prom Dress

And here it is, my rust-colored version of a tulle skirt.

DIY Skirt from a Prom Dress

And honestly, I was surprised that the skirt ended up the same length in the front and the back. I was working very quickly and not too precisely, but it turned out beautifully.

DIY Skirt from a Prom Dress

DIY Skirt from a Prom Dress

It’s funny that today was orange day, because there were lots of projects going on in my house today that happened to be orange. One is a little treat for the staff at the preschool (no pics because I want them to be a surprise!)…

orange yarn…and the other involved orange yarn. (I loved how pretty these yarn balls looked in this old wooden bowl I found last week. As we were leaving swim lessons, our swim teacher said, “You do garage sales, right?” Does a one-legged duck swim in circles? “I stopped by a great one on the way into town, and I called my mom to tell her about it, too.” We went, ran into our swim teacher and her mom, and dug through the antiques. This bowl came home with me.)

crochet orange

I haven’t crocheted in years, but I had an idea that a piece of Husband’s Halloween costume would work if I crocheted part of it. I had to take it out twice, but I think I’m remembering how to do it. This will be a quick project – shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes. I’d forgotten how relaxing it is to spend a cozy fall evening on handwork. Not that I need another project right now. Maybe in November?

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days: Color – Day 25: Red Letter Days

And now for something completely different….

I was really hoping to have a red painted chairs project to show today. I found a couple of cute chairs (similar to these) at an antique shop a few weeks ago, and the more I thought about them, the more I wanted them for our front porch. I’ve tried to go back by several times, but the store has been closed every time I go by, which is strange. I’m hoping the owner is just on vacation and will be back soon. If not, if the store is actually closing, it might be time to start stalking Craigslist again.

So, since I was already planning a home project instead of a clothing or jewelry project for today, I decided to find something to make for the house. I scrolled through my (art) projects board on Pinterest to get some ideas. Of course, it had to be red, so when I saw this collage from Randel Plowman, I decided to try it out for myself. (I first discovered Plowman’s work in his book, The Collage Workbook, which I found at the library. I have always enjoyed collage, and his pieces – and book – are very inspiring.)

I started by digging through my old magazines, looking for different kinds of type in red. It only took a few minutes to find enough letters to get started.

red letter collage

I began by arranging the letters on a sheet of paper, trying to puzzle-piece them togther into a rectangle shape before adhering them to the paper. When I used to do collage, I always used rubber cement, which is not the best medium since it often yellows the paper and doesn’t maintain its stickiness. (Speaking of yellow, yes, this is the actual color of the 1960s linoleum flooring in the den. Still haven’t decided on the perfect white yet – will keep you posted.)

mailing labels

As I was reaching for the double-stick tape, I thought of the mailing labels I had in the cabinet. I peeled it off, turned it sticky side up, and stuck the letters to the back.

red letter collage

Some letters stuck over the edge, and that was okay. (This is just one label, about 2″ X 4″.)

red letter collage editing

I scanned the image onto my computer. I initially just wanted to enlarge it, but then I played around a bit (in Picasa) with contrast and sharpening applications. Once I got something I liked, I saved it with the largest pixels allowable, resized it to fit a standard sheet of paper, and printed it out.

red letter collage (2)


I had an extra NYTTJA frame from IKEA that worked perfectly.




It’s hanging in the den over my laptop. Such a fun little project, and I love how the red looks with the dark gray walls. (And while I’m not going to do a repeat of this tomorrow for orange, I’d definitely like to try it in that color – might be fun for BB’s room.)

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days: Color – Day 24: Purple Harlequin Necklace

Well, hello! Happy Monday! Once again, the weekend came and went, and I got a little more behind on my 31 Days projects. I did some reflecting on it, though, and aside from just busy times (and Halloween coming up – more on that later), I think I’ve figured out part of the problem. Last weekend and this weekend were PURPLE projects. I like purple – I mean, I love color in general, and there aren’t any I dislike – but I’m more drawn to reds or blues, even with projects. That’s the power of color – when I have a million things to do to catch up over the weekend AND the project I’m supposed to be working on is purple, I’m more likely to procrastinate. (Which is unfortunate, as purple is associated with creativity, wisdom, and peacefulness. It probably doesn’t help that 2 (this and this) of the 3 purple projects I’ve done this month haven’t turned out like I wanted them to, either.)

Also, it’s hard to sit down and make something when your workspace looks like this:


Let’s just remember that it used to look like this:

hoosier workspace

And it will look like this again. In November. Promise. But for now, I’m finishing up my rainbow of projects and working on Halloween costumes for our family. Want a peek?

Halloween costume prep

I love dressing up as a family (this was us last year), so when BB decided he wanted to be Toothless, BG decided to be Astrid, and the rest just fell into place. (Confession: I just chose which character I’m going to be on Saturday, right before I went to JoAnn’s to buy fabric. Note to self: don’t go buy fabric the weekend before Halloween. Everyone is there buying fabric for costumes, and it’s crazy. CRAZY! The guy cutting fabric was hilarious, though, and made the whole thing much more interesting. He told me about his Halloween costume – Edward Scissorhands – and the costume he designed and sewed for a his friend – a harlequin!)

harlequin necklace

So Sunday, before BB and I got to work on costumes, I cleared a little corner of my workspace to make a necklace. I’ve been wanting a purple necklace if only for the fact that on days that I’ve been trying to wear purple this month, I haven’t really had many choices. A necklace would have been a quick solution. But guess what? The wooden diamonds from this bracelet are the only purple “beads” I have.

harlequin necklace

I played around with a few different color options (didn’t want just purple) and settled on a mix of purple and brown.

Purple Harlequin Necklace

And then, surprise surprise, I totally LOVE it. These colors look so pretty together, especially on this delicate silver chain.

Purple Harlequin Necklace

(Made me think of the harlequin costume.)

Purple Harlequin Necklace

I’m going to be sad when these wooden beads are all gone. I love the necklaces I’ve made with them so far.

Purple Harlequin Necklace

I’m going to have to list a few of them in my Etsy shop, though. I can’t keep all of them. But I’m going to keep this one.

wooden bead necklaces

So tell me, which do you like better – simpler and one color, or bigger with alternating colors? Just getting ideas for what I will make next. (And of course by “next”, I mean in November. When my desk is cleared off again.)

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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