Convertible Dress Part 2

Making the bodice of the dress didn’t turn out so well, but the rest of the dress was easier. Here are the sewing instructions for the day:

Making and attaching the pleats was the first step.

You take the fabric on the black line and fold it over until it meets the broken line. I added pins to keep track of what piece needed to be pulled to where.

Once the pleats were in place I sewed them down. You can see on the back the nasty thread nest that occurred, but you can’t see it from the front so I just trimmed it down and left it.

The pattern didn’t say anything about pinning the pleats the opposite way, but I’m going to use common sense here and switch the direction. This got stitched down too.

Both pieces done and ready to be attached! As you can see from the pleats I have the sides switched up, but it was just for a picture.
I matched the triangles up and sewed on one piece. The second piece layers over the first, so it was important to sew it on even so the pleats weren’t covered on one side.
Both sides have now been sewed on and the top is done! Time to tackle the skirt next.

The skirt was very simple as I just needed to stitch up the side seems. The fabric is 100% polyester and doesn’t fray when cut. Once the skirt was sewed together it was time to attach it to the bodice!

I laid the pieces out like the final step in the pattern, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what I was supposed to do. When I matched the illustration one hem ended up showing on the outside, which didn’t seem right. Thanks for nothing pattern. Maybe next time use more words!

I ended up trying on the pieces separate and folding them to see what needed to be sewed to hide the inside hems. To do this the skirt had to go through the inside of the bodice and follow the ties up. I pinned the skirt and bodice together and sewed it shut. Most of the dress called for a straight stitch, so I stretched the fabric a little while I sewed. I used a zig zag stitch on parts like the skirt, but I’m not sure it mattered. I did use a ballpoint needle for stretch knits rather than the regular in the machine.

Hooray! The dress is done! The second half was much easier than the first.  It might a while until I make another, though! Next time I might make the skirt shorter. This one fell to below the knees and is a little warm for the heat we have. Then again, I’m pretty short so it might be a normal length on other people. I’m pretty proud of finishing a whole dress and it gives me some more experience before my refashions. I’ll include photos of it on and wrapped in the next post!

I realized I never posted a picture of my sewing machine! Yes, it is covered in stickers. I haven’t had a problem with any of them catching on the fabric, but I try to keep only puffy stickers where it might drag against fabric. It is a Singer Heavy Duty which means it comes only in ugly gray. With the stickers I can almost forget the color. I’ve used it for a couple months and it’s worked great. This is the first project I’ve had where the thread kept getting tangled on the backstitch. The thread tension is correct, I hold the threads when I start sewing, rethreaded, and cleaned it out. No luck. When I run normal fabric through to test it does fine, so many it’s just this fabric. I also ordered a dress form! It should get here in about a week and I can do a lot more work on my refashions. For now I think I’ll make a few more skirts.



Convertible Dress Part 1

AKA how NOT to make a Convertible wrap dress. The pattern gave some pretty vague instructions so I ended up having to resew quite a few parts of the dress. I started on the bodice top that went underneath the ties for modesty.

Here’s the directions for the day. Not so sure what’s happening in step 3, but it must make sense once I reach it.

So non-threatening and nice looking. Little did I know the horror that awaited me. The pattern said it was simple and quick. Reading through, there weren’t many steps. Most of it was basting and sewing it all together at the end.

Basting the sides closed.  Uhoh, I wasn’t supposed to sew that. Better rip it out and star over.

Sewed the right sides together now. Making two lines of thread let me pull the top threads and gather the front of the top.  Same for the next side!

Second side gathered and sewed down the gathers.

Hmm, this doesn’t look right. We have one seam at the bottom where it’s supposed to be, but why is the other seam at the top? Better check the directions again. Uhoh, I sewed it on backwards. Better rip it off again!

Yuck, when I turned it over I saw this nasty thread mess. My machine doesn’t like back stitching on this fabric and I’m not sure how to fix the problem. I hope this rips out ok!

Boo, it ripped the fabric when I tried to take the thread out. Forget this, I’m just going to cut it off.

Freedom! Take that nasty back piece. Now I need to cut off the extra bits sewed on. I’ll leave the seam since I can’t rip it out and I don’t want to start over. Hopefully the top won’t be too tight.

Another problem! I hate this dress already. Now that I cut off the offending fabric there’s almost 1/2 inch of useless fabric left. I don’t want that rubbing against me when I turn it right side out, so I’ll just cut it off close to the leftmost seam. Better cut the other piece first and check it before I cut anything off.

Pinning the new piece to make sure it matches up like the pattern. I don’t understand why I have to fold this piece over the front bodice if it’s the back, but that’s what the pattern says. Witchery is at work here.


One side of the back is sewed on! Thankfully it fits! Now I can finally cut off the extra.

Goodbye little side worms. You will not be missed. Enjoy the ride to the garbage!

Time to sew the rest of the back on. Since I’m sewing it over the stitch line I was following I used chalk to add it to the front.

Sewing it up…I hope this works right! I don’t want to rip anything else out.

Looks good so far! The line doesn’t quite match the old one, but close enough. Once I try it on the first part will be done!

Hooray! It fits! You can see the little triangles cut out in the front to match the pieces up. I think this ended up being the hardest part of the dress. Part of it was trying to decipher the directions and part my sewing incompetence. Still, I can now make a tube top and vow to never make another. The rest of the dress has got to be easier, right?


Refashion finds and Goodwill Outlet

If anyone hasn’t been to a Goodwill Outlet store I suggest going at least once. Armed with surgical gloves. The Goodwill Outlet is where clothes go after they haven’t been sold at the regular store, as well as a weird assortment of other things, such as records, old underwear, new clothes, bedding, and everything inbetween. Again, wear gloves.

Still, clothes are about a $1.40 a pound which is much cheaper than buying dresses at the normal Goodwill. As I haven’t done much sewing, I wanted clothes it wouldn’t matter if I ruined. I was pleasantly surprised to find some nice new clothes (some with tags still!) that I won’t end up having to alter as well as some refashion projects.

This jacket is actually my favorite find for refashioning. The brand is ELLE and sold for $70 new. This one was in perfect condition except for missing a button. I’m really not sure what’s up with the puffy sleeves, but I’m determined to make it work.

So coy

What the heck is up with the collar?

I have no idea what purpose this collar serves. Catching food? Drowning my head when it rains? This will need to go in the refashion. Sadly, I have no idea how to cut the zipper and keep it from unraveling. Ideas? It’s also a size Large, so I’m going to find a nice brooch or pin to take it in the back.

Don’t worry, I have shorts on

This shirt is a nice blue and I like the white thread detail, but I’m not sure if it’s long enough for a dress as I planned. Not sure what I’m going to do with this yet.

I thought this had long sleeves when I grabbed it, but I guess this won’t be a dress either. What now?

Hello, weird tiny pocket

So fashionable…and dorky

This is not a hole, but actually a nice twist neck detail that doesn’t show up well. It has a few holes at the bottom, but I have plans that should fix that.

This is a really heavy and nice sweater dress with some cute button details. However, it’s also quite large and has dreaded shoulder pads. A refashion should fix that!

This cute dress fit better than I thought it would. It still needs some taking in though, and there’s a spot on the skirt that will have to go.

Both these pieces will just be to use on a future refashion.

Lovely sheer detail!

These two dresses just need to be taken in a little. The crinoline needs to be cut off the red one as it’s a little frayed.

Winter? Summer?

I’m really not sure what this dress wants to be. It’s really form hugging and made of ridiculously heavy fabric. Do I wear it in summer and sweat? Winter and freeze? Perhaps this will not stay a dress.

A grumpy German is a sour kraut

Being part German I found this shirt quite funny. Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but something!

Ended up paying about 0.85 a piece for what should be some fun pieces to work on. Any ideas on what some of these should be?


First Skirt

This is the first skirt I ever made.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the process, but I’ll take some next time! The fabric is cotton and I used 3/8th elastic to gather it. I first cut two matching rectangles longer than my waist so I had some extra fabric to gather. I sewed up the side seams and then made a blind hem by folding the raw edge under and then under again. Why fold it twice? Seems like once would be enough…

I did the same hem to the top and left an inch unsewed for the elastic. Since I don’t have a fancy elastic puller I used a safety pin to work it through the lining. Once through I sewed the elastic together and then sewed the skirt shut. Voila! Done! Took me about an afternoon to finish, but I think the next one will be quicker. I have some fun tropical prints to use next.


Here it is on!

Welcome to Carousel Couture!

Hello and welcome!
WARNING: This is not a high fashion blog. Continue.


In May 2015 I decided I wanted to learn to sew.  I was fortunate enough to have a mother who had sewn me many wonderful costumes growing up, so I had a rough basis to work with.  Sadly, I never bothered to learn since she was always available for sewing.  College had ended for summer and while I enjoyed my last free months before seniordom, they were pretty boring.  My husband works in the city while I slept in and watched Netflix. Not productive. Sewing ought to fix that!

While I had a pretty good idea of how clothes were fitted (having stood for many hours getting outfits pinned and re-pinned), my knowledge ended there.  Having a penchant for throwing myself fully into a hobby (bath bombs, I’m looking at you) I bought a sewing machine, got supplies, and made…a pillow. How glorious.

Many pillows later, our apartment was overrun and I was sick of rectangles.  I decided to suck it up and finally make a simple skirt.  Turns out, that was pretty easy! I started looking at sewing ideas on Pinterest (guilty pleasure) and stumbled across a link to ReFashionista.  Here we encounter my other love: reading.  I started working my way back through her blog, post by post.

For those who don’t know what she does, she takes old garments that would otherwise be thrown away and resews and reinvents them into something new! Think upcycling. I highly suggest checking out some of her redos on her site or on BuzzFeed.

I liked the idea of working with an existing piece of clothing and transforming it into something new. Also, after spending a disgusting amount of time cutting out a pattern for a dress, I liked the idea of working on something premade.  My goal is to document both refashions of clothes (good or bad) as well as hone my sewing skills and make pattern/original pieces as well.

This is not me. I am not a stick.

This is not me. I am not a stick.

So far I have made 5 or 6 pillows, one skirt, and successfully taken in the back of a dress about 7 inches (huzzah!) I also have 4 different patterns for more skirts, a variety of clothes to attempt to refashion, and my current project: making a convertible wrap dress. My next step is to sew it all together, so we will see what I end up with!

Anyone who stops by, I enjoy flattery, chocolate, and free things. Constructive criticism would be helpful as well, as I’m pretty much guessing at most of this as I go along. Pray I never have to make a buttonhole…I can only sew on buttons!

Now for a crash course about me:

My name is Maia, spelled the German way, pronounced My-uh. Just like Maya, but mine’s cooler without a Y.  I attend college and major in Communications and minor in Anthropology.  I got married last August to my husband Daniel who does technical art for video games (so fancy!).  We are now the proud parents of a rescue kitty named Mochi and a non-rescue Corgi puppy named Hiccup. Yes, he is named after Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. We’re awesome like that. I love to read, travel, write, stay up late, and sleep. Somehow the last two are never in harmony…

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you stick around!


P.S- Here is our lovely puppy and kitty…..(stay for the picturesssss!)

He's actually 7 months old now but we continue to live off his puppy cuteness.

He’s actually 7 months old now but we continue to live off his puppy cuteness.

Mochi is a year old but still tiny!

Mochi is a year old but still tiny!