2014, My 3 Favorite Refashions And My 3 Least Favorite Garments

I love refashioning! There’s just something so satisfying about taking an unwearable garment and making it cute and wearable. And of course I’m super thrifty, so making something from nothing is a kick for me. In 2014 I had a lot of fun with refashioning, so I’ll definitely be doing more of it in 2015.

It was hard for me to pick just 3 favorite refashions from 2014. But since some of my favorite refashions were crafts or accessories, I decided to do a separate post yesterday on my 3 favorite non-garment projects. This post chronicles my 3 favorite garment refashions and they are: The “3 Shirts to Dress Refashion“, the “Craftsy Project Upcycle Reversible Wrap Skirt”, and the “Men’s Boxers to Women’s Skirt Refashion“.

What made these particular projects my top picks? I learned something new while making each of them! The 3 shirts to dress transformation taught me the trick of using a fitted top (trimmed to waist-length) as an easy bodice on which to build a dress. The reversible wrap skirt project taught me that narrow pieces from smaller deconstructed garments work perfectly as gores in a skirt, and that pre-packaged quilt binding makes a great tie closure. On the men’s boxers to skirt refashion I learned that I’m creative enough to come up an original and workable idea. While the first two projects listed here were inspired by others, a skirt made from boxer shorts was my own original idea, and something I’ve never seen anywhere else, perhaps for good reasons? Be that as it may, I’m already dreaming up more refashioning ideas for 2015.

Wow, it’s been really difficult to pare down my failed projects to just three! I had plenty of misses to sift through…

I finally chose the following three projects as my worst failures: “B is for Burda”, “G is for Grainline Studio”, and “L is for Leather”. Each failed to please for various reasons. I made my B garment, Burda 7739 in a size 14. I’ve subsequently figured out that although my measurements are size 14, the large amount of design ease added to most sewing patterns makes a 12 a much better fit for me. So my B project was unflattering because it was way too big. Even after taking it in, it still fit like a maternity dress.

My G project was the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. This was another project that was just not flattering on my figure. The Tee was too boxy for me, and really, what was I thinking when I decided I’d sew a head to toe look in bright orange? Like the Renfrew Top (another close contender for top 3 worst makes of 2014), it proved that orange is not my new black.

Lastly, L is for Leather. Ahh, there were multiple issues with this one. And I adored this fabric! But unfortunately it was a home dec fabric, and it had no drape at all. And that leather yoke! It wouldn’t machine sew, so I ended up hand stitching it – poorly. Some of the stitches popped through the leather, it was a hot mess. I felt bad for the pattern (Simplicity 2584) because it would have been cute in the correct fabric. I really botched that one!

Anyway, I’m pleased that I was able to sneak in a fourth failure, the Renfrew Top. With its unflattering band across one of the widest areas of my body, the bright orange color, and my poorly stitched neckline, it really deserved a spot here.

But truth be told, all the patterns I’ve included here have been made beautifully by others. It was just my own poor size, fabric, or color choices that landed these particular patterns here. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from all four of these least favorite projects. I definitely learn a lot from my mistakes!


  1. I am 20 years your senior and it is like looking at myself all over again. Same problems..size 14 too big always a bust fitting problem for A cup, and shunning making a muslin. But I applaud your relentlessness at trying to overcome the pattern/fabric/sizing challenge we face every time we envision that perfect garment and how it will look on us. I am myself on a quest to use up my fabric collection… I believe at my age it is called a “bucket list” I fell short of my goal this year, but that’s because I forgot to factor in how long it takes me to finish a project.. I fuss too much. I do like to read how you tackle your projects and the critique you give. And I really like the orange outfit. (I think it would fit me…how tall are you? hee hee)


    • Hi Elizabeth, thanks for your comments! I’m thrilled to know there are other sewists who deal with the same fitting problems as I – hopefully you have some helpful tips to share? You are my new BFF with your flattery in saying you are 20 years my senior, I just turned 56 and I feel so terribly old, especially when I look at these blog photos!
      I’m 5 foot 4″ and the orange outfit would definitely be yours if I hadn’t already donated it to the thrift store where I volunteer. The top on that outfit was impossible to wear, the gaping neckline made bending over a bra peep show! And I just don’t feel comfortable flashing anyone my A cup, maybe if I was a C? Just kidding!!!


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