Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Cobalt Blue, Part VI

So here's the thing. Sunday Sew-Day happened right on schedule. Unfortunately, my photograhusband has been MIA during daylight hours for the past couple days with pre-holiday work stuff. So today we get to play catch-up, cool?

This weekend I picked up a super-soft, super-huge jersey dress in that beautiful blue I've been harping on for weeks now. (I swear, this is it and then I'll move on, k?) This 2XL piece cost me only $3 and is going to make an awesome maxi skirt. Every time I wear a maxi skirt, I think, "Wow, this is comfy. I should wear these more often." And then I inevitably fall back into my jeans-wearing ways. But this time it'll be different. This time I'll change. I promise, baby, I can change.

Cobalt Blue Maxi SkirtCobalt Blue Maxi Skirt

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This is not the post you're looking for...

That's right, folks. There is no Thursday Thrift Score this week, for a couple reasons.
(a) Have you ever noticed how frustrating it can be when you go thrift shopping with a specific item in mind? Say, for instance, you're looking for something in a lovely cobalt blue that needs no alterations? Yeah, that's tricksy.
(b) I've been suffering from a minor case of The Plague this week. Okay, so maybe it's not The Plague, but there were certainly times I wished I were dead. Anywho, I'm on the mend now, but you still won't be seeing any pictures of my face today. I don't want to frighten anyone's children.

So what's your consolation prize? Why, it's a bonus refashion! Picture this: I'm all tuckered out from an evening of clothes swapping at the Fabulous Ladies Clothes Swap last month. I'm hanging with my theater friend back stage while her crew boxes up the leftovers for charity, when someone grabs this stringy bit of who-knows-what and aims for the trash bin.

"Wait!" I exclaim. "Is that suede?"

"Uh, maybe. I dunno. It's broken though."


And with that, I saved this damaged braided leather belt-thingy from an unceremonious end. And I knew just what to do with it! I grabbed some jewelry pliers, a couple jump rings, some ribbon crimps, a clasp, and a safety pin, and I got started.

Suede Belt to Jewelry Refashion

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Cobalt Blue, Part V

This past week was ridiculously hectic at work, and The Dude and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary this weekend. So you guys get a small-change-big-impact refashion today. This blouse came from the clothes swap I attended last month. It was baggy and unflattering. It wasn't labelled as a maternity shirt, but it certainly could have been. But cobalt blue AND polka dots? Sign me up!

Cobalt Polka Dot Blouse

Cobalt Polka Dot Blouse

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Thrift Score: Cobalt Blue, Part IV

So there I was, meandering through the aisles of my nearest thrift shop, when I spotted this little sliver of raw silk in that to-die-for shade of blue I've been craving lately. It was peaking out from between some acid-washed 80's mom jeans and a pair of wildly patterned parachute pants which I'm pretty sure were part of Screech's wardrobe on the set of Saved by the Bell. My hand went straight for the sumptuous silk as if I had no control over its movements. I removed the hanger from the rack and ran my fingers over the folds of the fabric. The tide of refashion ideas was stemmed upon noticing the tag. Gasp! My size! I rushed to the fitting rooms and slipped into the luxurious legs. Ooo, the shimmer! Ah, the pockets!

Cobalt Blue Silk SlacksCobalt Blue Silk Slacks

Although I don't think it was the intent of the original designer, these slacks have become trendy ankle pants on my long legs. And hey, when ankle pants fall out of vogue again, I can always hem them up to capris or refashion them entirely!

Cobalt Blue Silk SlacksCobalt Blue Silk Slacks

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Cobalt Blue, Part III

When I decided to focus on cobalt blue for a while, it occurred to me that I had the perfect dress already in my closet and begging to be made over. I got this dress half-way through my weight loss for... maybe $7 or $8 on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx (yeah, that's how frugal I am. I'm not even a full-price Maxxinista). I loved how its jersey fabric hugged my ever-shrinking curves, but the loose ruffly tiers still hid any not-so-flattering bulges. Fast forward to today, and it clearly does more hanging than hugging.

Cobalt Blue Dress into Tank and ScarfCobalt Blue Dress into Tank and ScarfCobalt Blue Dress into Tank and Scarf

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thursday Thrift Score: Cobalt Blue, Part II

As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I loves me some tank tops and sleeveless shirts. They're perfect for summer here in Texas (the majority of the year) and can easily be layered with a jacket or cardigan in the cooler months (or maybe that's just the cooler month, singular). So, as you can probably imagine, I have amassed a sizable cardigan collection. Or at least I had when I was overweight, and now I'm working on building it back up. And that's where this beauty comes into play!

Cobalt Cardigan

In my wardrobe, as well as in my home decor, I often rely heavily on neutrals and then incorporate a strong pop of color. I feel like this technique stretches my closet further, makes for more outfit combinations, but maybe I'm just making that up. Either way, I'm loving the black, white, and blue combo recently.

Cobalt Cardigan

Sure, it's 100% acrylic, but, with circulation like mine, who needs breathability? And sure, the plastic fake-pearl coating is flaking off a couple of the buttons, but if I have to replace them after a few washes, I'd still count this $2 sweater in the win column.

Cobalt Cardigan

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


I am pleased as punch to present to you my newest knitting pattern, the Skullcracker cap! You can find the FREE pattern in the Winter 2013 issue of Knitty.

Skullcrusher Hat

It's available in four sizes, from infant to adult large.

Skullcrusher Hat

And you can choose the solid-colored or two-colored version.

Skullcrusher Hat

The best part? Hats work up super quick for great holiday gifts!

Skullcrusher Hat

Happy knitting!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Cobalt Blue, Part I

With my black and white wardrobe beefed up, I think it's time to move on to some color! Namely, the beautiful cobalt blue I've been seeing a lot these days. Blue has always been one of my favorite colors. I am so ready to jump on this bandwagon! I picked up this super-sexy polyester blouse a few months back.

Cobalt Tank Top

One cuff was missing a button, and the other cuff was missing entirely.

Cobalt Tank Top

Add to that some pretty rockin' shoulder pads and a zebra-stripe-esque tone-on-tone texture that is as close as I get to wearing animal print.

Cobalt Tank Top

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday Thrift Score: Thanksgiving edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Today, I'm celebrating in style with this awesome pumpkin cardigan I picked up at the recent clothes swap.

Pumpkin Cardigan

To be honest, I probably wouldn't have gotten it if I'd had to pay for it, but since the entry fee was a sunk cost (shout out to my economics peeps!), and since it was still hanging there at the end of the night, I decided to show it some love. It's so bad that it came all the way back around to good again, right? Right?

Pumpkin Cardigan

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

All New Ways to Watch!

Hey guys! I've been playing around with the blog a little the last couple days. You may notice the fancy new banner I created - it's my artistic rendering of the downtown Dallas skyline. I've also got a spiffy button to match, which you should feel free to grab from the left-hand sidebar and pop it onto your blog if you like.

Plus, I've added lots of little buttons at the top left for all the different ways you can follow me. Some were already there in another form, but now, in addition to making pretty little icons, I've added some new options. I set up a brand new Facebook page and RSS feed. I actually started using my existing Google+ and Twitter accounts (I tweeted for the first time yesterday and felt like a total geezer). There's even a convenient link to email me any questions or if you've got a refashion or thrift score you'd like featured.

Now you can pick your favorite media vehicle to get your fix of CarissaKnits! I'll be seeing you around!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Black & White, Part V

Now that I know Laika isn't afraid of the sewing machine noise, I decided to tackle a bigger project this weekend. I present to you Lynda's blouse!

B&W Blouse with Peter Pan Collar & White Skinnies

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thrift Score: Black & White, Part IV

Welcome back to the Thursday Thrift Score, where I am proud to present my Little Black Dress. I've had a few LBDs over my lifetime - none quite so little as this one, I'm happy to say. This particular LBD is originally from White House Black Market, but I picked it up at a clothes swap I attended a little over a year ago. It was still a little snug at the time - I had to get my husband's help with the zipper - but that was 20ish pounds before I met my weight loss goal. Now it fits perfectly! I paired it with a $4 thrifted scarf/wrap (100% pashmina!) and those $4 comfy heels I keep showing you.

Little Black DressLittle Black DressLittle Black Dress

But there's more exciting news! Just this week, I went to this year's Fabulous Ladies Clothes Swap and brought home some more great stuff! Mostly refashionables, but a few pieces I can wear as is, I think. I'm working on laundering them all now, including the supposedly dry-clean-only stuff. When I get something for super cheap, I rarely see the point in paying to have it cleaned. The LBD above being one of the few exceptions. Anywho, this year's haul included:

4 skirts
9 tops
4 dresses
6 pairs of pants
2 jackets
2 vests
3 bags
2 belts

That's 32 pieces for just the $20 entry fee! I'm not counting all the clothes I donated as part of the cost. That was all stuff I didn't think I would ever get around to refashioning, so I felt no desire to hang on to it.

I'll be back in just a few days with another black & white refashion for Sunday Sew-Day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Black & White, Part III

As my first experiment in sewing post-puppy, I wanted to keep it simple. I didn't feel like I could commit to a big project if it turns out she freaks out at the sound of my machine. Luckily, it went well. With the craft room door closed, she slept right through it. Hurrah!

This week's black & white refashion is actually just black. (Hey, I said I wanted to keep it simple.) I scooped up this 100% silk blouse for... $2, I think.

Silk Blouse Refashion
Silk Blouse Refashion

The body fit well, and the silk felt wonderful, but those sleeves? Too short and too gathered.

Silk Blouse Refashion

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Thrift Score: Black & White, Part II

Another part of my blog resolution is to show the world that not all thrift store merchandise requires alteration. Some pieces are perfectly awesome as is!

Take this dress for instance. I originally grabbed it off the rack for the material. I have a particular fondness for polka dots, and sheer fabric is a current obsession as well. Add in the black lace at the waist, and I was sold already. But wait! It's my size! I tried it on... and it fit like a glove!

Polka-Dot Party DressPolka-Dot Party DressPolka-Dot Party Dress

It was marked at $9.99, which is more than I usually pay at thrift stores. But it looked brand new, and purple tags were buy-one-get-one-free that day. So this dress make have set me back $10, but my other purple tag piece (a leather skirt that will be refashioned) was absolutely free!

I slipped on some new-to-me black pumps - $3.99 and also looking brand new. Plus they've got super-duper padding in the soles - they're really squishy!

Want to play along in my new weekly feature - the Thursday Thrift Score? If you have a black and white thrifted garment and a sweet sense of pride about it, send some pics and details to CarissaKnits at gmail dot com (or click the little email icon at the top left of this page).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Black & White, Part I

Hi, my name is Laika! I came to live with Carissa this week. I'm a 7-week-old American Pit Bull Terrier. I'm super cute, extra cuddly, have my own theme song, and like to monopolize all of Carissa's time. Luckily, she was able to squeeze in a little sewing before my arrival.


Okay, enough of the adorable excuses for my lack of posting this week. I've been thinking a lot recently about how much I enjoyed the Refashion Runway competition and how sad I am that it's over. I know, I know, broken record, but I mean it. Having a weekly goal and a specific theme was really good for me. I want to keep doing that. So without further adieu, I bring you the very first installment of Sunday Sew-Day:

1. For a few weeks at a time, I will post (at least) weekly refashions, focusing on a given theme - some trend I've seen on runways or in magazines, a color or pattern I'm particularly found of, a technique I've been wanting to experiment with, whatever!
2. If you have an idea for a theme, shout it out! I'd love to hear what sorts of things you'd like to see done, and I'll give it a shot!
3. If you'd like to play along, I'd be happy to feature one of your projects that fits the theme. Just send an email to CarissaKnits at gmail dot com (or click the little email icon at the top left of this page). Include a few before and after pics, some details of how you refashioned your piece, and a link to your blog post about it, if you like.
4. This is my blog. I make the rules. I can break the rules. I'll certainly try to stick to the plan, but I may have to make exceptions for holidays and such as that. Please understand I do, on occasion, have a life.

The first theme I'd like to tackle is something I've seen a lot on the runways recently, but is classic enough to always be in style, in my opinion. I'm talking about the simple color combo of black and white. Black and white patterned fabrics are easy to find at thrift shops everywhere. And you don't have to worry about whether you're a "spring" or an "autumn" or what have you - anybody call pull this off! And if you're feeling a little too plain, you can snazz it up with a brightly-colored cardigan, hot heels, or a cute clutch!

I began with this lovely polyester church-lady number in a black and white floral print on a houndstooth background. The pleated skirt was what drew my attention initially, looking past the drop waist and shoulder pads that don't quit.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - BeforePleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - Before

Saturday, November 02, 2013

And now the exciting conclusion...

Sadly, season 2 of Refashion Runway has come to a close. It was an exciting competition, full of inspiring creations from everyone! All the ladies did such a fabulous job, and it was hard to say "see you later" to someone else every week (well, except last week when Beth graced us with a Halloween miracle!). I feel so honored to have been able to take part and pleased as punch to have placed 3rd overall. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The past six weeks have been a little stressful at times, and yet I feel like I have accomplished so much in that short span. I have pushed myself to learn and try new things. I've been inspired by the other contestants' and readers' refashions. I've had some late nights putting the finishing touches on my projects to make the deadline. It's been such a blast, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

In case you missed any of them, you can check out the details for any of my entries - and see what I was up against each week - via the links below.

Week 1: Plaid Challenge
I took one of my husbands seldom-if-ever-worn shirts and turned it into a drapey-front, button-back top for me!

Refashion Runway Week 1: Plaid
Click the pic for my post about it, or go here to see everyone's projects for that week.

Week 2: Emerald Challenge
I used a frumpy emerald green skirt with a gold brocade design to create a tulip dress with pockets and a peek-a-boo back.

Refashion Runway Week 2: Emerald
Click the pic for my post, or click here for the weekly recap.

Week 3: Peplum Challenge
I drafted my own pattern to turn this huge handmade denim dress into a not-so-huge handmade denim dress.

Refashion Runway Week 3: Peplum
Click the pic or go here.

Week 4: Leather Challenge
I combined a too-small suede skirt and a too-large tee into a waterfall jacket.

Refashion Runway Week 4: Leather
Click the pic or go here.

Week 5: Halloween Challenge
Using freecycled formal wear, I created Cinderella's original ball gown.

Refashion Runway Week 5: Halloween
Click the pic or go here.

Week 6: Winter White
A prom dress, lace tee, and the top portion of the wedding dress above went into making this holiday party dress, whose three pieces can be work together or individually for lots of different looks.

Refashion Runway Week 6: Winter White
Click the pic or go here.

Thanks for following along and casting your vote every week, even if it wasn't for me! I am more inspired than ever to keep at it, so stop back by soon and see what else I've got up my refashioned sleeve!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Bonus White

Once again, rain has delayed our bonus refashion this week. But not to worry! I've got two different projects to show you to make up for it! Plus, there's still time to vote in the final Refashion Runway challenge - voting is open until midnight tonight. So hurry!

I really make an effort to use up the scraps leftover from my various projects. Sometimes they sit in my scrap pile for quite a while before they see the light of day again. But this time, it didn't take me long at all to decide how to make [re]use of the lining I removed from that lace tee last week.

Refashion Runway Week 6: Winter White - Before & After

So here's the remnant, basically a white tank top, with raw edges at the armholes, collar and shoulder seams, where I snipped it out of the lace.

White Tank Refashion

And the plan is to essentially keep it that way, because a girl can never have too many white tanks. They go with everything!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


My Cinderella costume received the most hits on Heather's linky party this past week!

Pop on over to check out the other bloggers' fabulous sewing projects!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Refashion Runway 2, Week 6: Winter White

For the final Refashion Runway challenge, the competitors were charged with the task of creating something in Winter White. Below is my submission for your perusal. Once you're done here, hop on over to the Renegade Seamstress to see the other entries and pick your favorite!

When I saw this dated prom dress at the thrift shop for $6, I knew I had to have it. I am seeing lovely tulle skirts all over these days and have been wanting one of my very own. The bottom half of this dress will do nicely.

Refashion Runway Week 6: Winter WhiteRefashion Runway Week 6: Winter White

But wait, there's more! I'm going to need something to wear with fancy new party skirt. You may remember this wedding dress from my Halloween remake (and if you don't, you may want to see a doctor about your short-term memory loss). Well, I've still got the bodice from it laying in my scrap pile. That should come in handy.

Refashion Runway Week 5: Halloween - Before

But no, that's still not enough! Let's add a little lace to the tulle and satin, shall we? Enter this $4 thrifted lace t-shirt. It's not terrible as it is, that's true, but I've got a quick way to make it more versatile.

Refashion Runway Week 6: Winter WhiteRefashion Runway Week 6: Winter White