guest tutorial by our hartbeat- anthropologie inspired refashion

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Have y’all been to annalea’s fabulous blog, our hartbeat?  She has fabulous taste (we love seeing glimpses into their abode), she makes all sorts of cool stuff (LOVE those word banners… and we first found our hartbeat when we saw those fantastic ribbon pillowcases above), and her family is too cute for words.  Even better, we love her heart to make beauty in the mundane and serve her family well.

Today, we’re thrilled to have her as a guest blogger- so fun!  Meet Annalea:

hey there!  my name is annalea and you can find me over at our harbeat.  i am thrilled to share a little craftiness here at kojo designs today.  i love helpin’ a mama out, so when asked to guest blog, i jumped at the chance.  how precious is that baby girl?  seriously adorable.  i am looking forward to see what sweetness will be whipped up for miss piper in the future.

this tutorial is my answer to some of my own post-pregnancy wardrobe woes.  my littlest little is 9 months old and i have hit that point where i really want to up the fashion factor.  (and the fall just makes me want new clothes.)  my goal was to find something that would work with my still-changing figure and the changing seasons.   so i bring you the annalea ensemble.

things you should know about me:

1) i am not a seamstress.  in fact, this is only the second clothing project i have taken on for myself.  which means a) only basic sewing skills are needed for this project and b) i do not have the most elegant sewing skills.  if it gets the job done, then i am going to do it.  if you know a better way, go for it (but share your secrets too, please).

2) i tend to use what i have on hand and i recommend you do the same.  this is a wardrobe refashion.  i think most of us have similar items in our closets to use.  go dig them out!  you will feel like a rockstar.  i promise.

earlier this year, my wardrobe went through a deep purge.  i ended up with a huge pile of tees and tanks that were a bit too short.  seriously inspired by the lovely ensemble dress a la anthropologie, i came up with a brilliant solution.  why not add turn some of these discards into something fabulous?

materials used:
a too short (but fitted) tank top
less than 2 yards of 45″ wide fabric (pre-washed and ironed)
.75″ wide elastic
straight pins, sewing machine, thread, rotary cutter, cutting mat, iron, ironing board, scissors

step one:

cut two rectangular pieces from your fabric.  using quilting fabric, i kept the original width of 45″.  this gives a nice, full skirt.  then i measured from a high waistline to just below my knee, added 4.5″ for seam allowances and came up with 32″.  i knew this would be my most flattering length, but do what works best for your figure.

step two: 

place your rectangles right side together and sew along the short ends.  no need to fold under your seams, because these sides are the selvedge edges and will not fray.  nice, right?

step three: 

take the top of your tube (this will be your waist, one of the 45″ lengths) and fold over a .25″ seam.  then fold over a 1″ seam to make the elastic casing.  (remember to make this wider if using wider elastic.)  sew along the bottom edge of this casing, leaving an opening to thread through the elastic.

i calculated the length of my elastic by wrapping it around my waist and then subtracting about 3-4″.  use a safety pin to help with the threading.  since there might be a large discrepancy in lengths of your elastic and the casing, this might take a bit of finagling.  once through, sew together the ends of your elastic and close up the opening of the casing.


 step four:

 take the opposite end of your the tube – this will be your bottom hem.  fold over a .25″ seam.  then make a wide hem.  i folded over a 3″ seam.  sew along both the bottom and top edges of the hem.

step five:

next, put on your tank and skirt and decide on placement.  this took me a while as i wanted it to sit just right.  when in place, pin together.  carefully remove the now pinned dress.

step six:

sew the top and skirt together (through the elastic, near the top edge), stretching the elastic and waist casing while stitiching.  i am sure my stitches were kinda all over the place if looked at closely, but once the elastic pulls back together, it is not noticeable.

you will have to trim away the excess fabric underneath.  i used pinking shears and chose a knit that would not fray (meaning no zig-zag stitching the ends).

my favorite part:  it only takes 1-2 hours to complete.  one night sewing at its best.  that is about all i can handle some weeks.

flips flops, flats, heels, or boots. . . tights, leggings or skinny jeans. . . layered over a tee or under a sweater. . . there are crazy possibilities.  i wear mine while home with the littles – barefoot and comfortable for reading books on the ground or looking stylish while making lunch.  but by simply throwing on a belt and cardigan, i have a quick and easy date night look.  (true fact: even with a messy, unwashed ponytail and almost no make-up because your baby won’t take a nap, wearing this dress will make you feel better.  i promise.)

i am a bit obsessed with this design.  i have made three dresses so far and have plans for several more.  i love their versatility, layer-ability, and just plain cuteness.  simply changing the colors and patterns gives a brand new look.

now go refashion your wardrobe into something fabulous!

thanks kirstin and jordan for having me.  and congrats again on that bundle of baby-joy!  give her a kiss from me.


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  1. i love it! and i love annalea too – she is so inspiring! glad to have found your blog now, too. 🙂 lora
    (ps-check out my blog if you can b/c i am having a giveaway right now!!)

  2. i can't wait to try this!! so cute and i love that it's something us mommas can wear to feel cute and stylish.

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