Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


Makeover Monday: Painting on my Dancing Shoes (Extended Version)

As promised, here is the full (if slightly belated) report on my dance shoes’ tripping the light fantastic into the CYC Day Spa! (If you want the seriously truncated version, look here.)

You must be wondering, “Lindy, why would you want to change your dance shoes??” Here’s the reason: I’ve not been active in ballroom dancing for a couple of years, but (fortunately) I’ve held on to my ballroom shoes, all of which are the usual gold-tone satin color. However, I wanted them to look more like fashion shoes, rather than dancing shoes per se. Hence the makeover!

A word (or several) about dancing shoes: First, in ballroom dancing (particularly for competition), women typically wear shoes that are more or less skin-tone, to visually extend the line of the leg. Second, shoes made specifically for ballroom are constructed differently than street shoes (and they’re never worn on the street, only on dance floors). They have suede soles to slide on the dance floor and make smooth pivoting possible. And third, in the case of shoes for the Latin dances ( cha cha cha, rumba, samba, jive, and paso doble), like the ones I’ve used in this project, the soles are extremely flexible, which facilitates toe-pointing.

My Latin dancing shoes before their makeover:

Dance shoes, pre-makeover

Dance shoes, pre-makeover: The classic ballroom gold satin is pretty, but it’s time for a change!

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Makeover Monday: Painting on my Dancing Shoes (Preamble)

I know, I know, it’s Makeover Monday already again! And I do have a fantastic makeover for you, but… today is my daughter’s birthday, and the whole weekend has been one long celebration*, so I’m afraid I only have a few minutes today. I’m just going to give you a quick overview, plus a little photo preview.

The project: I have a pair of dance shoes in classic ballroom-gold satin, still in good condition, but somehow just too… ballroomy. I’ve been wanting a pair of dance shoes that are in the brown-to-bronze range; this would be a versatile color, considering my dance wardrobe. (I’m really trying to get away from all black, all the time, which in my wardrobe, only happens with dance clothes.) But considering the original cost of these shoes (and more to replace them), I thought maybe there was another way to get what I wanted. So I thought about dyeing them (yes, I’ve had dyeing on the brain for the last several Mondays!); I looked into that, and it seems that fabric paints would be more appropriate, as well as easier to DIY (DIM? Do It Myself?).

The preview: Here are my shoes, before and after a fresh coat of fabric paint!

Dance shoes, before and after!

Dance shoes, before and after. A lot more photos and project details are coming tomorrow!

That’s all for now— I’m sorry for the delay, but I promise, first thing tomorrow, I’ll fill in all the details of this project!

*It was on this day, my daughter’s birthday one year ago, that she was rushed to the hospital, extremely close to death from a sudden and complete liver failure. Today, she is not only alive, but doing amazingly well. Hence the non-stop celebrating— including lots of dancing!


Makeover Monday: Special Bonus Feature!

Previously on Makeover Monday:

We followed a pair of my jeans as they underwent intensive treatments at the Changing Your Clothes day spa: not one, but two dye baths, plus trimming their flared legs down to a straighter silhouette.

And now, I present the last in this 4-part Makeover Monday series, a Special Bonus Feature: A Change at the Top!

During last week’s Makeover Monday episode, while my jeans were lolling in their black dye bath, frankly, I got bored. Fascinating as the dyeing process can be, the prospect of 45 minutes standing in front of my kitchen sink, stirring constantly (I’m quoting the instructions) lost its appeal about 13 minutes in. I stuck with it manfully until the 35-minute mark, and then I just couldn’t take it any more.

Since I had begun to suspect that the stirring mandate was to counteract the fabric’s natural tendency to float, I had a sudden inspiration: if I found something else to throw into the dye on top of the jeans, it might help to keep the jeans under the surface, and presumably increasing the dye they were absorbing. I decided to risk a couple of minutes with no stirring, and dashed around looking for something suitable to dye.

Aha! I found this white top with clear sequins, definitely one of those what-was-I-thinking wardrobe moments (I almost never wear white):

White sequinned top before dyeing

White sequinned top before dyeing. Yes, it’s wrinkled— it was at the bottom of a bag of things destined for the thrift shop when I rescued it. Note how hard it is to see the sequins.

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Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish

Previously on Makeover Monday:

My hastily-bought jeans, it turns out, lived up to their “dirty-washed” name, and I decided the boot-cut was just a little too flared for me. So the jeans ventured into the Changing Your Clothes day spa for a much-needed makeover. Day One: Dye with mixture of navy and black:

Spa Day One

Spa Day One: The new color isn’t as dark as I expected, but they’re at least not so “dirty”!

Day Two: Trimming a little off the sides… of the legs.

Spa Day Two

Spa Day Two: The change in the leg width is pretty subtle, but it does make a difference!

And now, the series finale of my epic jeans re-do on this Makeover Monday: Dyeing to Finish! (Is the suspense killing you yet?) Continue reading


It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Write What I Want To!

Okay, so my last two posts may not be the blog equivalent of War and Peace, but they are, shall we say, for the long-distance readers among you. And I’m getting ready for another edition of Makeover Monday. So today, I promise to keep my thoughts short! Well, shorter.

Since it actually is my birthday today, I’ve been thinking about birthday wishes. A lot of people have been wishing me a happy birthday on Facebook, and, reading these messages, I suddenly wondered what a “happy birthday” is. When I said “Happy birthday!” to my twin sister on the phone a little while ago, what exactly was I wishing for her? Lots of presents and a fabulous cake? No, those are things, which can be happy-making, certainly, but don’t constitute happiness in themselves.

Maybe it’s having that one day that’s focused only on you? That’s probably getting a little closer; remember that feeling from your childhood, that excitement building up for at least a week before your birthday? I do. (And I grew up with seven brothers and sisters, so having that one day really counted.)

And yet, this week, when my daughter asked me what I’d like to do for my birthday, I automatically said, “Oh, you don’t have to do anything. It’s no big deal.” ??? Excuse me, self, but it is a very big deal that you were born!

So, just for today, my happy birthday will be all about me: what I want to do (drive out to the ocean, a favorite winter activity), what I want to eat (a fabulous French menu, cooked by me except for the clafoutis, which Valerie has volunteered to make), and what I want to write! And now, since I’m about to head to the beach, I’ll leave you with one last deeply philosophical thought:

Great. Now I have that song stuck in my head.


Block Party: Adventures in Scrapland

Last weekend, as part of my ongoing effort to expand my dance-class wardrobe, I made myself this stretchy little top:

My new top!

My new top: my version of this one-color top, View B of Vogue 8856.

Perhaps this is not quite as newsworthy as my jeans’ recent visits to the CYC Day Spa, but there is at least one unique aspect to this project: I made it entirely out of fabric scraps.

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Makeover Monday: Another Spa Visit for my Jeans

Wouldn’t you know it: just when my jeans are getting used to seeing themselves in their new custom color after their first visit to the Changing Your Clothes Day Spa, today they’re back for Phase 2: a little trim! They’ve let me know they’re not ready for a drastic change, so I’ve promised not to cut more than an inch… from each side. Yes, that’s right, they’re going to go from a classic boot cut to straight legs!

The first step in this seemingly simple process is to analyze the current conditions, in order to make a plan; I’ve learned (the hard way) that having a strategy before making that first crucial snip is the key to a successful outcome.

Tip: I realized, only after my jeans’ dye job last week, that it would have been better to do the leg alterations before dyeing the jeans, because guess what? That antique-gold-colored thread used for the topstitching on the inseam and hem got dyed along with the jeans! So the topstitching thread that I bought for this specific purpose won’t match. However, since I’m planning to overdye the jeans with black, I’m hoping the difference in thread color will not be so noticeable by the time this makeover is complete.

Looking at the jeans, I notice that the inseam is topstitched, but the outseam is not.

Original seams

Original seams: the inseam is topstitched, but the outseam is not.

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