Never Say Never. Dress Into a Skirt.

I’ve always said that I ‘sew’.  I don’t ‘refashion’.  When I went to Florida to visit my dad, one goal to was organize my mom’s personal items. My dad was just. not. ready.  But, he was good about me taking any mementos I wanted. So, I went ahead and selected a few items from her closet that I wanted to preserve in some way. It was remarkable to go through her things because an unbelievable amount were either items I bought for her when I worked retail, clothes I made specifically for her, altered for her or clothes for myself that she got when they no longer fit me. She was always happy and excited for any of them. So, there were a great number of memories in her  closet.


Inow have this fairly sizable stack of clothing that belongs to her that I don’t want to just give away (won’t fit me because she was teeny). But, I also don’t want to be a hoarder! That leaves me with a bit of refashioning to do. Never, say never. Refashioning these items will allow me to keep the memories of the garment, but still get use of them.

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This dress I made six years ago in 2008 (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??)  I loved this dress!! But, it was before I knew to make a FBA. And, I couldn’t wear it with my strapless bra which made me my ‘real’ size vs smushing me in. So, I gave it to my mom who wore it to church with a little jacket. I always loved this fabric from my trip to Ghana and worked *really* hard on the dress: silk organza underlining, motif matching, pieced waistband, hand picked zipper — the works!

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So, I’ve turned it into a skirt! I removed the bodice, redistributed the pleats and added a narrow waistband. I can’t tell you how much I love the Perfect Waist Maker by  Dritz (below). Perfect for making interfaced straight waistbands. I need to buy it by the roll.

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Now, the fabric is back in my life, I get to remember my mom, and I have a new skirt.

I sewed like I was single over Mother’s Day weekend. I sent J. to his parent’s house and sewed, sewed, sewed with Linus at my side. Which means, I have three (!!) completed projects — all previewed on my Instagram and to be worn on my Memorial Day vacay to Minneapolis. Love the colors of this knit dress!


  1. What a lovely way to hold on to the dress & the memories that go with it. That’s a gorgeous print & a gorgeous color. It looks fantastic on you.

  2. I LOVE that you are “refashioning” your Mom’s clothes. Yet another reason I wish I had your talent. It must’ve been hard to go through her things, but you – as always — seem to focus on the upside of things. That’s one of the things I like most about you. And you look amazing in that skirt. So beautiful!

  3. I think this is wonderful way to remember your mother. Objects can be a touchstone for a lot of wonderful memories. The skirt is gorgeous, and it looks fabulous on you. You obviously are a refashioner, you just never had the appropriate motivation. I am anxious to see your other projects. How does it feel to get back to sewing?

  4. So happy you were able to remake it into something you can wear now! It’s just as lovely as a skirt as it was a dress!

  5. I’m so glad you’re able to wear this now! It’s even better now that it has such sweet memories of your mom attached to it.

  6. My sister & I made Christmas ornaments from some of our moms favorite flannel pjs for our sibs . It was very healing & I applaud you for refashioning some of your moms outfits .

  7. I’m so glad you are reworking these special clothes. You’ll always be able to reach for a happy memory in the morning!

  8. It’s funny how so many memories are stitched into the garments we make.
    What a wonderful tribute to you, then to your mom, and back at’cha.

  9. Oh how wonderful, and a beautiful tribute to your Mother. Please show us more items as they become available, and wear it in good health! Gloria

  10. Oh, my I cannot believe it was 6 years ago you made that dress, seems like yesterday. I think what you are doing is such a tribute to your mom and will bring such memories for you. Great job.

  11. Some things are so worth remaking! So glad you can enjoy the beautiful fabric and the memories in your new skirt. I love that pre-formed waistband interfacing. I used it in college a loonnng time ago!

  12. Your skirt is fabulous and an inspiration for preserving memories.

    I’m a Minneapolitan, and if you would like any suggestions on places to see and places to eat during your trip, please let me know. We’re not a fabric mecca but there are a couple of cute, neighborhood fabric places in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

    • That would be terrific! I was actually thinking about asking if anyone wanted to get together while I’m there. But, I haven’t been able to nail down a free morning yet based on our schedule 😦 Right now Monday morning is the only time we haven’t scheduled. And, I’m thinking a lot of people might be out of town.

      On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 3:39 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  13. I love your refashion. What a wonderful way to preserve memories.

    I’m also near Minneapolis. I hope we have some good weather for you – it’s been especially crummy lately. My favorite warm weather, outdoor dining spot is Sea Salt Eatery at Minnehaha Falls in South Mpls. If you rent a bike we have a lot of trails. If the weather is bad, SR Harris Fabric can keep you very busy!

  14. Oh Renee, what a beautiful way to pay tribute to your mom’s legacy! We could all learn from you my dear….I know she is smiling right now! This skirt is absolutely adorable! I truly can’t wait to see what you do with the other pieces! I have to say that was pretty funny about sending your hubby away so you could get some good sewing time in…that’s something my hubby and I struggle with too! He supports my sewing…but he also knows he’s a distraction because he’s my weakness! (we love to be together even after 36 yrs of marriage!) Have fun in Minneapolis!

  15. I’m sure your mom is watching over you while you re-create her clothes into something special to wear over and over. You look stunning!

  16. Such a lovely idea and it looks great to boot. It’s like you’re getting a hug from your mum, which must be lovely. Rachel ☺

  17. Great idea. I recently went through my Mum’s things with my Dad. It was much more emotional than I ever imagined.

  18. Reading this entry brought tears to my eyes as I lost my dad three years ago and have a pair of his denim jeans that I want to do something with but was too scared to cut into them. You’ve inspired me. What a lovely way to remember your mom xxx

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