I don’t know about you but I do love reading other people’s blogs. I find I learn so much from them: their sewing and quilting creativity inspires me and fuels my sewing endeavours. Over the years I have subscribed to a number of sewing and quilting blogs. Some I read & move on. Others I find myself very loath to click delete once I have read it as I love their ideas and how they present them. Of course, I do press delete as we all know we can visit their blog any time and re-read their blog posts in the archives of their blog sites.


One such blog site that never fails to keep my interest and make me hesitate on the delete key, is Sarah Gunn over at “Goodbye Valentino”. In the pic above, she shares in a recent blog post about how she literally transformed a somewhat grungy pale blue linen skirt (that she bought at a thrift store & dyed cream) into the charming and very chic skirt in the pic above. This caught my eye even more than usual as I had purchased a black skirt very similar to this one on my last vacation in South Africa. I really like my skirt with its peekaboo panel above the hem line. Even though it was very inexpensive seeing as the SA Rand/CAD Exchange rate is so very favourable to visitors to South Africa, I have many times thought to myself that it really would not be that difficult to make another one……seeing as I don’t have a return vacation trip to South Africa planned until possibly next year (I do like to visit my 2 brothers – big sister likes to keep her eye on them from time to time as well as spoil my very precious niece!)

Of course, Sarah would not approve of the purchasing of store clothing as her blog “Goodbye Valentino” is all about saving $$$$$ by making your own custom and designer clothing. I think she hit the nail on the head with the skirt above……don’t you think?


I have many times taken a store bought dress or skirt and chopped/altered it and ended up wearing it much more often after I transformed it into something much more chic, practical or comfortable to wear than what it was in its previous “life”.


Here is one example: as I write today, I am wearing a black print slinky maxi skirt which was purchased on another vacation (this time in the Bahamas many years ago) and I did like it. However, being black with large creamy, yellow flowers made it somewhat odd to fit into a season: black seems too dark for a summer dress and a short sleeved slinky dress is not really suited to the Canadian winter. Yes, we are lucky in Vancouver as it is so mild but I still thought it looked a little silly with boots and a sweater over top. So I grabbed my scissors a while back & literally chopped off the top of the dress just under the arm holes. I then attached a wide piece of elastic with a simple zig-zag stitch and Voila! I now have a lovely soft, flowing maxi skirt which  I wear quite often. (And yes, I know the elastic is navy – it was all I had after I wielded those scissors and no-one sees the elastic when I wear the skirt anyway – who still tucks their blouse into the skirt?!)

Being a little longer now that the level of the dress dropped from bust area to my waist, it no longer looks silly with a pair of boots so can be worn in winter with a black long sleeved top and sweater or jacket. And in summer I love it with a cool yellow/lime green slinky blouse I made. I was quite excited when I discovered that a piece of lime/yellow slinky in my stash was a great match to the flowers on the skirt. Naturally I had to cut out & sew up that blouse real quick……..Isn’t it wonderful to have great equipment like our Janome & Elna sergers to allow us to serge up a garment with slinky fabric in very little time at all?  Would I ever attempt to sew slinky fabric without a serger? Not a chance I’d do that!


Seriously, that transformational sewing of my black slinky skirt took all of …..maybe 45 minutes and a bit of wide elastic for the waist line?!  Made me wonder why I waited so long to get around to doing it.  It was such a success that I have since done the same thing to another long dress that my friend, Kathy from Snip ad Stitch in Nanaimo gave to me >> which now is another pretty and practical maxi skirt.



About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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  1. Great idea with your skirts. Sometimes I buy things when on holidays (as I don’t buy my clothes, I make them, when I’m at home) and decide it wasn’t quite right for me after all. I don’t usually think to alter them, I just pass them on to the charity shops. I have spoken to Kathy at Snip and Stitch in Nanaimo. I don’t live there but visit often and when I do I can’t walk away without a purchase. Once I even bought my Janome 3160 QDC while there on holidays. It was a fantastic holiday! 😉😂


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Linda,

      Glad you liked the post – maybe you will alter some of your not-so-perfect clothes. Re Snip and Snip and Stitch: I too can never resist buying a bunch of stuff when I visit their store: she has SO much fabulous stuff to buy!


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