The Winner of the Statement Sleeve Challenge: Refashion Runway Season Five

Wow! What a week of voting.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for your favorite designer’s Statement Sleeves.

There were almost 4,000 votes this week and several very close races. So after combining the votes and the judges scores, here’s how it all shook down.

Tied for fourth place is Beki Biesterfelt and

Marisa Glied

and Sonya Blackstone

Tied for third place is KT and

Michelle Paganini

Tied for second place is Peggy Latta and

Julie Kong

And the first place winner is…… drumroll please……

Deana Budgell.

Thank you to all of these talented designers and thank you to all of you who voted and to our judges for taking the time to score everyone.


Now for the hard part….

We have to send two people “home” today. 😦

JP Choquette and Amy Minster. Thank you so much for joining us this season, I hope you had fun.

They will both receive a Gift Card from Joann Fabrics and Crafts.

Before we say good bye, though, let’s see what they did for their 70’s challenge this week.

JP Choquette

When I think, “1970s fashion” my mind goes straight to mini skirts and
discowear–not my favorite things to wear! I appreciated this challenge
because it helped me learn more about the decade’s style (I’d forgotten all
about romantic looks like the long, flowing dresses and bohemian layers
that are really very lovely).

I started with a three-quarter length jean jacket that I wore infrequently
because of the large number of sequins and “fake looking” embroidery on the
back. I liked the overall shape of the garment though and thought that with
some special tweaks, it could look very 70s.

I started with a blouse I’d thrifted years ago, replacing the jacket’s
sleeves with the shirt’s puffed ones. Next, I added vintage doilies along
the shoulders–I like how that gave it a little more structure and drew
attention to that area. I also added a third, larger doily to the back to
cover most of the embroidery and sparkly sequins.

Lastly, I created a torn ribbon and fabric strip fringe along the back.
This adds a little romance to the piece and is also in line with the
decade…what’s a good 70s jacket without fringe?


Amy Minster

When I looked over the submissions from last week with my daughter, she said I had better step up my game this week, and she was not wrong! Hopefully, you all think I’ve done that. When I do a refashion, I try to preserve some of the details of the original, but for this week, I wanted to try something I’ve never done – patchwork. I looked through my piles of potential refashion items and noticed I had a lot of blues and turquoises in the mix. A few things were items I had refashioned in the past that I didn’t end up wearing as much as I thought I would, and another was a summer dress that had a ton of fabric on the bottom but not nearly enough on the top! The dress fabric also had a great ’70s sort of pattern on it, so I decided to make that the main fabric of a patchwork kimono.

I spent a lot of time this week cutting, stitching, trying on, altering, and serging. I used almost all of the fabric from the dress, including the lining, and most of the top and the two skirts. I bought some coordinating ribbon for the front edges and some fringe for the bottom. I used the original printed hem of the dress for the cuffs of my sleeves. It was a lot of work, but I think it turned out well. It makes me think I might be ready to try a quilt next!

Thank you again JP and Amy. We’ll miss you. (Unless of course, you’d like to sew along with us. 🙂 )

And once again, congratulations to Deana Budgell for winning the Statement Sleeve Challenge with this amazing transformation from a man’s suit.

To vote for your favorite designer in the 1970’s challenge, click here.

Happy Sewing!


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Refashion Runway Season Five: Meet the Judges

A big shout out to these creative and talented women who have agreed to be judges this season!

Meet Susan Luke from Second Chances by Susan

Most of you will recognize Susan from Refashion Runway Season Two and Refashion Runway All-Stars. She is one of the most creative and inventive women I know. I’m always amazed at her beautiful refashions and her sewing ability is definitely her Super Power. I hope you’ll get a chance to check out her site, I know you’ll be inspired.

Thank you Susan!


Meet Gema Ensenat from Gema Sew and Sew

You’ll probably recognize Gema from Refashion Runway Season Three and Refashion Runway All Stars. She and her sunny personality join us from all the way across the pond in England. In addition to her website, Gema has a fun You Tube sewing and crafting channel that I hope you’ll get a chance to check out. She’s a powerhouse when it comes to breathing new life into old things.

Thank you Gema!


Meet my friend, Linda Carlsen.

She doesn’t have a blog or a YouTube channel but she really should. Her fashion creations never cease to amaze me. She’s so creative and inspiring when it comes to putting colors, textures and patterns together. We used to work together and I always looked forward to seeing her OOTD.

Thank you Linda!


Meet Mary Peterson from Mary’s Thrifty Chic

She joins us from Refashion Runway Season One and Refashion Runway All Stars. Not only is she an excellent seamstress and can see the potential in an old garment, but she’s a third grade teacher, too. Super Star!!

Thank you Mary!


Well, there you have it. These judges definitely have their work cut out for them.

In addition to on-line public voting, they will be scoring the contestants as well. The on-line votes will count for half of the score and the judges scores will count for the other half. A winner will be determined by combining the two scores.
The judges will give each of the competitors a score of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 the highest score) on the following areas:

Following the challenge

For a perfect score of 50 points.

If you haven’t had a chance to vote for your favorite Statement Sleeve refashion yet, click here.

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Statement Sleeves Sew Along: Refashion Runway Season Five

Welcome to our very first creative Sew Along for Season Five:
Leslee Brandt
“Have followed all seasons and took the plunge to follow along this go round!
The denim shirt was one my daughter put in the donate pile. The dress was mine from a few years back. I have lost 60 pounds and the dress did not fit. Was so excited to see how well the flowers from the dress went with the flowers on the shirt.
Having fun sewing along!

Thank you Leslee for taking the time to share your beautiful Statement Sleeve with us!

If you are interested in sewing along with any of the challenges, feel free to send your before and after pictures to

We’d love to see what you are creating, too.


If you haven’t had a chance to vote for your favorite Statement Sleeve, click here.

This season, if you have more than one favorite, or you’d like to vote for your favorite more than once, you can come back and vote again after 24 hours. YAY!

Happy Sewing!



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Throwback Sunday: Easy, Basic and Fun Sleeve Refashion

This isn’t exactly a “Statement Sleeve” but since that’s the challenge for this week in Refashion Runway, I thought I’d share a post from a few years ago of an easy sleeve refashion of my own:

Learn how to refashion an old thrift store t shirt into a fresh new shirt with cut out sleeves

Inspiration can be found in the strangest places. Who would’ve thought that a TV series about a funeral home would inspire this next refashion.

I’ve been unexpectedly enjoying the HBO series Six Feet Under. Claire showed up in episode five wearing the perfect shade of eggplant to go with her beautiful complexion and red hair. Not only was it just the right color for her but it had these fun cut outs on the sleeve.

I needed to give it a try.

This was supposed to be my experiment shirt. Just to see if it would work.

The Renegade Seamstress shows you how to make an old t shirt new again with this easy sleeve refashion tutorial.

The Renegade Seamstress shows you how to make an old t shirt new again with this easy sleeve refashion tutorial.

The Renegade Seamstress shows you how to make an old t shirt new again with this easy sleeve refashion tutorial.

T-Shirt Refashion Tutorial12

The Renegade Seamstress shows you how to make an old t shirt new again with this easy sleeve refashion tutorial.

The Renegade Seamstress shows you how to make an old t shirt new again with this easy sleeve refashion tutorial.

Well, I think it worked and I can see so many possibilities for this kind of sleeve. I can’t wait to try this again for an entirely different look.

Click here to see the creative work of the Refashion Runway Season Five contestants and vote for your favorite “Statement Sleeve“. I promise, you won’t be disappointed! The winners will be announced next Saturday, February 1, 2020.

Click here for more sewing and refashioning tutorials and inspiration.

Happy Sewing,


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Time To Vote: Statement Sleeves- Refashion Runway Season Five

OK, here we go! Let the voting begin!

Wait ’til you see what these talented ladies have created for you this week.

From lace, to men’s suits, to even candy wrappers (yep, I said candy wrappers 🙂 ) I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

So scroll down to the bottom and vote for your favorite designer.

The voting is closed for this challenge. Click here to vote for your favorite designer in the Faux Fur Challenge.

And GOOD NEWS! You can vote once each DAY this season. So if you have more than one person you’d like to vote for, or you’d like to vote for the same person more than once, you can come back 24 hours after your first vote and vote again!!! YAY!

So with out further adieu, I present the first challenge of Refashion Runway Season Five:

Statement Sleeves


Julie Kong from Sugar Cane Sweet Designs

“Hi Everyone.

I wanted to say a little bit about the process I use to create my garments,  It’s a different approach to upcycling.  I like to start with a basic garment.  And I usually search through my closet first.  The garment I pick becomes my canvas.  The pieces of fabric, that I’ve saved from previous projects, upcycling, thrift stores and antique stores, become my paints.  I then layer piece upon piece to achieve the desired look I want. It’s like I’m painting with fabric!  I feel the most unique thing to use, when creating an upcycled garment, are doilies and crocheted tablecloths.  A lot of love and work goes into their creation.   They are totally a work of art. To see these amazing pieces discarded is heart breaking.  As a result, I chose to use both pieces as my focal points.  First, I used a beautiful doily to create the sleeves.  I cut it in half, created folds and sewed it on.  Next, I used an amazing crocheted tablecloth for the bottom half of the dress.  I really wanted to highlight the scalloped edge of the tablecloth, so I made sure it showed in the front.  I also made a shrug from the bottom half of the dress that I had cut off.

I hope I’ve inspired you with my ideas.  I also hope I’m here again next week to share more with you.  Thanks for looking!”


Peggy Latta from Heirloom Textile Art


Three things to know about me:

  1. I absolutely adore flowers!
  2. I love to embellish with fabric, beads and embroidery.
  3. I am drawn to anything “Chanel-esque” …the tweed fabric, the trims, the pearls!!!

So, combine all of those things and you have the theme for my Statement Sleeve entry!

I began my challenge with a thrifted, black and white plaid (Chanel) jacket.  The fabric is yummy and the black has a bit of shimmer woven into it. I dissected a second jacket (selected for the bright, watercolor floral print) and added the fabric from a glistening purple evening gown plus a harvested zipper (?) from a little girl’s puffer jacket!

After opening the front seam of each plaid jacket sleeve, some of the flowers from the second jacket were backed with fusible bond, trimmed and attached to the “trellis” plaid of the sleeves. More flowers and leaves were cut, stitched to contrast fabric and turned to make 3-dimensional petals.  Then the fun began!  I topped the fused design with the 3-D petals and leaves and began embellishing.

The open sleeve seams were finished by inserting zippers…one thrifted (puffer jacket) and one from my zipper drawer.  And then, the final piece of my DOUBLE STATEMENT SLEEVES was added. The fabric from the glistening purple evening gown became the lining for the zippered sleeves. When unzipped, the beautiful contrast is revealed!

I styled the jacket sleeves two different ways:

  • sleeves closed for a daytime look with white blouse and black jeans, suitable for meetings, lunch or shopping.
  • sleeves unzipped, presenting a dramatic cape-like effect, with a little black sequin dress for a night on the town. 


Michelle Paganini from Paganoonoo

Hello, I am Michelle Paganini. You may already know me from Paganoonoo, or appearances on the syndicated PBS TV show It’s Sew Easy, or my upcycle sewing YouTube tips. One of the things I am really enjoying about participating in this challenge is that it has me focus on projects that I would not normally have selected.

To find out what I did watch this VIDEO and/or keep reading…
To me a statement sleeve can be structural or textured/embellished. I decided to use used some vintage lace and beautiful vintage linens pieces to embellish my sleeves. A classic men’s dress shirt is one of my favorite mediums to upcycle. I selected a thrifted solid-color light-gray shirt so the color play between the shirt and the embellishments would be subtle, and the lace/linens details noticeable without competition from a print. (Click here for my video tip on color and pattern selection.)
My experience with men’s shirts is that when I remove the cuff, the sleeve length is just shy of full length. Also because the pleat is released from the cuff, the sleeve bottom becomes a bit wider. After removing the cuff and looking at the result, I wanted even more flare to create a bell shape at the cuff. Solution? Add a godet in the sleeve placket using the cuff corner. Space for a second godet was created by making a pinked cut along the underarm seam and inserting the other cuff corner as seen in the picture below.
With the addition of the godets the ends of the sleeves now had a bell shape with a raw pinked edge. I underlined the cuff with vintage lace, making the length a perfect long sleeve. Using what was left of the lace, I edged the collar, creating balance with the sleeves.
To finish the “statement” part of the embellishment, I selected two identically styled but different shaped doilies, a rectangle and an oval. They were too delicate to look nice with machine stitching (and difficult to access with a machine), so I hand stitched them in place.
The shirt fit my bust, but would not button across my hips/belly, a typical problem for my pear shaped figure. I now had a button down shirt with a feminine sleeves and collar but not a very feminine bodice.
Solution? I turned to my favorite upcycle sewing design, the Paganoonoo Patti, and added a swing back to the garment. A thrifted pajama top of soft lightweight cotton provided the perfect fabric to create the back panel, with the bonus of an existing hem! The bottom of the shirt then flared out for a much more feminine silhouette.
The front of the shirt now had the right silhouette, but was out of balance with the embellished sleeves and collar, needing a more feminine touch. It had been silkscreened with a few white overlapping circles in a workshop I took with Holly Badgley at PenWAG (Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild, Campbell, CA), but that was not quite enough. I added a collection of mis-matched non-functional buttons on the placket. Perfection!
The Paganoonoo Patti design is my favorite, simple and elegant, with plenty of hip and belly room. I am in love with with this sweetly feminine “Statement Sleeve” version. I hope you love it too!
P.S. Speaking of sleeves – I have a free video tip on how to add a turned cuff to a dress shirt. Great for making ¾ sleeves!

You can watch her video here:


J.P. Choquette from

“For this challenge, I used a cocktail dress, a cotton sweater, and some
scrap fabric. The feeling I was going for was “D.C., in the Spring” and the
fabric scraps made perfect cherry blossom’esque additions to the
refashioned blouse.

I created sleeves from the sheer overlay of the dress and carefully sewed
these to the sweater’s barely-there cap sleeves. After three attempts, I
was pleased with the result! Next, I removed the ribbon across the front of
the sweater and then cut and hand-stitched the blossoms on the sleeves and
across the left side of the bodice. It feels romantic and slightly
vintage–which is what I was going for.”


Diane Sladowski from Thoughts From a Seamstress

If you’d like to find out more about how she made this, click here, she has more photos and a couple of nice videos on her site for you to check out.



“I liked the material of this blouse and some of the details but the sleeves were awkward and it looked frumpy. I removed the old sleeves from the bodice and took out the elastic. I cut and reshaped the sleeves to make them look puffy. I love the pleated part so I kept it. I reshaped the neck to fit better and flipped the opening to the back. I added elastic at the bottom hemline to give it shape.”
Marisa Glied from The Refash Stash
Amy Minster

I am short, so I didn’t want to go with huge sleeves for my statement. I am a sucker for a gray sweatshirt, especially with sleeves of a different color or fabric. I found this men’s 2XL sweatshirt at the thrift store, then I saw this gorgeous blue polka dot dress. If the dress was the right size, I absolutely would have worn it as-is, but it was too small, making it the perfect candidate for my sleeve material.

I used a raglan shirt to make a pattern, cut the sleeves off the sweatshirt, and cut new sleeves from the dress fabric. Attaching them to the sweatshirt was a bit tricky, but I figured it out. The sweatshirt was too long, so I shortened it by raising the hem about 4 inches. I had planned to use the original cuffs, but then I realized that one was frayed. Thankfully, the material I cut out from shortening the torso was just enough to make my new cuffs. I love how it turned out – a winter sweatshirt with a preview of summer in the sleeves!


Diane Scarponi

Refashion Runway Season 5 – Challenge 1: Statement Sleeves
I just love a high-contrast look to jackets, so when the challenge was statement sleeves, I knew I had a great opportunity to create some drama!

My jacket started life as a dress that a friend gave me. She didn’t like it, but she thought the linen-cotton blend fabric was nice and the print was cool. She gave me a challenge to refashion it. Challenge accepted! Here’s the before look:

The fabric is too stiff and the style is too shapeless for me, but there’s plenty of opportunity for refashioning! I began by washing and drying the dress a few times to change the fabric’s hand – it’s softer now but still crisp enough for a jacket.

I started by cutting the dress straight up the front and unpicking the neck facing. The front was turned and topstitched to create a self-facing. Then I created a pleat at the center back to take up some of the fullness, so it would fit better. I trimmed about 8 inches off the bottom to create a more pleasing length, leaving side vents about an inch long just for style. I used the fabric from the bottom to create the collar and pockets – nice big pockets perfect for holding a phone and keys.

Now to create some drama – red is my favorite color and I love a red, white and blue combo (not just for July 4th!). I headed to my local Goodwill and scored this rain jacket with a broken zipper. I love the color and since it’s fully lined, I had a lot of material to play with.

I created cuffs and a collar facing out of the rain jacket and sewed them on. I put buttonholes in the finished collar so that I can turn over the points for a peek of contrast. Here’s a flat view of the jacket inside and out.

I like making garments convertible, so that I can wear things differently depending on my mood. I can unbutton the collar detail and roll down the sleeves if I don’t want as much of the red to show.

Here’s a back view with the pleat and cuffs:

I am delighted with how this turned out. Now if only winter could be over so that I could wear it!


Beki Biesterfelt from Beki’s Custom Sewing

I made a cylindrical shaped shrug, basically a bog coat design without the body just the sleeves.

I repurposed/recycled/upcycled
-window screen mesh leftover from screens we repaired
-colorful foil wrappers from chocolate candies
-a black silk skirt purchased at a thrift store

I couched metallic gold decorative thread to the screen mesh before seaming the tube together. All of the seams and edges were covered with bias strips cut from the thrift store black silk skirt.

The candy foils were sandwiched between layers of mesh and lightly machine quilted.

This was a fun project!


Sonya Blackstone from She’s So Creative

“I used solely the shirts for materials and didn’t add any
other fabrics. I basically turned the blue shirt around, cut part of the
back panel out and patched in the white panel (blue shirt went from a 3X to a
small). I deconstructed the sleeves, added double peekaboo holes and took
some left over white shirt and made bows. I took what was left of the blue back
panel, cut it in half the width way and attached that to the bottom of the sleeves
to make them long and flowy. The bottom of the sleeve goes from elbow to
wrist. I also adjusted the collar to make a deep V in the back. I
added the white pocket from the shirt to the bottom and then constructed another and
added that as well. Statement sleeves. Form fitting peek-a-boo tops,
loose and flowy from elbow to wrist, accent bows. ”


Rose Henegar

Summer Ashley from Refashion Diaries

This had been sitting in my thrifted stash for a while.  Was it a dress,  a tunic, a nightgown? I wasn’t sure, but liked the color and soft knit material and decided to refashion it for this Statement sleeves challenge.
First I seam ripped the neckline binding and cut out the sleeves.  Using my measurements I cut out a shirt.  Cutting where I wanted the hem of my new shirt to be I used the remaining curved part of the old hem for the new sleeves.  I seam ripped the old hem,  gathered the material and then stitched them in place, reattached the neck binding to the now smaller neckline and Hemmed the bottom of the shirt.
I also had this really beautiful blue corduroy skirt in my refashion stash for a while and thought the color would look nice with the new shirt, but it wasn’t my style and was a little big for me.  So I cut a new hemline and pinched, pinned, and sewed the sides until the fit was right.
Even though I have sewn with it before I always feel a little out of my comfort zone when sewing with knit fabric.  I thought about changing my project a couple times to a different material, but I’m glad I didn’t.  In the end I am very happy with how it turned out!  Even more so because I felt challenged by it!
Sandy Yates
Before:  This original heirloom style blouse began to decay. I loved the fabric and couldn’t bring myself to throw it away
After: to update the look, I added flare to the sleeves with a satin triangle, then removed sections of the sleeves to create a cold shoulder. Because of the delicate fabric everything except the satin inset was hand sewn.
Deana Budgell from djewels
I knew the moment I saw this suit on a rack at the Attic, a second hand store in Lake Tahoe, that I had to resurrect it. In my mind’s eye I could see it refashioned as a sleek, formal dress with stunning sleeves that make it stand out. I’m super happy with the end result.
SHEESH! Pretty amazing Statement Sleeves, right!!!!
So now it’s your turn.
Vote for your favorite designer in the poll below and if you have more than one favorite, come back tomorrow and vote again. 🙂
The winner of this challenge will be announced next Saturday and the two people with the fewest votes and the lowest scores from our judges will be  “sent home” (eliminated) 😦  The hardest part!
It’s time to vote!
After you click on your favorite, scroll to the bottom of the poll and click the vote button so your vote will be counted.

Week One: Statement Sleeves

Week Two: 1970’s

Week Three: Faux Fur

Week Four: Small to Large

Week Five: Southwest

Week Six: Kentucky Derby Hat


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How to Make a Rag Quilt: New One Minute Video

Embrace the Fray!

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at quilting, a rag quilt is the perfect place to start. All you have to be able to do is cut squares and sew a straight line. No need to worry about fraying around the edges either because on this quilt, the more fray, the better. Since the seams are exposed and they are expected to fray, this quilt is very forgiving and a cinch to make.

What? What’s that you said? You love that wiener dog flannel?

Me, too!!! Isn’t it cute! 🙂

You can watch the video here:

Click here for the complete step-by-step photo instructions.

And stay tuned to see what the 15 creative contestants designed for the very first challenge of Refashion Runway this Saturday, January 25. After you see what they created, I hope you’ll take the time to vote for your favorite Statement Sleeve Refashion.

I can’t wait!!!


For more refashion and sewing tutorials, click here.

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Refashion Runway Season Five: Meet the Contestants Video

One of my goals for Season Five of Refashion Runway is to include more videos.

Well, here’s the first video for this season.

I’m totally open to your feedback because I know there’s always room for improvement.

Let me know what you think…

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Refashion Runway Season Five: Contestants and Challenges Announced Today

Finally! It’s the big announcement!

And let me tell you, this has not been easy. So many wonderful people applied for Season Five of Refashion Runway and I just couldn’t narrow it down to less than 15 contestants. I know that after you read about them or see their pictures, you’ll agree with me.

If you’d like to sew along with us, the challenges will be listed at the bottom of this post.

Let me now introduce our competitors for Season Five.

Meet Peggy Latta:

I participated in a sew along for the Boho Chic segment in 2015 and have been looking forward to perhaps having the chance to compete and…the time is now right! For 30 years, I have been a working textile artist enchanting brides with intricately detailed 11-inch tall replica miniature gowns. In the spring of 2020, I plan on expanding Heirloom Textile Art to include creative, one-of-a-kind and limited-edition wearable art. “textile hARvesT” designs will be curated from restyled thrifted garments and harvested details turning “second hand into new fashion”. In a world with too much textile waste, I plan to tackle the problem one beautiful piece at a time. I believe no effort to save the planet is too small. Throughout my sewing years, I have learned to “macgyver” and get creative in order to replicate the tiniest of details. Additionally, working with client’s cherished heirloom garments to design christening gowns and home décor has given me the courage to become fearless with scissors! These out-of-the-box challenges…and so many more… have prepared me to face the Refashion Runway as an artistic seamstress! If you want to see my up-to-the-minute works of art, please follow me at Heirloom Textile Art on Instagram.

Meet KT

I am a home sewist who loves to make clothes for myself and my friends and family, whether its is from scratch or from altering an existing garment. I like the idea of completing a sewing project within a specified timeline because so much more can be accomplished when there is a deadline. The competition would also be a great way to connect with fellow sewists and learn from them.

Meet Sandy Yates

Sandy has a wonderful sense of style and design and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

Meet Deana Budgell

I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile now. I fell in love with sewing watching my mom sew when I was a little girl and that love has just grown through the years. When I see fabric, I see the finished product already. I love what fabric can turn into and how it can make you feel when it’s complete.

You can see more of Deana’s work on her Instagram page, djewelss

Meet Summer Ashley

I have been refashioning for quite a while now and enjoy the the challenge and creativity that comes with each new project. I have kept up with Refashion Runway in the past and thought it looked like a lot of fun

You can find more of Summer’s work on her Instagram page, Refashion Diaries

Meet Amy Minster

I love refashioning, and I used to do it all the time. I was a frequent poster on Refashion Co-op. I loved seeing what the other posters came up with, and I especially loved the creative problem-solving involved in transforming a piece of clothing into something brand new. Then I got too busy with life to have much time for sewing. I’ve been meaning to get back into it, and joining this competition would definitely kickstart my creativity again.

Meet Rose Henegar

I was brought up sewing, (hand-stitching long before it was trending!) and as one of five kids, was quite used to makin’ it work. Hand-me-down Rose… It was the 60’s in rural northern Michigan, with our fabric selection coming straight out of the Ben Franklin Store. We made doll clothes, stuffed toys, and progressed to sewing on a machine in record time. Patching and letting down hems was less of a fashion decision, and more likely a necessity. We embroidered, trimmed, altered, and transformed our clothing as expressions of our budding personalities, but more likely to extend the life of the garment. Skipping ahead a few decades, and we still make it work on a tight budget. I’ve learned a bit along the way. I’ve taught nearly every art and craft skill (including martial arts!) and still enjoy the creating. I teach jewelry making, painting, and art journaling, but I’m still loving to upcycle. I can justify my second hand shop finds, when it breaks down to yardage, hardware, and a challenge to my creative brain. Every day it’s fiber therapy in some form. I knit, crochet, needle and wet felt, weave, and spin. And most days I attempt to produce a stitch meditation. It’s not about the result, but the process. I’m certainly up for the challenge, and will enjoy the influence of other crafty souls along the way.

Meet Diane Scarponi

I have enjoyed refashioning quite a few things – using both garments that were made from one thing into another, and home dec materials that were made into clothing. Sustainability drives a lot of my life. I live in an old house in Connecticut (recycled house – ha ha), grow lots of fruits and veggies in my garden, use public transportation or a bicycle most of the time, and buy lots of things second-hand – including a “new to me” Pfaff sewing machine. In 2019, I took the “RTW Fast” pledge to not buy any ready-to-wear clothing (except for things I can’t really make, such as socks and tights), and I almost made it! I needed to buy a few things on vacation because of unexpected weather problems. Otherwise, I am proud that all my new garments, bags and home dec items in 2019 were made by me! And I used lots of scraps and leftovers for charity projects. I am emailing to you pictures of a few recent refashions – a winter coat out of an old blanket from my college dorm days (30 years ago!) and a dress I made out of a tablecloth. It was nice enough to wear to a friend’s wedding, believe it or not! Who am I kidding? Of course you believe it – but no one else would! I’ll love being a part of “Refashion Runway Season 5”.

Meet Beki Biesterfelt

I’m a seamstress by trade, with a passion for upcycling and repurposing. My creative process incorporates pre and post consumer fabric and fiber waste into wearable art, accessories, and items for the home.

You can see more of Beki’s work on her Facebook page or at Beki’s Custom Sewing

Meet J.P. Choquette

Though I’m a writer by day (website ), I love to upcycle and refashion clothing by night. Two of my refashions were featured in “Altered Couture” magazine. And as a contestant in the 2016 STRUT! Fashion Show in Burlington, VT, I learned a lot about refashioning a cohesive collection. It received a great response!

Meet Sonya Blackstone

I am creative and I adore upcycling, plus I’m always up for a challenge! This competition just speaks to me! She’s So Creative doesn’t show as much of my sewing work as I would like because it’s still a baby site and I have been more centered on my crocheting site since I started that years ago. Even though I haven’t been able to showcase all of my sewing projects, I am a confident sewist; I learned to sew several years ago and have made hundreds of sewing projects (including garments). My crochet site is

Meet Diane Sladowski

 I make wearable and artistic garments from post consumer jeans to sell in my Etsy shop, I occasionally blog ( and will for this!) and I have a love for upcycling/recycling clothing. I always want to do more types of garments and fabrics, so this contest will give me a direction and inspire me in new ways.

You can see more of Diane’s work at Thoughts From a Seamstress

Meet Marisa Glied

Yes, Marisa and her beautiful smile and style is returning to us from Refashion Runway Season 3 and from Refashion Runway All-Stars. Her blog is called The Refash Stash 

I am a dental hygienist by trade but that leaves me longing to wear something with more personality than scrubs! I hope my little blog inspires you to change the way you look at outdated clothes by making you think outside the stitch!

What is refashioning, you may ask? To me refashioning is taking an article of clothing and making it into something completely new! This could be as simple as changing buttons on a shirt or making a suit jacket into a fabulous new purse! Refashioning is all about being creative! The best part is: There are no rules! Just go for it!

Meet Michelle Paganini

I live and breathe Upcycling/refashioning! I love the challenge of transforming old fashion into new. As some of you may know, I have built a business,, around selling upcycle sewing instructions to home sewists. I consider myself an expert Upcycler with a distinct point of view.

Meet Julie Kong

I stumbled upon the Renegade Seamstress four years ago. I was fascinated, excited and amazed at what she had created. All the endless possibilities started swirling through my head. Upcycling kept me occupied at a time when my children were leaving the nest, and money was tight. So I dove in and here I am today still Upcycling!

Let me introduce myself, I’m a school librarian who designs and upcycles on the side. I’d love to say Upcycling is my full time job, maybe one day I will. I’d love to have a local shop where all upcyclers can bring their creations to sell. And a meet up group would be a fantastic way to share ideas and inspire others.

I have four grown kids. I live in California. I love the outdoors. I love animals and most of all I love to create!

Now, I have to tell you, sewing makes me a little crazy. I’m not the best seamstress out there. I think I spend more time ripping out what I’ve sewn then actually sewing!!!  In the end, I work out all the bugs that could potentially happen when taking on an Upcycling project.

Oh, and by the way, the kids at my school love seeing what I’ve made. I’m always talking about Upcycling with them, even the Kindergarten kids. One day, a little 2nd grade boy was falling me around in the school library. I was wearing a wild tie dyed skirt with lace. He said he couldn’t believe that I made my skirt and that it was soooooo beautiful. He then proceeded to tell all the other little boys that I’d made my skirt and they were all in awe! Such a cute moment with those precious little ones. Surprisingly enough, I’ve actually inspired some junior high girls to try Upcycling. You know how they are about their clothes at that age. It sure made my heart happy!

I feel my designs are different and exciting. I like to create clothing that is more wearable art. Clothing that makes others stop and ask where you purchased your outfit. Not because it’s a designer brand but because it’s fun and different. My creations have no patterns. They are just creative ideas coming together to inspire others to reuse, recycling, and create something exciting. I really look forward to sharing my ideas with you. If you do take a peek at my website, that’s my daughter in all the pictures, not me. The clothes just look better on her!

You can see more of Julie’s work at Sugar Cane Sweet Designs

See what I mean, how could I say no to any of these wonderful seamstresses!!

So here’s a list of all the challenges:

Week One: Statement Sleeves

Week Two: 1970s

Week Three: Faux Fur

Week Four: Small to Large

Week Five: Southwest

Week Six: Kentucky Derby Hat

You are welcome to sew along with us and we’d love to see what you come up with for these challenges. Post your work to #refashionrunway if you have Instagram. Or send them to me at

The first challenge pictures will be posted on Saturday, January 25 and you’ll have a chance to vote for your favorite.

Until then,

Happy Refashioning!


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What is Refashion Runway Anyway? A Look Back Through the Seasons

Well, it’s happening this Saturday, January 11, the contestants and challenges for Season Five of Refashion Runway will be announced.

Sheesh Ka Bob!  All of the entries are so impressive, I just don’t know how I’m going to choose only 8 contestants.

Looking at the fun before and after pictures of each applicant reminded me of how excited I would get when opening emails to see how each contestant interprets the challenge. I have actually been known to squeal in delight a time or two (or three or four) 🙂

Michelle Paganini, from Paganoonoo, suggested I do a retrospective post that links all of the previous seasons. so just in case you haven’t been in on this before you can get an idea of what this is all about. Great idea Michelle!

As a refresher, Refashion Runway is a friendly sewing competition.

Here’s how it works:

Much like Project Runway and The Great British Sewing Bee, we’ll choose eight refashion seamstresses (or seamsters) to compete in weekly challenges. The contestants will send in before and after videos or photos. I will post all of the before and after photos and/or videos so you can vote for your favorite. The refashions will then be scored by judges and open to a popular vote. The scores will be combined to find a weekly winner and one competitor will be out (not without a prize for participating though). At the end of the series, whoever is left will not only receive a nice prize but will be crowned the winner of Refashion Runway Season Five!!

It’s such a great way to meet new people who love to do the same thing we do.

Here’s a recap with links to each post so you can see everyone’s work (I just included the winners in this post):


Season One June and July 2013:

The Challenges:

Week One: Stripes

Week Two: Denim

Week Three: Copy Cat from a magazine, catalog or celebrity

Week Four: Summer Dress

The Winners:

Winner of the Stripes Challenge

Sally from Charity Shop Chic



Winner of the Denim Challenge

Sally from Charity Shop Chic



Winner of the Copycat Challenge

Mary from Thrifty Chic



Winner of the Summer Dress Challenge:

Miche from Buttons and Birdcages




Season Two: September October 2013

The challenges:

Week One: Plaid
Week Two: Pantone 2013 Color Emerald Green
Week Three: Peplum
Week Four: Leather
Week Five: Halloween
Week Six: Winter White

The winners:

Winner of the Plaid Challenge:

Trish from Feeling Kinda Thrifty

Winner of the Emerald Green Challenge:

There was a tie between Carissa from Carissa Knits



and Trish from Feeling Kinda Thrifty



Winner of the Peplum Challenge

Carissa from Carissa Knits



The winner of the Leather Challenge

Carissa from Carissa Knits



The Winner of the Halloween Challenge:

Susan from Second Chances By Susan



The winner of the Winter White Challenge:




Season Three: July and August 2015

The Challenges:

Week 1: Combine Floral and Geometric or Stripes
Week 2: Gingham
Week 3: Handbag, Tote bag or Clutch
Week 4: Maxi Skirt or Dress
Week 5: Boho Chic
Week 6: Asymmetrical

The Winners

The winner of the Combine Floral and Geometric or Stripes Challenge

Kara from While Camden Sleeps



Winner of the Gingham Challenge:

A three way tie between:

Sarah from Life is Beautiful



and Marissa from The Refash Stash

and Gema from Sequins and Slippers

Winner of the Handbag, Tote or Clutch Challenge:

Gema from Sequins and Slippers

Winner of the Maxi Skirt or Dress Challenge

Sarah from Life is Beautiful

Winner of the Boho Chic Challenge

Sarah from Life is Beautiful

Winner of the Asymmetrical Challenge:

Sarah from Life is Beautiful

Season Four: All Stars Version July and August 2016

The Challenges:

Week One: Velvet

Week Two: Metallic

Week Three: Buttons

Week Four: Tunic

Week Five: Pantone Color of the Season: Riverside

The Winners:

Winner of the Velvet Challenge

Susan from Second Chances by Susan

Winners of the Metallic Challenge

Carissa from Carisa Knits



Susan from Second Chances by Susan:

and Jen from Diary of a Mad Mama



Winners of the Button Challenge

Carissa from Carissa Knits




Susan from Second Chances by Susan


Winner of the Tunic Challenge:

Carissa from Carissa Knits



A reversible Tunic:

Winner of the Pantone Color Riverside Challenge

Susan from Second Chances by Susan

There you have it, Refashion Runway in a nutshell. Remember to click on the links for the different challenges if you’d like to see all of the entries for each challenge.

Stay Tuned:

The Season Five competitors and challenges will be announced on Saturday, January 11, 2020!!

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You Voted and the Winner is…… The Sweater Dress Refashion

Ta Da! According to your votes, this sweater refashion was by far the favorite. (I gotta admit, it’s my all-time favorite, too)

But, I heard the link was broken, so here’s the tutorial just in case you want to try this out for yourself.

Create a cute sweater dress from two old sweaters

Cut off the bottom of the shirt at the waistline. Add a half an inch for a seam allowance. Cut the bottom of the sweater off to your desired skirt length. Leave a half an inch for a seam allowance.

If you have to cut above the sleeve line, straighten out the side by marking and sewing a new side seam.

Trim the new seam.


Use the longest stitch to baste around the top of the sweater you’re using for the skirt of the dress.

Place the shirt part inside the skirt so the right sides are together and the raw edges are lined up. Pin the sides and center front and back together.

Pull on the basting stitch to ease the skirt to fit the shirt. Pin in place and sew.

Cut a piece of elastic to fit around your waist. Mark the center and the quarters of the elastic.

Place the center of the elastic on the front center of the seam and pin. Line up the quarter marks of the elastic on the side seams and pin. Sew into the seam allowance. stretching the elastic to fit as you sew.

That’s all there is to it!

For a no waste project, click here to make some Smittens from the sleeves and extra sweater parts.

Add a scarf and a cardigan, some boots and tights, and you’re good to go.

Create a cute sweater dress from two old sweaters

Happy Winter Sewing!


PS. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Season Five Refashion Runway contestants…

Coming this Saturday.

For more refashion or sewing tutorials and inspiration click here.

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