Long Weight Over!

I was so inspired by Shams’ (Communing with Fabric) post regarding her impressive weight loss that I decided to tackle the pesky 13 extra pounds I’ve been lugging around for the last ten years. I hopped on board the same program as Shams (Eat to Live) since I already owned the book and believed the program promoted a healthy lifestyle.

 Three weeks later I’ve made enough progress (about 7 pounds) to fit into several of my old, too-tight clothes! They have been hanging in my closet for years just waiting to see the light of day again and at last it’s here!!!

Sadly, they are no longer in style.

 Let’s start with these Cambio jeans, which I’ve worn once.

IMG_0049The year was 2004 and I wanted a pair of “Oprah’s favorite jeans.” The salesperson (a man) told me a larger size would fit better, but I couldn’t accept the fact I was a size larger and bought the smaller size. I wore them on a long car trip and was in such pain upon arriving at the destination that I never wore them again. Now they fit but look ridiculous.

I was stuck with the super high waist, but cutting several inches off of the length eliminated the overwhelming pattern. What an easy fix!


When I paired my new shorts with the halter I made (years ago by combining Amy Butler’s Cabo Halter with an OOP Vogue pattern) I realized the high waist was a plus when worn with a loose-fitting, average length top. No skin to worry about when bending, sitting or stretching :)

Below is a full-length photo.IMG_0121Thankfully, I’ve blocked memories of wearing these white, cropped wide-legged Elliot Lauren pants.

IMG_0055Hideous indeed, but another easy fix resulting in a new pair of white cuffed shorts.

IMG_0217(The top is a 2008 consignment shop find from Hilton Head. A Lilly Pulitzer top from the good ‘ole days of heavy pique and lots of appliqués for $15.00).

These Worth slacks aren’t bad, but they are stained and the knees are stretched out.

IMG_0062Rit to the rescue!IMG_0204

Since the zippered pockets are the garments’ main attraction, I paired my new green shorts with a favorite cropped blouse for now.

…..and last but not least….

The chocolate brown Doncaster long dress and cashmere sweater with a mink collar.

( from New Year’s 2000)

IMG_0065 IMG_0070

I still love this ensemble! The sweater has received lots of wear throughout the last 13 years, but not the too tight dress. After careful consideration I decided to cut off the length so I can wear it – NOW and OFTEN!  The dress is made of a very high quality rayon and polyester blend that wears like a dream.

IMG_0085So here I am with four new and free outfits, but I’m not sure what the moral of this story is.

Could it be:

1. Keep your old clothes that take up valuable closet and storage space for you might wear them again one day?

 2. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit because once you can wear them again you won’t want them?

 3. Learn to sew to justify Number 1 ?

4. Do not gain weight so this is never an issue?

Whatever it is I have Shams to thank for motivating me to finally shape up!


Happy Independence Day to my American friends and continued good wishes to my international readers!

Until Monday!

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129 Responses to Long Weight Over!

  1. Oh my gosh…what a plethora of impressive re-dos! Love what you’ve done to make these perfectly nice clothes ‘new’ again – LOVE the dress and those lime green shorts :) Well done!

    Your ‘rules’ sounds perfectly sound to me. I’ve always suspected #1 would come back to haunt me one day…WHY did I give all those perfectly good things away? ;) Incredibly jealous over your LP find, btw! SO cute!

  2. Lori says:

    Great job, Shannon, on the weight loss and the new-to-you clothes. I think I still have a pair of white pants like yours, thanks for the shorts idea. We are vacationing at Tybee Island, made me think of near-by Hilton Head with your consignment find.

    • Thanks Lori! I haven’t quite reached my goal – just enough to get into my clothes. You must check out the consignment shop at HH if you’re in the area. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name since it’s been a while. Hope you have a great trip!

  3. Pauline (pdiddly) says:

    great up-cycle of your old clothes – think any of your points could be justified, but either way its a win win situation resulting in some great wearable garments.

    Well done on the weight loss – I have another 16lbs I would like to lose before my honeymoon so need to get my act in gear.

  4. ewellons says:

    Love your new summer wardrobe! You are inspiring me (again) to remake some things in my closet — I think I have those identical Elliot Lauren pants!

    Congrats on your weight loss! Not that it was necessary, but if you feel better, that’s what matters. Years ago, my husband and I spent a 2 week “vacation” at the Pritikin Institute and I was finally able to take off pounds that had accumulated over 3 pregnancies. It changed my life and way of eating — I can now pretty much eat whatever I want, but find that I no longer have the taste or desire to eat an entire bag of Oreos!

    • Thank you, Cissie! Can’t wait to see what you do with your Elliot Lauren cropped pants! I assumed you were one of those people who could eat a bag of Oreos and not gain an ounce ;) You look super!

  5. Pam says:

    Sew Inspiring!!! Congrats on the new you and happy Fourth!

  6. Jenny says:

    Congrats on your weight loss. Since I’ve been reading your blog I always thought you looked great ~ Thanks for the links to Sham’s blog – I am going to buy the book and I hope it helps me lose the 20 I packed on.

  7. Juliet says:

    I never would have guessed that you needed to lose ANY weight but you do look fabulous after doing so. I have procrastinated about resuming a diet (Monday 1st) was supposed to be THE DAY and have had that book for several years. Must get off the fence and forget my (many) excuses.
    Very well done.

  8. Becky says:

    I love everything you’ve done with your older clothes. All of them look smashing! Did you eat vegan to lose this weight? Are you going to continue to eat vegan? Just wondering. I have an incredibly stubborn 7 lbs. that will not come off. You look fantastic, but you looked fantastic before you lost the weight. All that matters is that you feel well, and that you met your goal. Now, are you going to have to alter your more recent makes?! OH NO!

    • Thank you, Becky! Eat to Live is a plant based diet which I have followed pretty closely. I am not a vegan though I’ve practiced a mostly vegan lifestyle with Eat to Live!
      Just thinking about altering my recent makes makes me want an ice cream cone and french fries ;)

  9. Jackie says:

    Your old, new clothes look great and so do you! I have been saving some out of style things because I love the fabric. Time to get busy.

  10. Marguerite says:

    Wowza! Do you ever cease to amaze??? Congrats on the weight loss, you look fantastic (but didn’t you before…YES!) But even a couple of extra pounds can make you feel uncomfortable. I like how you give witness to NOT throwing out those items you haven’t worn in a while. I always get a kick out of the advice to throw away any item you haven’t worn in a year. I put on a dress that I had made 10 years ago. It was a simple sleeveless sheath type, but fit nicely and was just right for the occasion. I got plenty of compliments and was happy it never made it to the dust cloth bin.
    Always looking forward to your posts.

    • Thank you, Marguerite for such a nice comment :) I agree with you…… a year is just 365 days and some years just don’t warrant wearing all of my clothes. I did however find lots of clothes that I don’t want or want to remake even though they fit now……. but I’ll always hang on to old favorites!

  11. Pam says:

    Wow! I love all the refashions – especially the newly green shorts. You look great too!

  12. Deborah R Penner says:

    Love these ideas, especially the idea to dye white pants with stains.

  13. Joanie says:

    Congratulations on losing those 10 lbs. You look terrific, but then again you always do! But I bet you feel better. I want to feel better too, so I’m starting my diet today. Happy 4th to you!

  14. Irene says:

    What wonderful remakes!

  15. Alethia says:

    First of all, congratulations on achieving your weight goals, you look great! Like Juliet, I would have never thought you never needed to lose any weight. ;)
    And, what a way to make the old new again…beautifully done!

    • Thanks, Alethia! I’m not all the way to my goal but hopefully can get the rest off quickly if I keep at it. Upcycling clothes is my idea of sewing fun – should do it more often :) :)

  16. lisa g says:

    i’m blown away here, what great re-fashions! i love every single one! congrats on losing those extra pesky pounds, you look amazing–you’ve always looked amazing.

  17. Jan says:

    Wow! You look fantastic and your “new” clothes are amazing! Those green shorts! I’m so buying some dye!! Thank you for the inspiration!!

  18. Pattie says:

    What great refashioning you’ve done! You have a great eye to be able to see what these items could become. And you look mah-velous!

  19. Carolanne Washburn says:

    You always look fantastic and this post has so inspired me to get on the stick and lose the lousy 15 pounds that have been hanging around way too long! I love all the re-fashions, you did a great job. I, too, have been slicing, chopping and dyeing neglected things from my bulging closet and have been so happy with the results…shedding 15 pound will make it all the more fun and I would love to do it in as little as 3 or so weeks! I LOVE the Lily Pulitzer consignment store score, it’s beautiful on you!!

    • Thank you, Carolanne! Actually I’m slightly over halfway there but at 5’2″ losing 7 pounds is like losing 14 pounds on a taller person. You will love getting back into your clothes – even if they are no longer fashionable :)

      • Carolanne Washburn says:

        I’m also 5’2″ and know exactly what you mean, a little bit goes a long way!

  20. Miriam says:

    Congratulations on your weight loss! They always say those last few pounds are the hardest. Was the diet hard to follow? Did your husband do it with you? You again are an inspiration, not only have you lost weight but you managed to save so many outfits and they look great. I’m going to try to remember your tricks. Thanks for sharing, gives me hope.

    • Hi Miriam! I still have a few pounds to go. The diet is not the easiest to follow but there are some eating principles I will follow from now on. My husband did not do it with me, though he ate some of the dinner meals I prepared from the diet. Many thanks for writing ;)

  21. Sam says:

    Wow, your refashions are fantastic. You’ve really bought each item right up to date and made it totally wearable. Also, I LOVE that pink top!

  22. you look fantastic. and making shorts from pants that no longer work is so rewarding. I love the pink top also, very pretty.

  23. You have every reason to be satisfied with both your weight loss (even if not needed) and having fixed up old clothes that they become modern again.

    • Thank you, Ann-Britt! I was at the top of the ‘safe’ weight amount on the liberal charts but overweight by Eat to Live and my standards. I’ve had fun up cycling the clothes for sure :)

  24. Sheila says:

    Congrats on your weight loss and love the refashion. You did an awesome job. I enjoy refashioning garments, but have never dyed any and you have inspired me. I have a few garments that could use color renewal…. Rite here I come.

  25. Amanda S. says:

    I love it! Congratulations on the weight loss!

  26. Karen says:

    You look so fabulous, but then you always did… Your remakes are very worthy of the time you gave to them, and it’s really fun to see what a little Rit dye can do! I have “potential” remake in my cedar closet of a dress I wore on our honeymoon almost 40 years ago (!!), but I’m just not sure I have the gumption to cut into it!

  27. Lauren says:

    I think remaking clothes you are no longer wearing makes perfect sense. Get another season out of them for little money. It goes perfectly with your concept in the first place – of making your own clothes instead of buying expensive ready made ones. Totally logical.

  28. Leigh Ann says:

    I really enjoyed seeing what you did with the refashioning. The clothes (and you!) look great. I had to laugh at your questions about the moral of the story. I ‘m in a similar position myself, being half way through my weight loss goal. I’ve given away a lot of things, but I find myself hanging on the some things, and fitting into other things again that I haven’t been able to wear in quite a while. I love the idea of refashioning some of it.

    • Congratulations on your weight loss, Leigh Ann! I’m a little over halfway there myself. I have to laugh at some of the clothes I’ve hung on to, but am thankful I’ve kept those special garments. Many thanks for writing ;)

  29. Congratulations on your weight loss! Where? You look so wonderfull I would never say you had such issue. Loosing the weight is much difficult so probably saying good bye to too small clouths is easier. However I think it is alway worth to make good selection of cloths and think of refashioning possibilies.
    You have done great job!

    • Thank you so much for your thought, Red Point Tailor! Different weight suits different people but I did not look or feel my best – still have a few more to get off. You’re right…. save carefully and get rid of the junk ;)

  30. Kristine says:

    Job well done, on both the weight loss and the sewing! Here’s to your shrinking waistline and expanding wardrobe!

  31. gingermakes says:

    Oooh, these are fabulous remakes! So glad they’re not wasting away in your closet anymore!

  32. Shams says:

    Wow! I am inspired by you! You look fabulous, but then, you always did!!! Congrats on your new look and your refashioned summer wardrobe. :)

  33. twotoast says:

    Congartulations to you on the weight loss and the ‘re-imagining’ of your wardrobe!!

  34. Wow you look great and what a difference all of those refashions make. From old and unwearable to a smart new up to date wardrobe for the summer. You really are an inspiration.

  35. Myra says:

    How nice is that! Almost a new wardrobe! Congratulations on you healthy life style and weight loss! You look great too! (But you looked great before too!)

  36. Look at you go, a girl after my own heart! Refashioning at it’s finest!!! Wow, I’m going to have to try Shams! You look great! I’ve got an extra twenty that’s been hanging on for too many years.
    Happy Sewing,

    • Thanks, Beth! I thought of you while sewing my upcycles for sure – especially one I’ve not finished. If I can get the weight off, anyone can. I could kick myself for carrying it around all these years ;)

  37. fool4fabric says:

    And do you look FABULOUS! Congratulations on the weight loss and the creativity that resulted in 4 “new” outfits…

  38. Sheree says:

    What will you do with all your recent makes! Are they too big for you now? Don’t worry about altering them – much better to give them to all your readers ( ha, ha).

  39. Julie Starr says:

    Any one of these remakes on its own is fantastic but an entire page full of them is incredible. Congratulations to you on your even more gorgeous than ever self. Ten years ago I lost 35 lbs with a program called Body For Life and still strive to adhere to those principles (nearly) every day. Those photos in the Doncaster dress…WOW, WOW, WOW!

    • jstarr4250 says:

      By the way- do they carry Dr. Ann Kulze’s radio segments on your PBS station? She’s the most inspiring, common sense nutrition/health speaker I’ve ever listened to.

      • Thanks, Julie! I can’t imagine you 35 pounds heavier, but it goes to show those extra pounds can creep up on most anyone :) I’m not familiar with Dr. Ann Kulze but will certainly check her out!

  40. Angie says:

    I tend to get rid of things I no longer wear, and now I’m wishing I’d kept a pair of print crops I made, because I think I might have liked them turned into shorts like yours! I have a pair of zebra-print crops that I still enjoy wearing, although their wildness does limit where I wear them. I’m going to turn them into walking shorts, which will tone down the wildness and make them a lot more wearable. Thanks for the inspiration!

  41. Tia Dia says:

    Love all your remodeling of items past! I am guilty of recycling if I get bored, and I often look back at photos and regret it! It seems to be hard-wired into me, though, because every 6 months I’m itching to clean out the stuff I don’t like/wear. And you looked so healthy and amazing before your weight loss that I would never have thought you would want to lose a few extra pounds. You look fabulous – as you always do! And a very happy July 4th weekend to you!

    • Thank you so much for the nice comment, Tia Dia! I had grown out of most of my clothes thinking it was temporary and the pounds kept creeping on. It feels good to shed some of the baggage for sure. Are you saying you regret refashioning your clothes or that you regret giving them away?

      • Tia Dia says:

        I regret giving them away! Usually it’s casual items that I give away – they seem to be more “disposable” in my sewing mind. :)

  42. Janis says:

    You have inspired me to look in my closet and see what I can whack and hack. : )

  43. Angela says:

    I love that book – and reading about your success is a definite push to get myself moving in the right direction. You look great! I am not even overweight by the scales or BMI, but oy – when I look in the mirror I see the extra pounds and am not happy. Losing 13 pounds would make a big difference. Congrats!

  44. velosewer says:

    What a great story. You’ve done an amazing job restyling your clothes and yourself. What a fulfilling achievement.
    Enjoy the day.

  45. Haylee says:

    They all look so great Shannon and so do you! Though the weight loss most definitely wasn’t needed, just for the record. You look great and you always have! It’s always fun to revamp your wardrobe a bit though, I need to do the same with mine just by organizing it better.

  46. Angela says:

    I love how you show the before and afters:) What great changes you made! You are inspiring me to look at my old frumpy clothes in a new light.

  47. Sharon says:

    Amazing refashions and those green shorts are definitely my favourite!

  48. How satisfying to fit back in smaller clothes, and you updated them so beautifully. (Although you’ve always looked slender to me). I need to drop my added pounds, as well, but first I have some July 4th eating to do! Have a great holiday!

  49. Philippa says:

    You look great, but then you already did…I love your refashions, so perfect for the summer season. I have to say the black dress in particular looks fabulous shortened, and you are right a little black dress will get so much more wear than a long one!

  50. coco says:

    Wow, girl – you look 10 years younger! and pretty as always. Love the black dress, great looking.

  51. Marianne says:

    Congrats on your success! I was wondering how your weight loss affects the fitting of your couture dress? I am in the middle of a weight loss battle and have been waiting to start the Craftsy course for that reason. Must set myself a limited time to reach my goal or I will be procrastinating forever….

    • Hi Marianne! The first couture dress is a little big now but the second one (Orange and White floral) fits much better. Why don’t you make a dress that fits you just the way you are? I find I feel better if my clothes fit no matter what size I am. Good luck with your weight loss and many thanks for writing!

  52. Joy says:

    Okay, I have ONE question. Are you “Sarah” or “Shannon”? I noticed someone called you Shannon, but I thought I saw your name was Sarah in an earlier post. Please forgive me if I’ve been calling you the wrong name! Whatever it is, you look AMAZING, and I think your redos are awesome. I am the type to haul dozens of bags to the Goodwill every year. I can’t stand the clutter. I’ve never bought expensive clothes, however, so I don’t think I could come up with such nice things as you have. Great post. I enjoyed reading it.
    Hugs, Joy

    • Joy, I’m SARAH!! I think Lori momentarily confused me with someone and then Haylee followed suit……. no big deal ;)
      I should haul big loads to Goodwill after taking a good look at some of the clothes i’ve been saving. There’s lots of junk mixed in with the good stuff!
      Many thanks for writing :)

  53. Almeda says:

    What an interesting post. You have given us all “food for thought”. :) It was so inspiring to read about Sham’s determined journey back to health, a journey we can all take valuable lessons from. When we “chose” to eat these nutritious foods suggested in her many resources, the spin offs are multifold. We feel better, look better (the pounds do come off) and we have that energy to exercise and to do the many things we are passionate about. Did I mention we will also live longer – think more days to sew and refashion (maybe some shopping :)) and especially to spend treasured time with family and friends. Thank you Sarah for this article – you look so happy and your new clothes suit you perfectly.

    *OK! I just had my kale smoothie and am off for my walk. The sun is finally shining in NS. :)

  54. My Sewing Suite says:

    You look great and all of the outfit makeovers looks great. This inspires me to look at my discarded donation items from my closet a little closer and remake them into something fabulous.
    I know you will reap many benefits from the change in your diet, Thanks for sharing.

  55. Sarah, this is awesome all around! Congrats on your healthy resolutions and on making such great modifications to your “vintage” closet finds. This is definitely an inspiring post on several levels!


  56. Eizabeth says:

    Oh how fun to wear clothes long too skinny. It must feel glorious. I think you did a bang up job refashioning them!

  57. Cindy says:

    LOVE! Especially the chocolate brown dress – you hit your “golden hem length” on it, the perfect proportion for your body, and the neckline is beautifully flattering on you. You really have the touch!

    • Thank you, Cindy! I’m going to copy the dress pattern somehow, someway. The lines are exactly what I want in a dress :)

      • Cindy says:

        Considering the cloning skills you perfected with your gorgeous “Katie Spade” garments, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some truly elegant “Doncassies.” ;=D

  58. Congratulations on your weight loss and your amazing makeovers.
    A very timely post as I’ve put on a large amount of weight recently (due to a now resolved medication issue) and am ready to get rid of it! I hadn’t been to Sham’s blog before so thank you for the link. You’re both very inspirational.

  59. Iryna says:

    You look beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I need to loose baby weight but not sure how.. I might try ETL. I was very impressed with your even dyeing with RIT!

    • Thank you so much Iryna! I remember trying to lose baby weight. The first time it came off naturally, but the second time was a different story although it eventually happened. Good luck to you!

  60. Sewellen says:

    WOW! Great job, on the clothing redux and the diet! You’re inspirational!

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