Reuse: the scarf dress

During the mania of the Fred Flare sample sale I bought the most adorable little dress without trying it on. When I say little, 9 year old Jen would have barely fit into it… after lipo. Cute pattern, soft material, delusion thinking: Sold! We’re all guilty of irrational buying and then we’re stuck with a closet full of clothing with tags still on them.

I had a few options:

1. Save it for when I lose 80 pounds (aka never)? No.

2. Donate it to Beacon’s Closet (aka it sits in a bag for 6 months)? Maybe?

3. Make it into a scarf dress… YES!

Problem: I can’t sew. As a 1st generation Sicilian-America lady I am ashamed. But Greenpointers are a crafty bunch, so I made an SOS on Facebook and the talented Jill Sessa came to the rescue.

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I was greeted at the door by the 3.5lb puppy Purl who was more interested in playing fetch than my scarf-dress conundrum.

Jill’s time is valuable. Seeing the amount of gadgets plugged in at her kitchen counter/desk, I knew Jill meant business. Not only is she a marketing expert for Isagenix, she runs her own online marketing consulting business called AskJillSessa.com. If that isn’t enough, she is about to launch a new website. Wait for it…

First: scarf dress. We had one hour to chat it up and sew like ladies.

Ever go by Bedame-Sessa Park near the BQE? It’s named after one of Jill’s relatives. Jill, a LI native who lived in Buffalo for a time, recently moved back to Brooklyn downsizing from a 2500sq. ft house to a 465sq. ft studio with killer views of Greenpoint.

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Her place, decorated in all shades of calming green, is designed so that every square inch counts. Living simply affords Jill time to pick up and travel anywhere she wants, with little Purl of course. Murphy’s bed: check. A Pilates bench serves as her office chair and the mod coffee table rises to seat 8. Plus, when Jill is feeling crafty it’s her sewing table. Jill is a design genius, too.

 

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Jill had her own ideas for the scarf that were quite different from my cavewoman notion of shredding it then piecing it back together somehow. She kept the integrity of the dress by leaving design elements: the zipper, the tag and one of the sleeves that would serve as the loop to hook the scarf into. Jill is basically a crafty sewey genius.

And a great teacher who calls you out. “You tried this on, didn’t you?” she asked pointing out the torn back slit. I shrugged my shoulders innocently thinking back to cramming session that was followed by fabric tearing sounds. “You are going to sew it up.” Learning by doing is Jill’s motto. It was my first time on a sewing machine and I was scared, but Jill coached me through it and it felt great.

“Listen to the garment,” Jill said as we made the biggest move which was to cut an entire sleeve off to square away the fabric. We kept trying it on, working it in front of the mirror and modifying until we got it just right.

Next was the fun part, gathering the material by making straight long stitches then pulling the thread at one end to bunch the fabric.

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Once it was tight enough we tied off the thread. This gave the scarf body and texture. It was finished and looked fantastic!

In one hour Jill helped me transform an ill-fitting dress into a chic scarf that I rocked on my bike ride home.

Already this blog is paying off. Not just because I got a rad scarf, but because I am meeting talented people who are willing to share useful skills which I can pass on to you. The power of social networking shouldn’t keep us online but get us out there meeting real people in real life like good little human robots.

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Not only was scarf-making inspiring, but more so was how spontaneously the project came together. Facebook outcry, a few emails, then I hopped on my bike and met our new friend Jill. I love Jill’s getter-done attitude. “You want a scarf? Get over here and let’s make a scarf!” No flakesters need apply.

Aside from her stellar marketing career, when Jill isn’t helping desperate bloggers reinvent their wardrobes, she has been working on a new soon to launch E-Series called Not Promised Tomorrow where Jill gives advice on how to live your life to the fullest, in the moment, and not wait for tomorrow because as the amazing Frank Sinatra sang, “Let’s forget about tomorrow for tomorrow never comes” (I’m a cornball; get used to it.)

Sign-up to find out more information about Jill’s exciting E-Series. And try to make your own dress (or whatever) scarf. Use your imagination and send me photos of the finished product to post on the blog: greenpointers (at) gmail.com.

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

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