Upcycled Denim 'Cat Lady' Shirt into Lovely Wrap Blouse with Puff Sleeves


I've sewn continuously for 5 years, bouncing from a regular sewing machine to my serger, and back to the sewing machine when the stitch was required. My husband even bought me a rolling chair so I did not have to get up anymore for a quick baste or serge. (Not a good strategy for weight management though!)

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for the mention of the sewing and sergers below. This opinions are exclusively mine and based on my experience only.

The Machines I've Bought

I've burned through 3 sewing machines:

  • A Pfaff 1030 'Hobby', (15 years old), a wedding gift from my mother-- it just died one night in it's sleep.

  • An 'expensive at the time' Husqvarna Emerald 118 , stopped working mid-stitch late one night which had me scrambling to Walmart at 10pm for a cheapo (see next bullet point)

  • A cheapo Singer, 'Fashion-Mate' purchased out of desperation to meet a deadline...definitely a beginner machine not meant for heavy duty use...perfect for making quarantine masks or hair scrunchies.

Currently I am on a Brother XR3340 from Costco, and so far so great! Good price point for the value.

I've upped my serger game from one serger to 4!!!!:

  • Two Juki m-1000...using each machine when I am working on multi-piece costumes and need to quickly move from one color to the other (ie white for petticoats or aprons and a color for the dress)

  • One refurbished Babylock Imagine...permanently set to make beautiful silky, tight rolled hems

  • One Bernette...hello 1980's solid, well-made machine! a $50 purchase off Facebook Marketplace...permanently set to white thread

My sewing room--all machines not shown

Headless Friends

I started Costume Take-Out with one mannequin and now have 4 dress forms! I even thought I needed more sizes, but have learned to adapt 'plus' or 'male' shapes to each form...I accommodate all size requests.

The Late Nights & Weight Gain & Bad Posture

Finger Health

Many long nights into the early hours of the mornings left me with a melange of sorely cracked fingertips, alongside healing wounds and calluses forming.

Weight Gain

I probably do not need to point out that along with long hours, little movement, sitting, sitting and sitting and blindly eating whatever entertained me (sewing can be boring at times) there's weight gain. For my petite frame, I put on 25 pounds of extra weight from mindlessly shoveling Ruffles potato chips and chocolate into my mouth while distracted by listening (cant' watch) to Netflix and sewing.

I could not fit into any of my pants anymore, and I started developing a 4-plex in the 'bust department' when I put on my bras.

I did not develop a complex,

I developed a Busty 4-Plex!

Hunch-Back of Notre Dame

And I am officially a hunch-back...it happens over a constantly bending over. Also, my lower back pain can be sharp sometimes (currently trying to un-do damage done with yoga.)

Me, the Hunch-Back of Costume Take-Out

Covid-19 Quarantine...A Welcomed Break?!


How bad does that sound?

Yeah...I'm coming clean.

....even though I was really creating momentum with my business,

...even though costume rentals almost tripling,

...even though CTO was finally inducted into 'the black', leaving 'the red' finances behind,

...even though this 48 year old was finally getting the hang of her website, social media....

I was just exhausted. There, I said it. I was freakin' exhausted.

I needed to get out of my 40' x 40' studio--the darkest room in the house.

Thank You Quarantine

I might be in the minority out there, but I am saying "Thank You" to Quarantine. Because not only did Quarantine give me a much needed respite from my business, it took me out of necessary compulsion to make more and more costumes to meet growing demand...it brought me back to spending more time with my family.

Every night dinner for weeks on end with my husband and two teen daughters?--priceless...

I was able to get back into my garden and once, in a long time, enjoy Spring here in Northern California, before the weather becomes unbearable at 100F+ for 2 months straight.

Me, a Dirty Garden Hoe, in the garden I'm slowly evolving


So here's the thing with gardening...I can't do it for endless hours as I used to do when I was younger. When I was younger, I'd say "Bring It!", and quickly sculpt my body in time for summer sleeveless blouses, or dare I say bikinis.

But I am now 48...not that I am keeling over soon, but I can't work for more than 4 hours a day or it will put my shoulder, elbow and wrist into cahoots with me. And then I can't really sleep with the painful nerve pulses or that numb, dead-weight sensation, and subsequent day time carpal tunnel syndrome. Not worth it anymore.

Eva, an Oxymoron, Empahsis on 'Moron'

Hmmm.....gardening not eating up all my time, cooking and cleaning getting done,

This lady has some extra time on her hands!

Oh geeze, don't say it Eva!

Don't do it!

Oh, you are going to do it, aren't you?

Heck Yeah! I'm going back in deep! Back to the sewing room to Upcycled a thrifted 'Cat Lady' shirt into a DIY romantic boho wrap blouse.

Cat Lady Shirt

If you watch Saturday Night Live, and have seen Kate McKinnon's 'Cat Lady Skit, you will understand my reference.

Go ahead...Google it...I'll wait right here....

When I found this shirt on the $1 clearance rack at the thrift store, it was almost a "Swipe Left"....a "Cat Lady" shirt.

But what kept my hand on the hanger and compelled my to swipe back into my original visual point, was the embroidery. That's when I knew there was something inherent in this way-oversized, Fuddy-Duddiness.