DIY Dress Redo

Do you like to shop at thrift stores and yard sales?  Me too!  I’ve come to be a very picky shopper when it comes to thrift stores.  For one thing, they aren’t as cheap as they used to be, so even if I really like a garment, I usually wont buy it unless I’m really satisfied with the fit.  Usually.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of reworking garments and breathing new life into them, I’m just not very good at it.  I know my limitations.  I like to sew, but my skills are only so so.

The following is a little story about how and why I chose to rework this cotton thrift store sundress.  I was inspired to write this post after reading about the Me-Made-June 2011 challenge which my friend Margaret of the blog senjiva and the Cynical Carnival is participating in.  The gist of the challenge is to wear one thing that you’ve made yourself every day for the month of June.  The items can be complete outfits, a single garment piece (like a skirt or top) or an accessory.  They can be sewn, knit, crochet, whatever.  I really admire Margaret for taking on this challenge.

So although I am not participating in the Me-Made-June 2011 Challenge, I thought I’d share this story…

A few years ago my husband and I went to Hawaii to become WWOOFers (WWOOF stands for world wide opportunities on organic farms).  Before we left, we went shopping for some “good” down and dirty work cloths.  You know, stuff we could get really messed up but would keep us nice and protected from the sun while working on a farm.  We also knew that we’d need to pack very light for this three-week trip.

While we were shopping I came across this really cute sun dress.  I thought, this would be the perfect thing for me to wear around in hot and humid Hawaii after changing out of my work clothes each day.  The only problem; it didn’t fit.  It was too big.

No biggie.  At home I took it in on the sides.  Then I added straps (scraps from another sun dress that was stained and too small) to be doubly sure that it wouldn’t fall down on me.  I even added an extra piece of fabric with some elastic on the bottom edge to the inside of the bodice which acts as a kind of built-in bra.

I didn’t think that the dress was appropriate to wear in Morocco so it went into storage for last a couple of years.  Then, a few weeks ago when the weather started to warm up, I decided to get it out.  I discovered that I really liked it with a light weight, short-sleeve cardigan (above) that I found at a thrift store recently and my favorite leather flats (handmade in Morocco).

But, it was missing just one thing…pockets!  When I’m working at home I’m always wearing my ipod nano, which is why I need to have pockets.  Luckily I still had just enough of the fabric I used for the straps to make two pockets that I top stitched onto the dress, using the side seams as my guides.

I love how light, airy and comfortable this dress is.  I wear it all the time, usually on the hottest days.  It’s so functional!  Plus it makes my feel feminine and dressed up, even if I don’t leave the house, but at the same time I’m not embarrassed to leave the house in it either.

If you’ve been on the fence about reworking a thrifted garment but are apprehensive because of your sewing skills, I say just go for it!  Really, you don’t have anything to lose, but you might just gain one of your favorite outfits.



Filed under Just For Fun

2 responses to “DIY Dress Redo

  1. What a great story and a great up-cycle! 🙂 This is super cute! I have been meaning to do a few things for myself this summer as well. (They have just been sitting around my house) Had a few projects that needed to get done lately, but now that they are done, I may just join you in this callenge. Although I am sure I can’t post every day about it. Thanks so much for the reminder and inspiration! Can’t wait to see what else you create!

  2. senjiva

    I loooooove your dress!!! You look so pretty.
    I have an indian-print sack of a dress that could definitely benefit from the same treatment. Pockets are definitely a necessity.
    And thank you for tooting my horn. You rock.

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