27 February 2020

Dressed to Thrill

Turning a $7 thrift shop dress into a "looks like $700 dress" was an interesting read in my news subscription email in 2015. The author used one thrift-shop find to convert another thrift-shop find that didn't fit into the right size by dismantling the first piece and inserting lace panels and hem into the second piece, creating a beautiful wearable piece of art for pennies on the dollar.

I absolutely love the concept, but I rarely shop for clothes anymore, with the exception of T-shirts and turtlenecks to wear beneath jumpers I make myself (although I did frequent thrift shops for clothing bargains back when my kids still lived at home).

My fashion addiction is one-of-a-kind clothing I make and often design myself. For the last decade or more, I've used remnants from my stash to piece my clothing.

This fun time bandit began back in high school the first time I was able to afford a piece of each fabric in a coordinated collection, way back before precuts. If I recall correctly, I think it took six babysitting jobs to pay for six yards of fabric! This was long before the current going rate for babysitting and the current cost of nice fabric. I think I made $2.50 a night for babysitting way back then, and I probably never spent more than 99 cents a yard for fabric then. I had other expenses that came before play (monthly PE towel and locker fee, notebooks, paper, pens, tissue, astringent for my oily face, etc.), so buying a vinyl record album ($4.99 back then) or a good pair of jeans ($8.99) would take about twice as much money raised before I could actually fun-spend.

The white cotton I bought featured pastel pin stripes, each yard in a different color. I cut the fabric into two-inch squares, some horizontal, some vertical and some diagonal, which I then restitched together into a huge piece of fabric I then cut into a collared button-up dress shirt I wore for many years, until the sleeves became so thin, my elbows poked through. I wish I had a picture of that blouse. It was my favorite for so long!

Now all my favorite pieced clothing is becoming too thin to wear any longer again, and I'm spending too much time patching. Even traditionally-sewn dresses are wearing thin because I wear them too long. And that's not a complaint at all, except I wish the fabric would last longer.

I think it's time for a new wardrobe. But you won't find me shopping in any mall. I'll be making my new dresses from what I have in my stash. I'll even be using patterns I've kept using over and over and over until they, too are becoming nearly too thin to use anymore!


  1. I'm giving serious thought to sewing a lining to my getting-too-thin garments and try to get some more wear out of them :)


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