Hey sewing bees! Welcome to my new obsession… ok, new-old obsession. Thrifted upcycles, steampunk prairie and anything roses…
I’ve got a confession. Until recently, I have not been much for thrifted clothes. I’ve gone through phases of stocking up on thrifted cashmere to remake into something more to my liking, but other than that, I never even stop to rifle through the dress racks at Goodwill. In general, I found that the availability of my size (size 18-20 dress) was pretty slim pickins’ and usually not to my taste.
That has changed.
For one thing, Jeff and I are in and out of thrift shops a couple times a week, checking out the pile of furniture and housewares for all-wood dressers and tarnished silver. So I have lots of opportunity for dress-thrifting.
But more importantly is my current obsession with clothes. I go through this every once in a while. A 100% focus on a certain look that I simply MUST have in my closet.
Honestly, bees, this goes WAY back to the 90’s, floral prints, combat boots (yes, I’ve been eyeing up 18 hole Docs…) and the perfection that was Julia Robert’s wardrobe in Dying Young…
HOLY SIDENOTE BATMAN!! I just did a quick google search for a dying young image… best one that came up was from (drumroll) this blog! Turns out a few years ago I did a meandering, bloviating post about my style. Nothing has changed. I still love to meander and bloviate and still have/ will always have the following as my style icons (in no particular order…)
Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink
Jami Gertz/Starr from the Lost Boys
Meg Ryan/Sally from When Harry Met Sally
Julia Roberts/Hilary from Dying Young
Kim Basinger/Elizabeth from 9 1/2 weeks
Honorable mention: Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, have always loved the menswear look but never have been able to pull off due to excessive curviness.
Let’s get back on track, shall we?
My POINT here, is that I’ve refocused on the look I love, found new inspiration and have been combing the racks at the thrift shops for good stuff for my perfect wardrobe.
So here’s a little of what I’ve done lately… let’s start with the ‘before’ picture!
On our left we have a department-store/mall store brand denim dress. I bought it for the fabric – I planned to bleach it and use as yardage to make a pair of trousers. The dress is a size 14, and I normally wear an 18-20, so I didn’t even try it on.
On the right we have a Gap skirt in a lovely floral cotton with a side tie/button placket and a white cotton underskirt. It’s a size 20 – I didn’t even know Gap made larger sizes! And it was about ankle length on me. The sweater is hand knitted in a cotton/ramie blend and has cool ribbons laced through all the openwork. The bustier is completely ridiculous and on the tarty side (hello cleavage) but I absolutely love it!
Here’s the rundown:
I crumpled this one up and soaked in a very weak bleach solution for about 24 hours, creating a dirty dish backup situation in the kitchen. Once it was washed and dried I was folding to put in my ‘material’ stash when I decided to try it on. I absolutely loved the fit – since it’s smaller than my dress size it makes a perfect layering piece. I pinched out a couple of folds in the front/lower sides and just stitched a line to hold and give it a big of movement. It’s hard not to wear this every day. Also, I clearly need a pony!
This I added a ton of ruching all the way around the hem. On the side seams I stitched about 12″ of basting stitches, then scrunched all the way up and ran a line of zig-zag stitches of the ruching to secure. On the front and back, I ran basting lines between 8 and 10 inches and did the same. Then I pinched in a couple of horizontal pleats on the front and back for a bit more interest and stitched with my machine. About 3 inches of straight stitching to secure each fold.
I almost left the sweater as is… it was a bit dowdy, but I’m digging longer cardi’s lately. It’s very bulky, though, and I wasn’t sure if I would wear it. I carefully trimmed off the shell edging from the lower front pieces and all the way around the back. Then I laid flat and cut the new, curved front corners with my rotary cutter. I whip stitched the trim back on, with the raw edges towards the front and then stitched on a bit of lace to cover the raw seam. I like the new shape a LOT… the sweater’s dirty, though, so I’m going to do a nice woolite soak then lay out flat. I’m hoping that will help get some of the curl out of the trim and get it to behave!
I didn’t do a damn thing, except iron out some wrinkles! I am totally digging the tarty biker prairie chick vibe. I’ll probably wear this out over the summer!
What upcycles are all of you working on these days??
Hey folks! If you want to see more of my inspiration, check out my board on Pinterest “Lagenlookin’ and Mori Mori‘