Monday, February 15, 2010

Ruffle Slayer

The ruffles, oh the ruffles! I like a ruffle here and there, but I cannot abide an over abundance of them. And this top that I picked up a couple of years ago was overrun with ruffles:

Now, I found this shirt in a thrift store a while back and tried it on and liked it in spite of the ruffles. It had some great style points, like the buttons to one side and the color. But if I was going to make this shirt part of my wardrobe, those ruffles would have to die.

I got out my handy seam ripper and took out the faux-Shakespearean neck ruffle and the two ruffles that ran from the front to the back, while leaving the comparatively tasteful ruffles around the sleeves. When I pinned it back together, I stopped--it needed more work, but I was too afraid to just jump in and cut into the fabric. What if I messed it up?

After the inspiration of reading New Dress A Day and my weekend thrift adventure, I felt bold enough to tackle this shirt again. So I busted it out of the project bag and finally sewed the seams back up.

What had been stopping me from completely finishing was that I wanted to change the neckline. Once the ruffles were gone, the neck was boring and plain and didn't really fit with the style of the de-ruffled top. So I took a deep breath and cut into the fabric. Then I seamed it up. Then I tried it back on--and I really like how it turned out.

Not a perfect fix, but it helped me see that I have nothing to lose by trying something. I like the asymmetrical neckline with the buttons to one side, and I like that I turned a ruffled monstrosity into a sassy, interesting top. That's what I get for taking a chance!

*Edited to add: I have to think my fellow thrift adventuress, AW, for spurring me to haul this out of the bucket. I think she said something along the lines of "Just finish the darned thing." And that's what good friends are for.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Old Things Made New

My parents bought a lot of my clothes at thrift stores when I was a kid. Now, I didn't mind that so much (when I found things I liked), but some of the things my mom would buy for me were hideous or just not very trendy. I can vividly recall a pair of pants straight from the early eighties with a floral pattern in blues and greens and pinks. It looked like someone vomited a bouquet, and I refused to wear it, causing my mom to swear she'd never buy me clothes ever again.

When I started making my own money, I stopped going to thrift stores as much, preferring new clothes that were in style and new.

Fast forward a few years, and now I love finding things secondhand. For one thing, they're so cheap! And I can often find good quality clothing for a mere fraction of the price. While I would willingly purchase secondhand clothes if they fit, I never really thought about buying something with the goal of making it into something else.

Last week, a friend sent me a link to the New Dress A Day blog. The author's goal is to create a new outfit out of cheaply ($1 or so) thrifted clothing. Some of the outfits are a little out there for my own style, but I loved her ideas. She is creative and often completely transforms an ugly article into something adorable.

After reading through her backlog of posts, I promptly planned a Great Thrift Excursion with a friend and hit up many of our area thrift stores. I found lots of adorable things (that wouldn't need work) and several pieces that would need a little work, and a few that would need a LOT of work before they would be wearable.

One item was a cute corduroy blazer. While it fit perfectly in length and fit, the sleeves were too short.

The jacket is a petite. Apparently I have a petite upper body except for my long arms. This jacket is no good without a littl help, so that's exactly what I decided to do.

I wear a lot of 3/4 sleeve sweaters, shirts, and little jackets (because of the long arm problem, even "regular" lengths are often a little short on my arms), so I simply lopped off the jacket sleeves to an appropriate 3/4 length, hemmed it up, and tada! new jacket.

It's great what a little creativity and $2 can get you. I also fixed a couple of belts to wear over outfits, but that's pretty boring (I punched new holes or cut off some of the length so they fit me better).

I look forward to showing you some more of my transformations--I certainly have enough projects to keep me busy for a while!