Sunday, February 15, 2009


My favorite weekend sport is cruising for yard sales, and since I live in Southern California the opportunities are pretty much year round. (Except when it rains on Saturday morning!) I never used to look for clothing, figuring I wouldn’t find anything in my size. How wrong I was—once I started to keep an eye out for things to wear I was amazed at what I found. And the prices…ooh la la! Drop in at my blog sometime to check out my weekly finds (and the stories that go with them!).

I feel so fortunate to have all this thrifting treasure available here. But like many thrifters, I've been known to bring home great deals that weren’t so great because I never used the item. One of my goals this year is not to let that happen. So when it rained a couple of Saturdays ago, I used my normal garaging time to remodel this skirt and blouse I picked up last summer for a buck and a half.

They’re by Ulla Popken, and judging from her website would have been about $70 each retail. Rayon with embroidery and some tasteful sequins. The tag said dry clean.

I don’t dry clean.

I don’t like the smell of the chemicals, don’t think they’re healthy to be around, and I don’t like the cost. My frugal self can't quite see buying something for a dollar or two and then spending over and over to dry clean it. So any yard sale clothing that says dry clean, I hand wash. Almost never has this backfired, and the item or two that shrank just got donated. They weren’t ruined, just smaller!

The top on this set shrank selectively. After I hand washed and dried it on the line, it was a little snug, especially the sleeves. Heck, I thought, but then I started considering the skirt. I have short legs, so lots of skirts hit the tops of my shoes if I don’t shorten them or hike them up under my armpits. This skirt was quite long, and has a ruffled tier on the bottom—not a candidate for shortening at the hem. However, skirts can easily be shortened from the top.

I picked open the elastic waist on the skirt, cut off about 5”, sewed a new casing, reinserted elastic and voila, the skirt was a length I like. Then I picked open the side and underarm seams on the top and inserted the cut-off skirt material. I admit picking out seams is boring, but I did it while watching a movie so it didn’t drive me mad. Since the fabric is black, I fancy the addition is barely noticeable. And if anyone ever comments on it I'll just say yes, I did add in some fabric, aren’t you clever to have noticed.

So now I have this comfy and (I think) spiffy dress to wear.

Since I had a few scraps of the black fabric left, I was able to repair a bleach spot on the sleeve of another (twenty five cent!) We Be Bop shirt.

I appliqu├ęd a small heart over it. Yes, wearing my heart on my sleeve, as the saying goes. I’m easily amused.

I used the same shorten-from-the-top technique a while back on this Jones New York silk skirt.

It was a couple of sizes too small, but cut on the bias and very long. This one has a set-on waistband, which I removed. Cut off a few inches at the top, put the waistband back on, inserted elastic, and now it’s my size and length. Which made me very happy, since I paid a whole dollar for this one!


Dee said...

Wow, I think you're very talented to see the potential in your finds and then transform them. So creative
x D

t*e*i*k*o*d*o*r*n*o*r said...

love the fabric!