Thrifting Tips + Maxi Skirt Refashion

In the summer, I sew and write, write and sew.  Yesterday when I got tired of writing, I went to Goodwill and found this skirt for a mere $3…


It was a size 18.  But it turned into this…



Want to do some thrifty refashion projects yourself, but don’t know how to spot a good project piece?  Well, look no further than…

My Nifty Tips for Thrifting Refashion Projects!

1. Find a good print. Cute fabric is always what I look for first when I go thrifting.  If you don’t like the fabric, chances are you’re not going to wear what you make.

2. Check the size. It’s always better to go large when you can — extra fabric is always a safe bet.

3. Think about the possibilities before you buy.  In other words, make sure the item is refashion-able. Does it have a lot of seams that will need ripping? Will it be feasible to work with? Make sure the refashion you have in mind will be worth your time.

4.  Make sure the item is a good buy!  Just because it came from a thrift shop doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.  Know when your thrift shop’s sales are.  Why buy an $8 dress when you can get it for $3?

5.  Know when to splurge!  Obviously, thrift shops are probably never going to have the same items twice.  (Unless it really is horrendous and people keep donating it again.)  If you find a piece you know you can do something with, and you know you would actually wear it, and you’ve been looking for something like it for ages — go for it!  You’ll still be saving money — it’s a thrift shop.


Ribbon Accent Tee

As I type this, NaNoWriMo is one hour and twenty minutes away!  I could have done some last-minute planning today, but instead I got my hands on some cloth.

At college orientation, they gave us our t-shirts to wear at convocation this fall.  Well, guess who got a large instead of the small she asked for?  Yep, you guessed right.  But, guess who now gets to wear a perfectly fitted, completely unique convocation t-shirt?  Oh my gosh, you got it again!  :o

I neglected to take a before pic, but see the chalk lines on this shirt?  Those were traced from a shirt that fits me well.  Huge difference.


And this, my dear friends, was the end result:


I’m pretty happy.  This is probably my best t-shirt refashion ever.  Probably because I was being painfully careful since we HAVE to wear these for the convocation ceremony.  I did not want to ruin this shirt.

Click here to see the full tutorial of how I did this fun and simple refashion!

Dress to Skirt Refashion

I got this tube top dress at Plato’s Closet, a super awesome resale store, about a year ago.  I really liked the dress then and wore it a lot, but I’m not so into it anymore.  With old clothes you don’t like, there are two options: give away, or refashion.  Totally obvious.


Before. . .cute dress, unworn. . .


The plan was to chop off the skirt part and reattach it to the bodice a little higher so the elastic sat at my waist instead of my hips.  However, the bodice had less fabric in the back than it did at the front, so even though I cut straight, the hem ended up uneven.  Therefore, I hemmed the inch of fabric I had left at the top of the skirt, and voila.  New skirt.  I’m more likely to wear a skirt than a dress, anyway.


. . .after!  Much more wearable.

Skirt Refashion

A couple years ago I was involved in a group challenge competition called Destination Imagination, or DI.  Basically we chose a challenge to complete and were given a few months to work on it, then we presented our solution at the regional competition.  Our solution involved dressing up like old-time-y soldiers and using a crane made out of PVC pipe to put objects in buckets.  (And did I mention there was a wall between us and the objects?  We had to work out a system to figure out where to put the crane.  It was very complicated.  Oh, and while this was going on we were putting on a play — our objects were actually bombs and we had to place them before the enemy found us out.  Or before we ran out of time and got disqualified.  That, too.)


There weren’t really female soldiers back in the 1800s, and therefore we had no idea what a female soldier in the 1800s would wear.  That is why I ended up in a long-sleeved black t-shirt and a long, gray, button down skirt.

I never wore that skirt again, until a few months back I got the bright idea to chop off the bottom and hem it.  Tada — short skirt.  However, the skirt had a lot of extra fabric I didn’t like.  It kind of poked out and looked weird in the back.

Lots of extra fabric. . .also needs ironing.
Extra, extra, read all about it!

Up until recently I didn’t know how to take things in.  Hurray, now I do!

This skirt had really awesome pockets I wanted to save.  I attempted to detach the pockets from the side seams so I could fold them up while I took the skirt in and then still have them.  This is what happened:

Don’t do this. Bad.

That hole on the right there is (what used to be) the side seam.  The other hole is the one you stick your hand into to get the the pocket.  So that failed.  The pockets were going to have to be sacrificed.

1.  I chalked a line on the inside where I wanted to take the skirt in.  I basically just followed the grain of the fabric without measuring anything.  Before I did anything to it this skirt was meant to hide everything.  Everything.

Chalk lines! Those pins on the right edge closed up the hole I made attempting to save the pockets. I didn’t bother to baste it; that part came off anyway.

2.  Sew up the sides on your chalk lines!  Pink off the extra fabric.

Don’t know if it’s visible, but this has been sewn.
Begone, extra!

Two steps.  That’s all it took.

Much better.
No pouf at the back! Hurray!

I love how this turned out.  However, I’m still kind of bummed that the pockets died.  Any suggestions on how I might save them next time?

One Man’s Trash — Tank Dress Refashion

I’m pretty pumped to begin blogging.  I’ve had blogs before, but not awesome ones.  And I didn’t keep up with them anyway.  Hopefully this will be different, although I have a feeling that once school starts it’ll get neglected. . .hopefully not!  We’ll see.  Onward!

My mom cleaned out her closet today — there were clothes pretty much covering the entire bedroom.  She had a huge Goodwill pile, which naturally I had to sift through because as a pastime I peruse Pinterest and other refashioning blogs, which give me so much inspiration it’s not even funny.  On my sifting journey I happened upon this beauty:

It’s hugungous! (Also excuse the lack of makeup on face. . .I’ve been home all day, okay?)

It’s a button down tank dress, which is a style I happen to like (I own two already).  Obviously, it’s huge and rather hideous right now.  I wasn’t crazy about the pink and blue vertical stripes (which you can’t really see in this picture), and the material was sort of worn and stained around the hem, but I figured, what the heck.  It’ll be comfy when my athletic shorts are in the wash.

1.  First things first — I removed the hideous pockets.  The one on the breast sat in an awkward spot (it’s not so good to be short when clothes are made for tall people — thank God for seam rippers).  The two on the side went over the side seams, which wasn’t very cute and made the dress bulkier.

Mwahaha — pockets detached!

2.  Next I put the dress on and measured how much I would need to take it in by pinching the excess material on the sides.  It ended up being 3 inches on each side.  Turn the dress inside out, lay it flat, and pin 3 inches in on each side.

Just keep pinning, just keep pinning, just keep pinning, pinning, pinning. . .
My fish pin cushion says hi. Isn’t he cute? (Perhaps someday I’ll show you how to make him. . .)

3.  Sew up the sides where you’ve pinned!  At this point, the color thread you use doesn’t matter because this seam does not show.  (Good for me, because my bobbin was black.)  You can also cut off the extra material with pinking shears.

You don’t see the pins here because I forgot to take a picture before I finished sewing. . .oops.
Snip, snip. Don’t be hasty with the pinking shears! I’ve pinked through seams before.

4.  The fit was good after I took the dress in.  However, it was still pretty lengthy.  I folded up the hem 4 1/2 inches, pinned it, ironed it, and chopped it off.

Measuring and pinning must be done — alas.
Chop, chop!

(I left it pinned while I chopped, because that way I could just stick the scissors into the fold I ironed, which makes for a neat cut.)

5.  The only thing left was to hem the raw edge under.  Have I mentioned I hate measuring and pinning?  Alas, I do not own a serger so I usually end up hemming twice to hide that raw edge.  However, I discovered that you can do a zigzag stitch on the edge of your fabric and line that with a straight stitch — voila.  I tested this on the strip I cut off from the bottom of the dress, then tried to make it fray — it wouldn’t.

Zigzag stitch, then straight stitch on the outer edge.

I did that to the raw edge of my dress, then pinned it up 5/8 of an inch  and sewed.  Hemming twice to hide the raw edge looks much nicer, but this works in a pinch (or if you’re lazy, like me).

Hemming — almost done!

Here is the finished product:

Much better. No more frumpy elephant!

As you can see, the armholes were rather large so I had to stick a tank top under it.  Also the skirt turned out a bit fuller than I would’ve liked.  However, overall I like the way this turned out.  The stained bits got cut off when I hemmed the skirt, so that was taken care of.  This will be a good dress to wear to the pool or working around the house.

Ciao for now!  Keep cutting corners.