Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kangaroo Dress Makeover

This dress has been screaming to me from my closet for over a year now, "FIX ME! MAKE ME PRETTY!", and I finally sat down with it and had a sewing adventure, making it wearable again. the kangaroo print is the best part! 

I purchased this dress at a Goodwill in Grand Haven, Michigan, during a visit last year. My mom, my two sisters, and I all went thrifting together and my mom proposed a challenge, she gave us each $20 and we could spend any more or any less. We each had to spend exactly $20. This is a huge challenge for me. Only $20?! Once I get to looking at clothes in a thrift store, I'm bound to fill up a cart and spend $40-60. I have a hard time saying no, I'm way too impulsive, and when I can just fix a hem or completely redo a dress, my options among the hideous discarded clothes really open up. 

What would you do to this dress? Would you give it a second glance if you saw it at the thrift store? Things to consider when purchasing something from Goodwill: the quality of the garment and fabric, are the seams intact, does it need much repair? What alterations are necessary to make it wearable again, is it worth it? Is it something within your sewing expertise? If it seems like too much work, say 'what the hell' once in a while and try something new. You never know what you're capable of until you try! So many readers and friends tell me, "Oh I wish I could sew like you" and "I wish I had your skills" but in all actuality, it's not that hard to sew, you always get out what you put in. If you try you will learn and improve upon your skills of sewing. I wish everyone knew how to sew like they did 50 years ago!

So back to that thrifting trip, I had my arms full with a handful of items, a gorgeous suede skirt, a bright yellow linen skirt, a silk blouse, this kangaroo dress, a watch, and a few shirts. Well I don't remember the pricing of everything, but my total was about $35 and I had to get rid of some things. I opted out on the suede and linen skirts and put back a few blouses. BUT THEN! As I was standing in the checkout, I discovered a Sailboat Marushka for $15, throwing me for a loop. Do I put everything back for an awesome vintage wall hanging? And these are wall hangings I've had a love affair with for ages! I came so close to putting everything back for this one item, but I loved the kangaroo print WAY too much. After adding a few small items, I spent right around $19! It was a miracle! 

For this reconstruction, I used:
  • scissors
  • chalk
  • ruler
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • rolled hem foot (optional)
  • 1/2" elastic, 3 inches less than your waist measurement
I started off by cutting 9 inches off the skirt of the dress. It was just way too long. (I'm using that 9" of scrap material to make a few skirts with some added scrap fabric!) Then I cut off the sleeves, making the scraps about 2" wide after allowing enough room for a seam allowance. To reinforce the waist's new shape, I sewed new elastic over top of the existing waist's elastic. I take my waist measurement, and subtract a few inches. Then, I mark the elastic in quarters with a disappearing marker to be sure the stretch is evenly distributed. When I sew it, I sew right over top of the existing seam, and that quarter mark hits the side seams, center front and center back. This bring the waist in to YOUR size. I also cut the front of the neckline into a scoop neck. Rolled hems all around on the hem, sleeves, and neckline. BAM! DONE! 

Let's play Where's Waldo with cats? I love looking at shots I've taken in my work room to find cats in the background. Lately they haven't been hanging out with me much, I guess they aren't fans of the X-Files, as that's what I've been watching while I work this week. Bunch of brats. They just sleep all day and complain when they're hungry. I love them so much, but as they get older, man are they grumps!

The finished dress! Whatcha think? This dress will be for sale at my festival show, Arts In The Heart, next month, and then on my Etsy shop if it doesn't sell at the three day festival. Expect many more clothes in the future from Sally Ann. I'm a busy bee and just can't stop creating things! Good problem to have right? I love being a workaholic.

Another dress I made this week. From double-knit polyester pants from the 70s, a gorgeous little dress!

Happy Thursday everyone! And hello to the new readers that found my blog through my giveaway on Selective Potential. I'm excited to have you all. And everyone else, check out Tieka's giveaway for a chance to win a purse from my new collection!

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  1. I am so in love with this dress, the print is so perfect and I LOVE how you re-styled it! I just bought a dress for 3 dollars at a thrift store that is super cute, but it's huge on me and I don't really know how to alter and re-style yet. I hope I can gather some info from this post and figure out how to make this dress fit like a dream!


  2. Love, love, love! I need to make a Goodwill trip . . .