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Refashioning: Looking past what’s on the hanger

Second-hand clothes shopping often requires a bit more creativity than new-clothes shopping does. Really, this is true with most any second-hand shopping…a lot of used things just need a little bit of fixing, updating, or customizing. If you can get used to looking past what you initially see and instead look at what the item could be, you’ll find a whole new word of possibilities before you.

The fish dress I made for Zoe is an example of this, and I have another clothing-related examples to share with you today.

I recently modified something for myself as well. Our sister church has a bi-annual free yard sale event (everyone brings in clothing and household items that they don’t want and the items are all given away for free), and I found a white knee-length Forever 21 skirt while I was helping to sort bags and bags of donations.

I have kind of a thing for white dresses and skirts, so this immediately appealed to me. The only thing I didn’t like was the lace trim at the hem.

A white lace-edged skirt.

I thought it was reminiscent of a tablecloth. Or something.

Plus, though I like being feminine, I do lean towards the more simple end of things, which means that lace is not my favorite thing ever. And given that the fabric has flowers all over it to begin with, I felt like the lace was just too much.

So, I ironed the edge under and sewed a new, plainer-looking hem.

A woman wearing a white knee-length skirt.

Yay! That’s much better. I love to wear skirts in the summertime, so I’m tickled to have a new one that cost me exactly $0.

(thanks to Mr. FG for manning the camera!)

So, the next time you go thrift shopping or you get a bag of hand-me-downs, look at the clothes with a new eye. With some basic sewing skills (or maybe even just a pair of scissors), you might be able to turn a so-so item of clothing into something you love.

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Sunday 21st of August 2011

here is something I do quite often: find a thrift store skirt (usually one of those long, tiered broomstick style skirts) and remake it into a skirt for my daughters. My oldest is 15 and my youngest is 10. Not only is it hard to find to find longer, modest skirts for them, but why pay full price when you can find it at the thrift store? I figure out how long I want it to be then I subtract about 4 inches and cut it off at that length. I always cut at the top so I don't have to hem it. Then I take a piece of fabric from my large fabric collection (most of which came from the thrift store) and I make a yoke. A yoke is a rectangular piece of fabric that is sewn at one side seam--about 6 inches long by 2 inches bigger around that the biggest part of your daughter's bottom. Then I gather the skirt and sew it onto the yoke, turn the top of the yoke over twice for a casing, add elastic to the casing, and I have a cute new long skirt! If you need more directions, I can give them to you--with pictures, too. Let me know.


Friday 18th of June 2010

I love thrift store & tag sale hunting. Sometimes though, I end up with clothing sitting in a to-do pile from all those good intentions/creative changes.


Friday 18th of June 2010

I've had to get really disciplined about setting aside one day (or at least one afternoon) a month to work through my to-do pile of clothes that need updating/hemming/etc. It isn't always easy, but it definitely keeps things from getting too out of hand and it helps keep my teen twin daughters happily shopping at thrift stores and recycling their own old things into new.


Friday 18th of June 2010

They look great Kristen! I'm a big fan of summer skirts and dresses too. Which is kinda funny because in the fall, I barely wear a skirt even to church. However, summertime rolls around and I'm in skirts and dresses half the week. Camille's in them every day. Why I buy her shorts... I don't know.


Thursday 17th of June 2010

my thrift store is usually expensive (strange- $4 for jeans ) i now buy most of my kids stuff at Target ( i love their clearance prices) i.e.~ $2.48 for a brand new shirt. it depends though, i went to the thrift shop while they were having a buy one get one free sale & ended up w/ a bunch of jeans for my daughter (some of which she needs to grow into yet) but i couldn't give 'em up. it was too good a deal.

Elizabeth B

Wednesday 23rd of June 2010

Wow. If you consider $4 expensive for jeans, you would faint dead away at the $7.49 and up that they usually cost on the SF Peninsula. ;)

Rachel @ WOW

Thursday 17th of June 2010

I love this idea! This is part of the reason I really want a sewing machine (off of freecycle, maybe?), because I just imagine all of the creative things I could do with even the OLD clothes my husband and I have sitting in our closet. It's surprising what a big change something as small as a needle and thread can make in a piece of clothing!

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