Lots of dots

This is a toddler’s dress that I found at the Bloor/Lansdowne Value Village in March 2020 for about $7. A lot of nice cotton in a geometric pattern I liked. Originally I thought the dress was barely used, which had me feeling a bit guilty about buying something perfectly serviceable in its current state. (I understand that I can do pretty much whatever I want with a piece of clothing I’ve purchased; the issue is that I’d rather do some real upcycling and divert something that might have gone into the garbage.) Back at home, I discover this wasn’t entirely true. From a line of four teal buttons that were originally on the back, one is missing, and a third has been rubbed so much that it’s losing its colour along one edge. The ties are both badly crumpled to the point that at least one side of each of them is damaged. So this thing has little enough wear that Value Village would still sell it, clearly, but also enough that anyone who found this at the mall might complain. The dress could be repaired a bit, but the person who bought it was me, which means that this will probably get more eventful.

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Aligning a lining


This is a pillowcase that I bought at the Bloor/Lansdowne Value Village in the autumn of 2018 for $1.99. I liked the print, liked the price, and liked the idea of adding more green to my wardrobe (currently underrepresented). For a while now I’ve been wanting to do some pattern-drafting to make some sleeveless tops anyway, so this provides a good excuse. Let’s do it! Continue reading “Aligning a lining”

A mixed-bag of small problems

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This is a Jane Norman dress (strapless, with an elasticated tube top) that I found at a charity shop in England in the summer of 2018 for £15; if I’m remembering correctly, this came from the Mind shop by Shepherd’s Bush Green in London. I’m thrilled to have found it. The metallic aquamarine embroidery (with incorporated sequins) is done on a layer of fine black mesh, and the whole thing sits against a polyester aquamarine lining. I adore these colours and the exuberant embroidery. However, I am ambivalent about the cut of the top, and am considering removing it. And either way, the skirt portion needs some work. The problems are all minor, but there are a whole bunch of them.
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Throwback: Refashion #0

I was just digging around in a box looking for my rotary cutter (which got put away somewhere among my craft stuff a bit too carefully last time I cleaned the house top-to-bottom), when I accidentally found something at the bottom of an old scrap bag. I am now laughing hysterically. I didn’t think I still had it, but here we are. Everyone, this is my first refashion project ever, from way back in childhood when my sewing skills were absolutely nil. Ready?

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Silk 101!

I went to a clothing swap in January 2018 with a $5 entry fee. There were a lot of good finds, most of them wearable or nearly (the little black dress only needed the seam above the kick-pleat fixed). However, there was one item that left me feeling as if I’d won the refashion lottery. This is a kind-of-worn-out vintage Adrianna Papell dress, 100% silk, which I’m guessing is from the early 1980s. Because, well, 1980s.

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Because polka dots


This is a curtain – one of a pair of them that I found at the Bloor/Lansdowne Value Village in March 2017. I think I paid $10 for them together. They have the visible layer of soft patterned cotton, and a layer of slightly tougher white cotton on the back. I suspect they were designed for a child’s bedroom, but in general I have a hard time resisting polka dots, and this colour combination (white, pink, and green) has been a favourite of mine for many years. It’s not quite enough fabric for a dress, but there’s still plenty there. I go through my stack of commercial patterns looking for inspiration.

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Local emerging greenery


This is a blouse that I bought for a dollar at a theatre costume sale in the summer of 2018. It’s interesting in that I suspect it was artificially made to look damaged. Most of the buttons are missing, and there are two or three pink-brown stains on it. But the shirt itself doesn’t show signs of wear. Most of it is sparklingly white, and all the seams are intact. Heck, there’s still a little plastic tag attached to it! I suspect that it was purchased and then a bunch of the buttons were cut off and the stains were added (tea? makeup? dye?) to better get across a sense of a character on stage being dishevelled. The flip-side is that the shirt fits me really well and I love the textures. And if it’s not actually worn out, I could get years of use out of it. Let’s see what we can do.

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When Plan A goes down the drain

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This is a dress I got in May 2018 at a Goodwill for $3.50. It’s a very soft cotton/viscose mix, and it could basically be a Halloween costume for a gardener (just add watering-can and yellow plastic hat). Or a kindergarten teacher. I love the print, but I do not love the neckline or the fit. Let’s see what we can do about that. Can I get a dress I like out of this?

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3D puzzle, 19 pieces


I found this at a clothing swap for no charge; it looks like a child’s dress, in jersey cotton. Guessing it’s from Europe, because the lower label with the washing instructions is in Dutch, French, and German. As it is, it’s moderately worn out. Someone has removed the top label with scissors, leaving a couple of holes. The front bottom hem has fallen down. And even after washing, there’s a stain on one of the sleeves, and the other one is a bit faded. Some kid liked this dress a lot. But the fabric hasn’t pilled more than slightly; it’s fine. Ideal!

I don’t often wear blue, but I love the mixed prints in the same colours here; I’m totally up for recombining them into something for myself. I want to make the most out of something that was probably bound for the trash.

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Concentric circles


I got this skirt for $3 at a thrift shop earlier this month; it appears to be handmade. The fabric is a slightly strange choice for clothing: it’s a light polyester of some kind, metallic reddish-purple, and the black pattern is a slightly raised velvet. The only item I own that this material reminds me of is my shower curtain. Heck, for all I know, this is a former shower curtain that someone refashioned. I keep wanting to stick it under a faucet and find out whether it repels water.

Regardless, it has an awesome pattern on it – as usual, I’m a sucker for playful geometry – and I love the flounce, so I’m determined to salvage this. It needs some work for sure. The lace at the bottom is a creative addition, but in my opinion it’s incongruous enough to be slightly unfortunate. There’s a bit of wear along the side seams, and the skirt is too big for me anyway, so I’ll need to take in the sides. But there’s potential here. What I envision doing is getting rid of the lace, putting in a black horizontal stripe above the flounce, and adjusting the entirety to fit me. Sounds like a plan!

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