Thift Store Thursday: The Old Maid Frock

July 8, 2010

I loved last Friday's post so much that I've decided to do a regular series. The perfect part is that I go thrift shopping on Wednesdays. That's when the Salvation Army and Community Aid have everything half off. So I can post on Thursday what I bought and repurposed the day prior. AND, cool alliteration, huh!

Now let me preface this series with a disclaimer. These are NOT refashions. Or at least I don't consider them to be. These are simple things that YOU can do to thrift store finds to make them look good.
I found this dress for $1.50 at the Salvation Army (see bottom pic for before). I liked the material and the gathered mission collar but I found it in the Plus section and it looked like something an old maid might wear, not to mention it smelled like something an old maid would wear.

I sprayed some fabreeze and it was fine. The sleeves were HUGE. I thought they might have been salvageable if they didn't make the dress look dowdy, so I snipped them off and made the dress sleeveless! I hemmed the inside of the sleeve opening and 'voila' a new sleeveless frock.
I also turned the dress inside out and put it on my body, pinned it close to my upper bodice and waist, then tapered at the skirt. I then took it off and sewed along the pin line to fit my form and snipped off the extra material.

I used that extra material and made a tiny matching belt tie to go around at the waist and cinch to keep that shirtdress feel.

The dress in the end reminded me of something a housewife might wear while reading a book under the shade of a tree and the comfort of a lawn chair, waiting for her husband to get home from work while the kids are playing in the yard. 

Not an old maid anymore.

Here's the before....

28 {comments}:

Tennjenny said... Best Blogger Tips

I really, really like this series. I'm a novice and I love to see how easy it can be to tune up a dud. Thanks!

Kayla Rochelle said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this series! You're starting to make me think I pass by on ton of great dress options but I haven't thought of their potential yet. I hope I can re-style a few things using your inspiration and find some great pieces! Thanks!

vanillaAmber said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh my. You took a horrible and made it adorable. What a fabulous new series that is so inspiring. I think I'll be checking out my local thrift store soon thanks to you!

Zarah said... Best Blogger Tips

It's lovely!!

Serena said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, wow, it is SO cute.

Darci said... Best Blogger Tips

This is a great inspiration! I'm glad you're making it a regular feature. I was at Goodwill yesterday, eyeing those plus-sized dresses…

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

This series is soooo inspiring. I have something new to do with the kids on Wed. now. I absolutely love the fabric that this dress is made from. So light and summery.

Aurora said... Best Blogger Tips

I love these posts! I am a thrift store junkie, and always go on 99 cent clothing mondays, but always see things I love that are way too big, and never buy them. Now I know how easy it can be to make it fit me! Love it! Thanks so much!

Jan said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great idea ,the dress and the series ,I will be waiting for your next entry , Jan xx

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the way the dress turned out! I need to start thrifting on my lunch breack, there's a big Goodwill just right down the street. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Shay said... Best Blogger Tips

I love your blog! You are so inspiring!! Love this series too! Thank you for all the wonderful tutorials and advice you give!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

These are refashions - just easy (for you) and a great way to show others how to start refashioning

redspool said... Best Blogger Tips

You make it seem so easy! Must try it!

Becky said... Best Blogger Tips

So cute. I need to try reconstructing a dress sometime.

Corvus said... Best Blogger Tips

Fantastic find! It's amazing what a few well-placed bits of stitching can do.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Aaaa! Nooooo, leave the big dresses to us big girls! There's so little for us plus gals to start with.

:) :) :)

At Heart said... Best Blogger Tips

I love these!!! I actually just picked up a great Talbot's dress in the "take-it-or-leave" shed at our landfill the day before you posted the first one. It was a size 14 (I'm like a 4), but in great condition. And then I saw your last fate or something cheesy like that. :) I haven't done anything to the dress yet because it has a lining, but this has motivated me to start tomorrow!

Snooze said... Best Blogger Tips

you are so clever. this is the prettiest dress and it started out so awful.

Jacinta said... Best Blogger Tips

Very cute... if it was hemmed up to the knee I think it would be awesome.
thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

This is great! My sewing club are going to do a thrift store challenge in a couple of months time so this will be great inspiration for us :)

DaiseyB said... Best Blogger Tips

This dress really turned out cute. I am a thrift store junkie also. I even made a pledge in May to go a whole year without buying any new clothes. I go to the thrift stores and get them that way. I believe in my own way I am saving the enviornment because I am buying what might be thrown in a landfill. I have found alot of good finds but this series is helping me to see the potential in some I may have missed.

The Sew Convert said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the final outcome! The fabric is so sweet too!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Gorgeous! I love the cute pattern on the fabric.

Brianne said... Best Blogger Tips

What a way to find a diamond in the rough! I think you should shorten it just a bit and make a belt of a solid color. I think it would really POP then!

spsousa said... Best Blogger Tips

i love it!

Katie said... Best Blogger Tips

That's a great update. The fabric is so cool - you don't really notice it on the dowdy old frock. I'm off to cut some sleeves of my mum's dresses...

Nicole said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this series! I don't think anyone has done anything like this and it makes me feel like I can shop my local goodwill and find some real possibilities with a little altering. I love this dress (and the other one too) but I think I would have made it a shade shorter. Thanks for your great ideas!

aana said... Best Blogger Tips

love this dress. You are so creative. I have a request to make, I am a beginner sewer and I was wondering if you could put up a tutorial for reducing shoulder size and reattaching sleeves to a dress. I bought a couple pieces from thrift store (of course, got inspired by you) that were size L and I am size M, so they are not very big but need just a little resizing.Thanks

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