Refashion: Preppy Pleat Skirt

Once upon a time there was a blog post about three dresses. They all desperately needed new life. The first one was granted its wish and became an easy breezy skirt. Sadly, the owner was a procrastinator, and the two other dresses sat in the closet, untouched, for months. Then, one day, a friend came to visit. She, too, brought an ugly dress that needed new life. It became a beautiful skirt as well. The owner was encouraged to work on her dresses, and the Preppy Pleat skirt was born. There was rejoicing in all the land.

Confused? Ok, so maybe I don't have a future in children's literature.

Basically, this green dress used to look like this:

and after a crafting day with my friend Annie (who refashioned this dress) it now looks like this:

It was a fun refashion. I used a basting stitch all the way around the top of the skirt to keep the pleats in place while I gutted the dress and reconstructed it with a wide waistband.

I took to post this because I didn't have a picture that I liked (and still don't- notice how my head is cropped out?) but I finally took some pictures of this and other finished projects today, so you can look forward to a few more project posts this week!

PS- Did you notice those fab shoes? I thrifted em! Seven bucks- and they are pretty much my new favorites.

Our Super Secret Fun Project Reveal!

It is finished! Our super secret fun project that I mentioned in this post by giving you a little visual clue... complete. Fin. The end.

Wanna know what it is?

Well, that pile 'o staples started out as part of this thing of beauty:

Gah. The color. The stains. Bad.

Yep. You guessed it. Upholstery project! I've been wanting to try my hand at a little reupholstery for a while, so I was excited when I happened upon this guy. Around these parts, people leave stuff like furniture they don't want out on the curb. Whilst I was on a morning run I spied this cube/ottoman/storage thingy and noted the location so I could come back later. I was hoping it was salvageable.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. A few needs have been unmet in our living room, and I've been looking for a piece that might help with some of them. We needed some storage- for either toys or blankets, but those things are always in the living room and they need a home. We needed additional seating- with our sectional gone we can really only comfortably seat 3 people without pulling out the camp chairs. That is fine for us on an every day basis, but occasionally we have people over and it would be nice to have some make shift seating so we didn't have to go Clampett style with company. We needed a table- remotes, wireless mouse and keyboard, drinks... those things all found their homes on the couch cushions or the floor.

I'd perused and seen some things that might work for seating and storage, or we could go the table route... but those things were pricey. And I'm cheap. For these many reasons, I was very excited to see that ratty cube on the side of the road at 5:30 in the morning. This could possibly be a storage/seating solution. Score. I went back at a more reasonable hour and discovered that it also had this feature:

See that? The top flips over and has a tray. Tabletop?!?! This thing fulfills- check it- all three of our living room needs. The dream piece. And free. But ugly. Oh so ugly. And dirty:

Storage! But dirty. 

After a few episodes of Royal Pains worth of pulling out staples, our beast of a cube looked like this:

We basically just payed attention to how it was put together as we disassembled so we could recreate that with our own fabric.

After a full Saturday of sewing and stapling, we now have this:

We knew we wanted a fabric to tie in the mustard yellow of this pillow I made, and even toyed with the idea of using that same fabric (since we already had enough and it was free to begin with) but decided against it because we needed something more durable. We picked this fabric up at JoAnn's- it is an indoor/outdoor canvas. If it can withstand the elements, hopefully it can withstand our drooly baby.

I used fabric that we already had for the piping and lining. I used the cord from the old piping to create the new stuff, making it even cheaper! Three cheers for upcycling! The piping was the trickiest part by far. I may have gotten a little...erm... frustrated. But I made it through.

Here it is fulfilling its storage duty. Note that I give my child things like an old sherbet container and call it a toy. Charly is easily amused.

The inside was a little tricky too... there was probably a better way to do it, but we couldn't figure it out, so I essentially sewed a fabric box and we used spray adhesive to stick it to the bottom and sides, then stapled along the top ledge.

And now it makes its appearance as a table! It has wheels, so it is easy to cart it around and move it to fit our needs. Like my diapers drying in the background? Keepin it classy.

And now- a budget breakdown for ya!

Ottoman/storage cube/table: free ninety-nine (picked up off the curb)
Extra cushion (it was a little hard on the tush): $6
Spray adhesive: $5
Staple gun (since we didn't have one, but we'll use it for future projects too): $20
Fabric: $18 (used a coupon at JoAnns)

Total Cost: $49 (or $29 for the project itself, minus the staple gun)

I saw similar items at Target for around $75, but they didn't have the tray feature, were smaller, and really just not as cute.

We think this bad boy was totally worth the effort. It gives a great pop of color to the room, and we love how it stands out against the cool tone of the walls. We saved a heckuvalot of money (when you factor in that we would have needed two pieces of furniture to fill the role of this one), and we have a custom piece at that! Woot!

(Just now Matt and I had to converse about whether one woot was acceptable or if they needed to come in pairs... apparently I'm a one woot kinda gal)

So there it is, super secret fun project revealed! What do you guys think? Anyone else take on an upholstery project?

PS- Did you spy my next big project in the picture next to the chair? I picked it up at a thrift store the other day, and we have plans for it already!

Unique Thrift

This past weekend we were in Maryland for a wedding. While driving from the temple to the luncheon site, I caught a glimpse of Unique Thrift Store, and we had to stop. One of Matt's co-workers had told him about this thrift store chain and we had set our hearts on making it there when we had a free weekend. We haven't had a free weekend in a while, so imagine our surprise when we happened to drive right past one!

This place was like the size of Wal Mart. Seriously. I think it was in an old grocery store. I wouldn't say it was the cheapest thrift store I have ever been to, but the variety was incredible! We didn't spend a whole lot of time there (I could thrift shop for hours), but enough to make out with quite a haul!

We had been wanting to get a globe for, oh, like a year and a half or so, so when we saw this one for $12 we knew it was ours.

I have also had my eye on vintage suitcases for some time now, but I can never justify the cost, or find ones in good enough shape that they are actually functional. Unique had theirs for half off that day- its a wonder I didn't leave with more than just this one!

Love these clasps. Things were built to last back then.

Still in great shape inside!

We also found a snazzy leather briefcase for Matt. Cause he's a professional now, you know. A little leather conditioner and this thing will be swanky as ever.

Made in Canada. Cool I guess?

Very sturdy.

Probably my favorite find, though, was this fantastic vintage 50's/60's dress. FIVE DOLLARS! I love the fabric and love the fit. Wearing it makes me feel like I should be taking a jello salad to a pot luck barbecue or something.

There you have it, a few fantastic thrift finds. We'll probably make another trip (to a closer location) sometime in the future. After all, you can take the girl out of the thrift store, but you can't take the thriftiness out of the girl!

(thats a thing people say, right? I'm not just making it up? Ok, so I might have made it up.)

Upcoming Refashions

I've been searching thrift stores for a fantastic 90's era print dress to do a skirt refashion on. Not much luck around here, but when we visited Buena Vista last weekend we made a quick trip to Goodwill and found not one, but three fantastically patterned dresses. At four dollars each, I bought all three. Now I need to decide what to do with all of them, which is where you all come in. Since there are three, I'd like to get some variety- at least one dress and one skirt, but any combination of those could work. Heck, I could end up with a skirt, dress and shirt, or two skirts and a dress, or two dresses and a skirt... you get the idea. I'd love some feedback though on what you all think would look nice (or if you think they are just awful all together with no potential to look chic) and which dresses would be best for what. So, with that, here they are, with a short description by each one.

(Like my self-portrait in the mirror in front of the mini-blinds setup? Classy, I know. At least I made the bed. For once.)

Dress #1
Ugh, note to self: picture taking face is not attractive. 

This little number totally reminds me of something my Grandma B would have worn, and I love that. I was drawn to this great pattern and the detail on the hemline. It has a cute vintage-y button along the collar that could be repurposed as well. The fabric is a little bit silky, but definitely not silk. I like the pleats in the skirt portion. The waistband is stretchy under that belt. 
Here is a closeup of the fabric- the color is pretty true-to-life:
 Dress #2
There we go, cover it with the hand. Good move. 
I absolutely love this paisley print! The fabric is maybe polyester, and has some stretch to it. Not the best feeling fabric, but I think (hope) the print makes up for it. The bodice is super simple, kind of like the knit t-shirt I made, where the sleeves are an extension of the bodice piece. This one is also stretchy at the waistband. The back has a keyhole button detail that is kind of fun. I love that it has a belt, but not sure I would actually wear this bright one with it (perhaps a neutral belt would tone down the print? I dunno.)

And a closeup:

Dress #3

This polka dot jumper is just fun. I totally dig the pink buttons, and the brightly colored polka dots on a more conservative color background. This dress is Rayon, which definitely reminds me of 90's dresses. There is just a tiny bit of stretch to this waist, not a lot. You could pair this with a lot of different colors and (maybe) even patterns. I'm not sure though. I'm definitely trying to get more adventurous with my wardrobe, but if I take things too far, you guys gotta let me know, K?

Closeup with the button:

I'm pretty excited to get started on these projects, and I'll try to take pictures along the way to explain the process. I definitely need some input though- help a sister out!