Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The One in Which I Make a Dress

Some people are hoarders. Some people are purgers. And some people keep every single note their BFF in 10th grade passed to them, while at the same time taking bags of clothes to Goodwill on a whim only to discover they really miss that shirt they just got rid of.

I fall in that last category. I'm unabashedly sentimental when it comes to holding on to some things, but I simulteanously love nothing more than pulling everything out of a drawer or closet and getting rid of things I haven't touched in a month ...

(To discover I want them back a month later.)

I think that's why I love the idea of upcycling so much. (I had to google that word, to make sure I was using it right. So trendy, right?) I like the idea of taking something that I'm not using it and finding a 2nd life for it. It's not holding on to something useless, but it's also not purging something I still like.

My first attempt at upcycling (or repurposing, or refurbashing, or being a total cheapskate and figuring out ways to rationalize not throwing things out) was to create a dress out of a Goodwill-destined t-shirt and some fabric I had bought for a long-ago neglected project.

I've been drooling over this blog for the last year (go back to older posts for tutorials) and have had this particular post bookmarked for nearly the same time frame. I'd dabbled in a little bit of t-shirt re-creation (and was totally blogstar-struck when Lexi commented on my post here), but this was a little bit of a loftier project. (Read: I needed to actually measure things, and I'm not talking about measuring fluid ounces of chardonnay.)

Measuring, or precision, is not really my strong suit. Good Enough is my slogan, and I was a little bit nervous about tackling this project.

To be honest, it was super challenging. I measured, but I had a hard time estimating how big the skirt would be once I ruffled it and it was way, way too big the first time I sewed it on to the shirt. So I took it apart - one tiny stitch at a time - with the seam ripper and tried again.

And again.

And again.

By the time I was finished taking apart and reattaching my dress three times, it had gone from a normal waist to an empire waisted dress. And with every take apart, my t-shirt material became a little more puckery, leading to a less-than-perfect seamline. Oops. But whatever... it was MY dress, I made it and I'm so freaking proud of it.

Of course, I had to have my sister come over and give me the go-ahead on whether I could wear it out in public, because of said puckery seamline. (Anyone know how to avoid that in the future?)
Now I know why people just go ahead and shell out $100 to Anthropologie for this stuff.

But hey - I saved one of my favorite t-shirts from being banished to the Goodwill pile, I finally used fabric that had been sitting in a pile in my sewing room, I proved to myself I CAN measure things and I. Made. A. Dress.

Good enough.

(And also? Under the "Good Enough" category? A phone pic of just half the dress. I kept intending to take a real one and maybe, um, brush my hair... but... 2 weeks passed, and well, here you go. Good Enough.)


Jamie said...

Why haven't we seen this dress yet? I am expecting to see it for our next "ladies night."

SR said...

I'm very impressed by your skill and your perseverance!!

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I love it! And I LOVE that someone else is totally ok with, "Good Enough." I have enough mental health issues without adding "perfectionism" to the list - so, "good enough" has been my own life's motto for many years. Glad to know I'm not alone!

Allison the Meep said...

Nice! Also, I heard a trick for avoiding the puckering when sewing with jersey knit fabric: pin tissue paper, like the kind you put in gift bags, to the fabric. It keeps it from stretching while you sew, and then rips away very easily once everything's pieced together.

Meg said...

J, I hadn't worked up the nerve to debut it until Katie approved it for outside the house wear. :)

A, THANK YOU! I will try that... my poor little tshirt was so bunched up by the 3rd go-round.