DIY Corner // Thrift store dress make-over edition!

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Hello everyone!

How are you all doing? I had a crazy weekend of flying back and forth across Canada. (I swear this is related! Wait for it!) I got to meet up with my family and old friends after not seeing them for a long time and it was loads of fun, but I am exhausted!

The reason I flew back to Toronto was to attend a friend’s wedding. One of my personal challenges is to make a dress for myself to wear to each wedding that I attend, so leading up to this wedding I was super excited about this new project.

The “Before”

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This was initially a jacket and dress set that I had bought from a local thrift store a while back for $10 CAD total (although I spend an additional $10 on dry cleaning.) I did something else with the dress but I still had the jacket lying around. As you guys can see, this is an older style jacket which is a bit big on me and has shoulder pads.* I loved the bold red colour of this garment and decided to turn this into a dress!**

*I have yet figured out how to wear shoulder pads with style, so I usually remove them haha. Does anyone have ideas for outfits that look good with shoulder pads?!

**Please excuse the background of this picture! I am standing on a chair in front of the bathroom mirror because it is the only mirror in my building haha…

The “After”

I struggled a lot with remaking this project because it turned out there wasn’t enough material for the patterns that I had. So I had to go into creative mode, ditch the patterns, and do my own thing! In the end, however, this turned out exactly the way I intended it to: an A-line with a deep V-neck. My fiancé gave me excellent design tips (he was the one who recommended cinching in the shoulders which required 8+ more hours of work but definitely gave the dress a more elegant look!)

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Time spent: 24 hours+

Soundtrack: Dreams of Gods & Monsters audiobook (check out my review here!)

Cost of supplies***: ~$30 for thrift store jacket, dry cleaning, invisible zipper, and bias tape.

Achievements unlocked:

  • Using bias tape for finishing armholes!
  • Sewing invisible zippers like a pro!
  • Basting stitches!

***Despite popular belief, it does not save money to sew your own clothes! I see dresses like this in stores all the time, which could sell for as low as $40, and technically just counting the supplies I am saving a bit of money. However even if I am being paid minimal wage for the time spent on this project, this dress would be worth more than $350. If anything, sewing taught me to treasure each piece of garment that I own. Even if the garment looks simple, a lot goes into its design and implementation. I am now a bit skeptical of conventional retailers, especially those that sell clothing for a cheap price. Sure, the workers that they hire are likely more efficient and experienced at sewing and can complete a garment in a short period of time, but even so, how low do the workers’ wages have to be for clothes to be sold so cheaply? Anyway! Conclude rant 🙂

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What are your hobbies? Have you travelled for a wedding this year? What are your go-to wedding outfits?

24 thoughts on “DIY Corner // Thrift store dress make-over edition!

  1. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Oh Sophie that dress looks amazing. 🙂 ❤ I am completely in awe that you managed to make it out of that jacket in the first photo. I mean granted it took you a lot of time but it must have been worth it in the end when you had the finished product right?
    Great post, and I hope to see more of your DIY Corner posts soon as well. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Omg that dress is beautiful! You are so talented, I’m absolutely jealous T_T ❤
    I took up sewing once after inheriting an old sewing machine from my grandma and I loved creating dresses for my dolls, if that counts? xD But eventually I lost interest and haven't touched it since. I do know how to sew a button, fix holes and basic stuff like that but I could never take up on a big project like a whole dress. So yeah, amazing skills and amazing post, Sophie 🙂
    My hobbies include playing guitar, singing, drawing, writing and photography. Nothing too special but it's nice to relax ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you Sophie 🙂
      I haven’t made outfits for dolls before, but in some ways I feel that it might even be harder than clothes for real people since everything is smaller! It’s definitely helpful (and a money-saver!) to know how to do small fixes, even if you don’t end up making an entire outfit 🙂
      Sounds like you some artistic hobbies as well! Having fun while doing what we love is the most important part 🙂 Thank you for dropping by Sophie ❤

      Like

  3. Zoie says:

    I love how you included that little tidbit at the end — it is worth spending time thinking about whose hands made our clothing and in what setting they were made in. The clothing I see in shopping malls might be affordable despite being really well-made, but then I have to think about *why* it’s so affordable, and if buying that particular piece of clothing would mean that I am indirectly supporting an industry of paying people ridiculously (and even illegally) low wages… just for me to wear a cool t-shirt? I’ve annoyed my entire family by questioning everything they buy every time we go to a shopping mall… but I still stand strong on the belief that it’s important to keep these things in mind! 😊

    Anyways, on a happier note, I am in awe of your sewing skills — and the dress you made is so pretty! I used to sew clothes for my dolls and even made a choppy t-shirt for myself, but I’ve never taken on as big of a project as a dress. It sounds like you had fun making it — and thank you for reminding me to be more aware of the clothing that I buy! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      That’s great to hear that you feel similarly about fashion Zoie. I am also super guilty of annoying my family whenever we go to the mall together lol. Now I try to buy clothes from thrift stores which is always a fun experience 🙂

      Thank you Zoie ❤ This dress took a lot of effort so I am glad that it turned out well! That’s cool that you used to see clothes for your dolls which sounds like a fun hobby 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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