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How long would you hang on to a unique item in hopes of eventually finding the perfect pieces to match it? 6 months this vintage skirt has been hanging in my closet, front and centre, in hopes of one day finding a matching top. A handful of hopefuls came home but went back out as I searched for the right shade of blush to match this skirt. Sure you could put other shades with it, but every one I tried bothered me. It wasn’t quite right and for this type of skirt I felt like it had to be a certain… je ne sais quoi.
Now I don’t necessarily feel like this top is “the one” I do feel it was a close enough match to warrant a test run in real life rather than being sentenced to serve lonely days in my closet. This sleeveless crochet style top by RW&Co was brought in for consignment last week and I thought, “maybe, just maybe” this would be the right colour. Sure enough it was!
I kept the look low key with a long wrapped scarf and matching earrings (I do have the matching necklace but I thought that would be a bit much.) My nude pumps by Nine West go with everything and I am saddened to know that their time is running out. They were very worn when I got them in the summer and now your foot rolls like there is no sole left. Sigh. One day I will find another pair and you will be mine.
My greatest regret with this dress is that it did not occur to me almost 4 years ago to take a “before” photograph. Although in my mind the original dress I can see clear as day. Big boxy style, long sleeved and bursting with colour. It was the first dress I ever attempted to redesign and to this day, I consider it to be the greatest success.
The strips down the sides of the dress are the original sleeves. As sadly I don’t know what body could have fit into the original dress the top half was massive and the bottom couldn’t fit over my thighs! A few quick snips and insertion into the side seams fixed that problem easy enough, also it adds a little more fun in the design.
The neckline was really unique and I wanted to keep the original base design. Cutting out the sleeves strategically left a really unique arrangement at the neck for structure. The only issue I’ve had with this dress (aside from the fact that its such a light fabric I can only wear it in the dead heat of summer) is that it has loose hanging fabric in the front. Now maybe on some body types it is quite flattering, but on me it just felt awkward. When I first wore the dress a few years back I simply tucked it into my belt… now I finally decided to fix the issue and sew it right down where it was most flattering – but still keeping a similar drape effect.
My favourite way to accessorize this dress is with gold, a micro belt, earrings or a loud necklace perhaps – although honestly the dress speaks for itself and hardly needs enhancement! I did a #tbt Throwback Thursday on Instagram to this dress when it was first redesigned, and decided seeing as the weather was gorgeous I would bring it out of the back of the closet! This time though, it dawned on me that I had left my gold flip flops in Cuba the last time I went on a trip! Ohhhh dear.
It seems lately I have been looking for a more simple, easy to throw together look that mixes prints or fabrics. In my early high school days I always thought GAP was the cream of the crop. If I had found anything with that label thrifting it was a dream come true. Much like Abercrombie models, I seemed to have this idea that the girls that wore GAP were successful and had their lives sorted out. Its what I idolized. To this day, I still think women who wear GAP clothing put themselves together nicely. Maybe its because their clothing is simple, subtle patterns if any and have nice lines.
As you know from reading my blog, I’m not longer envious of those in GAP clothing but rather the suggested style that these women had. Every now and again I like a look that is a little more casual but clean cut. Here are two examples of fun preppy meets casual looks! The first look is a cozy long sleeved (rolled up naturally!) white and orange knit top by GAP, vintage acrylic beads, denim capris by Jones New York and ACo flats. I was debating whether this outfit would be too warm for the summer but once I arrived at the store the air conditioning reminded me!
The second outfit came together quite randomly as I had been given these Martin Richards board shorts last week and found them to be super comfortable – unfortunately as per the usual – way too big at the top. So sitting on the floor in my wardrobe room I had to sew a 1 inch deep dart down the back after removing all the labeling which always seems to be where I need to stitch. Trimming the excess it is a much more flattering pair of shorts! The top is a 3/4 sleeved white and grey striped top by Joe Fresh and a very soft denim overshirt by GAP.
I finally wore my vintage redesign project dress out on the town on Saturday night and it occurred to me I had never blogged about this wonderful creation of mine! To be honest I was very surprised at how comfortable the dress turned out to be! It all began with a very dated dress from Value Village. On half price days I like to pick up what I call “project dresses” that I can redesign and create into very stylish new pieces. This dress is one of my greatest challenges and successes.
The dress I found was a high neckline (which I love!) and 3/4 sleeve with a lovely shimmery black and pearlesque print fabric. Although the dress was several sizes too large I spent several hours making adjustments the the shoulders, removing shoulder pads first off – then stitching them into a somewhat Lady Gaga effect.
Now the original dress was awkwardly long and simply had no appeal for me. The second thing to go was the black section at the bottom. Conveniently the dress was made in such a way that was easy to alter. The great challenges arose when I decided to make it an open back. Unfortunately I felt disheartened by my sewing skills and inability to structure it the way I wanted to. Due to the mass of fabric and lack of strength within itself, I was forced to add strips of lace to the back to keep it from sagging.
Its amazing what a few lace details can do for a dress! I opened up the sleeve slightly as I often find the upper arms on tops and dresses too tight. The bottom of the dress was finished easily with a black lace trim which was also added to the arms. It was certainly a lot more work than I had originally anticipated, but I feel that it turned out beautifully!
I have a keen interest in re-inventing dated styles and turning them into modern fashionable pieces. My latest find was based on fabric alone. One of my favourite colours is mint, and this dress by Quintieri has a beautiful mint blue and pastel yellow print. During my recent Ottawa thrifting adventure I found this vintage dress deep in the mess of dresses at Value Village.
Surprisingly when I actually tried it on at home it fit almost perfect without alteration! I did take in the shoulders a bit due to the seams beginning to shred and decided I wanted it raised up to a more flattering knee height. Silly me didn’t measure properly, as I tend to do because I do it by pinning the dress while wearing it, so when you bend over you end up making it shorter than you think.
I was excited at the thought of having a scarf of the same fabric, but after cutting and hemming I realized it was way too short. So I scrapped the additional scarf idea and began sewing the remaining trim fabric into a rippled effect along the bottom. Now the detail at the bottom of the dress is feminine and playful.
Because the fabric is quite light I decided to pair it up with a brown sparkle sweater from Urban Behaviour to wear to work. When I returned to Kingston I popped into Value Village and saw this light yellow vintage necklace, normally I would debate price but I just had to have it for the finished look!
I spent my Sunday up in Ottawa once again checking out what a few Value Village stores had to offer before heading to a concert in Burnstown. It was rather successful if I do say so! I found a super cute vintage dress I plan to alter and a few vibrant skirts!
1. Purple and pink floral skirt by H&M
2. Orange and blue splatter print top, no label
3. Vintage dress by Quintieri
4. Brown and gold sparkle knit sweater by Urban Behaviour
5. Orange blouse by George
6. Floral pencil skirt by Beecher’s Brook
Today I just had way too much fun putting together my outfit. I have been going crazy for royal blue lately but the problem with all colours is its hard to match exactly as every brand has it’s own version of the colour as well as things fade and change with age. This skirt was consigned at The Revolving Door for only $10! I’m there 5 out of 7 days a week and it was brought in on a day I wasn’t working. I was cleaning racks and the blue really caught my eye.
I have always liked the high waist style but only in skirts, I simply do not have the body structure for the pants! This vintage (no label) skirt is the ideal length that falls right at the knee and super feminine pleats. Again, normally not a pleats person but if done right they can be an adorable detail! I dug deep into the belt box and found a thick one to complete the look, not that you even see it under my blazer!
Occasionally we get tired of our furniture and want to upgrade. Upgrade doesn’t always mean hitting the Brick and JYSK in search of something better or more suitable than what we currently have. Sometimes we just want to switch up our decor because we get bored easily. The most resourceful idea that most people wouldn’t think of is quite simply reupholstering our current furniture or perhaps painting it.
Now I’m not talking about MTTHTBDS (moms trying too hard to be DIY savvy) by painting your dresser 6 different painfully bright colours… I’m talking about taking inspiration from modern sources, catalogs or even Pinterest and applying these ideas to your existing furniture. In my case, all my furniture is thrift so it didn’t cost much in the first place so worst case scenario is that it gets wrecked and we start over.
A loveseat sofa bed and rocking chair have been in my parents’ possession for countless decades. These pieces are solid, heavy constructions with the wear and tear of two girls and several apartment moves. I had these in my last apartment in Kingston which came in super handy and I found them rather comfortable despite their not-exactly-mint appearance. However my mom, being the crafty sewing mastermind that she is, has taken it upon herself to redesign and give life to these two pieces.
Little did my father know when these items ended up back in his house for the um-teenth time – that they would take on a whole new persona. A whole new non-matching persona at that! This happens to everyone when we do things at different times, things don’t always match. Now my mother has never been a matchy-matchy person, in fact the more unique the better. She recovered the rocking chair with fabric she already had in her possession – and purchased the material for the couch at a later date thinking it was more of a red, turns out, its more of a purple. Oh well!
Not sure how my dad feels about owning a purple couch but I think he gave up on trying to make sense of my mom’s decorating style and individual taste! The chair has been completed and I think was a tremendous success! The couch is a very large project and is currently underway.
Stopped into Value Village on the way home today and lucked out with some fantastic finds!
2. Two lace scarves with vintage inspired trim and ball accents. One ivory and one sage.
3. Beautiful bright green handbag with removable shoulder strap. Mint condition what a gem!
4. Sleeveless lace overtop with peach and fuchsia floral print.
I often sift through the dress rack from large to small, no particular reason for starting at one end over the other it’s just an interesting observation. I live to reconstruct dresses to it me so I suppose it comes from the simple fact of not being able to adjust dresses that are too small to begin with.
I found this dress at a half price sale as I was digging through the racks. I was completely intrigued by the print, so vibrant and unlike any I’d seen before. The Value Village tag guessed that it was a size 14… Let me just say there’s no way that dress was that big. It was a terrible style, boxy and shapeless. It appeared to be handmade based on the finish of the lining and no label.
I paid about $5 for it with the intent to redesign it. The project was relatively simple, I cut the sleeves off and repurposed them as a flare down the sides of the dress around the hip. The neckline was truly unique and I made light of it by folding the rough cut edge and creating a nice finish.
The dress is not finished to professional standards but no one (except you!) has any idea that it was once a gawdy dress from the 80′s. It is now one of my most appreciated pieces, paired with bronze strappy sandals and gold accessories for that extra pop.