Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


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Thrift-Shop Thursday: Expanding the Definition

The last 2 TST posts are all about developing your shopping strategy. Part 1 suggests making the prospect less daunting by narrowing your focus before heading to the thrift shop; Part 2 shows how to apply your strategy while shopping. Today, I want to explore the idea of applying thrift-shopping strategy to other types of stores.

I was at one of my favorite fabric stores the other day (Mill End Fabrics, if you happen to be in Portland); I hadn’t been there in quite a while, things were all rearranged, so this was basically a reconnaissance mission, not a buying one. While touring one of my favorite sections (Silks—not usually a source of bargains), I noticed a larger-than-usual display of remnants. It occurred to me that even in a store that’s not a thrift shop per se, bargain-spotting tactics still apply— beyond the usual sales. (This particular store doesn’t have a lot of sales, actually; since it’s stocked with mill ends of designer fabrics, they’re already priced well.)

My thrift-shopping heart beat just a little faster as I approached the remnant display, lured by the subtle glow of silk crepes, georgettes, and charmeuses. (Sorry— there’s something about silk fabrics that makes me talk like that.) I was so entranced that it didn’t occur to me to take a photo of the whole display, but I do at least have some pictures of what I bought. Here’s the whole group:

Silk remnants

My new silk remnants! 1. Black & white printed georgette. 2. Berry organdy. 3. Striped crepe de chine. 4. Printed charmeuse. 5. Lavender stretch charmeuse.

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Thrift-Shop Thursday: Shopping Strategies, Part 1

After last week’s Thrift-Shop Thursday’s big debut (featuring the ever-popular replace-a-button tutorial), it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to talk shopping strategies for a minute, before going on to more thrift-shop-find projects.

Tip: These strategies, while thrift-shop-specific in this post, can also apply to any clothes shopping you do; the only real difference between the two is that you’ll have more size options outside of thrift shops.

Rather than just giving you a list of general shopping concepts, I’m going to use my current Makeover Monday/Take Tango to Work series to illustrate these principles in action. In my last MM post, I talked about how to organize a plan to develop a multi-functional wardrobe; here, I’ll follow up on those steps with details, including how I’m putting my own plan to good use at my favorite thrift shops.

Starting with your general plan, you’ll get a bit more specific:

1. Decide what types of garments are your immediate priority. Do you desperately need skirts? Maybe you’re short on trousers, or need more simple tops that can be worn alone or as layering pieces. From here, get even more specific, if possible: black knee-length skirt, classic navy wool trousers, colorful printed knit pullover tops.

What I’m doing: Since I need clothes that can go from work to tango (see my recent Makeover Monday posts for details), I’m focusing my shopping efforts on skirts and dresses, specifically, pencil skirts and sheath dresses, both of which are commonly worn in Argentine tango, and both of which are also work-appropriate. And I need professional-looking jackets and more colorful tops (I’m getting tired of black). I’m also adding a “wild card” space to my list, to cover those unexpected finds, like my pinstriped skirt that I found while shopping for tops. Continue reading


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Thrift-Shop Thursday Debuts Today!

Thrift-Shop Thursday is here! Beginning today, I’ll be posting a new project on Thursdays, each based on a garment found at a thrift shop. (I define thrift shop fairly loosely, to include consignment and vintage shops, the occasional yard sale, and even hand-me-downs.)

I’m starting with a series of ideas for dealing with common issues with thrift-shop finds; today’s project will focus on replacing buttons. Enter my latest thrift-shop coup: a Christian Dior (!) jacket that fits my daughter perfectly. (You’ll see it on her later on.)

Christian Dior jacket

Christian Dior wool jacket, in perfect condition except for the loose front button. Thrift-shop price: $25.00!

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