Monday, June 14, 2010

What can brown do for you

I thrifted a brown woven "dress" from Salvation Army about a month ago that had potential. It was a size Small, but strangely too big in the shoulders and quite boxy. There was an interesting side button placket, long sleeves, unfortunate arm pit stains, and the buttons stopped around the crotch area and there was no seam below. But since actual woven cotton materials* are rare while thrifting, I figured I could fanagle it somehow.
Since then, I realized that I probably picked up a caftan or the top of a men's shalwar kameez. We live near a mosque and an African immigrant community, so they might have been some fellow's outfit before. At first, I was all worried that I was engaging in cultural appropriation, but I let it go, since I am recycling materials, not trying to use another's culture to up my own cache, and I'm quite respectful to my neighbors. I took the top in on the side seams, took off the sleeves, and changed the neckline to something more summery. Hemming the curves of the arm holes was the hardest (I hope no one looks at it carefully.
This dress is way longer than most of my summery dresses, which makes it perfect for sweaty subway riding.
I wish I'd taken a before picture. I looked more like this when I started:

Dress: DIY refashion, thrifted
Shoes: Naturalizer
Scarf: via ebay
Belt: Not Just Vintage

*By this I mean a slightly thicker, non knit (like T shirt/sweatpant) material that is closer to the stuff button up shirts are made of. They're more "stable" and wrinkle easily. Like a step below canvas but slightly thicker than shirting materials. I like woven materials because they last longer, don't wear as quickly, and are easy to sew.


  1. The refashion turned out marvelously. And I missed the new 'do post - LOVE it. Seriously. Love, love, love it.

  2. High five and massive props on refashioning that garment! You are going to look so freakin' stylish on your sweaty subway ride!

  3. Wow, I love what you were able to do with that find. And you look SO sassy with the new 'do, the scarf, the belt and those cute shoes. Great outfit!

  4. You are like a fashion designer! What a fantastic re-fit. I'm so impressed at your ability to see potential in thrifted duds, a skill I do not possess. This is a great outfit.

    I love a brown dress. I used to know a costume designer who always told me that I should not piss off the costume designer of a show lest I end up in a brown dress. I never understood the threat.

  5. I'm in awe of your mad refashioning skillz. In. Awe. How did you look at the before and envision the after?

    The new dress is gorgeous. Also, can we have a close-up of the material so I can better understand what you mean by "woven cotton"?

  6. Wow, that came out fantastic. I am still loving your haircut.

  7. Fantastic. That looks like it was a lot of work! But worth it.

  8. What a great refashioning! That dress is fantastic and I love your hair!

  9. Great dress! Looks like you are a pretty good seamstress :)

  10. FIRST of all, I love your new hair! It's perfect.
    SECOND, I can't believe you refashioned something as intimidating as that into thiS! It looks super cute and I love the square neckline and buttons down the side.

    clothed much, a modest fashion blog

  11. You did a great job of refashioning this dress. It is very cute now.

  12. You did a great job of refashioning this dress. It is very cute now.