You Can Leave Your Hat On

My daughter and I have started a new venture. Just down the street is a thrift store that sells all of its items for 50 cents each, every Tuesday. They are a clearance store for a small chain of thrift stores. Just because something is 50 cents doesn’t mean it’s crap, either. We picked up some really nice stuff, including Levi Jeans, a Believe dress, an ICE dress, a Bob Mackie dress, and a Pappagallo shirt, just to name a few.

While Aubrey will likely list a few items as-is on eBay, we plan to upcycle the rest. After perusing pinterest and exploring Etsy, we’ve noticed a trend in upcycling, or combining items together to make another, different item. Here’s the fun part: neither of us really know how to sew.

It’s sad that I don’t, as my mother is a master seamstress. Of course, I did learn how to cut patterns, lay them out, cut fabric, mark the pieces, and pin them together. I do a fantastic blind hem stitch. I can rip out a seam with minimal effort. After years of cross stitching, I’m pretty decent with hand sewing, so it’s just the machine that is going to be a bear. Aubrey has done her share of recapitations of stuffed animals, so she’s quite capable with hand sewing as well.

I should say that it’s not that I can’t sew at all…I can manage. When Aub was a baby, I made her a wardrobe full of “W” dresses. The pattern belonged to my mother-in-law, and she had made them for her daughter, so it was at least 40 years old. It’s the simplest dress to make, requiring stitching on a curve, putting in two button holes, and sewing on two buttons. If you’re really good, you can make it reversible and get two dresses out of one effort.

When Aub was in fifth grade, I had to sew up an entire “Little House on the Prairie” outfit, so she could play Laura Ingalls Wilder. I not only made the shift and pinafore, but I even managed to make the bonnet to go with it. I’ve never been more proud of something I’ve handmade, as I thought surely the bonnet would be impossible. It eventually got passed on to my niece in Nebraska, and where it ended up after that, I’ve no idea.

Aubrey developed a style of her own in 7th grade. Before that point, I had to shoot down countless combinations that were too close to Halloween costume results. After we went back to school shopping that year, I put everything on the bed, and showed her how to combine patterns, colors, and pieces. She far surpassed my skillz very quickly, and regularly has complete strangers compliment her outfits. It doesn’t hurt that she has a dancer’s body, and looks amazing in slinky dresses that would show any extraneous body fat on a normal person.

Aubrey in one of her thrift store finds from New York: a beaded flapper dress for $20. It came in handy when the prom theme turned out to be the Roaring 20’s.

I figure that between her style, her modeling (oh so convenient to have a supermodel on hand!), and our creativity, we will surely come up with something saleable. So far, we’ve invested $44 in clothes, and are searching out craigslist ads for a dress form. Fortunately, she already owns a giant wire clothing organizer that will fit here in my office/craft room/bedroom. By the time we’re done, we’ll be in for around $100, which we’ll hopefully make back quickly. I hope that if nothing else, she’ll really learn how to sew, we’ll get to spend some time together, and she’ll give self-employment a try. No matter what, it’s a win.


2 thoughts on “You Can Leave Your Hat On

  1. This sounds like a ‘win-win’ situation all round! And I’m sure you’re better on the sewing machine than you think … =D

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