Oh special occasions; that time of the year for joy, family, and of course get-togethers.
All is well until after you’ve been invited and reality sets in: what do I wear?
You’ll spend hours on the internet and in shopping malls trying to find that perfect dress, agonize over how “nothing captures your interest,” and will feel rather rushed the closer the occasion is.
The biggest drag: trying to find an occasion to wear that perfect little dress for again. As a woman I know how much it pains me to see my dresses or other assorted clothes just hanging solemnly and calling out your name.
Unfortunately I have to say, “Sorry dress, not this time.”
So here’s a tip for those who are running around frantically and are on a limited budget: alteration.
Alteration is a simple and easy way to turn that dress with the strange top part into a fun skirt, or in my situation, taking an old homecoming dress from high school (yes, it still fits) and turning it into a classy dress for a wedding I
am attending with my boyfriend.
The cost to change the dress: $10 to $20.
Now before you start contemplating all of the tailors in your area and their busy schedules as the holiday approaches, stop. If you can handle a needle and thread or sewing machine then alteration should be a cake walk.
If you’re worried you won’t have time to sit and contemplate how to alter your piece of clothing, stop. Sitting watching a movie, waiting for dinner to cook, watching a family member at sport’s practice or just when you are feeling bored of the internet; there is always time for a little bit of fixin’.
What did I do to my dress exactly? It was very simple.
The dress originally tied at the neck much like a halter top. By taking the two strands used to tie I brought them straight back and pinned them to the appropriate length for myself. I have a bit smaller bust size so I had to pull more of the strands back in order to keep the dress staying up and not looking too big. After I found the right length for the now straps, I pinned these to the back of the dress and tried it on again to ensure the perfect fit.
With the newly made straps in place I stitched them into the back of my dress with a needle and thread and cut off the excess material. This is important if you would like to ensure zero irritation on your skin due to excess material.
Believe me, I can’t stand this and strongly suggest removal.
For the final touch I visited a fabric store near by. I requested half a yard of some red lacy material which I would be applying to the bodice part of the dress underneath the bust area. By measuring out how much lace material I wanted to sew to the front part of the dress and pinning it in place I was able to create a classy lace look on top of the already pinstriped bodice.
With another style of lace not used on the top I lined the bottom edge of the dress. The dress is very flowy (think Marilyn Monroe) and I really wanted to show that part off. Using pins or safety pins, much like how I pinned the lace for the bodice, the new lace was set in place to be sewn on.
And voila and oh-la-la. Instead of pulling my hair out over finding the “right” dress, I realized I already had it. With a small clutch and a pair of fire-engine red heels I’m ready to dance the night away and stand confident.
The other fun part about alteration? No one will ever be able to notice. The alterations give the clothes enough “umph” that it will look like you just grabbed it off the rack. And if anyone asks where you got it, all you have to say is it’s a little something you found in your closet.
Ashleigh Smith is the media + design intern for Pretty Brainy, Inc. Her previous blog post documented Pretty Brainy’s first fashion mash-up in words and photography. See Middle School Fashion Mash-Up Meets Science for ’Tween Girls.