Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

This super awesome 80s 2-piece dress was $2 at a garage sale. 2 legit 2 quit. Although I guess it’s actually three pieces if you count that magnificent belt.

Before: Those are serious shoulder pads.

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

Even with my hipster glasses on (yes, they are prescription lenses), I can’t really pull this off. It feels like I’m jumping the gun on my Wacky Old Broad persona, into which I fully hope to evolve over the next 30 years, but which sadly is premature at this moment.

The first thing I did was rip out the shoulder pads. It felt great, let me tell you. Then I cut out the weird black choker of a collar and widened the neckline. Lastly, I cropped the top.

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

Definitely better.

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

The collar-to-calf black-and-white print is still kind of overwhelming though. Like… it’s a bit much. I’m trying to resist my natural instinct to cut several inches off the bottom of the skirt, because I really like its length when it’s worn without the matching top.

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

A crop top is a tricky garment to pull off in real time—as a general rule, I believe that 30-year-old belly buttons should retire from public life. So, apart from the matching skirt, I was skeptical that this top could be mixed/matched into my wardrobe as a garment in its own right. Luckily, it goes just fine with my high-waisted, pleated MOM PANTS.

CropTop

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

I think the belt, sadly, is beyond salvaging. RIP belt.

Thrift Store Couture: 2-Piece 80s Dress

Custom Fabric

Remember my July sketches? I modified the art slightly and had custom fabric printed!

CustomFabricA

It was a total experiment—I had no idea what to expect. I uploaded my art to Green Park Studios, paid $40, and less than one week later, I was holding two yards of midweight cotton printed with my very own design . It couldn’t have been simpler.

CustomFabricB

My initial plan was to use this fabric as a lining. But now that I see how well it turned out (if I do say so myself), I want it to be more visible. A skirt maybe?

CustomFabricC

I think if I printed this on a lighter, gauzier fabric, it would make a great summer scarf. Or picture rows and rows of coats for winter. This whole print-your-own thing could be a very addictive discovery…

 

Vintage Finds at the Kane County Flea Market

FleaMarketTitle

Along with a couple of friends, I made it out to the Kane County Flea Market for the very first time this past Sunday. Despite the heavy heat and humidity, we had a fantastic time browsing and mocking and admiring and coveting our way through the interminable stalls. From mounted insects to bedazzled baseball caps to handpainted signs to souvenir china, anything you could possibly want to buy—and much more besides—was up for sale.

I was the big spender of the day, and came home with quite a haul:

FleaMarketFinds

My big splurge was this 1960s knitting basket covered in crocheted flowers. I may use it to store sewing supplies, but I’m also tempted to carry it as a gloriously tacky purse. Picture using it to tote a small blanket to a park for a picnic. It’s rather lovely, no?

60s-Knitting-Basket

I also picked up a smattering of vintage sewing notions. The bias tape and elastic may seem random, but I think they’ll come in handy for a few projects coming up in my queue. I already have at least one sewing gauge (possibly more?)—but I never seem to be able to find it. The white and blue table runner was cheap and in good condition, perfect for another project like this one. And I couldn’t resist the violet firework print cotton (two yards).

SewingNotions

Then there’s this teeny tiny matchbook sewing kit.

MiniSewingKit

Adorbs.

MiniSewingKitInside

I also picked up this cocktail book in a box—mostly because I like the deco feel of the design.

HollywoodCocktails

CocktailVendomeSpread

I also enjoy that the hangover cures at the very end are printed upside down:

Cocktail_MorningAfter

I have this thing about notepads that have a built-in pen or pencil—it’s a lingering—and yes, weird—obsession from my childhood. So I was immediately drawn to this travel notebook.

TripJournal

It contains such essential points of reference as railroad distances between US cities.

RailroadDistances

And how to use a watch as a compass.

GeneralInformation

People used to have to write their itineraries down. On paper. Crazy.

PlacesVisited

And finally, when I saw this locket pin for $3, I had to have it in honor of everyone’s favorite Bright, Victorian Beauty, Samantha Parkington. Yep, I’m basically 9 years old.

Locket

All totaled, I spent about $35. Not too shabby!

FleaMarketOutside

A Month of Outfits, or Time to Clean Out My Closet

I’ve always—in theory—loved the idea of keeping a regular journal or sketchbook. How satisfying it must be to synthesize one’s day into some kind of record or output. I also admire style bloggers who post daily photos of their outfits. In an experiment that severely tested my capacity for follow-through, I tried to combine both ideas by making a quick sketch of each day’s outfit for the month of July.

Click on the image below to view at full size:

JulyOutfits

Yikes. As a visual compilation, it’s interesting—but it also feels excessive and self-indulgent in a way I hadn’t necessarily anticipated. Like a sick, backwards The Hundred Dresses, it represents the exact opposite of the growing movement to live with less, to pare one’s wardrobe down to the basics.

The good news is that, despite having such an obscenely large repository of clothing to choose from, I apparently rotate through the selection quite aggressively. Things get worn, and they DO, in fact, bring me joy. Still, I see a serious closet purge in my future.

The data:
Number of days I wore something vintage or secondhand: 17 (At least I’m recycling!)
Number of days I wore something I made: 3
Key takeaway: Bright vintage dresses are pretty much my go-to on hot summer days—and I really don’t shy away from colors or patterns.

Originally I had thought that when the month was up, there was a chance that I would want to continue to do this daily. This could be My Thing. HELLZ NO. It was WAY too much work. Especially since I will be spending much of my foreseeable free time cleaning out that closet.