Cabochon print blouse, $3.99 & pink pencil skirt, $2.99, both from Savers Thrift Store
I felt a little jaded this month by the selection at my usual retailers, thus headed to the thrift store for inspiration. My visits there are hit or miss, but this time I skipped out with two fun, affordable pieces to play around with. This blouse caught my attention right away, despite the dowdy silhouette and oversized fit. I adored the vintage flair given off by the pink cabochon stones with antique gold backing, and the fabric-covered buttons. It can be a bit pajama-like when worn alone, but adds interest when peeking out from underneath layers.
This skirt, labeled a size 5-6, was roomy in the hips but a perfect fit at the waistband (calling for easy alterations). I liked the front pleating, the full lining, and the bright punch of color unlike anything else in my closet. Below are the alterations I performed on both...
I highly recommend washing and drying pre-owned items before starting any alterations. This is not only for sanitation purposes, but also prevents shrink-prone items from becoming too small after alterations.
Steps 1 through 3: The first issue I addressed on this blouse were the too-wide shoulders. In the past, I meticulously detached shoulders and re-cut the armhole openings. This was very hard to do and took me days as a non-skilled sewer, plus the outcome was far from perfect.
This time, I decided to experiment with a shortcut. I added ruching (gathered-up fabric) to the top of the shoulders, which effectively narrowed the shoulder width and shortened the sleeves. Basic ruching is quick, easy and useful - it's the same thing I did to the chest on this old dress to create a sweetheart neckline. Details on how to add ruching via hand-sewing:
Step 4: Next, I slimmed down the upper torso and sleeves, up to the cuff opening.
Step 5: I then removed the waist darts on this blouse so that it would have a more flowy fit for wearing both tucked-in and un-tucked. Ironing throughout is the last step.
As for the skirt, I simply slimmed down both sides from the interior, starting right below the waist band:
Final look again:
And the back view:
Readers - What are some of your favorite finds for under $10, from either a thrift store or a good sale?