Over the summer, my local thrift shop was having one of their fill a bag  for $10 sales, and one of the items I filled my bag with was a sleeveless ankle-length black dress. I thought that for what ended up to be $2.50, I could be set for a future fancy dress event! Fast forward to now, and I’ve been to exactly zero fancy dress events, with no prospects of a fancy dress event in the near future.

BUT! I also saw this interesting montage of one black dress mixed and matched in a zillion ways that Meg pinned:


(saved from

…and I knew I had to shorten the dress so I could wear it for everyday occasions, paired with shirts under and over, sweaters, my knitted accessories, you name it! My dress is more of a sheath/shift dress, but will work as a blank, black canvas just the same!

I also had a dress from the same thrift shop — I loved the large plaid print and colors, but it had a very scooped neck which was a little more revealing than I like to wear to work, and was also a little short. For the past year I would cover the neckline with a sweater, wear leggings, and perform other tricks to make up for the things I didn’t like, but I finally had enough and decided it was time to make a skirt of the dress by cutting it right under the arm holes and putting in an elastic waistband.

I got out my sewing machine and:


The dress now comes to a few inches below my knees, and the skirt comes right below my knees. Ah, that’s better. I was also able to save the black crepe-y fabric from the dress for another use (but the tiny bit of plaid went in the rag pile).

I’m looking forward to wearing these remakes very soon — I’ll attempt snapping photos in action to stick on Twitter!



  1. This is fantastic! Two grand staples: total cost ‘pennies’, a little ingenuity and a wee while at the sewing machine.

    Thanks for the mention.

    ps – I wish we had such thrift stores in my town. Greenwich is a nice suburb but the charity shops here are dire… :/

    1. I forgot to mention the funniest part! I was out of elastic and thought I was going to have to put off refashioning the dress into a skirt, but then I spied some elastic I used to wrap around my giant sketch pad so it wouldn’t flap open when I took it outside, like a giant rubber band. I undid the knot and used the elastic! When I get more, I’ll put it back on my drawing paper.

      I am so lucky with this thrift shop in my town. Many of the ones in Philadelphia have become either a mess or very overpriced. This one in my town has good prices and merchandise and gives money to a different charity each month. The owner and workers are really nice too.

      I’m completely nostalgic for the thrift shop from my teenage years though. Vintage clothing in perfect condition often for 1.00 an item. I have dreams about this place to this day. Magic.

  2. Oh, I can remember my mother wearing just that sort of plaid. The black dress I am sure you will be able to dress up in many ways; and I must confess that your picture has me thinking of dolls you cut out from card, and dressed with clothes cut out from paper with little tabs to keep them in place. I hadn’t thought about those for years, but I used to love them.

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