Thursday, September 18, 2014

Altered: Sleeveless Bias Tape Top

I picked a blouse to do my first alteration from the mountain of clothing I got at the last estate sale I went to. I chose this white blouse that I had no desire to wear as-is; it was too large on me and had a slouchy high neck that I didn’t like. Since I wasn’t attached to this blouse (in any way) and had bought it for 50 cents, I didn’t feel bad cutting it up (because usually a part of me will worry that I’ll “ruin” a garment in some way if I try to alter it).

When I looked at this blouse I saw some potential. I liked the lapped front that covered the buttons. I also thought that the polyester material it was made from wasn’t bad. I thought about different altering possibilities and decided to use black satin bias tape (that I’d made a lot of some time ago) to finish my edges.

So first I cut off the sleeves and took out the shoulder pads. Then I cut around the neckline, along the base of the high neck neckline. I cut the sides open and sewed them in and then I finished all my edges with my bias tape. It wasn’t hard (although it did take me longer than I anticipated). But I think the result is pretty good. It’s a very simple black and white top that will work well with a lot of my skirts. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Don’t Want to be Your Target Demographic

Not long ago when I bought something at a store, the cashier asked for my phone number. She just asked in a matter-of-fact manner, like it was no big deal, as if I would just willingly part with that bit of personal information. I blinked in surprised and answered a resounding, “No.” And she replied, “Okay,” and proceeded to finish my transaction. [Pause.] But I guess it works some of the time as the woman who checked out before me freely gave her phone number. (My only question is: Why would you do that?)

There is no reason that this store needed my phone number and I wasn’t going to give it to them just because they asked for it. It’s bad enough that some stores ask for your zip code when you check out (but at least that’s less invasive than your phone number). One time I was fool enough to give my email address to get my receipt (because I thought it might be nice to be “paperless”) and consequently got all this spam email about whatever they were selling. [Pause.] Lesson learned.

Quite frankly, I think all of it is quite unappealing. I don’t want to be your target demographic. I don’t care about your company having more precise information about those that buy your items so you can sell to them better. This is not my responsibility. Have a focus group if you want to learn more and leave me out of it. I have no desire to help you sell your products. Isn’t it enough that I’m buying something at your store? You’re making money so stop being so greedy with trying to get more out of me. It’s annoying…and it doesn’t make me want to shop at your store.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Flashback to the 1980’s (and 1990’s) Estate Sale: Tops

I don’t think I bought any tops Saturday at the estate sale, so on Sunday I really stocked up. Somehow I’d overlooked certain areas of the store so when I stumbled upon the previously unseen garments, I grabbed a whole lot of stuff. I didn’t bother too much with the size because I figured I could probably alter them to be smaller if I needed to. Some blouses I’m not very excited about and others I loved once I tried them on.

White bow blouse. (Top photo) This is one of my favorite tops that I bought. It didn’t look particularly special on the hanger, but when I put it on I immediately loved it. It fit me and draped beautifully. I love the pleated detail and the feminine bow.

Sleeveless black silk top. I love the pleated detail at the neckline. It has covered buttons down the back. It’s just very simple and elegant.

Sheer top with beaded shoulders. I unexpectedly liked this top (unexpectedly because I’m not really into beading). I saw it on Saturday and put it to the side thinking, “When am I going to wear this?” But on Sunday it was still there and I was still drawn to it so I bought it. It fits well and I think it’s cute. Some of the beads have gotten loose, so it will need to be mended.

Off-white blouse. (Left) It’s not the most exciting blouse.

Off-white flower pattern blouse. (Right) I was on the fence on getting this blouse (I swear my grandmother had this exact same blouse…).

White high collar blouse. (Left) It wasn’t really exciting-looking on the hanger…or on me. It’s too big.

Cotton pleated shirt with buttons down the back. (Right) This fits very strangely. It’s loose in the body and tight in the sleeves. When I look at I just feel like I’m an extra in Anne of Green Gables.

Blue and white stripe button down shirt. (Left) I like that the sleeves have that optional button if you want to role it up.

Blue shirt with pleated trim. (Right) I thought the pleats along the front and neckline were kind of interesting; the shirt is way to big for me though.

Sheer gray blouse. (Left) It has buttons along the shoulder and some frilliness at the collar.

White top with pink and blue trim. (Right) I bought this on a whim; I knew it was super 80’s, but I still thought it was interesting. (I think I was channeling my inner Molly Ringwald.) Not sure I’d ever wear it…

Red short blouse. (Left) I like the pleating down the front and the wider neckline. It fits well and I think it would work well with skirts.

Red silk tie blouse. (Right) This blouse is a bit large on me…

Pink silk top. (Left) I like this simple top and it fits well.

Cobalt blue blouse. (Right) I like the blue color but the fit isn’t very great.

I love getting a good deal and I think I spent a grand total of $7.50 for these 15 tops.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Flashback to the 1980’s (and 1990’s) Estate Sale: Skirts and Dresses

While I photographed many of the estate sale items on me, I didn’t for some of them because it was either to large or small for me; or because of the hanger it’d been on. Some of the hangers (for dresses and blouses) had those sponge strips on them (so they’re less likely to slip off the hanger). Well, after however many years these items had been sitting around, the sponge had rather disintegrated; it became a dust that went everywhere. It made everything feel grimy and disgusting, so I couldn’t bear to try them on until they’re washed.

I got a lot of skirts; they’re older so they tend to be longer—about mid-shin.

Purple wool polyester skirt. (Top photo) I love the deep purple of this skirt and I like the pleating. (I wished it was lined, but for 50 cents, who cares?)

Black polyester wool skirt with slit in the front. I didn’t think I would like this skirt as much as I do, but I think the fit is pretty good.

Gray wool skirt. It’s a fairly loose fitting skirt; the best part about it is the pockets.

Navy blue skirt. It’s a simple skirt and a nice color.

Gray pleated skirt. I really like the pleats in the front and I like the lightweight material it’s made of. It has pockets too (which is always a plus). It’s one of my favorite new skirts.

Olive green wool culottes. I’m not really a culottes person (or an olive green person), and this pair is large on me, but worst-case-scenario I got some quality material to use.

Red button-down wool skirt. This isn’t the cutest skirt (I’m not a fan of the waist with the belt loops). I like the color; maybe it can be altered into a short skirt.

And then here’s five skirts that didn’t fit me. Red skirt: wool nylon. Gray skirt: wool polyester. Dark gray skirt: wool polyester. Light blue skirt: wool. Black and white skirt: wool viscose.

And while not photographed, I also got two slips that still had the tags on them; truthfully I’m not sure what all I can wear them with since they’re fairly long slips (below the knee).

Next, I got some dresses.

Blue plaid polyester shirt and skirt. I was on the fence on getting this outfit… It’s not my favorite piece (but for whatever reason I thought it was kind of interesting); I have yet to try it on so I have no idea what the fit will be like.

Blue silk dress. This dress has sun damage along the shoulders. Really I bought this dress thinking I’d either make it into a skirt or tear it up for the fabric.

Red silk shirt-dress. This is a very simple dress. It does have a small hole in it (maybe the hanger poked it?), so that will need to be fixed.

Blush silk dress. The shape of the dress is fairly simple; it has a tie to bring it in at the waist. I like the covered buttons that go down the back of the dress. I am not a fan of the sleeves or the beaded shoulders. While I can appreciate the workmanship it may take to create the beaded detail, I can’t see myself wearing this as-is…ever. It’s so 80’s—like what you might see on Dynasty. I thought I could just use the fabric for something.

I think I got all my skirts and dresses for around $10. Pretty great deal.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flashback to the 1980’s (and 1990’s) Estate Sale: Jackets

So I bought more clothes than I’ll ever need at this estate sale. I just couldn’t stop myself. I sort of restrained myself on Saturday when clothing was $1 a piece, but when it became 50 cents the next day, I kind of went overboard. I thought, “When else am I ever going to get clothes this cheap?” If I can wear it as-is great, but I could also tear it up and use the material. At worst, I’ll donate the items I don’t want to a local thrift shop.

It took quite a bit of effort to try anything on. I dragged my pile of clothing to an available mirror in the store and tried them on. It doesn’t sound like much work, but the room was pretty warm and some of the clothes were a bit grimy. I basically felt gross so I wanted to try on as few items as possible. I really only tried on jackets since they were easy slip in and out of; I didn’t bother trying on the skirts and blouses because I think they would be easier to alter or tear up for material.

Here are the nine coats and jackets and I got for under $10.

Short black wool jacket. (Top photo) This is my favorite jacket. The fit is pretty good (perhaps a smidge large, but still fairly good). I love the simple collar and the short length that I think would work well with skirts.

Reversible tan and black coat with a tie; mid-shin length. (Left) It’s a lightweight coat that would be good for spring and fall. I like the simplicity of it; it’s unfortunately a bit large on me.

Tan mid-shin length coat. (Right) Although I like the collar and sleeves, I wish it came in at the waist (I could probably add a waist tie). And it’s annoying that the sleeves are a bit short of me.

Blue mid-shin length coat. (Left) The stitching detail at the collar and wrists feels rather dated, but I do like the overall shape of the jacket.

Blue jacket (part of a suit with a skirt); made of polyester, acrylic and wool. (Right) I initially thought the pocket detail was rather interesting. The jacket feels a bit big and the skirt is a bit small.

Tan jacket; made of wool and polyester. (Left) I don’t really wear a lot of browns, but I do like the coloring of this jacket; it’s a good neutral.

Camel jacket; 100% camel hair. (Right) I generally avoid this color, and the jacket is unfortunately large on me, but I love the way the material feels—it’s so soft.

Gray button down jacket; 100% wool. (Left) This is also a suit that has a matching skirt that’s too small. The jacket isn’t as fitted as I would like, but I like the style of it; it feels very 1940’s to me.

Gray jacket; made of wool, acrylic, rayon and nylon. (Right) Good neutral color. I like the cut of this jacket.