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Goodwill+Fourth of July: Tips and tricks for finding the perfect look!

Hi! My name is Kristi Crane and I would first like to tell you a little about myself. I’m a school counselor, married with a toddler, who LOVES thrifting affordable fashion and style. I’m a consumer who tries to shop second-hand for environmental and personal reasons (i.e. cheaper goods!). There are many ways to shop Goodwill and make it a successful shopping trip:  Most of the time, I prefer to wander the aisles aimlessly for hours, which is usually when I have the most luck!  (This luxury does not come as often as I would hope, because I have a two-year-old) Another way is, to shop for an occasion.  Shopping for something specific can also be a great way to get started if you are new to thrifting. In this post I’m going to give my take on how to find the perfect, simple outfit for the 4th of July!  These tips and tricks are how I typically shop for any holiday, event or occasion. 

1. I tend to need a little inspiration when I’m looking for something specific to wear, whether it be an outfit for a birthday party, wedding, or in this case, Independence Day!  I created a hashtag on Instagram #thisinspiredthat because it helps me use what I have in my closet, and it inspires me during my Goodwill shopping ventures. Below are a few images that I found while searching on Google and Pinterest.  I tend to go for more subtle looks (rather than combining red, white and blue, I prefer to just pick two of the colors).  Sometimes I find an almost identical outfit, and other times I use the images to help get my creative juices flowing (what are creative juices anyways?!?!).

4Th One 4Th Two

 

2. Go to a Goodwill near you.  We are lucky enough to have 3 locations near us that I typically have pretty good luck with. My “go-to” stores are: Southland in Middleburg Heights, Snow Rd. in Brookpark and Strongsville.  I think all Cuyahoga County stores are well stocked and have a good variety for everyone.

3. Shop all sizes….yes ALL of them!  I always start in my size but then I look in all the other sizes too!  If you’re a size large, do not skip the smaller sizes.  If you’re an extra small, don’t skip the larger sizes!  I’ve found great pieces that were mismarked, ran big/small, and items placed in the wrong size section.  If I didn’t look in all of the sizes, I wouldn’t have found some of the items I own now! Other hacks...if you’re smaller, check the larger kids section, and also check mens….you never know what goodies you will find.

4Th Clothes Rack

4. Pull everything that might work and have a little try-on session!!  I try on all pieces before I take anything home.  I don’t have time to make returns, so I make sure I love it first.  Here are all my looks:

4Th Three

4Th Four 

5. Pictured was everything I found solely at the Strongsville location. I ended up purchasing the ladybug striped top, chambray dress, an alternative blue tee that is not pictured (it was half off!), a white ruffle blouse, a window pain chambray, AND ...bonus, I also found white jeans!!!!  WHAT?!?!  I will also pair some of these pieces with skirts, shorts, red sandals etc. Please use these or other inspiration photos to create your own look!  Use the #thisinspiredthat on IG and show us what you come up with!  Happy 4th of July!

 

Upcycled Dress from Goodwill

Md1

Hello, again friends! So for this months blog post I wanted to share a somewhat tutorial/sewing inspiration I did to modernize a dress I had thifted a few months back at my local Goodwill. The dress was originally five dollars but because it had a purple tag, I was able to take it home for only 1$. There are many times that I go to Goodwill and simply hunt for a tag color because the fabric from outdated clothing can either be upcycled or used for other projects.

If you want to create a similar look, you won’t need much in the way of supplies. Just basic sewing knowledge, a sewing machine, iron, sewing pins or clips, matching thread color, eye and hook closures, a small piece of interfacing (optional), a sewing needle, and elastic (I used 1.25 inch).

Md2

A few tips in choosing a dress that will be the easiest to work with:

  • The silkier the fabric the harder it is to sew
  • Choose a dress that already fits you
  • Make sure there isn’t a bustle in the back

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was hem the dress to a point above the knee. To do this, I put the dress on inside out, went and looked in a full-length mirror and with a marker made a slash on the fabric letting me know where to cut. I then took it off, laid it on a flat surface and used a ruler and marker to give myself a straight across guideline to cut from.

Md3

Remember to mark the dress a little longer than you want because you’ll lose about a half an inch when hemming the dress. Once you cut off the bottom of the dress, try it on again just to be sure everything looks even and that you have your desired length. Remember that you can always cut more off but you can’t put the fabric back on if it’s cut too short. Set the excess fabric to the side.

Once you are happy with your cut, it’s time to hem. There are tons of tutorials online to create the perfect hem, I’m sure my method is frowned upon by seamstresses but my technique is easy, looks clean, and doesn’t require a million measurements.

Md4

All I do is preheat my iron, fold a small portion of the dress bottom up at a time and press the iron to it. The ironing part is important because this will stop your hem from being curled up and super wavy. I then use my wonder clips to hold the fold in place while I sew. (Wonder Clips are just a different way of pinning fabric that I personally find a lot easier to use. You can find them on Amazon very inexpensively and they hold fabric like a dream.)


Once your hem is ironed and pinned in place, take it over to your sewing machine. I used a zig zag stitch on this hem and I try to get as close to the crease of the fabric as possible. When you’ve made it all the way around your dress, take it over to your ironing board and iron the hem with steam. This will flatten out the hem and even hide any imperfections that could occur if you’re new to sewing.

Md6

At this point, you officially have a new short dress for your wardrobe, but of course, I wanted to take this project a step forward to create a unique matching belt with all of the extra fabric. 

Md7

You need to take two measurements at this point. The first being a loose measurement of your waist (mine was 29in), write this number down because this will be the length of your fabric. Then also take a tight measurement of your waist (mine was 26.5in), this will be the length you will cut the elastic at. If you are using 1.25 inch elastic for your belt, you will need to cut a piece of fabric that is your loose waist measurement x 3 inches. You can either draw this onto your fabric or make a pattern piece of paper.

Md8 Md8 2

Fold your (in my case) 29in x 3in piece of fabric in half (BE SURE RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER AND WRONG SIDES ARE SHOWING) and sew the long edge closed, leaving two open ends. Then turn your fabric tube inside out so that the raw edge is hidden. Next, I fed the elastic through the fabric and wonder clipped it so that the elastic inside the fabric was flush with the raw edge of the belt. To give the belt a cleaner look, I also slightly tucked the frayed edges of the fabric inward, as pictured. Lastly sew the end closed, being sure to sew the elastic AND fabric together. I used a large zig zag stitch.

Md9 Md9 2

Next up is the bow portion of the dress! You can make this as big or as small as you want, and the interfacing is completely optional, but I just knew I wanted a huge girly bow that wouldn’t slouch.


I first cut my interfacing and actually used it as a pattern piece as well. It measured out to be 8 x 10 inches. I only needed to use one piece of interfacing to achieve the bow that I made but if you want it to be super rigid, use two pieces. From there I placed the interfacing on top of the extra fabric and cut two 8 x 10 pieces from it.

Md10 Md10 2

Then create a fabric sandwich that will look as followed: 1st piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 2nd piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 3rd piece is the interfacing. pin/clip the pieces together, sew along the edges making sure to leave about a 1.5-2inch hole to flip the fabric right sides out. Then sew closed the hole by tucking the raw edges inward, as pictured.

Md11 Md11 2

To finish the bow you need to make a center ring of fabric to keep the bow puckered together. I did this by cutting a 3x2 piece of fabric, and just like the initial belt portion of the project, fold that in half with right sides together, pin, sew, and flip the fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing out. Gather the large square you just made (the bow part) in the center and wrap the little piece of fabric around it. Clip it in place and sew it closed to create a loop that finishes off the bow.

Md12 Md12 2

To attach the bow to the elastic belt, I lined up where I wanted the bow to sit and took it to the sewing machine. I added a little bit of stitching between the folds of the bow to hold it in place. You can also do this by hand sewing if your fabric doesn’t fit under the presser foot.

Md13

Now the last step is to attach the eye hooks! I added two sets of eye hooks because of the thickness of my belt. To do this I just placed the metal hooks on/in the fabric and with a hand sewing needle I put a few stitches in and around the hooks until they felt secure when I tugged on them. You do not need to use eye and hooks, you could also use snaps or any other type of clasp.

Md14 Md14 2

AND THERE YOU HAVE A FINISHED BELT! This was my first time making a fabric covered belt out of recycled fabric, and while I am sure there are many different ways to make them, I got creative and used items I had in my sewing box to not only keep cost down but also got to experiment with materials I don’t get to use very often.

Md15

All in all, I am extremely happy with how this project turned out. I am not a master at sewing, and yet I created a dress that I am excited to wear all summer long. It's light enough to wear on hot summer days, but still has my quirky flair with the large matching belt. What’s great about this project is that even if you don’t have enough left over fabric from your dress alterations, you can always use scrap fabric from other projects to contrast colors and make the belt OR the bow stand out!

Thrifted Teen Bedroom

For those new to this Goodwill blog and haven't read my previous Thrifted Patio from 2018, I would like to recap that thrifting takes time and daily hunts.

I shop exclusively at my local store, because of time restraints since I have three kids and work part-time as a designer.

Here is a quick recap of my base principles in thrifting:

  1. To find a bargain, you have to look every day. My personal schedule allows me to go 3 days a week. If you don't get to it first, someone else will.

  2. At my local Goodwill store in New Philadelphia, I start at the left and walk the perimeter then head to all the in-between aisles that brings me back to the cashier for checkout (Amazing how much you can see in 30 mins).

  3. I have purposely chosen neutral colors pallets on my interior walls and main pieces of furniture so I can make almost anything blend in.

  4. Spray paint and chalk paint is your friend. Watch as many YouTube tutorials as you can. It really is easy peasy to use.  

  5. The beauty of thrift shopping is having a statement piece or “look” that no one else can mimic.

  6. Don’t be afraid to use indoor pieces on the outside. Add all the layers possible (pillows, blankets, lamps, buffet, stools...)

  7. Putting a look together is a gradual process. I have a space at home where I gather and store items over a period of months.

I wanted to turn a basic room in the basement into a teen bedroom. Since I have chosen to stick with neutrals in my home, I purchased a headboard and set it up, but the room felt too washed out with the lack of sunshine and warm lighting.

Pic1 Pic2

As you can see, it needs contrast!

I went to a local paint store and asked for miss-match paint in black or a grey (to add black into it). I always look at high-end name brand paint returns because a gallon usually runs around $12-15 price range. These are paints that were mixed for customers, and either the customer didn't like, or they were mixed incorrectly for the colorant or sheen.

Pic3

I chose to only paint a black accent wall on the headboard side for contrast. Any and all colors look amazing in front of black no matter if its a feminine or masculine room.

Pic4

Above is a thrifted dresser for the room with a lack of closet space and an oversized mirror to help fill the space.  

Still needing to set up a desk area for a teen with late night studying. I found a desk at Goodwill, but it took me three months to find that perfect one to fit my style.

Pic5 Pic6

 A mirrored desk with a bronze tint and in perfect condition. The backside is also finished with mirror panels, so would also look good as a floater in the middle of an office.

The Goodwill desk paired with a slipper chair and wallboard accessories that will be easy to pull off the wall and transport to a college dorm room. This is a tight space, so the desk was the perfect scale.

Pic7

Thrifted items:

 - Linens
 - Desk
 - Desk accessories
 - Fur Bench at the end of the bed
 - Dresser
 - Mirror
 - Chandelier
 - Black Paint
 - Table Lamp

Splurge:

 - Silver Tassel pillow

Thrifting well takes time. Gathering items for the past two years for this completed room was a reality for me. I have two years before a kid goes off to college and I will admit I have a stash of items that will be needed for dorm life.

Headed to dorm life this fall? Now is the time for shopping and gathering.

 

Cheri P | Commercial | Residential | e-Designs | Minimalist

Dover, Ohio