Category Archives: thrifty

For Julie, Sheri,

… and anyone else nervous about cutting up that sundress to make a skirt.

If I can cut up this fancy flower girl dress –

Awwwwww.

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to make this fabulous princess dress up skirt –


Please note she’s still wearing the gloves. They didn’t make it to the wedding, but when dressing up, they are always worn with this dress skirt.

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then you can certainly take scissors to an outgrown sundress, or thrift store find.  Just do it.  It’s not scary, it’s fun.  I promise. 🙂

Along with the peer pressure, I need to send big thanks to Julie for the FOE.  It made this even a quicker, easier project than usual.  Also, it looks super cute –



As always, it’s important that the waistband isn’t actually ON her belly.  “NOT ON MY BELLY!!!”  I see a lot of low-rise jeans in her future.

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And considering I basically did this exact thing for half of her Halloween costume, I’ll just throw that in here too.  I took her practice dress, cut off the top, added elastic (blahblahblah etc etc.)  Then I used the satin from this dress and made another of these tops with it.  Add ribbon, tulle, yet another felt crown, and you have a princess costume!

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Introducing the Fairest of Them All…   Princess Violet!

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This time the peasant blouse really did take me less than an hour, the dress to skirt took maybe 20 minutes.  I can make those crowns in my sleep at this point.  The most time-intensive part was the ribbons on the shirt, but all together I think I spent less than two hours on this, and only used stuff I already had in the house.  She told me it was the “BEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL, MOST PRINCESSY OUTFIT EVER!”  She wore it the day before Halloween to trick-or-treat (don’t ask.)  She wore it to school on Halloween to show it to all her friends.  She wore it Halloween night to the bowling alley.  She wore it the day after Halloween so I could take pictures.  She wore it yesterday just for kicks.

I am SuperMom, hear me roar! 🙂


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Score!

For years I never threw anything away. I saved old clothes that I hated but thought the fabric had potential. I saved sheets and pillowcases with stains or holes or that fit a bed we sold 5 years before. I bought interesting fabric remnants and carefully added them to my pile of crap that I never, ever did anything with.

When we moved here, I finally got rid of it all. In Arkansas I had a room for my junk. Sure, it was the “guest room”, but if you ignored the bed what it was was a room full of paint and fabric and buttons and yarn and beads and a sewing machine. That never got used. I knew that here there would be no extra room. I had an extra kid instead, who would be selfishly taking up the third bedroom with his trucks and books and changing table. It was time to purge.

I got rid of so, so much. So very much. Stuff I had saved for YEARS because, dammit, I could MAKE SOMETHING WITH THIS. You know. “One day.”

Now, that I have no stash, and no easy access to Walmart or Joann’s… NOW I’m finally making stuff. Regularly. It’s ironic, no?

All this to explain just how freaking excited I got when I scored THIS at the thrift store… FOR A DOLLAR!

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That is a size 3XL pink prom dress right there. Enough tulle and pink satin to outfit an army of preschool princesses. 🙂

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I saw it at the shop the week before, and asked the price. 15 bucks. Are you kidding? Do I look like a woman willing to spend 15 bucks at a thrift store? Hell – I’m barely willing to spend 15 bucks at the regular all-this-stuff-is-brand -new-not-pre-owned store.

The next time I went in, there was a big sign saying “TODAY! All clothing only $1!”. I went right to it. What a freaking steal.

Now the question of what to do with it. The Twink has demanded that I simply make it small enough to fit her. “Don’t change ANYTHING! Just make it SMALLER!” She seems to think that my skills include being able to alter a dress from a 3XL to a 4T. Yeah.  While it’s nice to know she has such a high opinion of my abilities, it’s a little daunting to think that all I can do there is disappoint her.

While I ponder that a bit, I did manage to rack up major Mommy points by turning this –

Wrap that came w/ the dress. Yeah – all for a buck, baby!

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into this –

Not only is it a new “princess skirt”, it’s one I let her wear out in public. It’s like I’m running for office or something. My polls have never been better.

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This was, hands down, the quickest and easiest sewing project I’ve ever done. Ever. This was easier than turning a tiered dress into a skirt. Everyone with a little girl should go check out their local thrift shop for formal dresses that come w/ wraps RIGHT NOW. All the ends were finished. It was a big rectangle of fabric with four finished edges. It literally took me less than 10 minutes to turn it into a skirt. Me. Slowest Woman On The Planet. All I had to do was fold over and sew a casing, thread the elastic through (half of my time was spent on this), then sew the short edges together to form a circle. There was no hemming, no folding over twice, no french seams. Finished edges = easy project. 10 minutes later the Twink was in new-skirt-heaven, and I was getting all the hugs and kisses and praise that should, in a fair and just world, be mine to receive every damn day. I’ll take what I can get.

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In other Twink-pleasing-yet-crafty-news, I’ve started her window.

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The problem with painting for bigger kids is that they have OPINIONS. “Flowers and hearts and stars… IN CIRCLES. Not all crazy like Jonas’s window. “

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I managed to sneak in the random sizes and placement of the “circles”. Also – she hasn’t seemed to notice that they’re really *not* all that circular. She likes it. When I first drew them on she said “Hey! They look like stones!” Ok, I can go with that. Painted stones with flowers and hearts and stars. 🙂

This is my last window, and I have tons of paint still. I’m planning to go very experimental here. In the past I’ve always treated these like a coloring book. First I draw the lines, then I color in the spaces. Done. This one I’m going to treat more like an actual painting. When I’m done coloring in, I’m going to go back and add texture and maybe color on top of color. At first I felt really restricted by her ideas for the window, but now I’m getting pretty excited about making it as interesting as I can within those restrictions. Watch this space – experimentation begins this week.

Cheapo Mom reuses same dress over and over, calls it “crafting”!

A long, long time ago, when Violet looked like this –

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Awwwww. Look how cute! So soft and squishy! You know what else? She didn’t TALK back then, either!

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– I took her to Old Navy and bought somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 sundresses for her to wear the next summer. Because they were on clearance, and that’s how I roll. One was a bright pink and white and yellow and orange and every color I would love tiered number, that cost me all of seven bucks. In 2004, it was in a box, waiting for it’s chance in the sun.

In 2005, it was being worn all over town by the cutest toddler on the planet –

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Ok, not the best picture of the dress – but who CARES?! Look at that face!

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You would think that would be it, the end of the size 12 – 18 month dress, but you’d be wrong. Seven bucks is way too much to spend on something that only gets worn for one season. 😉

In 2006, unfortunately, the dress was in a box somewhere during the summer months. See, we did this little thing we like to call an “international move”, and had to work without 85% of our wardrobes for the months of June, July, August, and September.

But in 2007 the dress came back with a vengeance. While packing up a bunch of outgrown clothes to ship off to Madam’s cousin, I found it and several others that seemed like they’d be too short, but not too tight. Throw on a pair of capris and –

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Voila! Cutey-cute tunic! (Still not a great picture of this dress. For something that was maybe my favorite little dress of hers for the past FOUR YEARS, you’d think I’d have a decent shot of it.)

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That brings us up to 2008. My gigantic almost-kindergardener is officially too big for the size 12 – 18 month dress. Her chest would not have fit into it this year. So, you ask, finally time to pass it on? Ha, I answer. I can get at least one more summer out of this! Watch and learn, people.

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She sure has come a long way from that baby on the bed.

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Easiest project in the world. Cut off very top of dress. Make casing. Thread in elastic to fit. Ta da – you can save money on new skirts, AND get to see her in her baby dress for another summer. I love love love her wearing this thing. I’m transported straight back to that beach where I built sand castles with my Twink for the first time.

And no, it’s not super lopsided. The reason it looks so much shorter in the back is that she insists on wearing it this low in the front –

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Where did those baby chubs go? Sigh.

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I don’t know what she has against waistbands that actually sit on her waist, but all I ever hear is “NOT on my BELLY!” Another good reason for everything she owns to have an elastic waist. See – it’s not *totally* about my fear of zippers. 😉

Next up on this blog – my incredible thrift store score, or “What the hell am I going to do with a size 3XL prom dress???”