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Recycle Those Pillowcases, Girls!

I’m a thrifter.  I love thinking outside the box and have been recycling, or upcycling, or repurposing old clothes or sheets or parts of clothes for a very long time.  Once I made Emily and myself skirts from a pair of Jason’s khaki’s he had cut off…and I’ve even stooped to make myself workout shirts out of Jason’s old pitted out white-T’s, cutting out the pits, obviously

But let me tell you, old sheets and pillowcases are the best!  I have yellow and white checked gingham pajama pants from my Grandpa’s sheets, cornflower blue with rose bud pajama bottoms from 1974 (the sheets from my childhood bed), and when Em was little I used two of my favorite pillow cases to make her a sun top and super wide-legged flare bottom pants.

In 1993 when we got married, Ralph Lauren bedding was ALL THE RAGE 😉  No, but really, every. single. piece. of. bedding. we. had. was prepster, for sure.  Remember when mixing plaid and floral and stripes and solids and paisley’s was super cool?  And then when Ralph was mixing up the patterns with rustic western themes, this Arizona girl got all giddy and bought up some o’dat.  Mixed up on our old 4-poster log bed and it was very Taos-esque, Southwesternish, even in the Midwest.

About 9 years ago I made a pillowcase skirt by simply cutting off the end which is sewn shut, folding it over twice, about an inch in width, sewing it and lacing it with a drawstring.  I stitched an antique handkerchief onto it…dang that thing was cute…I think I recently gave it away…anyway…

I’ve had these pillowcases forever and have wanted to use them to make a skirt or dress but they have just been sitting in my pile…for a very long time.  But, with Spain around the corner, and my goal being to wear a sundress almost every day, I thought why not whip one up?

Here goes (hope you are easily able to follow along with the instructions):

Pick your favorite pillowcase.  This is circa 1993, old school Ralph Lauren bedding, probably from his Taos collection 😉  Oh, and it’s a KING SIZE case, which gives you ample length with which to work.

Fold the pillowcase in half length-wise (so it’s narrow)  Use scissors or your handy dandy cutting mat and fabric slicer to cut the sewn end of the case off.

Sorry, I don’t know why this one is horizontal, but then turn the pillowcase inside out and use the natural fold, as well as the seam as your guide.

Fold the fabric over one inch, the part that will be the top of the dress.  The cuff or ruffle on a pillowcase will be your natural hem at the bottom.  

Find a random piece of good elastic in your sewing box, or actually buy some for this project.  I happened to have a piece that, when pulled taught, was the exact width of the pillowcase, so decided to try it and see if it would work.  I kind of wing it like that…but it worked, so you can follow these instructions 😉  

At the natural seem, with one inch of the material folded over but not sewn down, sew one end of the elastic on securely with a zig zag stitch.

Then, pull it tightly and sew the other end to the natural fold on the opposite side of the pillowcase.

I have a base on my machine that can be removed for sleeves…remove that if you have the option, but otherwise, fold the elastic over one more inch and pull it taught with both hands, guiding it slowly through a straight stitch on your machine.  DO NOT SEW THRU THE ELASTIC BUT NEXT TO IT, so you are creating a pocket, basically, for the elastic.  (Sorry, I’m not sure I’m a “technical” writer…)

On the front side of the top hem, you will have one seam from sewing the twice folded one inch roll all the way around.  I then wanted to stitch a few rows of thread on the top front edge for a little extra touch.
***Note, when I tried it on, it was a little loose, so, tomorrow when I have a few minutes, I am going to pinch one inch on either side of the top hem, probably centered over each breast, one, to make it stay up better, and two, to bring some of the poofiness that is going on in the back around to the front to add dimension, if that makes sense???

Add a belt and some boots, and a partial afro since I haven’t used a blow dryer all summer but am trying to be “natural”, and there you have it.  A pillowcase dress in less than 20 minutes, but that I’ve had hanging around for 20 years in the linen closet.  I’m taking this little number to Spain to eat tapas and drink wine with mi esposo.

Nifty, Thrifty, but not Fifty

(I’m turning 40 on Sunday, but fifty rhymed, that’s all)

So, my mom taught us girls to be thrifty…not to a fault where we’d snatch up a boatload of crap just because it was cheap, but to always look for quality at a good price.

She also taught us that EVERYTHING would one day be on sale.  Everything.

In elementary school I was donned from head to toe in Polo, Izod, and Levi’s…all usually found at Marshall’s or TJMaxx, all at discounted prices.  And my Gap and Guess jeans of the 80’s were found on sale, too.  My K-Swiss and VANS could also be found on sale, people!  (So EIGHTIES!) 

I will confess something, however, and that is:

I never went to Thrift Stores in Junior High or High School.  
I was conceited and thought I was too good for such a thing.
Let me tell you a new confession:
With an income level of FIFTY BUCKS A WEEK in college, I discovered Thrift Stores.
I’ve been a faithful shopper ever since.
And, I’ve even exposed my daughter to Thrifts, along with TJMaxx, of course.

I’m in that group of girls that loves to say, “This?  Oh, I got if for a dollar!”  Or something like that, anyway…

So, this post has no other purpose than to share with you my “Show and Tell” from my Goodwill adventure today with Ryan.  Items 5, 6 and 7 are from a resale shop where everything was 50% off today.  Here goes:

  1. 1 Gap sweater dress for Em, $1.99
  2. 1 Super cute brand new w/tags girly polo style shirt for Em, $1.99
  3. 1 Brand NWT Nike Fit Dry shirt to train for Avon Walk, $1.75 (this was half off…)
  4. 1 Brand NWT Champion Double Dry shirt to train for walk, $1.75 (1/2 off, too…)
  5. 1 Kelly Green MIMI & COCO long sleeved yoga shirt, $7.00 (resale)
  6. 1 Black sweater White House/Black Market, $7.00 (resale)
  7. 6 Chocolate silk and bead mini lampshades for kitchen chandelier, $7.00 for set (resale)
  8. 1 Pair Banana Republic jeans, “Urban Flared Leg,” for me, $5.99
  9. 1 Baby Gap dress shirt for Ryan, $1.99
  10. 1 Plaid dress shirt for Ryan, $1.49
  11. 1 Short Sleeved dress shirt for Ryan, $1.49
  12. 1 Carter’s zip sweatshirt for Ry, $1.49
  13. 1 Cashmere scarf, made in Scotland, NWT, $4.99
  14. 1 Pair CL by Chinese Laundry brown leather flats, barely worn, $5.99
  15. 1 Pair cheapo Zoe&Zac eggplant little flats with bow, $2.50 (1/2 off sale…)
  16. 1 Pair Nine West fabulous stilettos for Spring, $2.50 (1/2 price)
  17. 1 Pair Black JOAN&DAVID GORGEOUS pumps, BARELY WORN, $19.99

Total with tax:  $81.21

Yes, item 17 was a bit of a splurge, but, if you price compare, these babies retail at $200 which I wouldn’t spend on shoes, so, there you go.

Random post, I know.  But maybe you’ll be inspired to “Recycle” this year by donating your stuff to your local charities and heading into your nearest Thrift for a little looksee.  You never know what treasures you might find!  Thrifting ROCKS!