Making Headway

I have, in complement to my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge, decided to make a dent in my wish to get each individual element in my wardrobe to below 1€ per wear. In order to do this, I chose four specific dresses that would comport my summer wardrobe, each one which would take a certain number of wears before they would have that elusive distinction.

One is a pretty yellow lace dress I was given for Mother’s Day in 2020; one is a fabulous rainbow dress I bought in 2020. One is a fantastic green and white maxi dress which literally screams “LOOK AT ME!”. The last one is a kelly green linen dress I was given for Mother’s day in 2019.

Each one of the four has received a few little attentions from me since it entered the Pantheon of Legends. The yellow dress was too big in the waist, the rainbow dress had a sleeve re-vamp and a hem update, the maxi dress had its sleeves shortened. The green linen dress was perfect. I called it my Green Perfection.

And then I noticed, after wearing it twice, it had ripped a hole in the back, right in the center between my shoulder blades. I didn’t know when it had happened. What could have done it? It was a nice little right angle tear. I fixed it the best I could.

Two or three wears later, a new hole. This one just above the waist in the front inside part of the wrap.

I’ll be honest, I became a bit squeamish about wearing this dress. Every time I wore it, I had to fix something. The fabric was just so delicate…I went to put it on one morning and stuck my hand clear through the armpit. Every single hole happened above the waist on this dress. Pretty soon, it would be more mended than not!

However. When I was looking at progress I could make in my wardrobe and set on a Cost Per Wear Challenge, I realized that this dress right here was going to be a sticking point.

This wasn’t going to work. There wasn’t enough non-hole-y material left on the top of this dress for me to feel like I could get another 22 wears out of it.

Ideas ideas ideas

My thought process on this dress is quite complicated. I loved the color of this dress. I loved the idea of this dress. But aside from the fragility of this dress, there were a few things I didn’t love about it from the beginning. I hated the sleeves, but there was really nothing I could think of to fix that. I didn’t love the gathered aspect of the waist, but again. Nothing I could really do about that.

Not to mention that this dress took on some serious emotional baggage during my midlife crisis which, I have this rather irrational notion, is one of the reasons why this dress kept falling apart. No dress should have to carry the emotional weight I was asking it to carry.

But again. I am just stubborn enough to turn this dress into a project.

My friend Deana suggested making it into ruffles, or something non-structural, as part of a refashion of something else. I love this idea, and I am holding onto it, because this may still happen.

However, those internet advertising cockroaches know me so so very well, that they put up an ad for a what? Yes. A green midi wrap skirt.

And then I totally knew what I could try: I could separate the top from the bottom of this skirt, shape it a little bit, so that I could smooth out the gathers that I hated and turn it into a midi-length wrap skirt.

So I did.

Don’t mind me. I’m not wearing makeup and I look old.

The benefits! Oh the benefits!

As I got to thinking about my Summer Four Dress CPW Challenge, I started to have a little pang of sadness. What about all my cute top refashions? I asked myself. All those cute little things I had altered, to sometimes surprising success? I couldn’t really pair those with dresses.

But here, I was opening a door for those cute little things to have a canvas…at least 22 times this summer. This would leave a little room for creativity in the midst of an otherwise limited wardrobe.

The process

The only care I took was in separating the skirt from the waistband. I didn’t want to make any holes in the skirt…I didn’t want to give that skirt any ideas!

I cut the top off from the waistband. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do.

I didn’t, but should have, pressed everything nice and flat, but I have no patience for such things. I might yet, but not until at least two or three wears from now!

Once the gathers were removed, I took two darts in the back (based on my green and white maxi dress as a pattern) and then sewed the waistband back on. I cut off the ties from the wrap and put two large buttons in instead

Pretty buttons!!!

I will have to go back and trim the threads more carefully, but honestly: this is wearable as it is. I can work with this for 22 more wears!

Once I get this dress down below 1€ per wear, it can become anything it wants to be. It can become little Christmas ornaments or ruffles on a cute refashion. It only has to survive 22 more wears!!

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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