June 16, 2011

Thrift Store Experiments

After reading a number of posts (none of which I can find right now) about taking adult sized clothes acquired at a thrift store and transforming them into kid-size clothes, I thought I'd give it a try.

This is a big step for me since I have never been a thrift-store shopper. In my experience, thrift stores tend to be all jumbled, making the process of finding something kind of like a scavenger hunt, only without the list of Things To Find. I guess some people carry that around in their head; I don't. Maybe it's because finding off-the-rack things that fit me well has never been easy, but I don't like the Hide-n-Seek approach to shopping. I can't just Go Shopping and expect that I'm going to stumble upon some Awesome Thing That I Must Have; it's far more reasonable to expect that I'll spend a day shopping and come home empty-handed and frustrated. Which works out well if I'm trying to spend less money or buy less stuff, but not so much when I'm down to one last pair of jeans without holes or patches.

Anyway. Since this wasn't going to be about clothes shopping for me, I figured it would kind of be like shopping for fabric. That's really what I was interested in, after all, the stuff that the thrift store clothes were made out of and whether there would be enough to make something for Caitlyn.

Here's what I know so far:
  • extra, extra, extra large clothes are not really any longer than regular clothes, just wider; to make the dress I had in mind, I would have needed two extremely large shirts, at which point I'm not really saving any money.
  • I'm not the kind of person who instinctively knows what to do to an item of clothing to make it cute and adorable, though since I hardly accessorize for myself I suppose this isn't really a surprise
  • mass produced, low price clothes are just as poorly made as I thought they were. The enormous shirt I bought as fabric wasn't cut on the grain originally, which would make it hang oddly if it were to be worn as it was instead of being re-purposed into something else. I was able to straighten the grain when I cut my pieces, but I wasn't able to use the existing shirt hem for the hem of my own project. Rather disappointing, since the part of point of this was to use as many of the existing features as I could.

I'm not quite done with the re-purposed shirt project, but I'm not sure this is something I'm going to come back to again. Perhaps if I had the Finding Awesome Stuff at Screaming Great Deals gene, it might feel as if transforming large, cheap adult clothes into kid clothes was a way of getting away with something. Gaming the system or something. "Look! I made this cute thing for my kid, and I did it for the $3 I spent on an extra-large t-shirt! Shirts like this are at least $9 at the department store, on sale, and the fabric would have been $10/yard!" As it is, I don't have that gene, the large shirt was $6, and the challenge of working with a lopsided grain and insufficient length has me thinking that I'm not coming out ahead on this one.

Have I missed some important detail that would have made this work for me? Is it ok to just carry on the way I always have or should I try to "beat the system" again?


  1. closest maternal ancestor3:18 PM

    You got it---it's genetic and you don't have it. You come from a long line of females that never repurposed someone else's stuff. That doesn't mean you don't have the thrifty gene. We always used things until they were no longer serviceable. Mend and patch, mend and patch.

  2. Yeah, the patches on my jeans have patches...