Day 289. 76 days and $78 left to go.

I’m going with a little black and white, a little striping, and a little scattered polka dotting today!

Day 289 - Before

Day 289 - Before

I adored the pleating on the skirt, especially how the stripes of solid black and polka-dotted fabric went along with the folds, but I wanted to give the top a little more shape, so I got to taking off the sleeves first.



I took off the left arm and the right arm and was left with this.



Woo hoo for sleeveless!!  The only other adjustment I needed to do was taking it in just a bit.  I took in about two inches on each side and it fit like a glove!

Day 289 - After

Day 289 - After

Paired with some Michael Kors wedges snagged on eBay last year, I had my ensemble for the day.  I loved the way it fit and that the skirt part of the dress hit me at my hips.

Slightly closer up...

Slightly closer up..

After my day in my dress, I came home, threw on some pj’s and got to cooking.  And when I say cooking I mean this.

Literally the best thing ever!!

Literally the best thing ever!!

I’m a mac & cheese gal and I swear by these Trader Joe’s white cheddar shells! But, it didn’t end there…I was on a bacon kick still from yesterday (cue chocolate covered bacon), so I went to my pack of turkey bacon in the fridge, cooked up a few strips and threw them in along with some peas.

Guiltless Carbonara!

Guiltless Carbonara!

Insta-pasta!  It was not only quick but healthy-ish, and delish too!  Perfect way to ring in the week and the new season of Gossip Girl. Pasta is the guiltless pleasure.  GG is the guilty one.

Aaaahhh the wardrobe of S & B...

Aaaahhh the wardrobe of S & B...


127 responses to “Day 289. 76 days and $78 left to go.

  1. Very sweet transformation! One of my favorites.

  2. Wow ~ it looks great! Beautiful! Just so different than the Before version it is hard to believe it is the same dress.

  3. It looks soooo stunning. Though I like the quirky and fun ones you usually do, I do love this sophisticated number!

  4. Beautiful! I love the retro flair of the finished product.

  5. That was THE ugliest dress I have ever seen! Then OMG, you look so cute in the “re-creation”! I have got to get out my sewing machine and make some clothes! I am in a “dress” mood!

  6. Marisa, you HAVE to keep this one after this project is complete. It looks so good on you. In the Fall, pair it with boots, a cardigan, some silver chain necklaces and a big red tote and you have a different outfit! Love the how the print is laid opposite on the top and bottom. Terrific transformation!

  7. I love the end result, but this is another case where I equally love the original, too! Great results!

  8. Good job on this one; it is amazing that just taking off the sleeves made this dress look so different. It does look really pretty on you. It would also be nice paired with some vintage jewelry, a cami & pumps on a cooler day. I agree with Dianne. This one’s a keeper!

  9. Your rock girl…beautiful transformation!!!

  10. Very cute transformation!

  11. Marisa,
    I absolutely LOVE this transformation! The material had such possibilities!
    Casual or semi-caz, this could be one of those anchor pieces in your wardrobe!
    Where do you find these dresses?

  12. i actually liked the dress before. it looked like something i would wear. but i likd it even more afterwards! good job, as always!!

  13. Adorable outfit. And such a classy dress. I love the lines of this dress.

  14. my birthday is in two weeks. i can’t wait to see what you do on it!

  15. Although actually smaller originally than many of your dresses, I really thought that the torso of the dress (just of the dress! Not YOUR torso!) looked like the underside of a cockroach torso or something. So tank-like! So shiny! So black and striped! But I LOVE the result. The shape of this dress is very flattering on you, and the skirt on it is super cute. And yes, the torso of the dress does not even vaguely resemble any sort of pantry pest! Beautiful:)

  16. I’ve been following your project for a while now, but have never left a comment. But I had to comment today.

    I LOVE what you’re doing here, it’s such a creative, PRACTICAL, and simple idea! And this dress? SIMPLY STUNNING… by far my favorite so far (and trust me, there are so many that made me literally sit back and say WOW). Keep up the excellent work! You are an inspiration for aspiring fashionistas everywhere! 🙂

  17. I’m a novice seamstress. Can you please explain how you take in your dresses? Do you pin it and then sew seam? Do you iron that seam down or not? Thanks for your reply!

  18. Very cute dress! Love the retro look. It looks so comfortable too. You have quite the wardrobe now, where do you keep it all! 😉

  19. I’m not normally a fan of polka dots but I love this dress…you may have changed my mind about dots :-D. It looks much cuter without the sleeves. Excellent work!

  20. This is definitely one of my favorites!! I’m always a sucker for black and white and would totally snag this one if it were on a rack somewhere.

  21. The best yet and it looks so sophisticated!

  22. This turned out gorgeous. Fits you perfectly! Very flattering! Did you take in the skirt side seams also? Might be tricky with those pleats. I love this one!!!

  23. Wow! I hated the before, but the after is so adorable that I’d wear it! And it really does fit you perfectly. It looks great!

  24. Beautiful! And that’s one of my fav dishes to eat…white cheddar mac n cheese w peas and bacon. Try sprinkling it with a little truffle oil. Oh my.

  25. Wow, you look fabulous in this dress! It is definitely one of my favorites–flirty, fun, and classic all at the same time. Can’t beat that!

  26. This after dress is gorgeous! I wouldn’t have even looked twice at the before dress, but after it looks so glamorous and expensive. Great job!

  27. Cute cute cute! This is one of my favorites!

  28. I loved the before dress, and looked forward to seeing it only slightly different, sleeves fitted just below elbow , torso just loose enough so skirt flows down instead of out. . . you are so talented, do it again! This is the first time I have looked at a dress and seen a plan, maybe I am getting somewhere. Enjoying your posts

  29. Love the end result. I think is one of the best yet.

  30. You are seriously a miracle worker. That dress had a lot going on, but you really turned it into something special. It’s a keeper!

  31. This is my very favorite! Beautiful!

  32. glamourglassandgems

    Wow, I agree with almost everyone else…I thought that was such an ugly dress in the “before” shot, but a very lovely “after”! This is definitely one of my favorites too, but I can’t decide if I would have liked it better a few inches shorter or not. Part of me is thinking no, it’s perfect the way it is! And the other part is wondering if knee length would be better.

  33. I think this one’s my favorite so far!

  34. I love this one! GORGEOUS!!! This is my second favorite, next to the kimono. LOVE THE KIMONO.

  35. You can tell that you’re still in warm weather! It’s getting chilly in WI so I was hoping that you would keep the sleeves on this dress. Looks great. 🙂

  36. Whoa! This is one of your best yet. When I saw the before I thought “oh dear, that is so ugly, how on earth can she make that wearable”. Not only wearable, but gorgeous. You have such an eye!

  37. Ooooh, so great! This really worked out so well. You look beautiful. I just love the additional parts of the post. I feel as if I know you! So cute about the food. You’re a keeper! : D

  38. This dress is BEAUTIFUL!!!! I love that its form fitting up top….altough i adore your creations…you do sometimes tend to go kinda baggy on top for your small frame…BUT this one is really flattering to your shape. This is definatly a keeper! You did an awsome job on this one and should be very proud of yourself!

    Side note: If you want to go for the Extra cheap dinner…have you ever tried Kraft “Suddenly Salad” I like the ranch bacon…YUM!
    Anyway..that’s what you dish reminded me of.

  39. LOVE this one!! Please ebay them!!

  40. I LOVE the fit of this dress on you. And the pattern! I’m sure you’ve gotten this question before, but have you considered teaching classes on what you do? E.g. where to shop, how to find clothes to alter, along with how to do the actual alterations. You could spawn a whole subculture of clothes-altering divas in LA!

    • I totally and COMPLETELY agree here! You’ve already inspired my 14 year old daughter and me as well. I’d be the first in line to sign up for YOUR class! Consider it…you’d have to be turning people away!
      (Allie’s Mom)

  41. Love love love this one! Very retro! You have inspired me to scour the thrift stores and garage sales for something to “fix”! I even went through my own closet and have about 4 things I am going to re-purpose! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  42. You are so good at seeing the diamond in the rough!! This one looks great after you fixed it up… esp on you!!

  43. this is ADORABLE!!!!!!!

  44. eeee, that dress turned out awesome, I love the pattern too!
    I tried chocolate covered bacon a few weeks ago, it was… okay. I prefer it plain though, haha

  45. Love the dress and thanks for the recipe idea. Good work again.

  46. Love the dress…one of my favs….

  47. Totally a hit. Yesterday was great too – you are on a roll!

  48. The before and after is amazing. You must have a BIG closet 🙂 I still don’t see how you do this without a pattern. What a girl!!!

  49. So cute! I agree with some of the other comments, you should definitely keep this one, it looks fab on you.

  50. Great save on this dress!!!

  51. That is my absolute favorite! Looks great on you, love the pattern and what you did with it. Keep up the good work

  52. I love this–very chic!


  53. This is my favorite I think. I just love everything about it. I am always so impressed on how your mind can transform the ridiculous to the adorable!

  54. I didn’t really like the b4 pic but I sure liked the after shot. Good job.

  55. I don’t know what you do with all this dresses you so beautifully transform but no matter what, this one is a keeper. You can dress it up with pearls or chick it up with red pumps… absolutely great!

  56. This was a beautiful transformation! Frumpy to Fabulous…..AGAIN!!!

  57. FABULOUS! Reconstruction! The dress is so fitted and adorable on you! Love it

  58. Wow! You made it AMAZING! At first I thought the dress was covered in sparkly things, but then to notice it was polka dotted was kind of funny. But you made an amazing dress! You could wear that to a black tie event!

  59. Love this sophisticated dress! And of course I love the GG wardrobe 🙂 Wouldn’t it be fun to raid that closet??

  60. I. Must. Have. This. Dress. LOVE IT! By the way, your dinner is making me mourn the fact that I am now living in a Trader Joe’s wasteland–Buffalo is not cool enough for TJs. I totally miss that place.

  61. You are amazing. Your imagination
    is wondeful.

  62. I LOVE this one!! Very very nice.

  63. I look forward to seeing what magic you have done every day. It is fun and inspiring. Thank you! This dress is amazing! Love it (and Trader Joes……..but how do you eat what you do and remain so slender? I swear, I look at pictures food and I gain a pound….agh!)

  64. Wow, absolutely stunning. A picture perfect fit for your figure. I’m going through a lot of old clothes right now and modifying them so they fit better. Gotta love a custom tailored wardrobe!

    Also, I wrote a blog this morning on back to school fashion that may interest some of your readers.

  65. my fave so far – lovely fit.

  66. Love this dress, and I am impressed with your dedication to this blog. I look forward to seeing the latest transformation every day.

  67. Oh, MY! This has to be one of my all time faves! I LOVE it 🙂
    …and it looks FAB on you (you didn’t get any mac and cheese on it, did you? – lol)

  68. Wow, this looks awesome! I would totally buy this.

    Found your blog on Yahoo’s home page, started reading your journey from the beginning, and just caught up! I absolutely adore everything you have created – you are truly an inspiration 🙂

    Keep up the awesome work – can’t wait to see what you come up with for the rest of the year!

  69. That may be one of my favorites so far. Nice job!

  70. This IS my favorite one so far. A little cardigan and boots and it will take you through the winter.

  71. I think this is my favorite creation yet! It’s retro and lovely and just perfection! I’ve also been craving pasta all day, and your post might make me have to break down and have it for dinner!

  72. I want Serena’s outfit and a shopping spree to Chanel. Omg. But I love your one of a kind outfits. I look forward to your blogs. 🙂

  73. I LOVE this one! The fit is perfect, and I love the opposition of the pattern on the top versus the skirt. I never would have seen the potential in that one.

  74. I don’t know what era this dress started in, but it’s the perfect 50’s look for the fall! Gorgeous!

  75. So great!
    I think you should go into business doing this!

  76. Amazing! Really gorgeous dress.

  77. I love all of your makeovers … but today was one of my most favorite!

  78. You are a genius. I have been following you for a few weeks an I am sooooo impressed

  79. Beautiful! It can be used just to go out and have fun, OR as a formal, and only for a buck!! 🙂

  80. SO pretty! You did an awesome job!

  81. Nice job! You look so cute 🙂


  82. This is Fabulous!!! It fits you like a glove, love the transformation!

  83. This one is very Mad Men! I love it. P.S. Your dress plus your guiltless carbonara (not convinced it’s guiltless…) make me want to eat some while watching me some Mad Men!

  84. I honestly can’t believe (in the best way possible) that you were self-taught how to sew. I started reading your blog about 2 months ago and am always amazed at how you can transform the dresses.
    I have some longer skirts that I want to take-in and shorten. Any advice for a beginner?

  85. I think this may be my favorite of your outfits! Well, of the ones over the past couple of months at least. So gorgeous, and very fitting with the 50s retro thing going on in high-end fashion right now. GORE-GEE-US!

  86. You took this dress from Bad News Bears to Va-va-voom beautiful! Lurve!

  87. Recently found your blog. It has been so amazing to watch day by day and see the transformations. I love this dress. Definitely a keeper!
    What an inspiring young woman you are. Who needs to pay hundreds of dollars for one item when you can cut a little, tuck a little, sew a little and have something unique that nobody else has!

  88. I LOVE this one. They are all cute, but this one is so flattering. Great job!! Your creativity is inspiring.

  89. Whoa – I think this one is your best ever! It looks amazing on you.

  90. I really LOVE your blog! It has made me think of some fun ideas that are similar to yours. Maybe I’ll actually do them when I can. 😀

  91. so much useful info here! not only did i forget it was the first night of gossip girl, (eek! my fave) but i die for that trader joe’s white cheese pasta!

  92. wow! this went from 80’s frump to 50’s housewife adorbs! 🙂 great job- as always. 🙂

  93. My favourite transformation so far! Stunning!

  94. Bravo! I think this is my favorite re-do yet! You look stunning!

  95. WOW this one was FABOLICIOUS I was even thinking it would have looked great if you’d made it strapless!!

  96. This is my favorite one of all you’ve done. Very very cute and flattering!

  97. Seriously!!! this is my favorite outfit that you’ve done!!! Well since I started reading your blog the middle of July… I love it!!! I love how you took it in on the sides and took off the sleeves. It’s just beautiful. I love looking at your blog as often as I can. Thank you for doing this and helping with ideas for my own clothing.

  98. Courtney Chirpich

    I absolutely love this dress! The remake is so very meant for this Fall season. The full bodied long skirt and 50’s/60’s flair give it a very ‘Mad Men’ feel. It is a subdued sexy, very much like Audrey Hepburn. This instantly stood out to me as a dress you could wear over and over for so many different occasions because of the versatility. Pair it with heels and some faux pearls for a night out. or a trench, tights, and maybe even some booties and you have a more casual feel. Just love it.

  99. I believe this is my favorite yet. When I saw the starting picture, I was thinking total ugh. Great transformation. Good eye for potential. Enjoy your blog.

  100. This has to be one of my favorite!! I came across your website a month ago (Thank you, Yahoo!) and I am completely mesmerized by you and your blog. I love the transformations.

  101. Hey, long time follower, first time commenter. I love all of the things you do with your thrifty finds, however, I’ve got to say, this one’s one of my favorites! Great Job!

  102. wow! that is a great “new” creation! Looks awesome! You have a great eye – I am enjoying your blog and seeing all the new transformations.

  103. First off you are the bees knees! You are supreme and I love, love, LOVE this dress! If I could I would recreate this dress! Anywho your blog rocks my socks off!

  104. This is adorable! I have loved so many of your creations, but this one if my very favorite. You are just SO talented. I see a fashion design career in your future!

  105. love that dress. I’ve always like that style.

  106. The AFTER dress. haha Not the before.

  107. WOW! that’s amazing 🙂

  108. Beautiful dress.

    And I definitely have to agree with you on the Mac and Cheese – I must eat it about once a week. ❤

  109. I think this week’s selections and fix ups are the best! I happen to like longer dresses and you didn’t shorten a one! Don’t mean to draw attention to that, but I think you did a nice job this week! I like the black and white pleated dress perhaps the best. I didn’t like those sleeves either.

    What I think would sure be nice is having the before and after pictures side-by-side. By the time I get to the bottom of the day, I have forgotten what it originally looked like.

    To answer the unasked question of why that one dress didn’t have buttons and it was sewn shut. Often ladies are heavily endowed and pull the buttons open, so they sew them shut as to not show off their endowment. Another explanation could be that they never found good buttons to go with it and decided to sew it shut.

    Sometimes I don’t want to take the trouble to make buttonholes, so I will just sew the buttons through both layers and pretend there are button holes under the buttons. Although, often later I regret that decision. Sometimes I would prefer that I could actually unbutton that shirt! I’m not sure if I will ever get around to making it right…

    Thank you for sharing!

    Now, what about us who are subscribed to weekly installments?

  110. Wowee ka zawee that dress is absolutely adorable! You’ve got to keep it. Why it looks like it was made for you. Loved the sandals too, i have a pair that is almost identical but maybe cheaper than a Michael Kors. But they were made in italy and they were ten bucks and in my neighborhood. I call them my “Barbie Goes To The Beach” sandals. Love the pasta dish also…I have definitely made something very similiar. Great way to push peas off on to little kids for as long as you can!
    I have such fun reading your little brainchild of a blog. Thank you Thank You! Now I am off to make Trader J ‘s mac n cheese.

    The very best of luck and success on your new site!!
    ps. Have you ever thought about costume design for theatre??

  111. LOVE this dress! So fabulous.

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