Day 290. 75 days and $77 left to go.

The weather has been so glorious out that I have to keep up the sundress for as long as I possibly can. (Cue angel voice ahh-ing here.)

This one was a winner…

Day 290 - Before

Day 290 - Before

A house dress for sure, pretty silky-ish fabric. but the best part was this…

It's sewed shut!!

It's sewed shut!!

The button neckline was sans buttons and was sewed together!!  I guess that’s one way to tackle the fact that there are no buttons!! Not sure if I’m going to replace them at all, but I’m definitely not going to stay stitched up.

I first began by taking the dress in on each side a few inches to give it a bit more shape.  Because there’s no zipper, I couldn’t make it as fitted as I would have liked, however we’ll take care of that soon.

Taking it in!!

Taking it in!!

The neckline came next and I grabbed my seam rippers and unstitched about three inches (and two button holes) to open it up a bit.  Not going to add buttons and am just going to keep the rest of it stitched too!

Unstitching the stitches!

Unstitching the stitches!

Now to really bring it in at the waist, I decided that I was going to use a little assistance.  I actually did this when it was on me, however for photo purposes it was easier doing it in my hands.

I gathered a bit of the fabric like an accordion around the small of my back, took a vintage brooch from my collection, and pinned it.

A little extra cinch!

A little extra cinch!

This was going to take care of the extra bit of looseness that the dress had.

Heart the vintage pin!

Heart the vintage pin!

My final outfit for the day…

Day 290 - After

Day 290 - After

Loved my new dress!! Paired with some flat brown boots, my dress was just the thing to wear on this summer-esque day!!

For a little close up, this is what the back turned out like with the help of my golden accessory.

Extra cinching

Extra cinching

House dress-turned-business casual work gear?!  Love it. I only had my ivory cardi on once this morning, then it was mild cap sleeve from the dress for the rest of the day to enjoy the warmth.


92 responses to “Day 290. 75 days and $77 left to go.

  1. Love it! The vintage brooch is a clever way to make the dress fitted sans zipper. The fabric is so pretty! But what I really love is how you addressed the neckline. Cute with the boots. Now that you’ve saved sooo much money on your clothes, you can splurge on some shoes… That’s what I would do. Hahaha! Your talent is infinite! Please call me if you ever come to New Orleans. We’ll paint the town ROYGBIV with your spectacular wardrobe! Woo hoo, Marisa!

  2. glamourglassandgems

    Very chic, I love it! Looks great with the boots too. 😀

  3. Ouais! Super jolie comme robe!

  4. Amazing!! I love your blog so much :). Wish I had creative ideas like you!

  5. Laurie in Bradenton

    Very cute! Love the use of broches in your blog.

  6. Nice one! You’ve turned it into an attractive dress fitting of such a pretty pattern.

  7. I absolutely love this dress! Yours is the very first email I open each day. I hope that you won’t stop posting when the 75th day has come and gone and all the money spent. When the thrift store calls out your name,please continue to share what you have transformed with your many followers. We are inspired by your creativity.

  8. How do u do it?? R u totally sick of hearing how awesome u r??? Well, too bad bcause u r AWESOME!!! Absolutely love this!!!!

  9. i love it… nice boots too. :d 🙂

  10. I am simply astounded. How do you manage to see what the dress could become?!?!?! 🙂 I would have passed that right up on the rack!

  11. Very nice! You are so blessed – not only with sewing talent, but by being thin as well. For those of us who are heavier, cinching isn’t always a good thing!

    Your posts may very well inspire me to go on a diet and get in shape – someday! Later today, I’ll be too busy eating birthday cake and going out to dinner for my special day. September 15 only comes once a year, gotta live it up on my birthday while I can!

  12. Incredible transformation! You took it from a weird blue bag to an adorable and stylish dress!

  13. Wow, this one is so, so cute. You should open a boutique and sell recreated dresses. You shop would be swarmed!

  14. Cute dress especially with the boots. =)

  15. So, what do you do with all the left over fabric? When I first saw that dress, I imagined it with black leggings and a little bolero jacket.
    The possibilities are endless!

  16. I’ve really enjoyed your daily posts–and I’ve even gotten re-acquainted with my own seam ripper– a sewer’s best friend!

  17. This dress turned out really pretty. I LOVE the colors for it!

  18. sweet sweet. very nice.

  19. I still do it…I look at the original and say, “there’s no way that can get cute.” And then you ALWAYS DO!! Amazing, really. And I agree about opening the boutique. You’d do amazingly well!!!

  20. When I saw that first picture I thought, “There is no way she can make that hideous fabric cute,” and yet this has turned into one of my favorite dresses you’ve done! Great design.

  21. LOVE the color and the vintage pin! You look so 60’s in this dress, and I just love the boots with it. Perfect, bravo!

  22. That’s an amazing transformation–from sack to fashion. Too much fun.

  23. I think this is your absolutely BEST creation yet! You are so talented!! That is freaking ADORABLE!!!!

  24. Wow, this dress turned out great! Love the colors and that brooch really is cool with it. Love the look with boots too. The whole look is great!

  25. WOW! just found your blog a couple weeks ago, very inspiring, this is probably my favorite so far, so cute!

  26. Gorgeous dress. The broach is a great detail!

  27. I love your blog! At some point when I have time I would love to alter vintage dresses, but I know that you have to have an eye for the material. Could you post the type of material that your dress is made of each day? Then when I am searching for my own “dressaday” I will know what materials to look for.

    Thanks so much and I hope you do a shirt a day or purse or something next year!

  28. cute! Is the broach permanently sewed in, or is it sort of the “new zipper” for a good fit each time it’s worn?

  29. You did it once again. What a great idea. Looks wonderful.

  30. Oh my gosh this looks like it just came off the rack! And I’d so snatch it up!! The boots take it to a whole new level! Great transformation!

  31. This looks fantastic, Love it! xx

  32. I’d like to know how you take in the sides, does that include the armholes? Blue is a fabulous color for you!

  33. Wow! All I can say is Wow!!

  34. That is sooo,cute,I am going to the store today clothes are 1/2 price on wed. here in Tulsa,ok I am going to start looking at the old things,and see what I come up with,,,you DO,,inspire people,
    keep it up,now go sell on E_BAY, Jean

  35. You are simply amazing and such creative ideas. You should be on Project Runway instead some of those untalented people that call themselves designers. You design for the real person not the person with an unlimited pocketbook and weird taste that call it high fashion, it’s high expensive garbage. Good luck to you in the future, you are certainly on the right track.

  36. Adorable. It never ceases to amaze me how a few well-thought-out alterations can literally transform a garment! Love the idea of using the vintage broach to cinch the waist, too.

  37. So cute! Looks great and loving those boots!

  38. you are doing such an amazing job. I look forward to seeing your new creation. It makes me think of clothes in a different way!

  39. Holy awesome! Another one of my favorites! Keep it up, girlfriend – I love your work!

  40. This is such a pretty dress! I love the use of the brooch it makes the back look really cool….it fits your frame nicely…way to go on this one!!!!
    Paired with the boots…Nice Job!

  41. Oh, yes, this is darling!! BTW, you have inspired me to try the same. I haven’t had so much luck yet with dresses but I have been cutting dresses into skirts and shortening long skirts. Thanks for the fun times!! And, for Gail who posted above, I’m a 14/16 and I sometimes feel limited in what I can do also. But we just have to work with what we have! And, eat right and exercise 😉

    • Or —- geez! do I dare suggest???? —– embrace our curves!!! I have an
      18-20 top and 22-24 bottom (and I mean bottom lmao!!!) and am only 5′ tall. I wear things tailored right in to my curves and get complimented all the time. It isn’t the size; it’s the attitude. If you see your beauty, everyone else will, too.

  42. One of my favorites. Nice job. Keep it coming:)

  43. another awesome transformation!

  44. I love how you incorporate the brooches into your work. So now in additional to searching through the “rag bag” racks I’ll have to look through the costume jewelry for some awesome pins 😀

  45. This one is absolutely my new FAVORITE! I went to the 99 cent rack at our thrift store here on Maui to try to pimp a muumuu, and I got WAY too intimidated. Bunch of Somoans eyein’ up my muumuu, so I hung it up and left. One day I will be brave like you! 😉

  46. Well you’ve totally inspired me to hit up $1 Mondays at Valu Village near where I live. I found lots of items to play with and alter! They’re all laundered and hanging and now I just keep staring at them and asking…’What would Marissa do??!’ 🙂 Thanks for the awesome inspiration that you now fill my days with.

    This dress looks Awesome BTW!

  47. Very cute! That color looks really pretty on you.

  48. also my new fav of yours! wicked material score. Where are the boots from?

  49. This is the best one I’ve seen in a while, and you didn’t even have to do much! Great job.

  50. GREAT job kido!!!! Didn’t care for the boots though, detracted from the cute dress. Softer, more simple shoes would have looked better.

  51. That’s unbelievable! I would never have thought to do that with a brooch!

  52. Loooove it! Even the fact that has no zipper or buttons doens´t make difficult to adjust and add something smart to make it a different dress.


  53. Hi, just wanted to tell you that I am blowned away by your imagination!!! Congrats 🙂

  54. Love the combination with the boots.

  55. This may be my fave yet. Cinching + vintage pin = magnifique!

  56. So inventive! I would buy this dress if I saw it in a store. You have given me so many ideas, that I find myself checking out people’s clothes in the office and imagining how I would Marisa-ize them!!! Thank you for sparking the creative juices. 🙂

  57. I love this one! The fabric is delicious. However it would be nice to have a closer-up photo of the bodice so we can see what you did with the (non-existent) button area that you opened up. Great job :}

  58. You just keep getting better and better!

    I assume you got a lovely book deal out of this. 😉


  59. You got me back to the sewing machine also. I stopped sewing for a while because fabric got so expensive, but now I am hooked on garage sales, thrift stores and anything clothing I can get cheap, I transformed few outfits, and I am so happy, not only they look beautiful, but I am back creating and sewing, which I love to do. Thanks for inspiring so many. And I know you hear many telling you to sell this or keep that, I think you should keep it all for now, you never know if you may end up with a book or movie deal. I hope so.

  60. one of your best transformations… you are a genius! thanks for all the inspiration

  61. Gah you are so talented!! Beautiful dress!

  62. oh i never saw that coming. wow. i continue to be so amazed! weird isn’t no wears those things anymore. they sort of comfortable though. your version is so much better.

  63. Hi, I just wanted to say that you are my role model! I love how fashionable you have made the clothes!

  64. One word: HOTT!

    With those boots, you’re totally rockin’ a hott dress with your hott bod!

    I love what you create! I saw that all the time because, well, it’s true!

  65. This was a definate winner.

    When all done will you have some kind of voting bit for us to decide the overall most successful re-do? Visually best — which may not, of course, be the one you felt most comfortable wearing!

  66. Your site is very inspiring! I’m wondering, to help those of us whom you’ve motivated to dust off our own sewing machines, did you (or could you) write an entry about your staples in terms of supplies. I have one spool of brown thread, a bunch of safety pins and some sewing needles. I know that’s not enough but I’m not quite sure what I should stock up on. Any insight would be much appreciated! 🙂

    • Marisa, I discovered your project a few days ago and have read every entry up to now, when I saw Vuthy’s request. I hope you don’t mind if I jump in to help.

      Vuthy, you’re off to a good start 😀 You’ll want to add the following to your sewing kit: a really good pair of sewing scissors (Marisa’s are Singer brand); a seam ripper; a box of small straight pins; a pincushion to hold your needles and pins; a thimble to protect your fingers when pushing needles through heavier fabrics and trims; a measuring tape and a ruler. Other items you may find useful are iron-on hemming tape, a couple of yards each of black and white elastic in a 1/2-inch width and a white pencil (the kind used for manicures or an inexpensive white eyelining pencil) for making marks on fabric for button and trim placement. As for thread, start off with the basics: white, beige/tan, gray, navy and black (you already have my favorite color–brown :D). You’ll want large spools of those colors. Add other colors as you need them. Oh, and a needle threader is nice to have on hand, too. Marisa relies on her iron a lot to press those hems and affix her iron-on letters; one trick I’ve learned when ironing certain fabrics is to place a piece of plain, white fabric (for example, a thin dishtowel or pillowcase) on top of the fabric and under the iron to prevent those shiny marks that irons can leave.

      Back to you, Marisa–I’m enjoying your blog so much! I have a few days’ worth of your posts to catch up on and then I’ll be following your progress in “real time.” Love your savvy eye for the potential in cast-offs, your one-of-a-kind creations, winsome style of writing and great, big heart! Be blessed, lass!

  67. my e-mail address was entered by a dislexic member of the family. Me. I just fixed it!

  68. This one is my favorite, so cute & sexy! Love it!

  69. LOOOVE IT! BTW, totally tried your whole cinch with a vintage brooch thing the other day, and everyone LOVED it!! 🙂

  70. That broach was a great idea! Rather than the pain of pinning and sewing, just pin it! Adds lovely gathering too.

    It’s been October weather up in Canada. As I type I am in an oversized Roots hoodie and striped fuzzy socks. I love the cool weather though, I can’t image living in LA.

  71. I literally gasped when I saw the after. Wow. I am incredibly surprised at how great it turned out. Really, I very much disliked the before, and had NO IDEA how it could be turned into anything remotely pretty or wearable. You’ve got guts. And your guts led to glory with this awesome piece!

  72. Absolutely awesome! But, have to say, not digging the dark boots. The dress says summer, the boots say fall. I’d have gone with a light wedge myself.

  73. This one’s my favorite!

  74. I think this one is my favourite so far! Very pretty! Nice job.

  75. Love, love, love this one!!!!!

  76. Cute! I’ve really enjoyed seeing what you do every day with the dresses!

  77. this dress is HOT!!!!!!!! love it!

  78. This has got to be one of my favorites of the dresses you’ve done! So cute!!! And the boots are absolutely perfect!

  79. Now that is cute. I wish there was a place here in Minneesota to get great deals like that.

  80. Please delete my previous comment–I showed my own email!!!! SAVE ME!!!! And keep up the great work.

  81. Love this one it’s really cute! Also I was thinking you *could* if you wanted to- auction these dresses off! I mean not everone is your size but a lot of us are and I think it would be so fun to own own of your dress’!

  82. Pingback: Top Posts —

  83. You are very talented, your hands turn dresses into something new, and you could also be a great model for your own works!

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