Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thrifty Thursday #1–Keep It Short And Sweet

thrifty thursday

Paul Robeson’s Mammy loved shortenin’ bread

But I prefer shortenin’ garments! Yesterday evening’s post demonstrated that very thing with baby clothes.

Over the years, I have discovered that cutting a bit off, or taking up a hem, can completely revitalise a garment and provide extra mileage. In April last year, I took two ankle length skirts, and a few other fabric scraps – and shortened one to knee length. With some nifty applique I made myself one smart new Boden-esque skirt – which continues to receive compliments. Details here. Before and after…






This summer, I turned an old asymmetric-hemmed dress into a short tunic to wear over trousers and leggings. Details here



Again, lots of lovely compliments. Friends have told me that they have copied the idea for themselves.


  1. if your dress is lined [as mine was] then make the hem on the lining 2cm or so shorter than the dress, or it will droop below, and look sad!
  2. if your dress is cut on the bias, then measure and cut carefully, then leave it on a hanger overnight before you hem, or you may end up with a wonky hem. Hanging allows the fabric to ‘settle’

If you want something ‘new’ to wear and you are trying to be thrifty, begin with your own wardrobe. Ask yourself

  1. Can I pair things up in different ways [eg coloured suit jacket with plain black skirt or trousers] for a new look?
  2. Is there something I can shorten, or embellish, to make a garment which looks fresh and different?

only then should you go and spend money if you really must. Look in M&S/Next/Boden/wherever etc for inspiration – and buy in a Charity Shop if you can.


cancer researchRefashioning clothes is so satisfying. You can find lots more inspiration at these sites – some also include ideas for children’s clothes.

It’s a good job that I didn’t have a blog and a digital camera 25 years ago- I’d have bored everyone stupid with pictures of the sheets and curtains which made clothes for me, and then my clothes turned into garments for the children. At least the girls are carrying on the tradition – Steph recently turned a  New York souvenir tee-shirt [average, ho-hum sort of thing]into a much more stylish top, and Liz is brilliant at finding charity shop bargains.

Looking forward to reading other people’s thrifty ideas- and seeing pictures of successful wardrobe refashions [another idea here]


  1. Even changing the buttons can make a big difference to the look of a garment.
    Sadly we have very few 'charity' shops here to browse round.

  2. I love what you've done with your clothes, the boden-esque skirt is great. I'm not at that skill level with sewing yet but I have had fun with dying clothes in the washing machine and getting some new life out of old clothes that way.

  3. Over lunch a friend was talking to me about cooking chilli with some cocoa in it and I mentioned RANA’S CHILLI CHOCOLATE CAKE which you blogged about a few days ago. I've just been to print the recipe out and we spotted that the recipe calls for "1 shot of milk". How much did you use when you made the cake please?


  4. I am in the process (sewing takes me forever, threading the needle in the machine is tricky)of shortening a long dress to make a tunic like yours. Where did the idea come from? You, of course. Thanks!
    Jane x

  5. Jo - I simply used a shotglass from the cupboard and filled it with milk.It is about 1.5 fl oz = 40ml capacity.

  6. Angela, you will not believe this. Today I took up a long skirt to knee length after being inspired by the latest Boden catalogue which plopped onto my mat uninvited, lol! Great minds think alike, eh? Haha! Thrifty gals go!! :) xxx

  7. Thanks! As I don't have a shot glass the info is very useful. I can pass the recipe on now.

  8. Hi Angela,
    How clever you are to be able to refashion garments this way.
    My Mum had the same talent but I never could cut a straight line, either fabric or paper!
    I liked the tunic to go over trousers idea, maybe you need to come look through my wardrobe?
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Maggie (one arm) in Normandy

  9. I need to learn how to sew. Now, who could give me a quick tutorial?!!

  10. hi angela, trying to join up to TT , is there a link?

  11. Miss PB - have left a comment on your blog- and linked you in on my sidebar

    Mags- will my sewing machine need a passport?


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