Friday, August 2, 2019

Shamrock Dress: Thrifty Tricks for Modest Sporty Women

Low-budget fashion tips to keep you stylish, safe, and covered while active outdoors

Dress Upcycling Technique #1

Modesty Challenge:

What to wear for outdoor cycling and gardening activities? I want modest garments covering me from neck to knees while allowing easy, safe movement, with expectation of getting grubby and sweaty.

Dollar Challenge:

Try not to spend money on it, because my income doesn't include a clothing budget. 🤔😬

My Solutions:

I found a lined cotton voile tunic dress at nearby SaveMart recycled clothing shop. (NZ$8)

It was too tight, too short, too revealing. But I could fix all those.

For improved fit, I cut two button holes centrefront and hand-edged them with buttonhole stitch. I snipped the tight elastic waistband and pulled it out, and replaced this with a longer elastic with cord ties stitched to the ends. I pulled the ties to a comfortable width, and secured with an elegant knot. (Notions sourced from my haberdashery stash.)

Next, I stitched the gaping bodice-front closed, and made it look intentional with a decorative button. (Purpose-bought, about 50 cents.)

I sewed a simple dome-front blouse to wear under the dress, covering back and shoulders and filling in the low neckline. (Cotton voile from my fabric stash.) For cooler temperatures, I can wear layers of long-sleeved knit tops under the dress.

If I had found suitable fabric, I would have lengthened the dress to just below my knees, but I wasn't able to fix this dress in that manner. Instead...

I sewed wide-leg trousers to wear under the dress. (Calico from my fabric stash.) These are perfect for gardening, but the wide cuffs are dangerous on the bike. The legs don't have enough length to clamp around my ankles, so for cycling, I bought a pair of green chinos with close-fitting ankles. ($8 from SaveMart.)

Above are the calico wide-leg pants worn with a different tunic. The outfit got a sartorial upgrade for the photo with floral hat, hair ribbon, and leather sandals. In the garden, I'd be wearing rubber jandals and a sturdy, easy-to-launder hat.

The blue tunic ($8 from SaveMart) might look dainty, but it's been fabulous for gardening. I love that I can look feminine even when I'm sweating in the dirt.

Learning the clothing tricks defined in this post has vastly increased the quantity of secondhand garments that are useful to me. I no longer feel so limited or frustrated by my clothing options.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!

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