Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goodwill Dress to Apron--in a Flash!

I'm so excited to show this to you!  (And no, it's not the sewing room yet....sorry.)  If you are here for the first time, I just announced my first giveaway last week.  It officially ends today....click over there and get yourself signed up for the drawing!  I announced that I'd be giving away a Target gift card for purchasing some of the Method cleaning products I've recently discovered, and I hinted that there would be an apron, too....for wearing while you are cleaning, naturally.

Here she is!

I had a lot of fun with this one.  Let me tell you her story.

Once upon a time last week, I dropped by Goodwill to check in on the glass.  I was in the mood for making more apothecary jars--and possibly some cake stands, too--for my new sewing room.  On the way to the glass aisle, I passed the Wall of Dresses.  I rarely ever give the Wall of Dresses anything more than a passing glance.  Usually that passing glance lands upon someone's old bridesmaid dress, and I have a quiet giggle.

This time, however, was different.  My passing glance paused upon these two dresses.
 It was the fabric that did it.  The fabric and that ruffle on the brown one.  I would never be caught dead in either of these dresses as dresses.  But it was like the brown one spoke to me.  She plead with me, a tinge of desperation in her voice, saying, "Please, please help me.  I'm not supposed to be a dress.  I was never meant to be worn to the beach.  Can't you see, I'm an apron?"

I gasped.  It was true!  She was meant to be an apron.  I couldn't leave her there on the Wall of Dresses, to be taken home and worn to summer soirees as the dress she was never supposed to be.  No, it was up to me to restore her to her rightful life as an apron.  She begged me to take along her pretty little friend with the embroidery, too.

I don't think her friend was supposed to be an apron, but apparently she wasn't reaching her full potential as a dress.  I mean, look:  she still had her price tag attached.  She'd never been worn.

The price tag is marked $58.00.  Score!

So I took her home to my sewing room, too, and prepared to give these two beauties new life.  As aprons!

(Um, sorry if I'm giving you the creeps.  Sometimes my imagination runs away with me.  Plus, I have an English degree.  I can turn any event into a novel, even a trip to Goodwill.)

 I started with the pretty pastel dress.  First, I used my seam ripper to take the two halves of the dress apart and pull off the zipper.
It was waaaaaay easier to take apart than it should have been.  Just think what would have happened if I hadn't come along and purchased this dress--someone could have bought this dress, zipped herself into it, worn it to her cousin's wedding, and then could have had a very embarrassing experience when the seam split as she was dancing to "Achy Breaky Heart."  Yep, I did everyone at that wedding a big favor, by turning this little number into an apron, didn't I?

Anyway, I felt a slight twinge of guilt as I deconstructed this never-before-worn dress, but it was very slight.  I mean, seriously, it was $4.99 at Goodwill.  I decided I could actually make two aprons out of this one dress!  What a steal!
Once I was done with the seam ripper, I had two halves of a dress and a zipper, as well as the original price tag and little bag of straps I found as I was taking apart the dress.  Did I mention how much I like the embroidery going on here?
Also, did I mention that this fabric is machine washable?

The bodice of this dress has boning in it.  I decided to leave it in, just to give the apron some unexpected structure.  I'm sure that if I had wanted to, I could have taken that out easily.

Once I'd deconstructed the dress, I picked one half to repurpose as an apron.  I chose the front.  I pinned the ripped seams back on their original folds, and stitched them down with my machine.  Bonus that these seams were serged already.

Next, I made the strap for the neck of my apron and the two apron ties.  I decided on a single, adjustable strap.  (How adjustable it will be since my sewing machine doesn't do button holes remains to be seen.)  I measured and cut out the fabric accordingly: one strip of 3-1/2" x 14" (on the fold) for the strap,  2 strips of 6-1/2" x 22" (on the fold) for the apron ties.
I ironed 1/4" folds on the end of each strip.
I folded and ironed each strip in half, with the ironed 1/4" folds showing.
Then I sewed a 1/2" seam down each strip.
It looked like this when I was done.  See how the folded ends are exposed?  Also see how old my sewing machine is?  I bought it used not long after the Bionic Man and I were married.  It must have been at least 25 years old when I acquired it.  It still does the job!
I ironed the seams open.
I turned each strip inside out.  I use a dowel to help me do this.  The dowel pushes the fabric up through, much more easily than my hands will.

Once the strips were turned right side out, I ironed them flat
and sewed all the way around, very close the edge of each strip.

Then I sewed the strap and ties in place on the apron.

Every good apron needs a pocket and deserves a little embellishment.  So, I cut out a rectangle of fabric for my pocket.  I trimmed the pocket using one of the removable straps from the former dress and sewed it into place.
I added fabric yoyos to the pocket and to one of the upper corners of the apron.  (Hmmm.  As I'm looking at the pocket now, I have a feeling I forgot to make sure it wasn't cut on the bias.  Probably why it is so wrinkly.  Live, sew, and learn!)  Yoyos are unbelievably easy embellishments.  I learned to make mine using Heather Bailey's tutorial.

Voila!  The bridesmaid's dress that was never meant to be has a new life as a pretty apron.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway so that this darling apron will find a home!  Click here to enter the giveaway....you have until tonight, May 25th, at 9 P.M. EST to enter.

I'm linking up to these parties



 The DIY Show Off



  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! This apron is way cute, and you totally didn't creep me out. Your writing style made me want to keep reading, b/c it was funny. :)

  2. I love this REDO! What a creative mind to make those dresses into a fabulous apron! I love the flowers too!
    THanks for stopping by the blog! I love finding new blogs!!

  3. Love a good refashion project! :)

    thanks for stopping by my chandelier tutorial! It's fun to peek around your blog and "meet" you.

  4. That is such a great idea! I have a link party on my blog on saturdays at http://www.iamonly1woman.blogspot.com I hope you can stop by the party is still going on :)

  5. I've got 2 dresses that I've been wanting to turn into aprons...thanks for showing me how to do it!! And thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  6. this is so cute! I'd never have thought of that... I'm learning I'm not as crafty as I thought! :) (and don't worry... we English degree people may have crazy imaginations, but it makes for a good read!)

  7. You did a REALLY GREAT JOB with that dress/apron!!! I love the way it looks!

  8. Wow that turned out so cute!!!

  9. Thank you for pics! I've some old sundresses that I just can't part with but would never wear them as dresses again (they are from the 80s, lol)...

    BTW, here's a tip for you...when you sew long straps like that, stitch a bit of ribbon in the end with it (just make sure ribbon doesn't get stitched to the long edge!). When you are ready to turn out the strap, just pull the ribbon and it will pull it inside out for you. Snip off the ribbon and voila! I can't tell you how much time and pain on fingers that as saved (I did the dowel method too, lol)