Wannabe Wednesday: Retail Therapy & A Lesson in Dyeing!

Lemongrass Dress
Q &…No Answer…Just a Refash!

I haven’t been conventional clothes shopping in at least a couple of years.  That’s right!  I’ve gone full-thrift/refashion, and there’s no going back!  :)

But sometimes I like to scour the interwebs and check out all the cute dresses I could be buying at expensive retailers.  This silk dress by Tory Burch from Saks Fifth Avenue caught my  eye.

That'll be $325.

That’ll be $325.

Navy and white is one of my favorite color combinations.  It’s a classic that never seems to go out of style.  Tory Burch is known for using really lovely and interesting prints in her designs, but you know what?  So am I!  :)

I found this dress with a similar print for $1.

This print is positively Burchian!  :)

This print is positively Burchian! :)


Zack Morris Style!

Zack Morris Style!

This dress is made of polyester.  Polyester is acrylic, and doesn’t take to dye very well at all.  I keep getting emails that ask me about dyeing, and this seems like a good time to give you a little demonstration.

I put this polyester dress in a yellow dye bath with a cotton dress.

But why, Jillian?

But why, Jillian?

Why would I do that?  I want my dress to look like the original, which is white and navy, not yellow!  

I did this to show you that this dress will not take on the dye, because it’s acrylic!  I knew I had nothing to worry about.  

The water was hot.  The dress stayed in its bath for 1/2 hour with its companion.

See it?

See it?

…and now it’s only slightly cream-colored.

Because acrylic fabrics don’t like dye.

Get it?  :)

For my next refashion, you’ll get to see what happened to that cotton dress!  :)


This dress actually fits me pretty well, but the length is just too early 90’s to be a proper copycat!

Choppity Chop!

Choppity Chop!

I quickly hemmed and pinned the bottom edge.



I wanted the waist to have more definition, like the Tory Burch version, but I was already running late  for a beer/wine/movie night!  I folded the scrap over a couple of times to hide the raw edge and used it as a sash (it’s been a while, eh?)!  The back of the dress has a slit, so the ends of the sash were already finished.  I’ll go back and make it into a proper sash later when I have time.  :)

And here’s the Jilly Burch version!

I likey!

I likey!

Keepin' Cozy!


My new frock had a great time hanging out with some fantastically fun people!  :)



Consume ALL THE BOOZE!!!! ;)

An empty bottle breaks my heart. ;(

Our charming host!

Our charming host!

You can't hide from the probing eye of the ReFashionista!!

You can’t hide from the probing eye of the ReFashionista!!

And then this happened...

And then this happened…

Paellahhhhhhh!  Nom!

Paellahhhhhhh! Nom!


Original Cost:  $325

Copycat Cost:  $1

Savings:  $324!!!

PicMonkey Collage

Lemongrass Dress
Q &…No Answer…Just a Refash!

46 Comments on Wannabe Wednesday: Retail Therapy & A Lesson in Dyeing!

  1. Chrissie
    April 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm (2 years ago)

    I really enjoy reading your blog and trying some new things. I notice you tend to get dresses, which I understand because there is a lot more to work with, but I am wondering how you would refashion some of your tops. I have a few shirts that I am not sure what to do with so I’m curious to know if you have that same issue and what you do with them.

    • ReFashionista
      April 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Hmmmnn…I hadn’t even thought of that, but you’re right. There’s some major dress bias going on here! I’ll try and throw some tops into the mix! :)

      • Lauren Pearl Liddy
        April 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm (2 years ago)

        Its because dresses are amazing 1 piece outfits… less to worry about!

      • christinapertz1
        April 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm (2 years ago)

        If you could consider trying some sweater refashions, and not just to cardigans or pillow covers, I would really appreciate it! I bought these sweaters from a garage sale and I love parts of them, but they don’t fit properly, I just don’t know how to fix them!

        • Sandra
          April 4, 2013 at 4:43 am (2 years ago)

          You need a sewing machine that has a zig zag stich and you are sorted! I have pinned sweaters to fit me, I will zig zag, then I will cut and it won’t unravel. Easy peasy.

  2. Leslie
    April 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Absolutely adorable. Looking at those longer dresses in the thrift store in a whole new light. :) Thanks.

  3. Brooke
    April 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm (2 years ago)

    I want to use dyes, but they are a little scary sometimes! Have you ever used the Rit color remover on a dark fabric before? Have you ever dyed Jeans? I want to try it, but looking for a little advice before I jump in!

  4. laurenmaria84
    April 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm (2 years ago)

    I tried to dip dye a jumper and made the mistake of picking a polyester one! Doh!

  5. Willow
    April 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Here’s my quandary. Like you, I’m tiny in the bodice area and I’d love to be able to take things in to fit me properly. I’m brand new to your blog…have you done a refashion where you took in the sides of something sleeveless? I’d love to see how you did it!

  6. charityshopchic
    April 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

    HAHA Jilly Burch! That dress looks suspiciously yellow to me ;-)
    Gorgeous, as usual!

  7. 2Momma2
    April 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks good and I love the Zack Morris reference!

    I agree with Chrissie about loving to see more shirt refashions. I’m not much of a dress person, but I can see why you wear them so often – you have a great shape for them!

    • ReFashionista
      April 5, 2013 at 10:56 am (2 years ago)

      Just did a shirt refashion yesterday that I’ll be showing off this weekend! :)

      • 2Momma2
        April 8, 2013 at 2:57 am (2 years ago)

        Can’t wait!

  8. Lila
    April 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm (2 years ago)

    love it!

  9. M&K
    April 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm (2 years ago)

    We love this refashion! Your $1 refashion looks amazing especially with the fun sash you’ve added from scrap fabric. It’s so true that it’s easy to copy some of the recent designs since the patterns are classic. Good work! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at brewedtogether.com

  10. Lauren
    April 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm (2 years ago)

    You’re so stinkin’ cute.

  11. Kelli Money Huff
    April 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Polyester is not acrylic. Both are types of synthetic fibers, as is nylon. All have a different chemical makeup, hence different names. Similar properties, yes, as in ablity to take dye, but not the same fiber. I love your blog and you are an inspiration to me. I am once again sewing and now am interested in expanding my available fabrics and my budget by recycling. You are very creative and do a great job!

  12. Heaven Leigh-Kay Spears
    April 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm (2 years ago)

    I just started following your blog and it’s fabulous; you make refashioning seem less daunting for beginners like me! :)

  13. Lizzi
    April 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Dresses or not, I’m always jealous of your stuff because you find the best prints! I love this one.

  14. SaffronSkye
    April 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Wonderful dress! I really admire what you can do with your scissors and sewing machine.

  15. Heather Hogan
    April 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm (2 years ago)

    I really like the combination of the navy/white sweater with the subtle (now) blue-gray/cream of the dress. It wouldn’t be so great if the dress was the same navy/white as the sweater!

  16. BeingZhenya
    April 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this and your refashion, I wouldn’t wear it with that striped cardigan thing you have in one of the pictures though! But that’s just me :) You know how I get :P

  17. baronessheather
    April 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm (2 years ago)

    It’s a good rafashion, but it looks absolutely nothing like the inspiration, so I wouldn’t call it a copycat.

  18. Sandy
    April 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Perhaps in the futue you could give pointers for getting dye to take evenly? Everything I’ve tried, non-synthetic too, comes out splotchy, and with dark flecks no matter how much I stir it. I have a front loader machine and would rather not put dye in it.

  19. Julie
    April 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm (2 years ago)

    nice, but…..I notice that the armholes are a little big? I have this prob when I am refitting a thrift garment……when you figure out the best solution, please clue me in!

    • janeontheprairie
      April 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm (2 years ago)

      You probably need to make bust darts. Just google and you’ll find lots of tutorials.

      If you wanted to mimic the Burch dress, it would be easy to whack it in two at the waist and use the extra from the bottom to insert the waistband. You could either use pre-packaged piping (cheap at fabric store) or make your own from scraps from another project. Easy way to add interest and shaping at waist without always doing a tie/belt.

  20. adriampierce
    April 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Where do you get your cheap finds? Thrift stores? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of the sort of mothball smell these shops can have?

    Ps I loooooove your blog!

    • christinapertz1
      April 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm (2 years ago)

      If you add a cup of vinegar to the load of laundry in the washer it should get out any smells/odors.

    • ReFashionista
      April 5, 2013 at 10:52 am (2 years ago)

      I find them all at thrift stores. :) I really haven’t had many issues with funky smells. Vinegar or Oxyclean will get weird odors out though! :)

  21. christinapertz1
    April 3, 2013 at 11:16 pm (2 years ago)

    How did you learn to refashion so well? Is there a book or somewhere that taught you to sew clothes like this?? Please share the info?? I would love to stop buying clothes at retail prices!

  22. jenny_o
    April 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Love the colour of your dress, and the nifty bow you made with the sash ends. Good stuff!

  23. cathynd95
    April 4, 2013 at 8:35 am (2 years ago)

    WOW! I have a dress from Eddie Bauer in my closet that is the exact same style as the $300+ dress! Cost me maybe $25 when I bought it – like 7 years ago!

  24. Susan
    April 4, 2013 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

    Awesome. I saw you used RIT dye. I have found RIT to bleed and fade terribly but Dylon works wonders. You can find it at any craft store and even in the Walmart craft section. It is an inexpensive and easy to use powder. You do need to add a little table salt though to really get the color to set (just read the directions). I have dyed dozens of my kids prefold diapers with Dylon and years later with a zillion washes behind them the colors are still strong and I did’t have any issue with bleeding at all.

  25. Susan
    April 4, 2013 at 11:38 am (2 years ago)

    Very cute. I love that you haven’t been main-stream shopping in years, I love thrift shopping and I’m trying to teach my kids that it’s an awesome way to save money.

    I love how most of your posts have something to do with beer or wine, and a great deal of your ‘after’ pics have you posing with a glass in your hand. Have you ever tried wine tasting as you sew, rather than just saving the booze for later? That would make for some great posts, I think. And some really, really interesting ‘after’ shots of whatever garment you came up with ;)

  26. Kristen
    April 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Like yours better. Good work. :)

  27. Ashley
    April 5, 2013 at 12:02 am (2 years ago)

    I love your refashions. Me and my mom adore you! You are such a cute young lady! My mom worries you drink too much. So maybe lay back more, Dont become a alcoholic! Nasty little habit that’s bar to break. Looking forward to your next refashion!

    • ReFashionista
      April 5, 2013 at 10:08 am (2 years ago)

      Ah! Don’t fret! I’m not an alcoholic, just an epicurean! ;) Still, a good thing to watch out for!

  28. girllikegenius
    April 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Reblogged this on girl like genius and commented:
    What an inspiring blog! I will definitely be getting my sewing machine out soon, just need to make a mannequin!

  29. Gigi @oohlaloveit
    April 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow! You make me want to run out and get a sewing machine (and spend the next week youtubing “how to sew”!!) I love seeing a great transformation (and what a money saver!) I’m happy to have found your blog!!

  30. Nicole
    April 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm (2 years ago)

    I have to tell you I am OBsessed with your blog! I honestly stumbled on it when browsing Pinterest and someone had accidentally pinned one of your refashions in the Humor category (there is NOTHING humorous about what you do! Amazing!). I have now literally spent hours looking at your blog. I used to sew all the time and am now inspired :). And small world it is! I grew up in Lexington, SC so it’s also been super fun to see your pictures out and about in the Cola area.

  31. ilios
    April 8, 2013 at 11:12 am (2 years ago)

    You`r cool!!!! I read the entire blog. And you have inspired me. I rework my clothes – and it’s great! thank you!

  32. Julz
    April 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm (2 years ago)

    great shoes, awesome ideas, but i think the original color would have been better, just my opinion :)

  33. Natalia
    May 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Você consegue transformar muitas roupas. Parabéns!!! Natália – Brasil


Leave a Reply