Wannabe Wednesday:  Retail Therapy & A Lesson in Dyeing! 1
All,  Dye Refashions,  Refashions

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!


  • Nicole

    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.

  • Gigi @oohlaloveit

    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!!

  • Ashley

    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!

  • Susan

    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 😉

  • Susan

    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.

  • cathynd95

    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!

  • christinapertz1

    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!

  • adriampierce

    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!

  • Julie

    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

      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.

  • Sandy

    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.

  • Heather Hogan

    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!

  • Kelli Money Huff

    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!

  • M&K

    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

  • 2Momma2

    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!

  • Willow

    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!

  • Brooke

    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!

  • Chrissie

    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.

      • christinapertz1

        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

          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.

What do you think?

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