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March 1, 2011 / Danielle

Make Do Or Do Without: Joie Dress

(This is the post I promised you here.)

One of the fun parts of this project has been getting to indulge my creative side. My mother’s great with needles (knitting and sewing alike), and my grandmother used to make most of their clothes, so I grew up with a creative bent, getting handmade sweaters and making prom dresses, dabbling in beading or in embroidery.  (I also once worked with a fashion major who was taking a shoe-making class, and oh my god I wanted to do that so badly.)

This has fallen away slightly as I’ve gotten older, mostly due to lack of time (juggling the two jobs and the seperate career is a little much, plus a social life? whew.) So I’m excited for it to have a reason to return.

I started with something nice and simple; reviving my old white beach cover-up.

joie dress, faux D&G sunglasses, auburn hair, monkey cocktail. (south beach circa 2007)

I bought this dress for this trip in 2007. I’ve always loved it; it’s super comfortable, the embroidery’s pretty, and it’s a flattering baby-doll cut (hips and thighs are hidden) while still being warm weather appropriate.

It’s been sitting in a bag for two years now (yes, I know), because it developed those gruesome sweat marks, a couple of stains on the skirt, and basically lived the typical life of your cotton whites. I attempted to bleach it so I might take it on my Greek jaunt . . . overdid it just a little on the Clorox. Suddenly, my lovely dress, that I still adored, was thoroughly yellowed and bedraggled.

I figured, it was time to get drastic. Either I’d throw it out or I’d take the plunge and dye it a different color.

Armed with this:

purchase at my local JoAnn crafts

I cleaned out a little-used trash can and heated up the water, then mixed the concoction and tucked the sad little dress in:

in the tub, cooking, and being stirred with old chopsticks

I left it to sit a little longer than advised, which ended up being a good call; when I first took it out, it was a dark blue, but after repeated rinsing (as directed) and when it finally dried, it settled into a really lovely cornflower/forget-me-not shade:

chicago heater, warm weather dress

The skirt’s a little splotchy* (I imagine it was a little too stuffed into the trash can to make the flow of dye even?), but other than that, I’m calling it a modest success.

same dress, same girl, different beach, and an actual coconut.

And it didn’t even turn me blue when I wore it. Perfection!

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Level of Satisfaction: Moderate-to-Great

Success?: Yes

*I’m not ruling out a second dye session to even that out .

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