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Turning What You Have Into What You Want

As I opened up the box of stored baby girl clothes in the next size up, I noticed a little smocked dress that my friend April had given to me.

She knows I love smocked dresses, and after her last little girl outgrew this dress, she passed it on to me.

It had a few places where the smocking had come unsewn, and it needed to be fixed. April knew I could fix it as well. I put it away and figured I would fix it when I had a baby girl who could wear it.

After I pulled it out out of the box recently, I looked at the dress, seeing what needed to be redone. It is an ivory dress. I have been wanting to make an ivory-colored dress for Ivory. I have also been wanting to make her a blue dress to go with her blue eyes. I’ve been looking through some old Sew Beautiful magazines recently, and the white on blue and blue on white designs have really stood out to me lately.

Then it hit me. Rather than just finding matching embroidery thread to mend the dress, I could change the dress into what I wanted.

I ripped out the old smocking.

And put in the new.

Now Ivory has an ivory dress with blue smocking and ivory roses. It was an inexpensive change (about $0.07 worth of thread).

The week before that I made a new ironing board cover to replace my old ripped and stained one. It cost me $3 (you can see it in the background of the picture above) and was what I really wanted for my ironing board.

I love taking what I have and making it into what I want.

What have you recently made over into what you want, for just a little bit of money and time?

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26 Comments

  1. I top I bought was too low-cut for my liking (I ordered it online), but I realised that the neckline was actually a hollow casing perfect for a bit of elastic. After stringing the elastic through the neckline, it is no longer too low! I am very happy about that one – the elastic was given to me, as well!

  2. nothing for myself this week but I did hems on pants for DS and SIL. So now they can wear clothes they could not previously.the little dress and baby girl in it are too sweet for words! you did a great job on both of them.

  3. I had been searching for a solution to store aprons in my kitchen. In my yard sale pile I came across a small key hangar (it has 4 cup hooks on a little board). I screwed it into the wall right next to my refrigerator and viola our aprons now have a dedicated spot in the house and are out of the way until we need them.

  4. How precious that you wanted an “ivory” dress, & that you found a way to make one. She looks adorable in it! I liked smocked dresses on my little ones, too, but I would never have thought about changing the colors on the embroidery threads – what a great idea!I have wanted a garden bench for a long time, but no funds for that. I realized that with all the free cinder blocks & boards I had, I could make my own, so I did. 2 cinder blocks high on each end, 3 fence boards across for the seat, with thinner boards screwed underneath to hold them in place. I painted the cinder blocks white with leftover paint, then sanded, stained & sealed the seat boards with leftover stain & sealer. I did buy a sheet of sandpaper for 99 cents.I have also wanted an arbor in the garden for the grapes to grow over, but they are so expensive, it was never in the budget. I have nearly all the boards I will need to build one now, & they all came from rescued lumber, as I have mentioned in other posts. I have almost all I need now, so as soon as the grape harvest is over, I can begin to put that together.Your posts are so inspirational, Brandy. You not only make do, but you do it without whining, in an elegant way. Thank you! – Marivene

  5. So sweet and you are so smart!! I smocked and sewed for my baby but would have loved to have just done the smoking – so much easier and fun!!

  6. Martha Pullen has dresses that are ready-made and all you have to do is smock them. They run around $35. They have a coupon code in their new catalog for 25% off for a few months.(In case you want to smock for grandchildren!)

  7. This week, I covered an old couch pillow with fabric I already had for our new dog. We waited 10 years for the dog! She was given to us by friends and is the perfect fit for our family.Another “transformation” that was a bit more complicated…Earlier this summer, I recycled 3 ink cartridges as Staples at $2 each. I used the recycling credit to buy a block of paper, which qualified for an Easy Rebate. I spent $1 out of pocket and got $5.99 back in a rebate check. Then I took that money and bought 8 yards of elastic (using coupons) and a flannel remnant. Half of the elastic is already gone, as I’ve made 8 pairs of pajama bottoms in the past two weeks (I had some other elastic on hand, plus I took some out of the old, worn-out bottoms to re-use). I added the remnant to all of my flannel scraps and made two dozen reusable baby wipes.

  8. How sweet! Most of my “make overs” are in the area of food. I bring in the produce and figure out how to make what I need/want. For instance, although the recipe for home canned ketchup calls for past tomatoes, I only had a few of those and then some regular tomatoes, so I made up the slurry and cooked it down in a big crockpot. 😀 I have used cast off adult clothing to make children’s clothing a few times. My big project right now is the crazy quilt for my son and his new wife. That is mainly just scraps of fabrics I’ve collected over time and it is turning out just beautiful. And it’s fun too!

  9. I love to hear stories of one oppourtunity you were able to implement and how the ripple effect benefitted / expanded so much as a result. Bravo with the accomplishment and the “thinking” outside of the box to generate a small income out of waste and then what you were able to accomplish with your “talent”.

  10. The latest one is taking garage sale black metal frames with white and yellow mats apart and putting my own botanical prints inside that I had copied from a book onto card stock. But most of my house is repurposed as it is one of my favorite decorating ploys. Three favorites from the last year are turning two white with black piping pillow shams into an ottoman cover – very sharp looking; making a wall to wall counter out of 3 narrow kitchen cabinets, two cube book shelves, a rolling kitchen cart and a few reused boards then painting it all the same color and adding the pine floor we took up from the bathroom for the top; when we redid the kitchen to get ready to sell I painted all the lights shiny black – they were shiny brass with white shades; they turned out super and everyone kept asking where I got the new lights;) Holly

  11. Oh my word is that baby cute! And I LOVE the smocking!I had bought a formerly wrap-around (the ties were gone) patchwork ankle-length skirt (very bohemian!) at a thrift store last summer for about $1. I used a sheet whose match had worn through to line it and a zipper I already had to turn it into a lovely non-wrap skirt that matches just about every top in my wardrobe! Thanks for the inspiration Brandy! I think I’d have probably tossed the sheet I used if it wasn’t for your website and now blog!Hugs,Lea

  12. I spray painted an old brass light fixture a fun green color for the master bath and reused the old globes. It looks so much better and adds a lot of personality to the bathroom.Great idea making a counter from other bits and pieces!

  13. Sometimes it’s not just about turning “things” that you have into what you want, but also situations. My husband lost his job in Virginia on July 25th, after his three year anniversary was on the 18th. It was so sudden and heartbreaking. But sitting at the table the next day, we suddenly realised this was our chance to move to Montana. I’ve always wanted to move to Montana, my husband has always wanted to move to Washington. We had agreed six years ago to go to Montana first, try it for a little while and then try Washington. There had never been the right opportunity though. Now there was. We started selling everything possible out of our townhouse. We moved in with my mother and father in law for one week while we finalized the move. Monday, August 6th we headed out for Montana. It took four days. My husband had several job leads, but he received a call on Tuesday for an interview with Verizon in Helena, MT. So we changed our original goal from Bozeman to Helena. There are so many more details to this, but it’s just too long to share all of the amazing, sudden, unexpected ways that God has provided over the last three weeks. He has astounded us and proven Himself to us over and over, even though He did not need or have to. His provision has made every step of this possible. ONLY His provision.I am now living out my first dreams. No, it didn’t come about or play out the way I had imagined, but it is still wonderful and full of joy! I am humbled and blessed to see how God has taken a horrible, terrifying, devastating, depressing situation and turned into the first steps of our long-held vision. Praise His Holy Name! -Danielle B

  14. I painted our bedroom gold platted ceiling lamp black! It look so good!! Cost me maybe 2.50$ max! The spray can was 6.94 and I used maybe 1/3. And I cook from scratch.

  15. I cut up a pair of my husband’s ratty pj bottoms and sewed up a new pair for my DS, taking the waistband out and using most of the fabric. The little I did have left went into an identical pair for his stuffed pal “buddy”. My husband came home from work and said…” Aren’t those my pajama bottoms?” as they ran by!

  16. I love your Blog. I have done many things to save money this week and every other since we started our family (7 kids and stopped 😉 It is wonderful to see what others do with what they have to get something that they want. Though I call it ‘Inspiration’ lol. 🙂

  17. We have taken several pairs of pants and turned them into shorts this year. Plus I made sure that I taught my three oldest girls (17, 15, 9) to use my sewing machine and do the same thing. Also we are making the house that we live in work. We have a family of 11 and we live in a 1600 sq. ft. home that we are renting. When a new baby came this summer we just rearranged everyone and found a way to make one more fit. We have reused a lot of pieces of furniture to make things work. My desk is an old sewing desk that I now use for my computer. My husbands desk is an old display for a clothing store. He took the base of the display and reused it as the top of his desk. You can see the desk here:http://josephandheathersfamily.blogspot.com/p/repurpose.htmlWe don’t buy new computers, my husband builds us computers we can use from the parts of old computers that are being thrown out. The computers usually have “issues” but they were free.

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