A Great Little Fixer-Upper


This dress jumped out at me at my local Goodwill a few months back — I thought it was Liberty. (It looks very Liberty-ish, doesn't it?) It's not — the name on the label is "Isabella Bird," which seems to be a possibly-discontinued brand of A Territory Ahead. (Named after this Isabella Bird, perhaps?) 

It was only $5, so despite being not-Liberty, I grabbed it. And it has hung in my sewing room for yonks, because as pretty as it is (and as well as it fits!), it didn't have pockets.

Now it does:


(Sorry for the fuzzy picture.) 

The pockets are white batiste. It was easy-peasy to put them in — this dress zips up the back, so all I had to do was unpick the side seams, add pockets, and then sew things back up. It took (including cutting out the pockets, doing the seam-ripping, and sewing) about an hour.

I've been working on more of these fixer-uppers lately, because doing so reduces the number of useless objects in my house (if I can get them back into wearing rotation) and because it's faster than sewing something new from scratch. It's also less stress: if I screw something up or it turns out to be unfixable, well, I wasn't wearing it anyway! And it can go to the ragbag or right back to the Goodwill.

It's surprising (to me) at how satisfying it is, though, when these projects do turn out well — I usually hate alterations. (It probably helps that some of my other recent fixer-uppers have been dresses I made long ago that now fit again … I've been mostly upgrading the zipper/pocket combos in those, too. I'll try to post more pics soon.) 

Anyone else on a tear of renovation-sewing lately? I still refuse to alter anything tailored, but just about anything else seems like fair game!

 PS It turns out that this exact dress is up on eBay right now. Sans pockets, of course, but they're so easy to add …