Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Hip Bohemian Overall [Dungaree] Dress

This "overhalls" (as my late German farmer grandpa would have said) dress has been a long time coming! We bought this Oshkosh B'Gosh Dungaree dress at a Goodwill in 2013. 

You can see most of the dress as it was originally in the collage below. (McClellan Singing Sisters were performing for a "Hillbilly Jamboree - otherwise, we don't typically dress that way to sing!)


One day I was really inspired by some of the light washed denim items I'd seen and wanted to bring this dress out of its farmer-ness. I prepared a Rubbermaid storage tub with water and bleach and put it in to soak and made two big mistakes.

#1. I didn't realize I was using concentrated bleach instead of the cheap stuff.

#2. I left it in the tub for WAY too long.

You may say a third mistake was bleaching it at all, and perhaps you would be correct.

The large amount of concentrated bleach had broken down the fabric and caused several of the metal buttons/clasps to rust. It also hadn't bleached evenly and instead of a light-washed denim overall dress to pair with a grungy t-shirt and sneakers, I had this.


It had several rust spots on the back side which I attempted to disguise using fabric paint (a poor choice). To add insult to injury, I was impatient! Instead of waiting until I had another color on hand, I painted bright red geometric triangles. ...and instantly hated it.


I tried finding appliques or other paint ideas but nothing could salvage this mess. Several times I made up my mind to throw it away or re-donate it but Jewel stopped me. I'd all but given up hope of ever making this more than just a painful learning experience until this past Sunday.

I stopped by JoAnn's after church to buy extra-thick black belt elastic (for a project coming soon) and on my way to the checkout counter I saw these new iron-on appliques that were perfect. They were $6.99 each for a package of 3, but I had two 50% off any one item coupons so I basically got a package free!


With some very careful arranging, I was able to cover up each of the red eyesores on the back and the main rust spot on the front. And while applique on the front did its job, it looked a bit lonely and out of place... which gave me another idea.

My boyfriend's family recently made a trip to San Antonio and brought me back a few gifts. One was this cute little coin purse.


I decided it would made a very cute pocket applique to help pull the front together. Sewing through two layers of (thinner) denim and the elaborate embroidery wasn't easy but it came together slowly.


The headband is from Nicaragua, gifted to me by my brother-in-law's family. The tiny-people-dancing brooch is from Peru, given to me by my dear friend Hannah who lives as a missionary in Iquitos.


It needed one final touch so I went through our stash of lace and trims and found a 1970's bright red polyester floral trim originally from our Grandmother's stash to add to the hemline. 


I am so happy with how this DIY project FINALLY came out! While Jewel walked me through using her sewing machine again, I did all the actually cutting and sewing myself! (Which is why it doesn't look as perfect :) but that's okay. It fits with the quirky, hippie feel I ended up with!) 


I purchased the woven leather shoes in Nicaragua in 2015 - US size 8.5 is hard to find in Nicaraguan artisan shops!


The colorful Mexican purse was another souvenir from my boyfriend's Texas trip.

Cost Breakdown (not including bleach or thread)
Thrifted Dungaree Dress: USD $3.99
Iron-on appliques: USD $13.98
Red floral trim: free!
Embroidered coin purse-turned-applique: also free!

Total spent out of pocket: USD $17.97

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