Money Saving Repairs

One of the main reasons I believe everyone should know their way around a sewing machine is to save money. Not that they should all learn to sew their own clothes, but for the smaller things like being able to make repairs. Like repairs in your beloved jeans or a top you’ve had for years. Then there is my favorite…getting steep discounts on Ready-to-Wear because of minor repairs that are needed due to wardrobe malfunctions in the dressing room.

I had a shindig up in Austin last weekend and needed a dress suitable for business. I was hoping for a solid color and sleeveless (it’s still hovering around 100 down here in God’s country) because I want to look like those info-babes on Fox News. I mean I study their hair, their makeup, their clothes – they are gorgeous!…I digress. So I headed over to Macy’s for what I call a Combat Shopping Trip which usually occurs on my lunch hour with a specific mission in mind. It’s a clandestine solo mission where I stealthily get in, get out in under an hour, save a boat load of money and hubs is none the wiser. HA! I can make it from the office to my local mall in 7 minutes. In my mind, I look like this.


The mission calls for a bee-line to the deeply discounted rack which usually holds the ugliest of the ugly that have been picked over the previous season.clothesOnRack

And lookie here! Every once in awhile, there is a diamond-in-the-rough on those racks. A beautiful Calvin Klein, solid color, fully lined, sleeveless that fits the description of the target perfectly!

Oh but wait! There’s a tear in the zipper where someone suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD, attempted to stuff their large hiney into this dress. DARN! I’m mean YAY! That’s good for another 10% off at least!dress-too-small

The dress is from this season (note the peplum!) and it originally retailed for $134.00. But for this dress to have suffered the indignity of BDD, its been discounted down to $46.90! Now we’re talking! It would cost me that much in fabrics to make it myself so this is a deal even at this price. (Don’t mind that size 14 on the tag…that’s a misprint…you know how they label things wrong sometimes.)

So I’m off to the fitting room, the dress works, and now the real skill comes in – Negotiating a price with Buffy the cashier. I don my body armor (Macy’s card) because I have a 20% off coupon if I use the card and I say innocently as if I’ve just noticed it, “Oh look, there’s a tear at the zipper. Darn. Um, can you take any off?” Buffy replies, “I can only take of 10%.”  Amateur!  “Really? Just 10? I’m going to have to take this to have it repaired and that will be at least $30, maybe more because it’s fully lined. Can’t you do any more?” She rolls her eyes.  “Let me call my supervisor.” (A sly grin crosses my face and my eyes narrow as I smell a victory.) “OK, that would be great.” To heck with those old bats with their comfy shoes in line behind me. I’m on a mission and I’m obviously on my lunch hour as evidenced by my business professional attire with my clangy ID badge around my neck and name tag on my blouse. Within a minute the supervisor arrives, irritated by the interruption, and as I point out the tear and attempt to go on about paying for a repair, the discount drops to 20%. SUCCESS!!!! The lady behind me whispers, “Well done.” I turn to her and grin. I got this $134.00 beauty for $28.14! I give myself a well-earned imaginary medal for my incredibly successful Combat Shopping mission and head back to the office smiling all the way. And back to my original point. If I couldn’t sew, this little number would still be hanging on the rack.

This is a fairly simple repair with the right tool…namely tape. If you don’t have Steam-a-Seam in your arsenal of sewing tools, you absolutely have to get it. I have it in this pre-cut size and the full package size where I can cut my own. Either one works but this is easier for zipper repairs. I placed the adhesive on the zipper tape, pulled off the backing paper, then adhered the fabric to the other sticky side.

Then I pinned to secure it in place and pressed it over a pressing ham because there is a slight curve to the fabric where the peplum goes over the rump.

For zippers, I prefer the old school zipper foot as opposed to the one that came with my machine. It was a bit tricky because the dress is fully lined, but I flipped it inside out a bit, did a few stitches and viola’!!

Repaired! Too too easy!

And the dress looks great! I didn’t get a final image while wearing it in Austin, but you get the idea. This is my $28 Calvin Klein dress!  And my bathroom toilet.