Episode 213:

Thrifty Couture

by Marisa Lynch

Transform secondhand store finds into fun and fashionable additions to your wardrobe.

Muumuu Makeover

Restyle a muumuu into a cute dress that can be paired with sandals in the summer or with tights and boots in the winter.


  • Ready-made muumuu-style dress
  • Removable fabric marker
  • All-purpose thread

Sew It

1.      Mark a horizontal line at the desired hem length on the dress, using a removable fabric marker; cut along the line. Set aside the excess fabric.

2.      Double-fold the cut edge 3/4" toward the wrong side; press. Stitch close to the first fold.

3.      From the excess fabric, cut a strip that's between 4" and 10" wide. The strip should be long enough to tie around your waist.

4.      Fold the sash in half lengthwise with right sides together; press. Stitch the open edges, leaving a 3" opening along the long edge. Turn the sash right side out through the opening; press, and then slipstitch the opening closed.

5.      Tie the scarf around the dress waistline as desired.


Elastic Fix

Salvage a dress by replacing worn-out elastic.


  • Ready-made dress with worn-out elastic
  • Elastic (length and width depend on dress size)
  • Seam ripper
  • Safety pin
  • All-purpose thread

Sew It

1.      Using a seam ripper, remove several stitches from the dress elastic casing to access the original elastic. Cut apart the elastic, and then pull it out of the casing.  

2.      Trim the new elastic to 3" less than the dress waistline. Attach a safety pin to one end. Guide the elastic through the casing.

3.      Overlap the elastic ends by 1/2"; stitch. Restitch the casing opening.



Make a flattering dress out of a frumpy elastic-waist skirt.


  • Ready-made elastic-waist skirt
  • Approximately 3 yards of ribbon
  • All-purpose thread

Sew It

1.      Put on the skirt, pulling the waistline above the bust at the desired placement.

2.      Cut four equal lengths of ribbon to create shoulder straps.

3.      Pin one end each of two ribbon lengths along the skirt upper edge at the desired front-shoulder strap placement. Position the ribbon ends 1/2" below the dress upper edge; stitch.

4.      Repeat to pin the remaining ribbons along the skirt back upper edge. 

5.      Tie the ribbons in bows at the shoulders to secure the dress when wearing. If desired, use extra ribbon or a belt to cinch the dress at the waist.


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