Friday 21 September 2012

Clothes For Boobs, Budget Edition: Dumpster Sweaters & Giant Baggy Sweatshirts

Being somewhat ambivalent about the clothes from companies that design specifically for a busty figure, I tend to take a different tack with dressing myself. I've already posted about tailoring clothes that you have to wear that are absurdly ill-suited to big boobs and a smaller waist, but now let's look at this from a different angle. Specifically, I'd like to sing the praises of specifically seeking out giant shapeless clothes for the purpose of taking them in to perfectly fit your body. It's the cheapest way EVER to get a custom fit.

First: Dumpster sweaters. This is my affectionate term for sweaters that I have literally gotten for free from a town dump. Some towns have a section of their dump where people can drop off things that are still usable, usually called a "Swap Shop" or "Swap Shack". Residents of the town can then go in and take whatever they like. Whenever I've found myself in one of these places, I tend to grab all the men's sweaters I can find in colors I like. Obviously these sweaters are going to be very large and shapeless on me, but because they are free, I can fearlessly alter them however I like. Although not every town dump has a Swap Shop, you can also get large men's (or women's) sweaters for very cheap at Goodwill/Salvation Army/charity shops. Think $4 or so.

The process for this is just as I have described in my post on taking in my shapeless work polos: lay out the sweater flat, trace a sweater that fits you onto it, sew along the traced lines, and cut off the excess. And voila. I don't have any photos of me in my dumpster sweaters before I took them in, but here they are "After":

Not bad for the low, low price of $0.00! These still don't look quite as good as sweaters that are simply small enough to fit my waist, and stretchy enough to fit my boobs and hips, like this one:

But again, this is a sweater that I had to buy at a normal price ($25 or so, from H&M) whereas the dumpster sweaters were free. So it's a great way to triple your wardrobe if you're on a budget.

Next up: today's project of taking in a very large sweatshirt. If you're anything like me, you've probably acquired a sizable stack of oversized t-shirts that you get for free from races, companies, promotions, college acceptances, blah blah blah. I usually take in these t-shirts to get cute, longer t-shirts to work out in. But I've also had, for ages, this giant sweatshirt that I was given as a gift years ago. I finally decided it was  time to make it wearable, so I decided to try my hand at altering a zip-up hoodie. Here's what it looked like to start with:

Text blurred out to keep it secret where I go to school :)

I laid it out inside out and traced my purple dumpster sweater (which is a perfect custom fit for my body) onto it. Note that this sweatshirt is so much too big for me that I need to take in the sleeves, too, so I continued tracing the line onto the sleeves. But I didn't want to take in the cuffs, so I split the difference. This way, the finished product will have slightly oversized sleeves and an oversized hood, which will add up to cuteness when juxtaposed with the fitted body.

Next, I sewed up the sides.

If you're worried about testing the fit before you cut off the excess fabric, with something like this where you've taken in such a massive amount of fabric, your best best is to try it on inside out to make sure it's not too small. This looks pretty hilarious, but will give you a good idea of whether you need to take in more, or rip out the seams and re-do it a bit bigger. If it seems like a good fit, cut off the excess. Here's the finished product:

All the sewing described in this post was done on a sewing machine (I have a Baby Lock "Anna" which I love). But it could also all be done by hand, since these are just simple straight seams. It would just take a little longer, that's all.

I hope I've inspired you to feel as though you don't need to pay a lot for clothing, even if you have a tricky body type and want a custom fit. Let me know in the comments if you try a project like this!