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It’s always nice when you’re able to come up with a cheap solution to a problem, right?
Here are two instances — both centered around a new dress I got from Amazon — that I’m pretty proud of. Though the “mostly” in the title is because one fix turned out to be deeply imperfect, but still pretty brilliant if I do say so myself.
A quick aside about dresses
This was an adventure because it’s actually out of character for me to wear dresses or skirts at all.
While I have some very cute heels, it only takes me about 30 minutes in them to remember that heels are an instrument of torture. Especially when 155 to 170 lbs (depending on where in my weight fluctuation you catch me) are balanced on the balls of your feet. Ugh.
But about a month ago I found some flats for $6 at Goodwill and I realized this opened the door to cute summer dresses!
Emboldened, I hopped on Amazon and did a search for “dress with pockets.” I ordered several, but I only ended up keeping two. But I love them.
For the latter dress, people I asked (including folks on Twitter) all agreed that it was cute — but would be far cuter with some vivid jewelry. Of which I have none.
So I took myself to Saver’s — where the first need for a frugal fix came up.
I can do that
At Saver’s I found a great statement necklace that was shockingly only $6.99. After I looked at it for a moment, I realized why: some segments had come unconnected.
Without that issue, I think this would’ve easily been $15.99 — maybe more. Meanwhile, I only had to pay $1.90 for some jump rings at a bead store. So a pretty good deal.
I used pliers to open a ring, thread it through one segment’s edge, then through the other, then pinch the ring closed. I only had to do that twice, and the necklace was good as new!
It was a little more difficult than it sounds because I didn’t have to two pliers, so I initially tried to hold the jump ring between my thumb and forefinger and use the pliers with my right hand. Which did not work. Repeatedly.
Finally, I rummaged around in my toolbox and found some random, slightly rusted tool that would clamp down on the left side of the jump ring ring while I used the pliers in my right hand to open/close it. Even with that hurdle, the whole process took less than 20 minutes.
Incidentally, people were right that the dress “popped” more with the necklace (and some $7.99 red earrings and a $9.99 red and white crystal bracelet).
The second issue
While the dress was okay just as it came in the mail, it looked much better with a belt. But since it wasn’t made to have a belt, there were no belt loops. Thus the end stuck out.
My sewing skills end at reattaching buttons, so making my own belt loops was out of the question. And the cumulative cost of the dress and jewelry meant I didn’t want to pay a tailor to put some loops on.
So I had to find another solution.
I did some Googling and someone mentioned fabric tape. That’s when I remembered I had some Command strips lying around from when I was putting up pictures. (Once more, as an Amazon associate, I am compensated for purchases made through these links.)
They hold up very well, so I figured it would be a great way to fix the issue. I took the strips and trimmed them down to be slightly thinner than the belt width.
I stuck the two, now-thinner strips together with the velcro-like sides. Then I put on the belt and peeled off the backing from one of the strips. I stuck that on the underside of the belt, near the end portion. Then peeled off the other backing and pinched the end of the belt to the part going around my waist.
It held wonderfully, but in the mirror I did still see some white from the edges of the strips. So I darkened those with a black Sharpie.
The result was great! For a while.
I wore the dress and belt to a birthday party that night, where we ended up being in 100+ degree temps with extreme humidity thanks to a storm. And apparently the strips aren’t made to hold up in extended exposure to that weather. So by the end of the night, one of the strips had come loose.
I maintain that under normal circumstances, the Command strips would have continued to work brilliantly for a long time. But since Phoenix has months left of summer temps — and monsoon season is coming up soon — I’m going to go a different way for my next attempt.
Next time, I’m going to cut open one of my black elastic hair ties and loop it around the belt and belt end and make a knot. I’ll move the knotted portion to the underside of the belt to keep it less noticeable. I’ll probably use one that’s slightly stretched out so I have a bit more length to make the knot, but otherwise, I foresee it being pretty simple.
Hopefully, that will be the final MacGuyvering I need for this outfit.
Let’s hear some stories about your own innovative fixes!