To class I brought the button down, floral print blouse, I salvaged from Goodwill the week before. After I bought it (for $3.00!) I noticed the last button at the bottom of the shirt was missing. But never one to let new/old clothes rest in the closet, I wore the blouse that Saturday night. An over-sized safety pin held the bottom of the shirt together. I hoped jamming the shirt into the front of my pants made the d.i.y. fix look a less bootleg.

Luckily my destination was a dark bar. Only I knew what a shotty “repair” job I had done. But ultimately, I should have sewed a stupid button on. I told myself that this was the last time a “safety pin-belly button tear” would plague my thoughts. I’d learn to be a better seamstress with the help of Dabble.

My wardrobe revamp met at, of all places, a bar. I hustled to get over to Mrs. Murphy and Sons Bistro near Lincoln and Irving Park, to meet our 6:00 start time. Inside the funeral parlor turned Irish bistro, I was greeted by a favorite Dabbler of mine Dennise (peep the awesome photos she took at class on Dabble’s Facebook page), and our instructor, Kandy Christensen, of Meandering Design.

Kandy told us it was her first time teaching her class at a bar. I nervously looked toward the box of pins and ordered a Goose Island Green Island, the special for the night. You wouldn’t think dim lights, booze and the general bar atmosphere would be a good place to mend clothes, but it was!

I can’t say enough about how fun this class was. This was by far the most casual location I’ve dabbled at. The all female class was full of opinions and observations on everything from what bras to wear under certain garments, to thrift store closings, to online dating. There was a sense that I had known these women long before class.

I even found success in sewing, the purpose of the class. On swatches of fabric we practiced our half-back stitch, one of the most common types of stitches. When the time came to present Kandy with our own mending challenges, I pulled out the floral blouse and shamefully pointed to the safety pin, still dangling from the bottom.

After my story, we all practiced button sewing and for the first time in my life I learned the proper way to sew a button on. From Kandy’s beautiful jar of buttons, I chose a black one slightly bigger than the others already on my shirt. I enforced the hell out of it with my purple thread. And when I was done, I lightly tugged on it, just to make sure.

There’s a kind of confidence that comes from knowing your clothes won’t fall apart in public. And then there’s the satisfaction of knowing it’s your work that’s keeping them held together. The Wardrobe Revamp class makes you consider the potential in your own closet. There’s a world of fashion forward pieces lost in a heap of your old clothes. Start digging and start mending!


Ali Kelley is a 20-something trying to figure out her life one Dabble at a time. Be sure to check back each Wednesday to see her newest Dabble class adventure, and cheer her on with words of encouragement through the comments section below or on Twitter @freegiantparty.