Monday, June 1, 2009

From Old to New - the Great Ukay Experience

Snagged this maxi dress at 50% off from Mint yesterday, very comfy with my current belly and quite accessible if I get to breastfeed. It was a bit too long so I cut 4 inches off the bottom and used the scrap as lining for the top for a semblance of modesty and the leftover for a bandana that may come in handy with a plain outfit.

I have a small Singer electric sewing machine from my mom who never figured out how to use it. All I can do are simple straight stitches but a skill nevertheless that none of my sisters ever got into. Growing up with a frugal grandma who manages to find some use for everything, no scrap of fabric was ever thrown away – clothes were altered and the really worn out ones converted into rags (buying cleaning cloths… ridiculous!). But much can be said also about the thought that went into the maintenance of wardrobes and linens from that household that a lot of my tita's minis from the 60's are still in decent condition after 3 decades! Thus explains my appreciation for fabric and how I get attached with the really comfy ones until a hole emerges and banishes it into the abyss.

Nowadays, good and affordable hardly come together in terms of materials. With the open market, cheap and stylish clothing can easily be had from bazaars and malls, but most are only good for several wears then it just doesn’t slide over you in the same way! It’s so frustrating not to be able to afford the outfit you want and wanting not to look like everyone else… then my little sis introduced me to ukay-ukay shopping!

The intersection of LRT and MRT in Pasay has enough shops that can take up your whole day if you have the stamina.It’s quite exciting rummaging over open racks of seemingly worthless items until you chance upon a chic Anne Klein top, a classic black D&G sleeveless, sharp pencil pants or a sexily-worn out leather bag.

And then there are the dresses… racks and racks of dowdy garbs but constructed from exquisite fabrics that any explanation for such abomination will escape you. Such finds get me all giddy as I immediately visualize what can be done to salvage such treasures.

For a simple cut-and-sew, my Singer comes in handy – had I the necessary gifts of precision and patience, I would’ve made one fantastic mananahi. But alas, my straight-stitch skill can only take me so far… and so I call on my suki in BF Market’s tailor lane at Phase 1 for more complex constructions.

Such ukay-ukay purchase averages at P60 plus alteration at P100. But the ukay experience can also be had for free in the deep recesses of ancient aparadors like that of my lola - so that's both good material and interesting story for only a song! With a dash of resilience and imagination thrown in, you’ve got yourself some unique pieces that can’t be found in the stalls of 168 nor in the racks of Rustans!

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