Friday, December 31, 2010

New Projects for the New Year - Refashioning Used Clothing

For Christmas this year, my Dad gave me 2 dresses from Etsy that were "vintage," but not really that old.  I put them on my wishlist because I saw potential in each of them to refashion them and make them look older than they are!

The first one, a silk/linen/rayon woven number from the 70's, will be refashioned to make it look a little more late 50s/early 60s.  Here's what it looks like now:

A little shapeless, but a great texture, and a wonderful ginger color....  I'm going to change the buttons, shorten it to knee-length, and find the perfect brown belt to go with the brown shoes I plan on wearing with it. The weave is pretty open, so I think I'm going to either make and dye a muslin underslip to go with it, or find a vintage one and dye it.  Stay tuned for updates on this one! It's going to be an awesome warm weather staple in my wardrobe.

The next dress, a 1990s-does-40s dress, is going to become a 40s dress. It's dark navy rayon with an adorable strawberry print.  Like many dresses from the 90s, it's almost to my ankles.  I'm going to shorten it to a war-time knee length and replace the ho-hum matte navy buttons with some lovely strawberry-rose colored buttons from my Grandmother's button box.

 Still the original length here.

And one of the details I love about this dress: it has an unusual lobed collar. It's hard to photograph here unfortunately. Because of the print, that lovely detail gets lost.  I'm getting up the gumption to take the collar apart and insert some lovely strawberry-rose piping around the edges so that this detail stands out.  I love love love this dress, and it fits me perfectly now.  When I start working out this week, I'm going to also start brushing up on my tailoring skills so that when I lose the weight I'm anticipating losing, I can do this dress justice when I take it in!

I love taking something that's *almost* right and making it *just* right.  These vintage pieces were each less than the cost of  buying 1 yard of the fabric it would have taken to make them.  Both the garment industry and the fabric industry introduce a phenomenal amount of chemical and material waste.  By taking something that's already left its mark on the planet and refashioning it, I'm reducing my contribution to the waste stream.  I can make them fit me and make them look more period-appropriate.  I can use the fabric that I cut off during the shortening process as either outer fabric or lining fabric for a purse to match!  It's a win/win/win situation, and a fun fashion challenge to refashion existing pieces, and I love doing it.

I've also got some Salvation Army skirts that are about to be refashioned/"vintage-ized", so stay tuned for more on them as well!


  1. Quite a good idea alter existing pieces. Will stay tuned!

  2. I too love upcycling! I haven't been around your blog in while; glad to see you're still at it, and can't wait to see the final results of these dresses!

  3. Thanks for stopping by, gals! I can't wait to see how the turn out, either! LOL

  4. I love the vintage dresses...they should be stunning when you finish.


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