August 10, 2012

Secondhand Sundays: 6 Simple Alterations

Today, while I continue recovering from my flu, I have yet another awesome guest post! I love Bekuh's space, Secondhand Sundays, and it seemed like a no brainer to ask her to write for you all because she co-curates a vintage shop, the Button Factory, and her blog is full of lovely vintage wares. She didn't disappoint and here we are with this great post!!! A massive thanks to Bekuh! :)

Hi there Wildest Dreams readers, my name is Bekuh and I blog over at Secondhand Sundays. You'll find me on Secondhand Sundays regularly sharing my love of vintage clothing, home cooking, and crafty handmade goods. I hope you'll stop be for a visit!

Today I'm going to share with you 6 simple alterations for vintage clothing. When it comes to purchasing vintage clothing I typically try to avoid the pieces that require a lot of alterations to make them wearable, but occasionally there's a piece that I just can't pass up even if it is a little flawed. If you've ever found yourself yearning for a piece of vintage clothing that is torn, stained, ugly, or outdated; this post is for you.
1. Change out the buttons
This often overlooked alteration can completely change the feel and age of a piece. I all too often find a skirt or shirt with broken, missing, or ugly buttons and this trick is a cheap and easy to way make an old piece look brand new again. You can learn how to sew a button here.

2. Add trim
Whether it's to add a little flair, or cover up an imperfection the right trim can completely transform a vintage piece. I love this trick for covering up small stains, or thread bare seams on skirts and dresses. It also comes in handy if you find a plain dress with great lines, but lacking in details. The best part is you can use liquid stitch, or iron on fabric tape, no sewing required.

3. Remove the sleeves
A lot of 1980s dresses have fantastic shapes and patterns to them, but those puff sleeves can really be a turn off when perusing the dresses at your local thrift store. Why not salvage these dresses by simply removing the sleeves? You might be surprised how easy it is to remove the sleeves with a seam ripper. Just seam rip the sleeve off the bodice, then all you have to do is sew (by hand or machine) the inside seam back down. Easy as pie.

4. Dye the fabric a new color
I get really sad when I see pretty white dresses wasting away on clothes racks because of a few stains, or yellowing fabric. Breathe new life into these pieces by simply dying the fabric a new color. Make sure that you pick the appropriate dye for the fabric, and wash the garment first. Fabric dye has easy to follow instructions and you could have a "new" dress in just one afternoon.

5. Add pockets
Pockets can be some of the most useful things in the world. I will shout from the rooftops my love of pockets in skirts and dresses, so this tip is a no brainer for me. The easiest pockets to add are simple square or rounded ones straight to the front of a skirt (instructions found here), but if you're up for a challenge check out this tutorial on adding them into the seams of a dress or skirt.

6. Add patches
This may sound like an elementary school technique, but patches really can save a stained, or torn piece from ruin. I've put both pre-embroidered patches, and fabric square patches on items. If the patch is appropriate for the piece it will turn out looking as if the patch had always belonged and no one will question your taste. My tip when picking out a patch is to find something that either has the same color story as the original piece or a complimentary one. I just used a heart patch and embroidery floos to cover up a bleach stain on the crop top seen above.

Well there you have it; 6 easy alterations to update or repair vintage pieces. I hope you found these tips useful and that you'll think twice about putting back that 1980s puff sleeve dress the next time you're in the thrift store. These tips can also apply to your well loved modern pieces if you're looking to update your wardrobe a little. I'd love to hear your tips for repairing and updating vintage pieces! big kiss, bekuh

Thanks again Bekuh!! I promise next time I'll look differently at 80's puff sleeve dresses differently, and shirts as well (I actually have some in mind if they're still in the shop), and can't wait to test out these tips :) Make sure you head over to Secondhand Sundays and show her some love people!! 

Over and out.
Rhi xx


Amanda Rose said...

This is such a great list! I love adding/ changing vintage pieces!

Amanda Rose

Allie said...

per usual a wonderful post from bekuh!

Bri Lamkin said...

My email is brnn.lmkn @

dana @ wonder forest said...

these are awesome tips :)
xo dana

Leila said...

This is an AMAZING post! love these tips. :) good reminders of how much potential many items have!

Meagan Murtagh said...

love bekuh! such great tips~

Ms. Cathy said...

Hey love!! I just nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award, come and accept it! By the way, I bought a used Marc Jacobs bag for only 30 bucks and thought of you. Happy hunting!

irene wibowo said...

nice post.. love this. :)

Irene Wibowo