Simple Alterations

Hello everyone,

I’ve decided to take a short break from making new garments and try to tackle the huge pile I have for alterations and repairs.

Today’s consumerist society has us believe that it’s perfectly acceptable to dispose of our wardrobes every season and replace them with the high street’s dictated ‘trends’. Investing in a few staple longevity garments is essential, but why should we willingly part with our hard-earned cash every time the wind changes?

Don’t get me wrong, if something is gathering dust for any longer than six months and you’re really not going to wear it, it’s probably time to take it to a charity shop. However, if you’ve been holding on to a quality or sentimental garment, but you’re not wearing it because it doesn’t quite fit or needs repairing, why not consider giving it a new lease of life?

Remember Marge’s class struggle? She found a bargain quality suit and wore the hell out of it, adjusting it for variation:

class_struggle

Remember the vintage dress I got excited about in the summer?

finished-dress

Sadly I discovered it didn’t fit too well up top. So, I decided to turn it into a skirt! Here’s what I did:

  • Cut a strip of thick elastic about 10cm smaller than my waist
  • Stitched it together securely to form the waistband, reinforcing the seam
  • Marked four equidistant points around the waistband with pins
  • Cut the skirt part off the dress and marked four equidistant points with pins
  • Matched up the pins and prepared to stitch

attaching_elastic

The next part was a little tricky. I changed my machine setting to a small zigzag stitch and sewed a few stitches at the first pin point to begin. I then stretched out the elastic to the next pin point, matched the width of the skirt fabric, fed the fabric through the machine and stitched close to the bottom of the waistband.

stretch_and_stitch

When released, the elastic shrinks back to normal size and the skirt fabric forms a nice gather. I repeated this step between all pin points, and that’s all there was to it.

finished_skirt  finished_skirt_closeup

The news of my sewing skills is travelling fast, and my friends are catching on that I can help them out with adjustments. Here’s one I did for the lovely Nic, who decided that this gorgeous floor length dress wasn’t for her.

adjust_length

Has anyone else made any wardrobe transformations? I’d love to see your ideas.

My to do list:

  • Sew the pocket back on a pair of jeans and tighten the legs
  • Repair and revamp a VERY retro vintage dress that I’ve been given
  • Replace the zip in a dress

Let’s continue to say no to this throwaway culture!

Until next time,

Lauren

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Blue Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. I celebrated Valentine’s Day early by attending a charity Venetian Masquerade Ball last night, hosted by Event Results at the stunning Manchester Monastery. I was lucky enough to win the tickets via Pocket Manchester for the fundraising event in aid of the Rainbow Trust children’s charity. It was a beautiful evening and we were treated to a three course meal, comedy, music and dancing. More importantly, we helped to raise much-needed funds by participating in the charity auctions and raffle. I intend to continue supporting the trust by running the Great Manchester Run  for them in May, so I’d better dig out my trainers!

Anyway, here’s a few pictures of my outfit (you might recognize my dress from my post on Vintage Finds and Alterations):

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Mask close-up

 

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Trusty Vintage Prom Dress

In other news, I’ve moved into a beautiful new flat and somehow almost all the of the textiles I’ve bought for it are blue. For those of you that know me well, this will come as no surprise at all.

It’s a converted late 19th century building with salvaged antique features, sash windows and high ceilings. This made finding curtains in the right size and shape a little tricky. Naturally, I chose blue ones. I found some by DKNY in TK Maxx that weren’t the perfect fit, but I knew I’d be able to adjust them to make them work for the windows in my bedroom.

They came as a pair of two long(ish) curtains, but I needed two narrow sets: one super-long and one quite short. In a nutshell, this is what I did:

  • Cut the required length off one curtain
  • Sewed the excess length to the other curtain
  • Cut both curtains in half to create two sets
  • Re-sewed the new hems and seams.

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Skip to the end and this is what I ended up with:

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Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of my weekend in my blue flat, starting with a cup of tea in my blue mug.

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Blue Valentine

 

[Soundtrack: Blue Velvet by Lana Del Rey]

 

 

 

 

Oh, this old thing? – Vintage finds and alterations

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Who has been watching This Old Thing? The lovely Dawn O’Porter has really inspired me to rekindle my love for vintage clothes, so I thought I’d share a few of my experiences with you.

A few years ago I bought a dress advertised as a ‘vintage black lace prom dress’ on eBay. I didn’t pay too much attention to the details (naughty!) as I was too excited about finding the dress and it being in my size and it being a bargain! When it arrived, I tried it on and it was down to my ankles; it looked more ‘Bride of Dracula’ than the 50s prom dress I had in mind. Consequently, the poor dress was shoved to the back of my wardrobe for a very long time.

A few years down the line I had a sewing machine and I needed something fabulous to wear for my New Year’s Eve party. I remembered the dress and thought maybe I could do something with it. I imagined it being shorter and wasted no time hacking about 20 inches of the bottom. The original hem was very simple; it had just been turned up and secured in place with a neat row of stitches on both the lace overlay and the lining underneath. I replicated this at just below knee-length, added a super fluffy petticoat et voilà:

Vintage prom dress
Vintage prom dress

I felt like a million dollars and so very smug with myself because nobody else in the world would have the same outfit as me.

After watching This Old Thing, I was inspired to recreate that moment of turning a treasure-chest bargain find into something that worked for me…

Yesterday had a night out planned with the girls and I panicked in the morning when I realised I didn’t have a stitch to wear. On my way to the shops for an emergency shopping spree, I though it wouldn’t hurt to pop in a few vintage shops just in case there was something amazing before resigning myself to the high street (boring!).

I found this beauty in Oxfam Original for a mere tenner!

Oxfam Original dress
Oxfam Original dress

My boyfriend was nearly sick when I took it off the rail (it’s a rainbow skirt maxi dress with a velvet top). It screamed 80s (I think), but I saw the potential in it and defiantly tried it on. It fit so nicely at the top but the length was too dated. I imagined it knee-length and hooray I had a dress! (and avoided the overcrowded high street shops on a Saturday afternoon – phew!).

I hurried home, chopped 17 inches off the bottom of the skirt, did a quick 1cm hem (again just replicating the original)…

Chop chop!
Chop chop!
1cm hem
1cm hem

did an awkward pose…

Strike a pose!
Strike a pose!

…and I was all set! My friends were pretty impressed with my efforts too:

Girls night out
Girls night out

Now I’m hooked on vintage again and this little bad boy is on the top of my reading list:

This Old Thing
This Old Thing

Until next time, wear vintage! It’s fun!

Lauren

[Soundtrack: ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths]