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Month: June 2018

DIY Fashion: 1980’s to 1940’s Dress

DIY Fashion: 1980’s to 1940’s Dress

Ever notice how old clothes often reflect trends from the even more distant past? Take dresses from the 1980’s, for example. Many of them are basically replaying the greatest hits of the 1890’s, 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, albeit with the addition of synthetic lace, crazy fabric, and chronic shoulder pads! Believe it or not, this is great news for those of us who love vintage fashion, are too broke to buy everything we want, AND are too lazy to make our own retro clothing from scratch! Just check out this dress from our “Vintage a la Thrift Store-1920’s” article (found here)! This thrifted dress has a waist line from the 1920’s but fabric from the 1980’s!

Sometimes, these dresses just need the right accessories to help them shed their 80’s aura. Others need a little more help, and by “help” I mean some DIY alterations! I got the 1980’s-dress-bug hard when I found this gem at Goodwill.

Before you say I’m crazy, listen to my 1980’s dress vision! Firstly, I loved the fabric (polka dot’s in white, black, and red)! Secondly, and most importantly, the dress was basically my size. The shoulders fit pretty well, especially for an 80’s dress with puff sleeves. The bodice wasn’t that huge either. These two features allowed me to MODIFY the dress without having to take the whole thing apart. With that longer-than-knee-length skirt, wide shoulders, cinched waist, and retro print, Imma thinkin’ this dress could take me back to the 1940’s! Still think I’m crazy? Read on…

First things first- remove that overtly sweetsie lace detail!! I used my thread ripper to pluck out the stitches holding the lace in place.

Unfortunately, the collar and lace were sewn into the shoulder seams and front button placket… I had to open those seems up a bit to remove the lace, then re-stitch them closed. I probably could have avoided this fun process had I foreseen my eventual modification of the collar, but stay tuned for that. Next, we must move on to other distasteful features, such as those shoulder pads and sleeves! The pads had to GO!!!

Next, gotta shorten those sleeves! I tried on the dress and used tailor’s chalk to mark the length I thought the new short sleeves should be. I turned the dress inside out and marked this on the sleeve (the pen in the picture shows where my marks were). Next, I made markings about 2 inches longer than my desired length. This created my seam allowance and is shown in the picture by the scissors. I then cut off the sleeve at this point. The pins in the picture were used to keep that darn slippery fabric from moving around when it was cut!

I used the cut sleeve as the template for cutting the other sleeve off. I folded the dress in half so that the cut sleeve lined up with the uncut sleeve. After the necessary pinning and marking, I cut the second sleeve to match.

I tried on the dress and found that the sleeves were still a bit too long, even with the needed seam allowance. I went through the trimming process again. After trying the dress on one more time, I was ready to hem and haw! Er, I mean I was ready to hem the sleeves! To keep that crazy fabric from raveling, I dabbed a bit of Fray Check on the cut edges.

Dress inside out, I made markings where I wanted the final length of the sleeves to be, about an inch and a half from the cut edges of the sleeves . I brought the cut edge to meet that marking, making a fold. I then folded the folded bit over on itself  to make a rolled hem for the sleeve. I used a ton of pins to hold that in place.

I used my iron on it’s “synthetic” setting to attempt to iron the pinned hems down. I opted to stitch the hems by hand, since that would give me a bit more control. It still took a while…

At this point, I would have been finished were it not for that collar. Still too big! That super high neckline was a bit tight and fussy too!

To minimize the problem, I folded under the curved edges of the collar to make straight edges. I also folded the edges of the front neckline under to create a v-neck. (I removed the top button before folding.) All of this was pinned before being stitched in place by hand. The white paper in the picture helps the modifications be seen in the picture.

And after much ado, that’s how we got short sleeves with a coordinating neckline and collar! Hurrah! We only needed period-appropriate accessories and makeup to take this dress back in time! Luckily, I not only had the necessary thrifted accessories, but I also had the help of a hot photographer (my hubby) and my fabulous friend, Katherine! Together, we forayed into a funny, fantastic, forties fashion shoot! Say “cheese”!

Both my dress and Katherine’s outfit are not vintage but have lots of 1940’s flair! The only vintage items are my belt and earrings! The “snood” hair net that I’m wearing was actually a DIY that will be featured in next week’s post! These 1940’s fashions made us want to dance!

We can’t wait for more fabulous 1940’s fun! Stay tuned!

Flower Applique Earrings

Flower Applique Earrings

Here’s a quick tutorial for DIY earrings that are perfect for a summery state of mind! You may even have some of the supplies in your sewing stash! First, find some cute appliques and/or ribbon flowers. You will also need blank earring posts, earring backings, and E6000 craft glue. (Optional: Before you start, you could coat your appliques with a thin layer of Mod Podge glue to add stiffness and/or protect delicate appliques. This gives the flowers a bit of shine as well!)




Next, grab a paper plate or piece of parchment paper to use as a work surface. Turn the flowers face down and put a blob of glue where you want the earring post to be. Nestle the post into the glue, adjusting it’s placement as needed. Let the glue dry for at least several hours or overnight if possible.









Next, find a floral outfit in need of some cute earrings! Head outside to enjoy the summery weather and bright blooms!


Fashion Challenge: Peasant Skirt

Fashion Challenge: Peasant Skirt

I love a great skirt, especially if it’s comfortable, versatile, and easy to find at the thrift store! Peasant skirts check all of those boxes! To prove it, I put my thrift-store-score skirt to the test to see how many looks I could create. Here is my skirt and outfits so far!

Exhibit A: Peasant Skirt


Outfit #1 Nerdy: My “Otter Half” tee, flip flops, sun hat, and backpack kept me super comfortable on a warm day, while also satisfying my nerdy side.


#2 Preppy: Stripes, a scarf, and a jean jacket are my wardrobe go-to’s. I changed things up a bit by pairing them with the flowy skirt.


#3 Western: This look was a great excuse to wear my suede jacket, western belt, and boots, all favorite thrift store finds!


#4 Layered: I grouped varying shades of denim blues together for this look. The outfit was great for a cooler day and will be a fun idea to carry into fall.


#5 Boho: My favorite way to wear a peasant skirt is also the easiest! Add a tank top, layered jewelry, and sandals (all thrifted!) and you are ready for that beautiful, summery day!


Hope you enjoy putting on your perfect peasant pizazz! 🙂 Check your local thrift stores to find your new favorite skirt!


Vintage Earring Remake: Post to Pendant

Vintage Earring Remake: Post to Pendant

Ever find a big, bright pair of 1980’s earrings and wish you had the guts to wear them? You could just woman-up and wearing those earrings as is! Or you could remake them into something a little more modern but just as fun! Enter the post-to-pendant tutorial! Today, we are going to turn some giant post earrings from the ’80’s into pendants that can be hung as earring or on a necklace! Let’s get started!

The first step is to find some big ol’ post earrings, preferably at your local thrift store. Note: The lighter the earrings, the better they are for earrings. If they feel heavy, they are best for necklace pendants. You will be adding additional weight when you create the pendants, and you don’t want to make something too heavy for your ears. To get started, remove the original earring post backings by using pliers or wire cutters if necessary. (I have found that soaking the earrings for a few minutes in soap and water can soften the glue and allow the backings to be pulled off.) Next, assemble your supplies: earring bails, earring posts with loops to hang beads from, supportive earring backings, jump rings, and glue. (I used E6000 Jewelry and Bead.




Now it’s time to glue a jewelry “bail” to each earring. The bail has a flat surface that is glued to the earring and a loop that then allows the earring to be hung as a pendant. Note: The bails that I found at the craft store were bigger and heavier than what I really needed. The addition of these bails made my pendants heavy. I later discovered that you can buy “earring bails” that are smaller and lighter. I found those my local bead store and also online.  (Here is a link to an example I found on Etsy.) When I do this project again, I will use those smaller bails, but this is a picture of the large ones I used.




Next, it’s time to glue the bails to the earrings! The paper plate made a good work surface, while little pieces of foil added support under the earrings while the glue dried.





According to the glue directions, I let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before moving to the next step. If you wish to make a necklace, the pendants are now ready to hang from a chain or cord. If you want to make earring, we need to attach the pendants to the earring backings using jump rings.






Hooray, we now have earrings! I love how beachy these look!




I tried wearing the pendants as earrings and on a necklace!
















These will be so fun to wear for summer! I can’t wait to make more! 🙂




Vintage a la Thrift Store: Last Minute “Victorian”

Vintage a la Thrift Store: Last Minute “Victorian”

When one gets invited to a Victorian-themed picnic, one accepts! One does this without hesitation, even if the event is the next day and one has “nothing to wear.” To the thrift store! Quickly! And to the grocery store… for Victorian approved picnic ingredients. Apparently, authenticity was the order of the day.

I learned that the event was a yearly tradition for a group of friends who gathered to picnic and read Romantic Era literature.  According to the invitation, a range of clothing styles was acceptable including Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian garb. After an evening spent at Goodwill, I had assembled my wardrobe. The final outfit would consist of three different pieces layered to create the look of a dress. The addition of knee socks would be necessary for the sake of decency.



The day of the picnic began with the assembling of comestibles. I was glad to have an excuse to make my favorite tea sandwiches, cucumber with a great deal of butter and a sprinkling of dill.






Of course, one cannot have a Victorian event without scones! Accordingly, I made one of my favorite recipes. These cranberry sourdough scones are unique in that they call for both sour dough starter and whole wheat flour! I discovered this recipe on a blog named almacucina.com, and you can find the recipe here!




Once a belt was added, the shape and length of my “dress” was reminiscent of the Edwardian Era. Thankfully, my Goodwill trip had also yielded the necessary hat. I had created my purse years ago by stitching a vintage doily and lace flower to a woven bag. As we were expected to bring our favorite piece of Romantic literature, I selected my favorite.




The event was held at a small, rural cemetery surrounded by orchards. From the picnic spot under a large oak tree, one could survey the pastoral views. I’m sure the Romantics would have approved.















My fellow picnicers were well prepared with appropriate serving pieces and edibles. The sandwiches and scones did not disappoint!




Nor did the views…




What fun! I can heartily recommend this activity for a summer afternoon. The Victorian Era is really quite lovely this time of year!