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Category: Vintage a la Thrift Store

Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

Polka dots and raindrops go well together. Today’s storm-brightening outfit comes courtesy of the fabulous Miss Heather whose fabulous mom wore this hat in the late 60’s to early 70’s. A big shout out, as well, goes to my fabulous grandmother who donated this dotted umbrella to the cause. Other fabulous people include the unnamed fashionistas who donated the perfect 1970’s blouse, J Crew skirt, and new-but-with-retro-styling raincoat to Goodwill! I love you guys!!

Thanks, All, for brightening my day! 🙂

Year in Review: a Few of Our Favorite Moments!
Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1930’s Holiday Edition

Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1930’s Holiday Edition

Fashions from the 1930’s are a challenge. For a long time, I assumed that most people dressed in hand-me-downs, like the orphans in the Annie musical. Turns out I was totally wrong. Times were tight, but there were some fabulous fashion statements made in the 30’s! 

My quest for fashion history knowledge was greatly assisted by experts from the internet. I began my research by consulting this article from Vintagedancer.com and then searching pinterest for historical images. When I discovered this dress at a thrift store, I knew I was on to something… (And yes, those Hawaiian print shorts hanging in the background also came home with me. In case you were wondering.)

The drapey, “Grecian” vibe coupled with the midi length and rhinestones made me think 1930’s Hollywood! Although the dress probably originated in the 1980’s, I had a hunch that the right accessories, makeup, and hair could take this dress back in time! Before leaving the thrift store, I snagged a rhinestone choker that nicely coordinated with the rhinestones on the dress! Next, I researched hair and makeup trends from the 1930’s. Thanks to the Youtube experts, I was soon experimenting with finger wave techniques! I most closely referenced this video , but I would love to try the technique in this more historical tutorial! Here I am in action!

I practiced the style several times to get the hang of it and experiment with what worked best with my face shape. I was assisted by the short length of my hair and the fact that it waves/curls/(frizzes) naturally. On the day of my dress-up event, I was ready! Here are the supplies I used.

 As in the Youtube video, I created a side part and sectioned off the front portions of my hair. I wet each section and worked in some of the design lotion before starting on the wave. I coaxed each section into an “S” shape, securing the curves of the S in place duckbill clips. Since my hair curls naturally, I used the DivaCurl cream to help the back of my hair curl by itself. (Another option would have been to pin curl the back.).  I finished the style with the Nexxus hairspray. 

In addition to the duckbill clips, I used bobby pins to create a small pin curl at the end of the longer section of hair. I tucked the ends of the other section behind my ear.

I can’t seem to find the Nexxus design lotion any more, but many bloggers really love Lottabody’s setting lotion for finger waves and pin curls! Apparently, it’s been around for ages and is perfect for these processes! Here are a few of my other supplies.

For 1930’s makeup knowledge, I turned to one of my favorite Youtube makeup artists and her tutorial here. I tried to use similar eyeshadow tones, except I also added  silver and black. It’s not shown in the picture, but I definitely used eye primer to keep all that makeup in place.

I also attempted to replicate the foundation and contouring shown in the video. Primer and powder were super important to setting the look. 

After letting my hair dry for about an hour and a half, I was ready for the 1930’s! My outfit got its chance to shine at a friend’s wedding! 

My husband was in the wedding party, so he dressed up all snazzy too!

All the time you spend researching an unfamiliar decade and practicing new hair-do’s can totally pay off. If a thrift store dress calls your name, give it a try!

Costume Time: Across the Decades!

Costume Time: Across the Decades!

Halloween is almost here! Today we are showcasing some of our favorite costumes from across the decades! Click on each photo to see the whole post and outfit DIY!

Happy costuming, Everyone!

Costume Time: 1920’s Style!

Costume Time: 1920’s Style!

I used the think that 1920’s costumes were challenging to create. Over time, I have found that it’s very possible to turn thrift store garments into “mod” looks! Today’s post features some of our favorite 1920’s outfits and a range of crafting commitment. Bring on the flapper flair!

I was so excited about these first outfits, that Lindee was given no choice but to do a photo shoot with me! The drop-waist dresses from the 1980’s required next to no alteration, other than the mandatory removal of shoulder pads.  The addition of a sash and flower pin were totally optional.

Less optional were the long necklaces (Lindee’s was actually two strands of pearls of different lengths), cloche hats, and vintagy shoes. You can find links to similar items at the bottom of this post!

These dresses were surprisingly comfortable and fun to wear!

Even our photographer got into the act!

Of course, you may recognize the blue dress from our earlier post “Vintage a la Thrift Store: 1920’s“! A faux fur wrap from the thrift store and some wooly tights added warmth on a cold day.

For a more formal evening look, check out Lindee’s transformation of a plain dress into fabulous flapper duds in our post “DIY 1920’s Costume“! Fabulous, Dahling, Fabulous!

If you can’t find a drop-waist dress, you can make your own from an over-sized shirt and coordinating fabric! Our post “1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt” will show you the step-by-step process! For these pictures, I channeled my inner “modern” and had *fun* with contrasting accessories and lipstick!

We love the 1920’s!

Here are some fun 1920’s-inspired accessories to get you started!

Costume Time: 1940’s Style

Costume Time: 1940’s Style

With Halloween around the corner, it’s the perfect time to create vintage fashion magic! This month we will feature some of our favorite tutorials for turning thrift store clothes into old-time fashion statements! Wear them to a costume party or wear them everyday! Today’s post highlights dresses that were originally made in the 1980’s but have lots of of 1940’s flair! My first dress needed very little work to give it swingin’ style!

Remember this dress from our “Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses“? The only alteration it needed was the obligatory removal of the shoulder pads. (Hey, the 1980’s called and wanted them back!) The puffed sleeves, fitted waist, and below-knee length are 1940’s-ready all on their own!

Of course, it’s the accessories that really take this dress back in time! The hat, bag, and belt are vintage finds from a local thrift store called Crossing the Jordan! Coincidentally, that’s also where I found the dress!  

I was so excited to find this vintage enamel jewelry while thrifting, as it’s hard to find! The statement flowers play well with the statement flower print of the dress. Fashion Tip: The 1940’s ladies loved their brooches and clip-on earrings! The shoes are also a thrift store score from years ago, but you can find similar here. 

My next 80’s dress needed a little more love before it could really shine. Check out the tutorial here to witness the full transformation! This dress is now one of my favorite refashions!

My fabulous friend Katherine agreed to dress up for a 40’s-style photo shoot! Believe it or not, her outfit is NOT vintage but has lots of vintage flair! Fashion Tip: 1940’s ladies loved fitted blouses, skirts that reached around knee length, and snazzy belts! And you know what they loved even more? Red Lipstick and lots of it! Check out this fascinating article from vintagedancer.com for historical makeup tips and tricks!

If you can’t find a 1940’s hat or simply want to cover a modern haircut, you can make your own “snood” hair net! Check out my tutorial here for what may be my favorite vintage accessory DIY! Daisies are optional extras.

Ok, Vintage Fashionistas- time to get thrifting! And sewing! And quite possibly dancing…

Here are some 1940’s-inspired accessories to get you started!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

I wasn’t kidding last week when I said that I loved my newly refashioned button-up shirt! Although the refashioning took time, I was able to make a custom top from something that didn’t fit before! (See the tutorial here!) Now, I love the shirt’s length, comfiness, and styling options. I was certain I could use it to create some vintage inspired looks! First up, an outfit inspired by the 1930’s…




This outfit made me think of the comfy “beach pajamas” from the 1930’s! Wide-leg pants, a breezy top, and a big hat equaled summer sun readiness!




My earrings, hat, and pin are favorite thrift store finds. The scarf was a gift from the fabulous Heather!




Next, my top and I visited the beach by way of the 1940’s! I left out the matching belt this time and instead tucked the top into an A-line skirt.




I love the nautical feel of those stripes! I just wish it was slightly less windy!




My skirt, belt, and earrings were thrifted, while my hat was a homemade project based on a vintage pattern. More on that later!



Ship ahoy, Matey! Be on the lookout for more refashioned projects coming soon!

1950’s “Whimsy” Hat DIY

1950’s “Whimsy” Hat DIY

One week before a friend’s wedding, I discovered a fabulous 1950’s- style dress at the thrift store! While I had the perfect shoes, belt, and necklace to coordinate, I was lacking a hat! Gasp!! Should I devote hours to madly searching antique stores, resign myself to going hatless, or DIY myself a hat? The later option won…

I was inspired by the headband-like “whimsy” hats from the late 1950’s. More hair accessory than hat, these cuties were often built on wire frames and positioned on the head like a headband. Check out this post, “1950’s Womens Hats” from Vintagedancer.com for inspiration! After thoroughly reading that blog post, I gathered my supplies: a headband, vintage scarf, lace, and silk flowers. I also had a needle and thread, glue gun, and felt remnant at the ready.

My goal was to cover the headband with the scarf and then decorate the headband with the lace and flowers. I began by folding the scarf into a thin roll and then tying the scarf to one end of the headband.

Next, I began wrapping the scarf around the headband. In retrospect, I could have wrapped the scarf looser to create more volume around the headband. I knotted the end of the scarf at the other side of the headband.

With help from a needle and thread, I tucked the ends of the scarf around the ends of the headband and stitched them in place. I also made small stitches around the crown of the headband to insure that the scarf didn’t slip.

Next, it was time to decorate! I experimented with placement options for the lace before pinning and stitching that in place.

Time for some flowers!

Before I could create my flower arrangement, I had to dissect the pink carnation. (Insert evil laugh- mwah ha ha!) Silk flowers often have hard plastic bases as well as plastic stems that run up the center of the blooms. These plastic pieces make the flowers too tall and stiff to work with. Time to dissect…


After removing the plastic base, I unstacked the petals in size order and removed the center stem. I then glued the petals back together, layer by layer, using hot glue. The resulting flower had shape but much less stiffness.

I cut out an oval-shaped piece of felt that would become the base for my flower arrangement. The width of the oval was slightly less than the width of my wrapped headband. I experimented with placement for the foliage before glueing the pieces down in layers. I loved how the stems of white flowers and the two leaves had wire stems! This allowed me to shape them as needed!

Finally, it was time to stitch the felt base of the flower arrangement onto the headband!

I was pretty pleased with how well my “Whimsey” hat turned out! In fact, I am tempted to make more, after seeing how simple it is to make a hat that perfectly matches an outfit! I would love to try this with other vintage scarves and perhaps brooches and/or feathers!

The hat perfectly coordinated with my mostly-thrifted outfit! I felt fabulous at our friends’ wedding celebration! I couldn’t help taking copious photos in the orchards overlooking Mt Hood in Oregon!

I also couldn’t help taking a twirl.

What day! What a place!!

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!

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!