5 Top Tips: Seeing Potential in Vintage

Finding that perfect vintage item is always the wish of any vintage shopper but more often than not we are left empty handed. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way! Even the most novice of upcyclers can look for the potential in less than perfect vintage.

All you have to do is ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. how difficult would it be to change?

2. is there cute details/trims/buttons?

3. does it have a fun print?

4. are there any stains/imperfections?

5. is the fabric good quality?

a great example would be this spotty dress:

Polka dots are always fun and will find their way into any trend. The buttons are cute and slightly asymmetrical and there are pleats down the centre front. It’s a lightweight summer fabric, no stains (always a plus). The silhouette is fairly simple, it has lost the elastic waist it once had however making it too large – and looks it. First impressions mean everything.

To breathe life back into this spotty gem i decided to give it back the elasticated waist, giving it more shape instantly.

Next step, i shortened it – always a great way to update. As the skirt has a lining I sewed this first ensuring that the length is about 2cm/1″ shorter than the outer layer. Then do the same to the outer layer.

I wasn’t originally going to change anything else but after a quick try on (always a good idea) I decided that the sleeves would look better being shorter. I cheated here and just turned, pressed and sewed the fold.

And voila! a wearable and I’d even say adorable vintage piece!

What do you think?

I only needed to use basic sewing skills to achieve this, the trickiest part was knowing how much elastic to use.

Extra tip: If the garment already has a ‘tunnel’ for elastic at the waist simply remove old one, if any then measure how much elastic is need to go round your waist comfortably and cut it to length. Feed one end through the tunnel (attach to a chopstick, works a treat) and then sew both ends of elastic to the dress to secure.

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