Altering Vintage

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Do we? Don't we? Should we? Shouldn't we?

On the whole, I think go for it. Not with anything precious or very old but alas, life being what it is, I am not likely to own anything like that.

I do often have to battle the nagging voice in the back of my head that says "Should you even be altering this? It is vintage." (the voice says vintage in a very Ab Fab sort of way) Let's not be precious though. Just because something happens to be more than 15 years old is no real reason to preserve it untouched. Fashions and hemlines change and a piece of clothing is far better off being altered so that it fits and is wearable rather than hanging on a rail unloved for all time.

If it was an expensive purchase or difficult to alter, I may consider sending it to someone who is slightly less cackhanded with a sewing machine than I am but with things that aren't quite so old, I don't feel quite so much pressure. I (eventually) have a crack at the alterations myself. Here's one I did last year.

I picked up two very nice Welsh tweed skirts from Oxfam months ago. Rather a snip at £6.99, thought I. But, oh, they were a hideously unflattering length. Look, see for yourself (and ignore the Mitch Benn tshirt. I only realised at the last minute that I should probably take a photo before starting the alterations):

Turns out it wasn't so very difficult to make them look good after all. Measure, pin, hack and hem. Bish, bash, bosh. They're both beautifully made, so it was just a case of trying to do it neatly enough to do them justice.

Additional bonus - a lot of offcuts! I think I shall attempt making a clutch bag. Watch this space. I may get round to it by...ooh...September?

And what do they look like now? Well you can only see one because I haven't photographed them both, but here is the darker of the two. I'm very pleased with the results.






Shirt - Zara, via charity shop
Skirt - vintage, via Oxfam
Cricket jumper - Oxfam. No idea if it's vintage or not, it's just cute
Brogues - Dune, via TK Maxx
Coat - Kookai, via car boot sale
Gloves - Accessorize

30 comments:

  1. love to see someone going for it and making a fab vintage item even better and suitable for them! Love the skirts and the altered length suits you really well xxxx
    Love Amie
    www.creditcrunchchic.blogspot.com

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  2. The pattern is absolutely lovely and the length looks perfect on you now, I don't see any reason not to alter vintage, better to breathe some new life into something than it ending up in the skip!x

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  3. Love the new length! I am always a bit wary as I don't want to ruin stuff but I usually get my mum to help me so it doesn't go horrifically wrong!

    Maria xxx

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  4. Oh, I love the new length! The pattern is beautiful. I'd definitely alter something if it wasn't that special, but I'd leave anything proper to my Mum!

    XO, Catherine.

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  5. Wonderful finds am jealous love anything Welsh tweed or blanket. Great alterations xx

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  6. That is a sensible alteration - and the tweed will get a proper airing now - far better than languishing unworn.

    The offcuts will make great bags and purses - or how about a butcher boy type cap?

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  7. Heya I think you did it justice to be honest. And you have to make a bag now because I would love to see that! x

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  8. Well done! I'd like the first length but I suspect it would look hideous on me! Your alteration is hggreat and it looks v cute on you!

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  9. Great finds. I'm all for making alterations. So many charity shop buys worth having are 80's copies of the styles of earlier eras. Unfortunately they retain that unflattering mid calf length which was so prevelant in the 80's! I have often altered skirts to knee length (my most flattering fit). I don't see any point treating vintage clothes like museum pieces.

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  10. Wow, you chopped a lot off the length (no wonder you'll get a clutch bag out of it!) and it works beautifully! Great fabric, great outfit. xx

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  11. Oh Alex, this makes me wish I could sew! I really need to learn don't I? I would just look at that skirt in the first photo and go 'pft ugly frumpy skirt!' and not even think of altering it!

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  12. Totally agree with you - the altered version looks amazing!! Xo

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  13. I LOVE Welsh tweed and I love what you've done to the skirt. And yes, I don't think there's anything wrong with altering vintage especially when it looks so much better than it did before. I'm thinking of converting some of my fifties dresses that I don't wear any more because they're a little snug (er hem)into skirts. Too long have they languished in my wardrobe!

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  14. Looks great, wish I could sew. I definitely think its best to alter something regardless of its age, if its going to be worn, then its silly not to!

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  15. If you will wear it altered it is worth doing. I'd have loved the longer length but I'm taller & it would have sat knee length on me. I wholly approve of altering something if it means you'll wear it & I am totally jealous of the fabric!

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  16. I definitely see no reason against altering vintage - with most items, you update them as they age so why not with clothes? The skirts look really nice at that length, your DIY skills rock! x

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  17. Love it! Much more flattering. I don't see the harm in altering vintage, after all you are recycling the clothes by wearing them, so why not make them perfect for you. Although I'd have an issue if it was certain classic items, sometimes they need to be kept purely for history purposes (I have a dress my gran wore to her first party, it doesn't fit, I love it but would never change it to fit me, too many memories)
    xx

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  18. Much better for something to be worn and loved I think - the skirt looks absolutely great. Jen x

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  19. I always think that I'm committing some sort of crime if I alter it, but you're right, the fact is I'll love it and wear it more if it's flattering. I MUST do some more taking up of things soon, as well as making a dress that I've been thinking about for a year! Ho hum. x

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  20. Yes! I have those wibbly moments when I'm about to hack into a glorious 60s bed sheet to make cushion covers or some such, but at the end of the day I'm never going to actually use it on my bed so why not let its purpose evolve so that it's still being used and loved?

    You've made a fab job of that skirt, it's a real eye-catcher - bet you get loads of compliments! x

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  21. the skirt looks great now. You made the right choice in altering it :)

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  22. Great find :) I figure if it is going to stay unloved in the back of the wardrobe it is a million time better to alter it and get use out of it!

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  23. Ooh v cute preppy look! Its never occurred to me not to alter vintage before - if I love something and it doesnt fit you better believe its gonna meet my sewing machine! :)

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  24. Oh so much better - it was only good for cushions before. It's totally wearable now.

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  25. I think altering vintage is a good idea if you're going to get more enjoyment out of it! X x

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  26. Wow Alex, the skirt looks amazing and I love the pattern. Also Happy Belated Blog Birthday! I tagged you in the Tag Me - Tag You blog tag post too :) xxx

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  27. I love that outfit and it looks so great on you! I'm sure I'd look like a slightly well-dressed sack of potatoes if I attempted something like that! Mind you, you are a lot younger than me.
    I love your styling.

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  28. Totally fab outfit. Love Mitch Benn too!
    Lisa x

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  29. You did a wonderful job, if something is going to look better altered then it is always best to do it. I'm eyeing up the offcuts! xxx

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