Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sewin' and Salvagin'

I bought the below dress from Hungry Heart Recycler on Etsy. They are a really great little shop with awesome customer service. they were selling the dress AS IS with the hem unfinished. i thought maybe when i got the dress it would be longer than it appeared somehow and i could just hem it up and there, it would be salvaged. when i got it, it was SHORT. mini. A length that would never let it be its true self= a 1950's dress. (i want to tell you that none of this was hungry heart recycler's fault, it was my brain's fault. may i reiterate that HHR is a fab shop).

so...i wanted to add some length to it. i scrounged through my fabric pile holding each bit up to the dress asking, "would you make a pretty new hem?, how about you?" Then it hit me! i had bought this anthropologie blouse at a thrift store probably 4 years ago. it was a size zero, and i was saving it for that magical day when i wake up and have lost 30 pounds in my sleep (ha!:)

i rushed to find it and just as i suspected, it was the perfect pale grey color with burnt orange eyelet detail that went perfectly. and it was just gathered enough that this blouse had enough fabric to make a whole new length to the dress. making it the perfect 1950's length once again! yay!
1 part vintage dress +
1 part anthropologie top (already had cut the part i needed)
=Restored vintage dress
i just can't believe how well the fabric goes together. even the eyelet embroidery pattern is so similar.
my seamstress taught me to make a cotton ruffle undeneath the new section to make it lay right. it is linen and was laying funny on my first attempt.
now, for those of you who are feeling sorry for the anthro blouse, don't! for i'm sure i will make something ELSE out of that :)
OH, and did i mention it will be in the shop today or tomorrow!

thanks for reading,

disclaimer: of course i am not against shortening 1950's dresses a bit, i just have a thing about them being mini length. sometimes that is the only option because of damage, but otherwise i feel like they should be close to their orginal length. just my personal opinion.


  1. I love this!! Great job on this dress. It looks adorable. I love getting vintage as-is dresses and fixing them up to give them new lives. Perfect:)

  2. Um, wow Maria, it's really fantastic, you worked a little magic I must say. And I also must say I love how the Anthropologie top looks like a super cute bra or bathing suit top, real doggone cute!

  3. lauren, i should send you the cute little bra part :)

  4. Wow, that matches really well! I have to admit, I don't understand people who drastically hem vintage. I have the prettiest early-40s rayon dress with these gorgeous little ruffles around the collar, but someone clearly shortened it to mini length in the early '90s and it just doesn't work. It looks like there's a decent amount of fabric left in the hem, though, so one of these days I'm going to unpick it and hope for the best.

    (also, um, hi. this is me, delurking!)

  5. oh my gosh, it looks so great! well done, ma'am! :D

  6. That dress looks amazing! You're such a creative gal!

  7. Awesome! It is so cool to see a true artist at work!! It looks wonderful

  8. The dress looks drop dead gorgeous - I bow down in awe of your superior seamstress skills! :)

  9. Ooo it looks beautiful! Good job :)
    Lottie x

  10. wow, i love this...
    great work!

  11. I know what you mean! lately, I have found some really cute vintage dresses on ebay, but the seller/s have shortened evry SINGLE ONE so short that they are not decent to wear in the place that I live!!!! *sadface*