Wednesday, May 16

Altering Vintage Dresses

Altering vintage dresses
If you're anything like me, your vintage dress obsession is still going strong, despite the fact that many of our purchases are anything but perfect in the fit department. It's great when you get to try a pretty piece on, but when you're on the hunt on sites like eBay, Whurl, and Etsy, getting something that fits like a glove doesn't always work out. So, how do we fix this? I've sworn off vintage before, but I always find myself coming back. Knowing your measurements is the first step in the right direction, but getting creative with alterations is another.

Take this dress for example: I bought it from a friend's closet sale and it's my absolute favorite color to wear in the summer. The problem came in when it arrived and I tried it on, only to find that the dress was made for a more petite woman and the zipper wanted to come high up the back... oh, and not stay zipped. Since it's usually not that cute to walk around with your dress half unzipped, I had two options: get creative or pass it on to the next vintage-loving friend. Here's what I did:

Altering vintage dresses
First, I put the dress on and zipped it to where it was comfortable. I had someone help me with marking where I wanted the zipper to stop and removed the garment.

Altering vintage dresses Altering vintage dresses
Next, I took a piece of vintage silk ribbon that I had stashed away (my ribbon drawer is insane) and burned the edge and ironed it down. Then I pinned the ribbon in the desired position above the zipper stop and stitched it on.

You may notice that I left the original zipper completely intact. I did this for two reasons: A) The outer layer of this dress is pretty delicate and I liked having the extra weight there for when the bow is tied. I definitely don't want to rip this beauty! B) The existing zipper will be hidden by the bow. If I ever decide to pass this dress along, all I have to do is remove the bow and put the hook and eye closure back where it started.

Altering vintage dresses
After the bow was in place, I moved the hook and eye closure down to just above where I had the zipper stop marked. So easy!

 Altering vintage dresses
Here is the dress all zipped and tied. You can't see any of the exposed zipper and the velvet ribbon adds a lovely peachy contrast. I adore it!

Altering vintage dresses Altering vintage dresses
Obviously this specific alteration won't work on every vintage dress, but I hope it inspires you to get creative. Other options would have been to add a panel, add an exposed zipper instead of invisible, or to remove the zipper altogether and add bows or ties all the way down like this dress.

Alright, now who's ready to get out there and do some more vintage shopping?? xo.


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