How to Update Vintage: 3 No-Sew Projects

Getting creative over here this week without my sewing machine! I went through my closet to find vintage pieces that could be updated with no sewing needed. Here they are, in order of decreasing level of difficulty:


1. Cut It Off

I’ve done a post on cut-offs before, but vintage cut-offs are apparently a big deal this year. Did you know, for the low price of $185, you can buy a pair of vintage Levi’s that someone has cut-off into shorts for you? Now, I have no experience with these shorts – for all I know, money could grow in their pockets, making the price totally worth it.


But, these? I got them at the thrift store on a day when all clothing was 25 cents. Seriously. It’s easy to find “vintage” Levi’s at almost every thrift store. Now, you might have to buy them in the men’s department, and they might be a little too big, but that just makes them perfect for summer. Who wants jeans that stick to them in the middle of August anyway? (So says the woman wearing a sweater. It was COLD this morning, y’all!)


(Full disclosure: For this pair, I ran a straight stitch about 1/4 inch above where I cut in order to minimize fraying. This is the first time I’ve done this in all my years of cut-offs – and I remember my dad cutting off my old jeans when I was in 2nd grade. It’s completely unnecessary, but I wanted to see how well it worked, because I usually find myself giving the cut-offs a little trim after every 3-4 washings.)


2. Cut It Out (as in Shoulder Pads)

This is an easy fix for many an ’80s blouse. And usually, they are only sewn in at the ends, so you only have to snip two threads on each side. Low risk, high reward.


It makes a piece much more modern and feminine.


3. Break Up Sets

Vintage suits are pretty easy to come by, at least at one of the thrift stores I frequent. They have an entire rack of skirts and matching blazers in rainbow order. Think outside the match – pair a vintage pencil skirt with a modern blouse, or separate the jacket and pair it with jeans.


Look for interesting silhouettes – this Pendleton jacket has 3/4 sleeves and no collar.

Well, look at that! Three projects and not a single stitch between them! But don’t be fooled, I can’t WAIT to get my machine back. Fingers crossed it’s finished early.

What do you think of the How to Update Vintage series? Are you starting to see the vintage possibilities? Are you itching to dig through Aunt Gertie’s closet to see what you can find? And have you had success in making over something vintage? Tell me about it – I’d love to hear. 

Hoosier Cabinet, Part 2

The Hoosier cabinet is finished! Husband did the final two coats of paint (for which I’m super grateful), and it’s looks awesome. Today, I’m going to give you a peak into the Hoosier’s new role – a little home office/studio! Here she is in all her blue glory:

Hoosier cabinet

Did I tell you we used to just call her “The Blue Thing”? As in:

Me: Hey, have you seen my keys?

Husband: Yes, they’re on The Blue Thing!

Do you also have random names for things? Like, when I was in college and got a Palm Pilot (remember those?), I named it “Gus”. My Kindle is named “Bingo”. And we once had a car called “The Weekend Warrior”.

I guess the Hoosier cabinet will need a new name, now that she’s not blue. Although, I kind of laid down the law today, explaining that this was now Mama’s workspace, not a place for key storage or a place to forage for art supplies. (Don’t you worry, BB and BG have their own “Art Dresser”, overflowing with their own materials. They will be just fine without using my Sharpies or my sketch pencils.)

white hoosier cabinet workspaceI pulled my Old School Office Chair out of the garage, too. I think they make a perfect pair. (However, it’s definitely time to make a new seat cover. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait to get my sewing machine back?)

hoosier cabinet workspace lightsI added garage spotlights for some task lighting, and I played around with bowls, jars, and clipboards for organizing.

hoosier cabinet lights detail

colorful sharpies

supplies in a jar

jewelry tools

find joy in the ordinary clipboard

hoosier cabinet clipboard detail

Alright, Hoosier, lookin’ good! Now it’s time to get to work!

PS – Just kidding – I don’t think Hoosier can be the new name. Any suggestions?

Five Things

Happy Friday!  How’s your week been? Thankfully, ours has been much better than last week – a mostly-well kitty, Husband back in town, and days with a good balance of structure and free time.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:


1. Painting. I am a terrible painter. (Have I mentioned that before?) I’ve worked on the Hoosier cabinet for 4 days, and I’m not even close to finished. The first coat looks awful, but the second is only slightly better. Yesterday, I was working on it again while BB did some yard work, and I told him it wasn’t going well. “But it’s looking good, Mama,” he said. Sweet boy. And what a great moment I had to show him that, even though it’s not going the way we want, we can appreciate the hard work we’re doing, and we just keep at it (and not throw the fit I – er, we – might be feeling on the inside). It wasn’t 10 minutes later when he was working on Legos, and it wasn’t going well. He was markedly calmer about it than I’ve ever seen him when faced with frustration, and he told me he was just going to keep working on it because he knew it would be better.

This is what it’s all about.katrina kenison quote 2. This quote again. My lovely friend, Leanne, created this image to represent this beautiful quote I posted about a few weeks ago. Just seeing it again prompted me to sit down on the couch and create that silence yesterday afternoon. BB and BG meandered in and curled up with me. They both opened up about things on their minds almost immediately. That “circle of stillness” is pretty magical.

daybed3. Daybeds. My Craigslist obsession has grown beyond just armoires to include daybeds as well. Looking for a white metal one to use for outdoor lounging. It would be okay if it were a different color – I’m sure I’ll be up for painting again really soon.

clean house 4. I wish this were true. But instead, there are paint brushes and paint rags and disassembled pieces of furniture EVERYWHERE this week (see #1). I’m wondering if my house will actually be cleaner once the sewing machine returns.

5. And just for kicks, The Nostalgia Machine. Put in the year you graduated high school. You’re welcome.

We have dinner planned with our former neighbors – can’t wait to catch up with them and hear what’s going on in the old neighborhood. What about you – fun projects or plans? Or anything fun you learned this week? I’d love to hear. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!


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