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:

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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.

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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!)

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(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.)

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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.

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It makes a piece much more modern and feminine.

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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.

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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. 

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4 thoughts on “How to Update Vintage: 3 No-Sew Projects

  1. I love this. You’re being so productive without your sewing machine. I guess sometimes waiting for tools can make us a little more creative. I tried sewing some cute fabric and a crocheted scallop lace to the bottom of some jean cut offs one time but they ended up being tighter and weird looking. Did you lengthen your straight stitch? I’m thinking of tackling it again. Anyways, you’re so inspiring.

  2. I am old enough to have worn blouses and dresses in the 80’s, and often the first thing I did when I got home with a new garment was snip out the shoulder pads. I never liked them.

    • Ha! I remember having a few pieces then, too – which is strange now that I think about it, as they were in little girls’ clothes. :) It’s funny what styles becomes popular.

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