DIY · How to Update Vintage · Style · Thrifts

How to Update Vintage: Windowpane Blouse

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend. This weekend felt like lots of catch-up – errands, home projects, cleaning, and making lists.

One list I made was all the projects I’d like to complete before summer is over. A few months ago, I did a big closet reorganization, and at the end, I had a huge pile of clothes that needed a little tweaking – sew a hole, shorten a hem, remove sleeves – small little projects. Of the projects I’d like to complete soon, most are vintage finds that just need a little updating, so I thought it would be fun to do a project series.


Over the next month or so, I’ll be posting a couple of projects each week, highlighting vintage pieces that are easy to find at thrift stores and showing some ways to update them.

The first project that came to mind was one I actually did last summer but never got around to posting. (The photos were taken in the old house before we moved. Oh, those stairs, I don’t miss you at all!)

Vintage Blouse

I found this blouse at the thrift store for a couple of dollars. I happened upon it the same week I stumbled across this blouse from Off of Broadway (a blog that is no longer updated but that is full of vintage inspiration). I knew when I thrifted it, I could cut the sleeves off to make my own version.


My shirt (by “Fritzi” – seriously, the names of some of these lines are so fantastic) has these cute little buttons on each shoulder.


I’m a sucker for little details.


There were a few small problems that needed some rehab. Both side seams had some separation.


I pulled out my thread to find something that matched. (The one on the left was the surprising winner – riveting stuff, I know!)


I used my sewing machine to close up those open seams.


Next I tried on the blouse to determine where I wanted the cut the sleeves. I asked Husband to help me pin the sleeves just to save time. As I saw the pin he stuck haphazardly into the sleeve, drawing very close to my skin, it became apparent that Husband had never used a straight pin. We had a mini-lesson, and he marked the sleeve perfectly. I still might just use chalk next time.


Using my cutting mat and rotary cutter, I chopped the sleeves off. And now is where you find out what a cheater dog I am. I’ll start with a back story.

When Husband and I were first married, living in our on-campus apartment, I borrowed my mom’s OLD Singer sewing machine to make some curtains. While there was definitely a problem with the tension on that machine, there was also quite a bit of user error. Either way, the curtains were not pretty. AT ALL. But I hung them anyway.

sewing shortcuts

Shortly after, my dear mother-in-law gave me this book. It’s great, and it’s definitely my kind of sewing. I don’t need perfection, I just need functional. This book taught me how to sew tiny little hems on slippery fabric. Here’s the trick:


After cutting the sleeves, turn the blouse inside out and pin the tiniest hem you can, folding just once.


Next iron this fold.


Run a stitch along this fold, basically just tacking the edge down.


Make another little fold and then pin and press this down as before.


Sew this fold down, and you have a tiny hem that doesn’t unravel. And your cheater dog stitching is on the inside and doesn’t show. (I asked Husband about “cheater dog”, and I googled it. Neither knew what I was talking about. I remember this phrase, most likely from middle school, but apparently it’s not really a thing. I did find this, though.)

DSC_0063Here they are – cute new sleeves.

DSC_0117Perfect blouse for the “cheater” dog days of summer.


8 thoughts on “How to Update Vintage: Windowpane Blouse

  1. Lovely Nicole!! By the way, when I saw your blog show up on my FB feed, I only saw the title and picture (and not the source) and my first thought was “this sounds like something Nicole would like…I better forward it to her”…hahaha!!

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