How to Update Vintage · Style · Thrifts · Uncategorized

How to Update Vintage: Hem Like My Mammaw

OK, I’m back today with another little tweak to a vintage piece, and I LOVE it. It was such a simple little fix that changed this dress from a little bit frumpy to fantastic.

DSC_0016Here’s what I started with – and let me tell you about it. I have a favorite thrift store here in town that is attached to a consignment shop. Most people would say there’s a thrift store attached to the consignment shop, but I always hit the thrift part first because the prices are great. The consignment shop usually has newer, brand name items (I’ve found great jeans there), but the deals – and most of the vintage – are found at the thrift store.

DSC_0063So, a couple of months ago, I was shopping for a light, summer dress, and I decided to try the consignment shop. I saw this one – fun colors, but not really what I was looking for – and it was at consignment price (maybe $10). I liked it, I saw it’s potential, but I didn’t want to spend $10 on it. (I KNOW, it’s only $10, but thrifting has ruined me for prices.)

DSC_0073Then I went in a few weeks later, and the dress was still there, but now it was $3. YES, I will totally buy it for $3. All it needs is a new hem.

Now, I know you might be thinking, “Why would you cut apart vintage? Isn’t that like painting an antique? Won’t you ruin it?” Maybe, but I am a believer that even antiques are meant to be enjoyed, and that might not be in their original state. When I find that antique armoire I’m dreaming about, if I don’t like the color, you better believe I’m going to paint it. And if I’m going to actually wear this dress, it’s going to need a better hemline.

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This is a homemade dress made out of a thick polyester knit. It is just like the pantsuits my Mammaw used to make.

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She used the leftover fabric to make polyester quilts for all the kids and grandkids. (I should note that Mammaw also made other beautiful quilts out of cotton calicos – the one I remember most is a Holly Hobbie pattern.)

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But the polyester quilts are famous in our family – many a picnic or ballgame has been enjoyed with a “Mammaw Quilt”, and I remember my dad using them on the garage floor when he would crawl under the car to change the oil. Even now, miles away from their East Tennessee origin, I keep a Mammaw Quilt in the back of our car, just in case.

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I’ve always loved looking at the different prints – can’t you just imagine the polyester pantsuits made out of these fabrics? Gotta love the 70s.

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And you’ve got to love a dress with stripes, especially if you’re hemming it. It’s so easy – just pick a stripe and cut along that line. Then, when you’re setting the new hemline, use the stripes as guides for ironing and pinning.

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It works as a fun dress for summer…

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and it will work well with boots in early fall.

mammaw polyester dress

What a difference the hem makes! Don’t be afraid! Small little updates can make a big difference.

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