etsy shop · How to Update Vintage · Sewing · Style · white

How to Update Vintage: Something Up My Sleeve

How to Update Vintage: Shorten Sleeves

I’m excited to finally share this post today, because this is the project I was working on when my sewing machine went KAPUT!


The blouse I’m redoing started out like this – a simple, pretty shell that layers well. I love finding old blouses that are too big because I love they way they flow – especially in the summer. (I know I’m talking about breaking the rules by wearing white after Labor Day, but we’re in a string of hot days here in California, so it’s not a big stretch.) The only thing that needed to be changed were the sleeves – their length just felt too frumpy.


But before I got to start on this project, I got to sew together a net from the Dollar Store for BB. He loves this net. It has never been used for catching butterflies, but it has caught a few regular flies, lots of stuffed animals, and his sister. It’s multipurpose! And while my sewing skills aren’t usually in high demand with the under 6 crowd, being able to fix a broken net put me in superhero status. Well, at least for that afternoon.

How to Update Vintage: Shorten Sleeves

Back to the project – I like the look of an angled sleeve, so I angled the ruler to take two inchs off the bottom of the sleeve and three inches off the top, and I just cut it with a rotary blade.


I used my “cheater dog” hem technique to make a skinny hem on both sleeves.


And this is how I knew my sewing machine was really messed up – strings hanging out everywhere. I stopped here and took it to the shop. I don’t really know what the final problem was, but it was all covered under the machine tune-up. To fix the mess, I used my seam ripper to carefully remove all this crazy thread and then finished the hem.

How to Update Vintage: Shorten Sleeves

Much less frump, much more flattering.

How to Update Vintage: Shorten Sleeves

I love how it looks with a bold necklace.

il_570xN.648123586_5ge4I used this blouse for all the photos of necklaces in my Etsy shop so far. Through the magic of photo cropping, you never knew that I was wearing a blouse with strings hanging off the sleeves!

etsy shop · How to Update Vintage · Jewelry · Style

How to Update Vintage: Accessorize (and a BIG Announcement)


It’s been an interesting week, and it’s only Wednesday.

Sunday morning, Husband and I woke up at 3:20. We thought Molly (the cat) was getting into the shower because we heard the doors rattling, but she was asleep at the foot of the bed. Knowing I had heard other strange sounds, I sent Husband to look through the house. When he got back, I asked if the kids were still in their beds – he didn’t check, so I took a flashlight to their rooms – they were fine. We laid in bed a few more minutes before Husband said, “I bet it was an earthquake.” Which, of course, it was. It obviously wasn’t strong here – most of the damage was in Napa – but we do have friends in town who had things fall from shelves and others who had water slosh around in their pool.

And now, it’s the first day of school for BB, so we’ve had tons of stuff to do. Can’t believe summer vacation is over! It was a wonderful mix of busy, relaxed, scheduled, open, visiting family and friends, hanging out on our own. I have loved having this time to be home with BB and BG, even on those days when they were driving me (and each other) crazy!

But, back to “projects” – except I still don’t have my sewing machine (fingers crossed it’s finished today or tomorrow), so today, I’m going to update vintage with some accessories.


This is basically my uniform – vintage blouse, jeans, heels or wedges, statement necklace, and a clutch.



I made this necklace from vintage beads (see project here and here).


A very oversized vintage blouse, matching necklace, skinny jeans, leopard heels, and a vintage gold clutch



This is my Rouge is Fancy necklace (see project here).


Vintage skirt, t-shirt from Target, gray wedges, vintage clutch, and chunky vintage costume jewelry



I didn’t make anything here, but these are probably my favorite vintage jewelry finds ever – bracelet and necklace set (also came with clip-on earrings).


A vintage skirt from an estate sale, Old Navy sweater, clutch, and vintage riding boots (see the story of the boots here)



I made this leather clutch from an old coat (see project here).


Speaking of accessories (fanfare here!), on Tuesday, September 2nd, I’ll be launching my Etsy shop! I’ve got lots of plans for it, but for now, I’m going to start SLOW. I’ll be selling necklaces made from vintage beads, some of my signature earrings, and a small collection of vintage finds. Once my sewing machine is up and running, I’ll be adding a few more handmade fabric pieces as well. I am really excited about what’s to come.

If you’re excited, too, you can subscribe to my newsletter! I promise not to spam you or ever use your email address for any other reason than to send you updates. This is not a subscription to the blog – this is a completely separate newsletter for shop updates and other extra goodies that I don’t share on the blog. Please subscribe by following the link below and providing your email address.

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Thanks so much for your support! I love reading all of your comments, both here and on Facebook. Thanks for reading and following along on this journey!

PS – Oh, and you’ll want to stop back by tomorrow. As a way of celebrating the shop opening, I’ll be giving away a few pieces starting Thursday. See you then!

31 Days · How to Update Vintage · Style · Thrifts

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.