How to Update Vintage · Style · Thrifts · white

How to Update Vintage: No-Frills

It’s my BIRTHDAY!!

I am a big birthday person. HUGE! When I was growing up, birthdays were always really big at our house, but none were as big as my mom’s birthday. She really did it up, proclaiming herself the Queen and getting everything she wanted. (What am I staying? She still does.) Husband doesn’t get it, but I’m giving him lessons. While I was at a birthday brunch with friends on Sunday, he took BB and BG to shop for cake ingredients and presents. (BG says I’m getting bracelets, but I’m pretty sure that’s just what she wants for HER birthday.)


So today’s vintage project is a Victorian-inspired ’80s blouse with lots of added lace.


A small piece of lace trims the high neck of the blouse, and a larger piece frames the yoke of the blouse.


All this needs is a good seam ripper!


Check out my “new” sewing box. On Saturday, BB and I hit up garage sales around town before his soccer game, and I found this. (Yes, I know it’s a little broken, but it still works.)

Hitting garage sales with BB brought back memories of doing the same thing with my dad when I was little. We would get out the paper, dig through the classifieds, and map out our sales. We would spend all morning together, just him and me, driving and talking and digging and shopping. Those weekends are still some of my favorites. As BB and I were driving this past weekend, I was wondering about all the things that have changed since Dad’s been gone – 16 years this month – and what he would think of them. (I know one thing – he would love Craigslist as much as I do!)


One of the stops we hit on Saturday was advertised as an Antique Dealer clearing stock. It did not disappoint! His prices were great – the sewing box was $3 – and there were many cool things to inspect. I ended up with the sewing box and a cute basket, and BB ended up with these:

hulk smash

These actually aren’t ours – it’s a photo I found online here. For some reason, ours are both left hands – not an original set. Doesn’t matter, because as the morning wore on, we were unable to find anything suitable for BG, so BB offered to give one of his to her when we got home. It works out really well – they battle each other with their one fist. And yes, they do make noise. While we were cruising for other sales, BB kept crashing them together to hear the sounds. He said, “‘Egg Sauce’? Is that saying ‘Egg Sauce’?” Apparently, “HULK SMAAAASH!” is something the Hulk says a lot, but that’s not what it sounds like coming out of the fists, so now, everyday, the kids run around with their one green fist each, shouting “EGG SAAAAAAUUUUUUCCCCCEE!”


So, back to the shirt. I used my seam ripper to very carefully remove the lace from the blouse. It was tricky because it’s a white blouse with white lace made of tiny white threads attached by other tiny white threads. I had to bust out my reading glasses. That’s right, I finally broke down and got some. And let me tell you, they are amazing. I was telling my friends about them at brunch on Sunday, and a few were making fun of me because I bought them at the dollar store. Now, I don’t use them for reading (yet – ahem), only for seeing tiny threads or pieces of wire when I’m working on jewelry, so I don’t need anything fancy, just a little bit of magnification. The $1 ones are perfect for that.

photo 3 (1)

Dollar Store Reading Glasses Selfie. This is my second selfie of the day. The first one was at MOPS where we were instructed to take a selfie to add to a little directory of all the moms participating. With a new school, new afterschool activities, and a new MOPS group, I’m constantly meeting new people and having a terrible time remembering their names. What a brilliant idea!


So here’s the lace I removed. (Any thoughts on what I could do with it? Besides sew it on a blouse, of course.)


And here’s the blouse with all the lace removed. I like the little pleats on the yoke of the blouse – simple detail but not frilly. I am definitely not frilly.


I like the length and the drape of this blouse, especially with more fitted jeans.


It’s better. I liked it when I was figuring out how to wear it, but now that I’m looking at the photos, I’m thinking I might need to do some more updating. Remove the turtleneck piece to make it more of a crewneck? Or even turn it into a v-neck to echo the yoke? Leave it as is? What do you think?

DSC_0070Leave me a comment and tell me what I should do. We’ll make this project “to be continued….” In the meantime, I’m going to go have a piece of chocolate cake. For breakfast. It’s my birthday! I’m the Queen!

etsy shop · Fall · Sewing · white

I Got My White Pants On

Have you seen this on Jimmy Fallon? I just LOOK at Will Ferrell and start cracking up. (Language warning!)

(The J.Lo. one is pretty funny, too.)

As BB says, that song just gets “stuck up in my head”. (Obviously, THAT song doesn’t get “stuck up” in his head – but this one does.)

So all day, I’ve been singing it, but with “white pants” instead of “tight pants”.


I like these jeans, but I just haven’t worn them. They are bootcut, which I almost never wear, and they are too long. I’m most likely going to wear them with flats or sandals, but even with heels, I would prefer them to hit at the ankles.


I tried them on and pinned them where I’d like them to hit.


Using chalk, I drew a line where the new hem should fall. I added another line 1/2″ down to mark where to press them, and then I used a rotary blade to cut them 1/2″ below that.


Ironed, pinned, ironed again, and ready to sew.


That’s what I was hoping for. Perfect summer white jeans just in time for fall – but the highs are still in the 90s, so I’ll be okay for a few more weeks. And then…


…since the bootcut hem has been removed, I can tuck them into boots for fall.

(Wooden bead necklace from my Etsy shop)

PS – Speaking of my shop, I made my first sale this week! And I just added a bunch of new earrings – go check them out!

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!