Tag Archives: vintage

Stay or go? Part 2: Old-n-Busted vs. New Hotness

I like dresses. They’re fancy, quick to put on, and still allow for a nice breeze now and again. Unfortunately, they also get caught on things, stained, stepped on, or ripped. Pretty as they are, the dresses on this list have been heavily worn, and it shows. I’m sure I’ll accumulate many more, but for now I’ve pared it down to a choice few.


This one I’ve had for so long I broke the straps twice. This could be attributed to the flimsiness of noodle straps, but I like to think it’s due to my TOTALLY HARDCORE LIFESTYLE. Ahem.

This one has belonged to my sister or I for over six years. The knit fabric is thicker and sturdier than most. I thought briefly about keeping it and adding modifications, but the neckline is warped and the material has been bleached a little more than I would like.

This one, believe it or not, is fine. However, my rule for keeping clothes is that I have to be able to style it three ways I would actually wear, and a sheer purple tunic can’t deliver for me.

I am not fond of tunic tops. They possess the inconvenience of dresses, with the added benefit* of requiring pants. Eeevil.

I liked this one while it lasted. Its thin material showed off every jiggle and bump in bizarre ways, but it was thin and pleasant in the hot North Carolina summer. Now it’s threadbare, and feels revealing and childish at the same time. Ew.

I adore the cut on the strapless bodice here. I modeled the bodice on this dress after it. However, the skirt’s too high and cannot be walked in without its sky-high slit. I can appreciate turning heads now and again, but that’s just too much.

This dress has been a nineties nightmare. It’s stiff and shapeless, has a giant, zippered kangaroo pocket, and cannot be taken in without looking worse. Also, why on earth was I so obsessed with military olive?

I got this dress at 7, and was still wearing it at 15. Eek. I wore it so much I drew myself in it when I wanted a self portrait. Now that I’m three years older, I’ve decided I don’t want people thinking I’m an early-blooming elementary schoolkid. Who’d have thought?*

There’s not much to say about this one, really. It didn’t fit anyone in the house, and yet we clung to it in case we suddenly radically changed body type. Not worth it.

This one was alright in cut and color, but the material was strange in a bad way. I also had another I liked better.

Now let’s see the ones I’m keeping.


I’m not sure what distracted me.

Well-fitting, suitable to wear for most of the year, and it has pintucks and pockets. Win.

Why yes, this is a mumuu. It’s also buttery-soft, lightweight, and blousy but short at the same time. Excellent.

Do I even need to say it? I paid $2 for a close-fitting, 100% cotton, in-your-face eighties piece of magic. I rated the dresses above on a scale of one to this dress. Wonderful.

(*) Denotes sarcasm.

Coming up next: Things to replace those old sweatpants, followed by the big reveal of everything I’ve gotten rid of so far.


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Filed under Clothes, Crafting, Sewing

Things I made when you weren’t looking

Hello earthlings! I’m back, and I’ll hopefully be updating more regularly. I have stuff to share.

I found all my stuff for this (including notions) at my Quaker meeting’s semiannual basement sale, which is possibly the best place to thrift I have ever encountered. Seriously, pay close attention to your local small places of worship. Everything there is previously owned, meaning you’re reusing instead of buying new wares and contributing to the world’s waste. If you look, you can find some absolute gems for dirt cheap. I’ll ramble more on this in a future post.

First off on the Things I Made list: A pillowcase nightie, from instructions found HERE. I added pockets and crossed straps with extra pillowcase bits, and trimmed it with simple white ribbon.

This picture is modeled by Coco the Bear, photographed by me.


Up next is a super-comfy robe, made from a vintage bed sheet using my Aikido gi top as a pattern. The basic shape is a wide T.

If you don’t have a gi that fits the way you want, get assistance in measuring your wingspan from thumb to thumb Divide that in half (Red). Then, measure down from the top of your shoulder across the widest part of your body to get the hem length you want (Green). It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I would suggest using an extra-baggy men’s t-shirt for the sleeves (Blue) and torso width (Aqua). Draw all of this out using taped-together sales papers or magazine ad pages to save paper. For the front, measure the width of your neck across your collar bones, mark a vertical line in the middle of your robe pattern, and draw a long, symmetrical V (Orange) from the top of the pattern that is as wide as your neck measurement.

Cut out the pattern and trace it onto fabric with whatever seam allowance is comfortable. Be sure to finish the seams, as these sheets fray. I rounded the corners as I sewed the bottom hem, and added slits to each side to suit my preferences. The belt is just a 4″ wide strip two and a half times my waist, folded into a tube and hemmed.

Detail shot showing slit and rounded corners.

To go with all this, I added pajama bloomers using Collette’s fabulous pattern.

I go to bed feeling pretty.

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Filed under Crafting, Sewing