Saturday, 27 July 2013

Vintage shorts alteration



 Thrifted Shorts- $4


Some cute shorts


A sewing machine


I found these adorable shorts in the 'vintage and retro' section of a local op shop and knew that we were meant to be together.
Dusty pink with lace trim and a pleated high waist? It was love at first sight. 
However, being somewhat small in stature, when it comes to hem lines, anything too close to my knees makes me look a little ridiculous, but luckily this is an easy fix!

So, as the finale in our Salute to Cute month of alterations, I will show you a simple and easy way to shorten a pair of vintage shorts.

One of my favourite parts of these shorts is the lace trim at the bottom, so I'm going to shorten these a little differently to normal so that I don't lose the lovely lace.

Vintage finds are often all about these little details; how lovely and flattering are waist pleats? And they're so feminine too. I'm smitten.

Okay, so the first thing you need to do is cut off the length of short that you don't want.
If there is no detail at the bottom that you want to salvage, simply cut the length off the bottom of the shorts. However, with these I took a section from just above the detailing.

I then pinned the bottom trim section back on to the now slightly shorter shorts and sewed the two pieces back together. The added bonus of altering your shorts this way is that it adds a small amount of volume to the bottom of the shorts for a lovely bloomer effect! 

Et voila! 
A pair of adorable shorts, tailored to fit and complete with pretty lace detailing.

Happy shortening,

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Skirt Alteration



Thrifted Skirt- $5

Hello! Continuing our month of refashions and alterations, we bring you this super quick skirt alteration. Amy was lucky enough to find this gorgeous skirt while op shopping a wee while ago and jumped on it, even though it was labelled as a size 16. All the skirt needed was a few neat pleats to take in the waistband and it's ready to go. This is a very easy way to make an article of clothing fit better and the pleats add a lovely volume to the finished piece. 


A skirt


Sewing Machine

The first step is to try the skirt on and get an idea of how it fits you, where are the areas that are the worst fitting? These areas are where you will alter the skirt to fit better. 

On our skirt, there were already some small inverted pleats on either side of the buttons up the front of the skirt. We used these as markers to place our pleats. While wearing your skirt, gather a small amount of material in the waistband to fashion two pleats. Make sure that the pleats are the same size. Pin them in place. 

Take off the skirt and ensure that you have the pleats in the right place and they are the right size. Continuing pinning the pleat into the skirt a small amount, when it is the length you would like the pleat, run your pins into the side of the pleat. You now have a neat triangular pleat. Finish your skirt by sewing your pleats. 

Your beautiful skirt is finished, and fits much better! 

Happy pleating! 

The Art of Op Shopping

Op-shopping, or thrifting, is ideal for students. 
It's a super cheap way to stock up your wardrobe and source one-off pieces. But it isn't all about wearing your granddad's clothes and looking incredible as Macklemore would have you believe, unless you're into that, in which case we're sure you look amazing. 
So we've come up with some op-shopping tips to help you thrift like a pro and come away feeling like a million dollars, even if you only have $20 in your pocket. 

1) Be open minded
You can't go into an op-shop expecting to find a perfect grey and blue spotted winter coat, you have to be patient and keep an open mind. 
Instead of trying to find something specific, widen your search from a grey dotty coat to any warm winter woolies. 
Also, be patient, you need to rifle through a ridiculous number of racks until you find something you love. Remember too that YOLO*, and right now might be the only chance you get to buy a leopard print cat-suit; it's all about taking the opportunities as they come.

2) Go big
When you are op-shopping, trying on pieces is very important, you can't just trust size labels. 
This is especially true if you are shopping for vintage pieces as the shape of humans, women especially, has changed a lot over the years. For women, what used to a be standard size 12 is today's size 10. It is important to try things on to make sure they fit. If a piece is too small, unless you have some clever sewing tricks up your sleeve, it's best to just love it and leave it, making a piece bigger is incredibly difficult. However, if something is too big it can usually be taken in quite easily. 
Over the summer Amy bought a pair of vintage blue culottes which were far too large, all she had to to was re-adjust the elastic at the waist and they are perfect!

3) Rips and tears can be your friends, sometimes
Small rips or stains can mean that a piece is heavily discounted when really, there isn't much wrong with it. 
A rip in the seam of a garment can be easily fixed, but tears in the fabric are going to be a nightmare. You shouldn't buy something if you are going to be spending lots of time putting it back together. The same can be said for stains, sometimes stains just don't come out no matter how hard you try. 

4) Remember the little things
Don't just look at the garment, try looking at the fabric and the trimmings too. 
Op-shops can be full of beautiful silks, velvets and other luxurious fabrics. So although you wouldn't be caught dead in the item, its fabric can be super useful in other craft projects. Also look at buttons and other small details, Ali recently bought an old shirt for a dollar which had the most beautiful copper buttons, an asset to any seamstress's stash.

*you only live once

"You can't go past a good band tee!" says Amy, Ali disagrees. 

Ali rifling through some sheets to use in craft projects!

Ali looking cute as button, talking about buttons, look at the buttons on that cardigan!

This is probably someone's old school jersey, so warm!

"I am Cinderella!"

Some serious searching!

So there you have it, a small guide to the glorious world of thrift stores.
These are just a few of the things we find most important while searching for treasure, but we know they are merely the tip of the iceberg. If you have any other handy hints please share them with us in the comment thread below, we would love to hear from you!

Happy thrifting,

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Vintage Dress --> skirt refashion



Vintage dress - $4

Look familiar? 
Welcome to week two of our alterations month at Salute to Cute! 
Remember the vintage dress Ali transformed into this cute peplum top last week? Well the refashion didn't stop there! She also cleverly crafted a cute and easy skirt out of the bottom of the dress.
So this week Ali will show you how to make a simple skirt out of a vintage dress.


Vintage dress


Sewing machine
Needle and thread


Start by cutting the dress in half, leaving you with a long skirt and a cropped top.

Next trim the bottom off the skirt so it is a bit longer than you want it to end up.

The next step is to gather the top of the skirt.
To do this, sew a basting stitch along the top of the skirt. It is easiest if you sew two lengths of stitching, one along the front and one along the back.
 Then measure your waist and pull the bobbin thread to start gathering the skirt. 
You want the skirt to be half the length of your waist measurement when it is lying flat.

Then tie a knot in the two threads at each end of the row of stitches.

The next step is to make a waistband.
To do this, use the fabric you cut off the bottom of your skirt to cut a rectangle 1 inch longer than your waist measurement and twice as wide as you want the waistband to be. My rectangle was 28'' long and 6'' wide.

Then fold the rectangle in half lengthways, wrong sides together, and sew along the bottom as above.

Next, cut a buttonhole off the length of skirt you removed from the bottom. 
Make sure the piece you cut is a 1/2'' wider than your waistband as you're going to attach the buttonhole to the end of the waistband.

Fold the top of this piece down and topstitch a 1/2'' seam.
Then attach this piece to the waistband, right sides together.
Make sure that you sew it onto the side of the waistband that the buttonholes are on on the skirt.

Next fold a 1/2'' seam on the other end of the waistband and topstitch as below.

Finally sew a button from the discarded bottom of the skirt onto this end.
Then you have a waistband!

Lastly pin your waistband to your skirt and hem the bottom and you're done!
How easy was that? And so cute!

So there you go, two pieces of clothing for the price of one vintage dress!

Happy twirling, 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dress --> peplum top



Dress - $4
Zipper - $3

Hello again, Ali here. 
Amy and I are still away from Dunedin in our respective home towns, enjoying our last bit of time at home before university starts again tomorrow.
We thought that we would dedicate this month to one of our favourite past times, op shopping! Every week this month we are going to post a tutorial showing how to alter various pieces that you can typically find while thrifting. As well as this, keep an eye out for our how-to guide to op-shopping!
I have been busily scouring second hand shops for gems and projects, and absolutely fell in love with this dress.

I love the pretty floral fabric, and there's so much of it!
It also fits me pretty well, so I've decided to make a top and skirt from it.
In this post I'll show you how to make a wee peplum top out of this vintage dress. 
Peplum is a super flattering shape, nipped in at the waist and flared at the bottom, ideal for those days when you need to eat a lot.


Vintage dress


Sewing machine

Start by cutting the dress in half at the waist seam. Make sure the remaining top part is the length you want the fitted part of your top to be.

Next I cut the sleeves off the top. 
To do this I put the top on and pinned a line from the shoulder seam down to the underarm. You might need to get a friend to help you with this, especially when pinning the line down your back. 
Having the top on while I decided where to cut meant I could make the sleeve exactly how I wanted it, and tailor it to my body shape.

Then cut down your pin line, cutting on the sleeve, not body, side of your pins to give you a seam allowance.

Then you have a cute wee sleeveless cropped top.

If you're lucky the vintage dress you have will have a front that you like and you can skip this next step. However if you, like me, want to change the front of the dress this is one way you can do it.
I wanted a round neck, not a v, and wanted to get rid of the buttons down the front. So I used the same method as I used to remove the sleeves and removed the middle of the front of the top. I put the top on and pinned a line from the neckline to the bottom and cut the front of the top out. 

I then used this cut out front piece to draft a new piece to create the neckline I wanted. 
You can see below that I used a piece of the skirt fabric and laid the cut out top piece on top of the fabric and cut a matching piece. I then cut a round neck on my new pattern piece, which fit perfectly into my remaining top as it was the same shape as the original.

I then pinned my new pattern piece in place on the front of the top and sewed the two side seams.
After this I unpicked the side seam under the right armhole and inserted an invisible zipper.

Next I made the peplum piece.
Using fabric from the skirt, I cut a length of fabric which was 6'' wide and 65'' long.
I sneakily used the bottom of the skirt which was already hemmed so that I didn't have to hem it myself.

I then cut this length of fabric in half so that I had a front and a back piece. 
I gathered the top edge of both pieces so that they fit onto the bottom of my top.
To do this I first measured the front of the top. I then sewed a basting stitch along the unhemmed edge of the front rectangle and pulled the bobbin thread until the piece was the same length as the front of my top. I then distributed the ruffles evenly along the piece and did the same for the back piece.

Finally I pinned the two pieces to the top, and sides of the zipper and sewed them on.

And there you have it, a cute new peplum top, yay!

Happy pepping!