My sister has a few things in her closet that she knows I would just die for. A 1930s satin bias cut nightgown in the prettiest shade of peach is one. I can admit that I truly covet it. I know that is wrong considering how much vintage stuff I already possess but it's so beautiful it gives me goosebumps.
She also has had, for years, a lovely vintage green velvet suit, circa early 1960s. I don't believe it has a label, so it may be "Haute Home~Spun" as many well~dressed ladies back in the day had personal seamstresses who created custom clothing for their wardrobes.
The problem with this vintage suit, as with many vintage items, is that the waist band on the skirt was teeny, tiny (as in girdle worthy). The jacket fits her beautifully, but the skirt was a "never going to happen" deal.
So, being the closet "I~wish~I~were~a~clothing~designer" that I am, I volunteered to fix the waist band for her, to make it a larger size. What? You can't make a small waistband larger, you say? Well, I once thought the very same thing, until one day I took apart an old vintage skirt at the waistband and came up with this simple way to do just that!
Read on to learn how!
(My dream atelier!)
VINTAGE SKIRT WAISTBAND TUTORIAL by Michelle @ The Red Velvet Shoe
YOU WILL NEED:
small seam ripper
7/8" double fold bias tape Quilt Binding (in coordinating color)
1) First, you need to remove the existing waist band. I use a sharp, small seam ripper. The only issue with this can be that the clothing label is on the waist band. If it is, just carefully remove it and save it to hand sew back on later. Trim any frayed or long threads you find. If there are darts at the waistband, you can determine if you need to let any out by slipping the skirt on to see how it fits. If you still need more room, take out either the two front or two back darts. (Depending on the fabric, removing darts may leave some marks, so think it through before you do!)
2) Take the bias tape and pin it to one end of the waist band with @ 3/4" extra (so you can have something to work with to finish it later. Measure it all the way around to see how much tape you need (don't forget to add the extra at the other end as well).
3) Pin the bias tape to the skirt, starting at one end and working around to the other. The tape just folds over the top of the skirt. As you pin, you may have to stretch the fabric and tape to get a smooth, flat finish.
4) Now you have to do something with the ends of the tape. As you can see in the photo above, I just folded in & pressed the tips of the corners, and then place a small piece of the heat n bond tape on the bias tape, just about a 1/2" from the end, so you can fold it over and iron it down. The goal is to have a nice edge to the tape where the zipper is.
5) As you can see in this photo, the edge has been folded in and "glued" down, then pinned. You'll have to determine where to end the new waistband. I like to just barely cover the top of the zipper, so the two new ends of the waistband touch.
6) Now that your pinned and the ends are "glued" down and pinned, it's time to sew. I usually gage where I want the seam depending on what's inside. Sometimes a skirt will have a very flimsy liner, so I tend to sew pretty close to the bottom of the bias tape to make sure I catch the lining all the way around. I've also done it with a double seam, one along the top and one along the lower part of the bias tape. I don't think it really matters, as long as all four layers are sewn together well.
7) Trim your excess thread and VOILA! Your vintage skirt is ready to wear!! If you removed a label, don't forget to sew it back in!
Now with that said, there are a few concerns about this. Firstly, there is theBIG question of whether vintage clothing should be tampered with. I definitely believe that high end, Haute Couture vintage clothing falls in the category of Fine Art and should never be altered. That, in my opinion, is indisputable. However, when you are fortunate enough to have some of your grandmother's sweet cotton day dresses or pretty suits from the Fifties, and with a slight bit of alteration you could have some fantastic, unique vintage clothing in your wardrobe to actually WEAR, then I say go for it!!
Secondly, if you remove a vintage skirt waist band and replace it with quilting bias tape, it is not going to look quite as nice. So think about how you will wear this skirt~~will you want to tuck your blouse or top in? If so, then aesthetically, this could be an issue. A great way to "skirt the issue" is by wearing a wide belt, even if you tuck something in, this will give you a more modern look and is a great way to hide the waistband.
Thirdly, I must humbly admit I am by no means even remotely close to being a tailor or seamstress, so you may want to try this out on a skirt you don't really care about (maybe one your daughter has outgrown or even pick one up at the thrift store on dollar day to play around with). This will allow you a chance to try out the idea and maybe even improve on it. By the way, does anyone have a different way of solving this vintage waistband size issue? If so, I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment!
My sister was very happy, the skirt fit her perfectly. Look how she thanked me:
You may recall that awhile back I made the big jump of separating my "Blog" from my "Boutique". While the mission was accomplished, I never did quite figure out how to bring my older posts over to "Tales From A Vintage Wardrobe". (Haven't I told you I was born in the wrong era?)
Since Spring Cleaning time is just about here, I have decided to play some "Re~Runs" for you~~I'll be re-posting some previously published posts here and removing them from my Archives at "The Red Velvet Shoe".
Here we go again. . .
My friend Joleen showed up last week with a suitcase full of Vintage Goodies for me and look what I found inside:
I was just beside myself at the sight of these beautiful patterns!! I may actually make an attempt to sew one for myself: I think my favorites are the green ones below. . .I just love this era~so chic and sophisticated~so feminine and elegant!
There were also a bunch of great dresses in the case which I will be going to town on as soon as I get caught up with some other things that are ready to be added to the boutique.
It used to be that every domestic diva had a basket full of things that needed mending. A bit of attention with needle and thread could extend the life of a garment by years and that used to matter to people. As the years passed, this simple past~time gave way to the notion that "it's a lot easier to throw it away and buy a new one". Businesses were booming, advertising took on a major role in society, and mass production of just about everything left lots of grandmother's shaking their heads and wondering if the day would come when not one bride~to~be would know how to thread a needle, much less know how to mend something.
But now, it seems, consumers are not so quick to throw things away. Many are actually choosing to "make do" with what they already have and if it needs a little TLC, well that is better than having to purchase a new one. While this poses a challenge for those of us in the "Retail" sector or some version of it, I still find this trend heart~warming in a way. After all, if my adored vintage frocks were not cared for the way they were, I wouldn't have the pleasure of working with such beautifully crafted garments. And so. . .
From socks to cars~~people are choosing to be:
THRIFTY : (adjective) 1.careful with money and resources, managing money and resources in a cautious and sensible way so as to waste as little as possible. 2. Prosperous
Isn't that interesting: PROSPEROUS was the archaic meaning of the word THRIFTY!
In our day, being thrifty has generally been equated with being cheap, tight~fisted, even poor. And yet now being "Thrifty" is suddenly in style. Everywhere. Good Morning America ran a prime time segment on "Secrets of a Thrift Store Shopper" . . .their retail business is booming!! Not to mention that thrift/resale/consignment store shopping is a wonderful way to "Recycle". Check out this interview with clothing designer Elizabeth Kramer and take a peek at her creative flat/studio infused with vintage finds. A far cry from this story of CEO extravagance by Mark Patinkin in the same section of my Providence Sunday Journal.
Perhaps the antiquated meaning of "Thrifty" will come to be in fashion once again. . .while we usually equate prosperity with wealth, this beautiful word means far more. . .
I have been spending quite a bit of time updating my type-lists & links~~you will see some new ones that are well worth a visit~~you will also see a bit of a "Francophile" theme going on rather than much new in a vintage clothing kind~of way. . . I figure I should only add a bit of beauty at a time. Do not fear, the vintage list is in the works!
I have also finally created a Flickr account & designed a link to My Vintage Fashion Show . . . proper dress required.
The bag itself had seen better days, but she took the Vintage Bakelite frame and created this couture purse from it. . .talk about talent! Check out the amazing bags she has~~I especially love the clutches which she accents with vintage scarves. . .she's all over England with her Haute~Spun designs, and British Vogue even did a feature on her last month!
The home of my on line~boutique is actually in my basement. I have one half and our daughter shares the other half with the tread mill and the wood stove. I love to be down there in the winter~~especially if my DH makes a little fire to keep us company.
But when Spring rolls around I have a harder time descending the stairs when I know the sun is shining bright and sunny up here in the real world. So I usually take a day and give my "Boutique" some Domestic Spa Treatments~~some dusting, vacuuming, a scented candle & a bit of rearranging. I can actually spend hours and hours just puttering (as opposed to actually working!)
Here are a few pictures of my workshop/studio/boutique or whatever you want to call it! This is where I am when I am working on The Red Velvet Shoe:
This is my grandmother's sewing machine. I have all my sewing notions in that enormous Tupperware thing to the left~~I have a strong aversion to plastic but this is so practical and I like the fact that I can see all my stuff~~the bottom drawer is full of Vintage Sewing Patterns! That beautiful peignoir set hanging on the right is right out of a 1930's movie~~I love, love, love it even though I will never, never, never fit in it! It says Size 12 but it's more like a Two!
This is actually a pool table my handyman husband built years ago. I dragged it into the corner, covered it with some fabric and Voila'~~a work table! That's my favorite Robert Doisneau picture on the wall, and hanging to the right of it are my wedding bouquet and two bridle bits from my grandparents farm~~we had a bunch of horses and grew up riding English, Western & most of the time bareback because we used to take them in the pond to swim. I think these belonged to our Palomino. And see all of the hats hanging there? They are all for sale, I just haven't put them in The Red Velvet Shoe yet! I'm too embarrassed to show you the racks of clothes that still aren't on the floor yet, either! Let's just say what you see in the Boutique is about 10% of all the Vintage Stuff I have!
While I don't actually have a Brick & Mortar store, my friends are known, on occasion, to drop by to do a little "Shopping". . .this especially seems to happen after dinner parties when the men leave the table to crash in the living room. . .the girls usually grab their wine glasses and head South~~as in down the basement stairs! I love this~~probably because I really wish I did have an actual store and this gives me a little taste of what it would be like. So to give them a bit of privacy I created this dressing room for them. That's Coco my dress form hiding in the corner. I hung a curtain rod from the ceiling beam and the curtains can be pulled together when someone is trying on something.
Old issues of Victoria & a picture of my Mom when she was about five. I love this picture because I see so much of my daughter in it.
So it's not the fanciest place in the world, actually it is nothing like I would like it to be. . .it's just making do with what I have which is a good thing to learn how to do, I suppose! I would LOVE for it to look something like THIS beautiful space over at Vintage Home! If you haven't been there you should check out her site~~beauty, beauty, beauty!
Now that it is all clean & organized maybe I can actually get to work!! You may have noticed I also made a few changes around here. . .I was having a hard time reading the tiny font I had chosen and thought maybe some others of you have too. I hope you like it! And find my ramblings easier to read!