No tags :(

Share it

Lace 1940s vintage dress

No guts, no glory. It’s a phrase that applies to a lot of things in life—especially collecting vintage clothing and refashioning things that have lost their luster.

I admire people who take wonderful chances with redeeming vintage clothes and transforming used clothes into wearable art. (At the end of this post, I’m sharing links to some of my favorite discoveries.)

Their work gives courage for challenges like this 1940s vintage dress, which I spotted in an antique store a few years ago. (You’ve gotta love people and dresses that make you better than you really are.) It had a huge black stain down the front that looked suspiciously like toner or ink. Add to that a broken side zipper and you had a purchase that was dicey at best.

Call me a dreamer: I bought it anyway for $25—not a fortune, but enough to make me pause. Too many wrong-headed buys and you’re assured a closet full of things you can only admire but never wear.

The $2.49 redemption 

First, I took it to my tried-and-true dry cleaners, Classic Cleaners. I love them for two reasons: 1) they treat vintage garments with special care and 2) they are like magicians with stains. I didn’t want to tackle the difficult side/lapped zipper before I knew whether the stain could be removed.

They did their magic, successfully removing the stain. But the dress still hung in my closet unworn—until I thought about it for the $75 Summer Challenge. Since I already owned the dress, technically I get to count only the cost of the 12-inch zipper, which was $2.49 at Joann Fabric.

All I had to do was remove a very OLD zipper from a very OLD lace dress. For reasons that are obvious, it was stitched with the smallest of stitches—which was exactly the reason it had been idle in my closet for so long. I liken the seam-ripping job to a lobotomy: one wrong move and I could seriously damage the dress. Then, too, I hadn’t done a lapped zipper in a long time, so there was some tutelage involved. I finished it with a big gulp, not perfectly, but certainly well enough to wear.

You can do this!

For ideas to plan your $75 Summer Challenge, check out Delightfully Feminine for a great one-evening transformation of a potentially frumpy dress. And talk about a woman who has no refashion fear: visit Refashionista.

Even if you don’t sew, don’t rule these ideas out. You can always pay someone who is willing to give it a try on your behalf—and still be money ahead on the cost of a new garment.

Here are my links to some wonderful wearable art made from vintage materials in case you feel like going CrAzY!

I’m forever spotting vintage garments that people reject due to stains. What’s your favorite stain removal technique? 

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

P.S. Coming soon to my store: private label teas and embroidered hankies with a vintage flair—both perfect gift ideas or just everyday pleasures for your life. I hope you’ll come back and see!