There are so many reasons to love vintage - the style and beautiful workmanship, the colours and the fabrics, the care taken with the finer details.
A big part of it for me is the reusing and recycling side or ‘mend and make do’ as it used to be before a more throw away attitude was adopted.
A perfect example is this 1950’s rose printed silk short sleeved dress with cross front bodice. It had arrived along with a consignment collection and was damaged beyond repair from being stored unclean as so many vintage garments were. The armpits had rotted right through as well as several large rust stains on the gathered skirt and tears in the bodice.
At first glance it was a bin job and a very sad one at that. However the print was so pretty and the colour so lovely that I looked more carefully, thinking maybe it could be recycled into cushions at the very least. I discovered that the skirt section could indeed be rescued with some relatively minor alterations and an applique or 2 over the worst stains using the bodice fabric.
As this dress was such a treasure I employed the skills of a professional dressmaker to ensure it was beautifully finished using the same sewing techniques.
We removed the fine gauge metal zip and stashed it away for future repairs or projects and a shorter skirt length zip was inserted at the back (we managed to source one with metal teeth but unfortunately not as fine as the original)
We then carefully removed the bodice from the skirt leaving an 8.5cm fabric strip above the waist gathering that was turned and then folded in half creating a 4cm waist band which was hand stitched into place.
The ruched sash was then hand-neatened, secured at the side of the waistband and the press studs moved for attachment around the waist after the skirt has been zipped up to create a lovely cross front detail.
One of the skirt stains faded well enough with a wash but the other was still quite obvious so a matching rose section of the bodice fabric was cut out and used to carefully stitch over it and mask it from view.
As a final touch we removed the label from the bodice and stitched it into the skirt to preserve the history.
Voila – a beautiful 1950’s gathered skirt with ruched waistband re-fashioned from a seemingly ruined dress.
There is still quite a bit of that beautiful rose print silk left over, so I’m thinking padded Alice bands could be lovely.
Yes, she is for sale in the shop here.