crafts · outfits · refashions · Sewing

In my rainbow skirt: how to see the potential in thrifted clothes

One of the most frequent comments I get on my thrifting habit is “I’d love to thrift, but I only ever find really ugly clothes at my local stores.”  Well… it’s true that I do have a few stores that I like, but if you’re going to do any refashioning you have to be able to see the potential of an item.  Look beyond dowdy hemlines or ugly trim.  Sometimes a simple change is all you need to make something fabulous again!  Case in point: this vintage Doncaster skirt.

Sorry for the terrible before photo, but I was struck with the refashioning urge in the middle of the night, so I pulled this out of my basket.  The length was terrible, and it really didn’t work with the fullness around the hips – it makes me look much larger than I am!  But I knew that Doncaster is a really nice, expensive brand (they’ve been around for about a million years,) and the fabric of this skirt was gorgeous.  As it turns out, all that was required was a new hemline – after chopping 6 inches and hemming, the pleats around the waistline started to hang gracefully rather than like a sack.  I’m wearing it today, and I love the bright colors!

It’s some sort of rayon suiting, very drapey and soft.  I believe this skirt to be from the 80s based on the color scheme, but it’s hard to tell for certain.  It’s definitely not a modern size – the label reads size 8, and this is smaller than a modern 8.  I usually wear an 8 in clothes from that time period.

Shortening vintage is controversial – some people really don’t think you should.  There are some garments I won’t touch, mostly really nice gowns from the 50s – but you notice that I never wear those!  I like this length.  I didn’t have to adjust any other measurements.

When I shop I go by color and pattern – I will always buy plaids and polka dots, and anything brightly colored draws me like a moth to a porch light.  Think about what colors and textures you wear, and when faced with a thrift store full of clothes, focus on finding those pieces that match what you already have.  You don’t need to look at every item (though I usually look at every single dress, just in case.)

I love my new skirt – and it took maybe an hour to fix.  Give it a try!