Wednesday, 30 July 2014

This Old Thing - Vix's New To Old Make-Over

This Old Thing is currently being aired on British TV screens. Over the series the presenter, Dawn O'Porter, aims to show the uninitiated how to shop for vintage and to incorporate into their wardrobes.

Its done our business an undeniably amount of good and we're selling to people who've never considered wearing vintage previously so I can't knock ToT too much. However, my problem is the makeovers. I don't mind altering something to make it more wearable - taking something in a couple of sizes or altering the length but reworking something old and beautiful to make it look exactly like something you could buy on the high street? Surely that goes against the whole premise of the show! I don't know about you but the main reason I wear vintage is to look different, if you want mainstream fashion fine, please buy it and leave the old stuff for us vintage lovers.

If you're itching to rework something why not do the opposite to Dawn and the gang, buy some second-hand high street fashion and make that over to look more retro and unique?

I bought this floral jumpsuit from last week's car boot sale. At least two sizes too big and made, no doubt, in some awful Asian sweatshop - the £1 it cost me went to a local animal charity which made me feel a bit better. (I've unfollowed bloggers in the past who persist in buying from unethical sources.)

Full length & strapless are not happy bedfellows as I learnt from bitter experience a couple of years ago when, carrying a couple of pints back from a festival bar, I inadvertently stepped on the hem of my maxi, bearing my breasts to thousands of revellers, unable to yank my frock back up to cover my dignity as both hands were full so, with that memory still fresh in my mind, the style needed a rethink.

I removed the side ties, unpicked the bodice from the trousers, tried it on inside out, pinning the side seams to fit me. Then I machine-sewed along both sides, trimming off the excess fabric with pinking shears.

Using the discarded ties I pinned them over the bust area of the bodice and sewed them in to place, creating a halter neck effect, far more 1970s in style and a lot more secure.

Happy that it fitted I then sewed the bodice back on to the trousers, added some leftover pom pom braid from my stash & a couple of vintage buttons and, ta dah.....

Bob's (or, in my case, George) your uncle - a modern jumpsuit altered to fit and restyled so it looked a lot more ancient than modern.

With some vintage accessories - my trusty 1970s Ted Lapidus sunglasses, original Ravel of London metallic platforms, the £1 bargain carpet bag from last week's car boot sale and my trademark bastard jewellery whose to know where my jumpsuit came from?

Even if I do bump into someone else wearing this I doubt we'll look the same.

Talking of jumpsuits have you checked out Suzanne's post today? She looks amazing.

Right, I've a festival to pack for and hopefully a sneaky car boot sale to squeeze in before we go!
See you soon.


  1. I agree, if a person buys vintage clothing to remake as current style they are basically buying the pieces for their fabric, leave the style alone for people who appreciative the vintage styles, you really did do a great job with that jumpsuit, that halter touch is so very vintage, I remember that well! I even had a halter jumpsuit, I love the trim, it makes it pop!

  2. I totally agree! I weep when watching that show. Why turn something so unique into something that looks like you just picked it up in Topshop? Especially things like bell-bottoms or dresses with full sleeves, which are so rare in high-street shops. It's Taking everything special out of it. I understand this makes it more 'wearable' to some, but some of the pieces that they have altered on the show were so stunning to begin with it makes me sad that people feel the need to change them just because they aren't 'current'.

  3. you are the best!
    this remodeling is a great success! and it has pompoms! the colors of the flower print suit you perfect, your cool accessories from the past are trés chic.
    every time someone says "upcycling" in front of a vintage garment i shiver. but people living in h&m wonderland have no respect for a piece of clothing.....
    you need your own tv-show! i would provide some back info if needed :-)

  4. I love how this turned out, it looks fab!

  5. Excellent, excellent, excellent! This is so inspiring to me because I'm so new at sewing but dying to sew my own clothes more often. I have a problem with most fabrics in the fabric stores so restyling things is probably best for me.
    This turned out really well Vix!

  6. The reason I stopped watching that show was because I couldn't stand to watch the alterations that were being done to lovely vintage clothes. I was literally screaming at the tv "no, not the 60s stuff!" when she was showing the girls things from the 1960s. I hate the thought of someone altering something from the 60s to make it look like some dull high street piece!

    I love how the jumpsuit turned out - it looks so much better! x

  7. Your latest remake is brilliant, it looks very comfy too. I haven't seen the program but would feel it's a terrible waste of something vintage (often better quality material than modern day) to chop it up and make it look like current trend. Wondered what your views are by the way on vintage fur coats? I don't have one - just curious.

  8. LOL , that made me laugh flashing your boobs ,only you would do that , would have loved to see there faces , love the jumpsuit I've said it before but you really need to have a TV show xxx

  9. Totally loving the halter style you revamped the jumpsuit into! <3

    And your hairdo - super chic!

  10. I bet when Vix bared her breasts people were in awe.

    Pom Pom power!!! Lovely makeover BTW. Happy thrifting at the sneaky car boot sale.

  11. Gorgeous ! You are star !

  12. My goodness, but you are amazing. I love the transformation! So light and summery too.

    And what a story about your baring your goods at a festival like that! Too funny, and a good learning experience.

  13. Bwa-ha-ha! This is the best post, remaking something new to old. Right on!! This is a brilliant makeover. I laughed at your flasher story. I'm shocked that no gentlemen came to your aid!

  14. How cool - making modern more retro, and looking amazing! Your topless story did give me a smile (as I am sure it did for all the gents observing). Love your shoes and new vintage bag to. xox

  15. WOW! You did such an awesome job!!
    I totally agree about wearing vintage to look different, that's why I love to wear the vintage! XOXO

  16. Werd! As the kids say. I found myself shouting at the TV last time I watched it. Every outfit looked like it could have come out of Kay's catalogue or Empire stores. Cheap and nasty and pointless. It's like buying a beautiful old house and ripping out all the original doors and replacing them with plastic fake wood ones (what the buyer of my last house did). Your idea is MUCH more sensible. Vive la Vix! (Still feeling a bit frenchy over here). Desperate to do some sewing, your jumpsuit looks ace! ( cor, i really am down with the kids tonight, I mean tonite ;) xxxxxxx

  17. It looks so much better now, vix! well done! and I totally agree with the unfollow sweatshop bloggers policy (LOL).

    So exciting, good luck with San Fran! Unfortunaltey, it's impossible for us to drive there too, because it's too far from arizona :( I would love to go back one day. be warned: you'll fall in love. but market street is really shocking. all the poor guys who have no home and the luxury boutiques behind them with rich kids showing off their 10k $ bags.

  18. I couldn't agree more whats the point of restyling vintage into current trends. Once you've dine that there's no where to go from there.

    Your jumpsuit restyle is terrific.

  19. Forgot to comment on your breast-baring incident. God, that make me laugh!! Xxxxxxxx

  20. Hahahaha, oh gawd, I'm laughing at the boobs ahoy story. But good on ya for not spilling any of the drinks - that's my girl!
    Now I too have issues with This Old Thing, as you know. But I can appreciate it's been good for business. Ebay sellers are now putting "Dawn" and "This Old Thing" in their item listings! But of course you are right about the refashions; they are either ridiculously difficult and expensive, or remake the original item so that it's unrecognisable, so what was the point? The 1970s green print and sequined flares were the worst - they were fabulous as they were, an amazing and unique piece, and after they had been made into ubiquitous skinnies, the woman didn't still like them. What a waste.
    Now THIS idea, I like! You've done a great makeover on the George jumpsuit, the halterneck is very you, and it's now a unique piece of clothing. Oh how I love the carpet bag (you know I have a weakness for them...) and those shoes are fabulous!
    Good to see the catty pusses getting in on the act today too!
    Now get packing - love ya! xxxxx

  21. OMG! I cannot believe that happened! LOL Yikes. Worse is the fact that you had to keep walking because you had no hands free. Would make for a good Benny Hill sketch though ; )

    Love the pattern on this. I can see why you were attracted to it. You are such a wizard at taking pieces apart and putting them back together better.

    Thanks for the shout out.

    Bright bold patterned jumpsuits are the new black ; )


  22. Fark YES, that's how you do it, babycakes! A splendid transformation! Just takes some imagination and a little know how. Love the pom pom addition! The show does sound interesting-a bit like Kirty's; good inspiration but not recommended to follow slavishly!
    I am gently sniggering about you baring your fabularse boobage......a pleasure for the populace, but no less awkward!
    Now, if you ever feel the need to sell that FARKING INCREDIBLE BAG, I will pay WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!
    Love Helga XXX

  23. One thing with that show I hate is the prices. Dawn's suggesting vintage is accessible to all, then proceeds to shows off a dress for £145...

    Or a top for £40 that can be altered for an additional £20?

    I live in East London and unfortunately my local 'trendy' vintage shops charge the earth. I scour charity shops but the majority is tat :(

    I did wonder what you'd make of the show when I first watched it a few weeks back

    PS Loving your reworked jumpsuit & creativity - I wish I was half as talented as you! :)

    Jen xx

  24. I agree with you about ToT, I stopped watching it because I found it too boring, obviously people don't want to wear vintage if they are altering it to look new, so why bother? Love your rework though, I would never think of it. X

  25. I agree with your opinion on TOT. I admit to feeling a little bit flumoxed as to why a programme extoling the virtues of vintage should then take a vintage piece and "modernise" it - rather defeats the whole object. Absolutely love however your remake of the modern into vintagesque - just brilliant!1 xxx

  26. You did such a good job there luv it looks like it was always meant to be that way. I'm always amazed at how much vintage stuff is still out there, just goes to show just how well made it all was back then.

  27. What a brilliant makeover, you look gorge. I know what you mean about the Dawn Porter programme, I just shout at the tv oh for gawds sake get someone on there who is actually interested in vintage and someone who doesn't spend half an hour saying oh my god, I'd never wear that at every item of clothing they see !!
    Twiggy x

  28. That's a brilliant piece of sewing there! Love the final result so much! There's a line as far as the "updating" goes. I agree that it's really silly to buy vintage if your only goal is to make it look modern. But if you find something you love and need to alter it to make it fit you better or better suit your lifestyle then go for it. It's not about being a purist it's about loving clothes!

  29. Have never seen that show, but I obviously agree with you! I think if you want to tone down the vintage, just pair it with some newer accessories, but don't make the vintage piece look new! Of course, I don't mind looking vintage, because I am vintage! Ha! Great job on the makeover, it turned out perfect! :)

  30. You are the Queen of remaking! That looks great!

  31. Wow Vix what a transformation on the jumpsuit! It looks fabulous on you too! Love it. Each of your cats photo bombed your pictures, so cute. Ha!

  32. OMG I think I would have just dropped whatever I was carrying unless it was a baby. Your refashioning looks fantabulous and MUCH better than the original. I am just venturing into the clothing makeover territory, generally turning dresses that are too small on top into skirts.

    The makeover show where they ruin the uniqueness of the vintage items reminds me of shows where people buy lovely old houses and then gut the inside to make them modern open floor plans. I don't suppose you can demand that your buyers sign a pledge not to ruin the clothes. LOL

  33. Oh wow you modified that perfectly. No more flashing your boobs anymore!! That must have been hilarious and devastating at the same time.

  34. Vix, you are a fantastic woman, and I just absolutely adore you! That's a genius post, everything about it - the transformation, the beer story, and the whole general idea of making new into old, unique and retro. xxxxxx

  35. I like ToT, did that sound like a defiant teenager?

    I loved halter tops and had a pattern for one which got made into lots of tops!

    Why don't patterns fit me anymore?

  36. Another annoying thing about that programme is that they take vintage haters and try to convert them. Why not take people who want to wear vintage and struggle because of size/shape/knowledge and help them to learn.

    I challenge Dawn Porter to take me to my local chazza's and fix me up. Also she never used to wear all that vintage style when she was on BBC3 etc.

    I'm glad the programme is helping in you some way, even though you should advising them!

  37. Fabulous Vix! I love the fact that you spotted it's potential, and had a new vision for it. It paid off! And that bag for a quid! GORGEOUS! xxx

  38. First, I've laughed to tears with your 'bitter experience' with full lenght and strapless clothes!!, thanks for sharing and cheer up my day!!, you're like sunshine!!
    And you've made an amazing revamp and hit the jackpot with a perfect fitting and styling!, love how you've made your jumpsuit more suitable and more You!, pompoms trim and buttons give it a twist!
    I'm not interested in making my clothes look more 'trendy'. I've found some local designers and retailers which make their own clothes, and I feel ok supporting them (and they sometimes note down my suggestions, which is fabulous!!)
    besos & revamp!

  39. Looks amazing! Great idea. Love the pom pom trim.
    I watch ToT and thought the same, taking a 80's style dress and turning it into a Topshop dress. Hmmm not convinced, but if money goes to charity then at least some good is coming of it, some of the prices for Vintage though. Ouch!

  40. Altering to fit I'm with, all the way! a beautiful vintage piece made to fit and be worn again to live and breathe is all good to me! but hacking it makes it feel like a beautiful piece of art has been un-necessarily tampered with - your flashing boobs story! gah! but I do love you didn't put the drinks down, you are just brilliant! your jumpsuit makeover is fab! and with pom-poms (we all know the magic of pom-poms!) Right onto the next festival! I'm loving that too, good luck! x x x

  41. Cripes I'm having kittens over your silver platforms and that incredible tapestry bag darling!! Your DIY-tit-flasher-to-boulder-holder is amazing. You might find a few people looking a bit confused, having bought the original, unfortunate boob-barer and flung it into a charity bin after a similar experience to yours. I'm so glad you held on to it and made the necessary changes, it's fab! xoxoxo

  42. I'm trying to get over my instinctive reaction to not bother commenting when there are so many already, not thinking I will be able to add anything. But I do want to say I love this adaption. The pom-poms look like a permanent necklace, and match your toenails!
    I am in hysterics at your treading on the hem/boob show anecdote! Ha! Of course you had your hands full too :-D
    XO JJ

  43. Oh my goodness, your strapless story did make me laugh!!
    Totally agree about that programme, some of the participants really had to be forced into vintage (leave more for the rest of us!) and I did bristle at some of the makeovers too

  44. I have only watched it once - but I have read this discussion in various places on the webular. I have to agree - I am not for making something old look high st either. Making it look more "your" - deffo.

  45. I would have died a death if I had had your festival incident, good on you for not spilling the beer!

    I agree wholeheartedly. I struggle with Dawn anyway she REALLY irritates me. But the alterations they make are the worst. Silly expensive or nowhere near as easy as they make out. Make a dress that is 3 sizes too big fit by 'just taking in the side seams' Hello? that won't work and yes why make gorgeous vintage frocks look like the rails of New Look.

  46. Argh! boobs on the loose! Love the fact that the booze was more important than your modesty!! You brazen,(drunk) hussy you!!!!
    Love that fabric and the style now it's been 'Vixed'!
    Fabulous shoes.
    For my 10 pen'erth on ToT...if being 'eco' then good on them, but I think it's more a case of 15 minutes of fame syndrome. But, the fabrics and prints are what draw me.
    Plus I love some of the tips; I always like seeing like that and I think she has a very good 'team'. And that guy who does the sourcing - just to see that amazing cut glass dress in the first episode. Freakin' amazingly stunning!
    But, last night...that hat job. 30 quid for a bit o' net and some fraying, handmade flowers? WTF?

  47. It's official ... you're a genius :0)

  48. I'm certain you carried off the unfortunate strapless/topless event with far more aplomb than most of us could manage. One envisions a feline slit-eyed glare withering any lout within leering distance...

    I'm envious not only of the tropical floral frock, but also the tropical frondy deck, complete with fauna! You (and Helga) do find such interesting backgrounds for your photo ops!

  49. Steady as a rock you are, Vix. (Well, except for the incident you mentioned of total exposure.) But in terms of vintage stylin', sewing, buying, and wearing, you just can't go wrong. Definitely, a TV program is in order: Vix-It.

  50. At least you could hold a pint in front of each breast?! I love how you've refashioned this, the transformation is super! I have been watching the programme and while some of it annoys me, it has spurred me on to make a few alterations of my own. I have to confess that while 90% of the time I buy second-hand from charity shops and car boot sales, I still make purchases from the high street for 10%. I'm not into fast fashion, and I have reached a balance I'm personally happy with. Reading your blog has made me realise I need a '70s maxi though! x

  51. Never fear - the women featured all seem to 'want to look different' but it quickly becomes apparent that they don't want to look too different. The novelty will wear off as soon as the programme doesn't appear on telly. I've noticed swarms of women in charity shops expecting to get something for nowt because - hell's bells - if Oxfam is too pricey - then they are certainly not going to pay vintage shop prices (or at least the prices they quote on that prog). As to remodelling something old to look new - same goes for houses.Why bother - just buy a new house to put your IKEA MDF in and leave the Victorian stuff to those of us with uncool, ugly brown furniture.

    I buy dead peoples clothes because they are generally of better quality, in better fabrics, have better quality buttons and findings and are more sustainable. Can't comment on the sweatshop thing because when garments were being made in the UK they were often made in quite dreadful factories/conditions.

  52. Great remake!
    I need to get some pompom trim. It makes everything look so good.

  53. I just pom pom a lamp this morning because of you! It's been Vixafied! You have given this jumpsuit a whole new look and life. It's looks killer! I was laughing at the boob baring story because I pretty much have the same one, but luckily no one was around to see :) I bet you made all those people day!

    Since I don't watch that show I can comment on it, but I agree why would you want vintage clobber to look like modern crap?

    I love you Vix, sorry we didn't talk this week. Next for sure! Have a killer weekend!

  54. I must admit I've really enjoyed TOT. I like Dawn, and most of the clothes have been fabulous.

    It did make me laugh last night when she made some comment about Vintage newbies not bothering with charity shops and going to a specialist vintage supplier. Excellent advice, but I wonder where I'd already heard it? :)
    I'm not a vintage aficionado and I'd always prefer to buy my stuff from you.

    I'm happy to buy quality High Street stuff from the chazzas. It's better than it going to landfill, and it helps the charities' funds. But of course you do run the risk of seeing some-one else in it. So I completely love what you've done with this jumpsuit. It looks fabulous, and unique.

    Do you remember when I tried on about 5 equally gorgeous Kinky dresses in Wolvo, and none were quite right, until I put on my perfect Dollyrockers dress? Why buy a vintage item that isn't right for you? Best to leave it for some-one else. I was horrified by what they did to those green print 70s bellbottoms. Why?

    Anyway, you are really inspirational. Can't wait to meet up again for some chazzing and cocktails! :)

    Annie xxx

  55. You should be hosting the program.
    Sorry I haven´t been around, but I have all the family, grandson included staying the whole month of August, great, but messy and tiring, lol
    My daughter Rebecca is madly in love with you and your blog, I told her I am not surprised, but it is funny how even the younger one can spot THE REAL THING
    Tons on love, my queen

  56. Your re-make of the jumpsuit is so much more flattering. Strapless means constant adjusting and fear of slippage, as you discovered in your boob-baring, drink carrying incident. I love that you're not afraid to just dive in there and cut things up, add stuff, shorten, etc.

    I would give my eye teeth to be able to wear those silver shoes.

  57. It's such a good idea what you did
    Yes you are right about those shows - they pick vintage but try to make us look like everybody else, what is the point?

    Have a great weekend



  58. Hello,
    I enjoy your down to earth blogs.
    I totally agree with your comment about the Dawn O'Porter programme. Why buy vintage and make it look like High Street?!
    I had such high hopes for that programme and although I watched every one I spent a lot of time seething and shouting at the above presenter!
    Still each to their own I suppose and at least she talked about the cost to the planet of all this rubbishy disposabal clobber.
    I buy vintage and or charity shop, change buttons, add braid ( fiddle) as my son calls it and am often complimented on my 'original ' look, although it is so often followed with "but I couldn't wear that"!
    Thanks again

  59. I agree with you, Vix. I don't understand the point in buying vintage just to change it to make it look like something that can be bought in a shop now. It defeats the purpose and does spoil it for the vintage lovers out there that want to wear it for it's original beauty! That is one reason why I refrain from wearing strapless dresses, I love how you changed this one up. It looks great!

  60. I like the idea of people being encouraged to shop secondhand more and think about who is making what they wear. But why on earth would you want to make something LOOK like its from a chain store? That's super weird to me - maybe I'm missing something? But what I'm not missing is how super awesome this jumpsuit looks after its had the Vix treatment! POM POMS FOREVER!

  61. That programme makes no sense to me, buying vintage only to make it over into something modern looking????
    I adore your jumpsuit - halter style is my fav. The colours and print are really gorgeous too!
    Sorry I haven't been able to comment, internet where I am has been particularly bad with blogspot. xx

  62. I love what you did with that jumpsuit! So glad you didn't spill your beer to protect your modesty, ha ha :D

    Have a perfect weekend xx

  63. Wow Vix, you've made it come alive! The pom pom trim is just the thing, and the re-jigged proportions and newfound security(!) of the top are serious upgrades. Your accessories, as always, incomparable.

    I love how you contrast the intentions behind particular alterations of vintage - not to steal or dilute a garment's charm in being of its time. And how you've turned high street on its head here!!! xoxo

  64. Brilliant make-over Vix. The pom pom braid is the finishing touch.

    My love for vintage has been long standing and passionate. For the history, the style and the sustainability. And because it's fun. I agree with Sacramento. You should be hosting TOT.

  65. My daughter has very kindly videoed the whole series of TOT for me but I haven't go round to watching it yet. I agree to completely alter vintage pieces seems like a shame. I love your idea of alering second hand high street pieces to look vintage though!

  66. ha ha ha! Show us ya tits queen! You really made me chuckle Vix! Loving the make-over, and booby safe too!

    I totally agree re ms Porter, vintage is fabulous, it does not need to look current. See you soon mrs, Caddy x

  67. I soooo much prefer your make-over to those on the programme! Wearing secondhand was always an anti-fashion statement and when I see those people on the programme saying "Ewwww - somebody could have died in that" ad nauseam and making such a big drama about going into the apparently depraved depths of a vintage clothes shop, I think "Oh just piss off and leave such clothes to people who actually appreciate them and who don't give a toss whether they're 'the in thing' or not". Rant over! xxx

  68. i really love the result of the jumpsuit-make-over ...

    we don't have a tv show like this in germany and i just read about it in several blogs now. ... just to think about makeover tv shows totally scare me. i fear people taking lovely 40s and 50s treasures apart and turning them into a modern egg shape coat or a mini dress or a tiny shrug.
    it's just so hard to find good vintage - it hurts me everytime i find a remodelt vintage dress that looks like it's from zara ... if a midcentury dress doesn't fit me right i let it go to a different home (the only changes i do are reversable).

    changing younger vintage items is not a big problem to me, because there are a lot out there ... and if someone loves a piece , why not change it into something more wearable. yes. ... and for sure it's ok, to create something new out of something vintage thats in a bad condition and not safeable as it is ... blahblah ...

    but i'm super hysteric about safing vintage right now anyhow, because last week we had to find out that our storage room started to get wet - it's 6 hours far from our tiny flat ... wish us look to be able to safe our stuff soon ...

  69. Love it Vix, it looks amazing and like you say so much more you. Nothing nicer than knowing your outfit is a bespoke one.

    X x

  70. Brilliant Vix-ification of that jumpsuit; just love your idea of a reverse approach to making second-hand modern into unique vintage-looking.
    (Though I maintain that you could probably take a couple of cloth shopping bags, a length of braid and your own inimitable style and you'd emerge looking fabulous...)

  71. I completely agree with you! I watch the show and in general terms I approve, but I can't help but wince when they turn something unique into something eyewateringly generic and dull.

    I love what you've done with this outfit, you've made it far more "you". I'd love to see a show that suggests people look into their existing wardrobes and make them work for them, rather than buying more and more and more crap!

    I love my vintage, and I'm quite happy to tweak the things I buy to make them more wearable, but to completely change the look of something to make it look more modern? That boggles my brain!

    Keep rockin' it Vix!

    Kate x
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

  72. Oh yes there have been some doozies. Like that skirt come bustier dress. Why would you take some thing so special and turn it into something you could have bought a topshop? I guess that was her silly yet personal choice. And the girls who go on the show are vintage virgins, so getting them to even wear vintage was clearly an effort so good on them for trying!

    Now your dress! Fantastic work! I would love to see more hacks of high street goes back street (or would it be low street?) I dunno. But that's a brilliant idea for a blog series!

  73. Love how you transformed this garment Vix - totally agree with you about the pointlessness of turning a vintage piece into a poor high street imitation.
    On unethical sources, I've met women who choose to brag about being ethical in their career choices (charities and the like) and yet also choose to brag about wearing a £3 dress from Primark, and they're not even being ironic.


Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix