Claire: Vintage Slip Makeover

I’ll admit that I am not feeling inspired in my writing lately. I’m hopeful that the warmer months will bring forth more creative writing. For now, I’m still trying to anchor myself in some solid signs of Spring and find ways to settle my heart and mind when my work and love lives threaten too much stress. Yesterday, I found inspiration in the Weekly Photo Challenge: Color  and decided it was high time to take on a recycled clothing project that would infuse some color into my life.

A while ago, I came across ReFashionista’s makeover of her intended wedding dress  and was struck by how she was able to re-purpose a dress that carried so much emotional weight. In my own life, I have always been drawn to clothing with past lives. As the seventh of eight children, I learned early to make peace with hand-me-downs and find ways to make clothes my own. My mother used to embroider flowers and decorative details to spruce up denim and regularly made by hand the dolls and purses and little whatnots that children delight in. At home and at convent school, my sisters and I inherited the simple skills needed to play doctor to our torn stuffed animals and stitch together things like handkerchiefs and small pillows. Even the most domestically-challenged girls like me all learned to knit and sew in Ireland; working with my hands in these ways were early lessons in coordination, patience, and working through problems that appear during a project.

I’ve always wanted to develop my simple skills, but I don’t usually have the time, except for summer, when the outdoors calls me to other pursuits. Spring is the perfect time to take something up, however, so I decided to start small and work on a vintage slip that I bought on a whim one day while antique shopping with Newman.

wpid-IMAG0031.jpgIt didn’t look like much, worn and stained on the front, unfashionably long and generally tattered.


There was something in the details, however, that made me return twice to pick it up and finger the delicate lace.


I had no idea if it would fit, but I bought it anyway and brought it home, where it hung in my closet until yesterday. Years ago, I made a vow never to buy new clothing that I would have to make any major changes to, and it’s a policy that has served me well. Even when I go thrifting, it’s usually not a good idea to buy something that requires anything beyond adjusting a strap length because it just simply doesn’t get done. This dress, therefore, represented a bit of a challenge; if I didn’t do something to it soon, it would be a reminder of my inability to follow through on things.

I did follow through this time, and I have proof.

If you have any clothing makeovers, I’d love to see them!


Decisions, decisions.


I accidentally ripped the front when I was shortening the dress.


The final product.


It fits! It’s still quite cold up here in New England, obviously 🙂

KHP Art Below

KHP - Looking through the trees to a neighboring cemetery.

KHP – Looking through the trees to a neighboring cemetery.

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8 Responses to Claire: Vintage Slip Makeover

  1. leslie says:

    It’s so pretty!!!!

  2. Kristen R. says:

    It looks great — as does its headless model. I’m so impressed you did this. It would sit on my project list for months — or maybe even years 🙂

  3. Jan says:

    Wow, how very very creative. It is beautiful. I really love it ! My
    precious girl in a precious dress! Lets not forget I still have the two dresses I had in Ireland and wore all the time. Maybe someday Free will be redoing them just like her mama!

  4. Kristen says:

    It is so pretty and you look stunning! I have definitely made my peace with handy-me-downs but we were not given the skills to customize and improve. So cool!

  5. Pingback: 4-8-13 Weekly Photo Challenge: Colors (#2) | The Quotidian Hudson

  6. Great job on the dress and what a lovely color!! I really like your last picture,too.


  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | Flickr Comments

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