Vintage Style Wardrobe – Thrifted and Handmade

My handmade and thrifted vintage style clothing

Back in 2009 I took a costuming class for my speech theatre minor.  Our big sewing project was to use a sewing pattern to create a wearable garment.  We had to make at least one alteration to the pattern then wear the finished garment in class to get our grade.  I was going to be lazy and make a simple skirt pattern, but my professor encouraged me to try a more complicated pattern.  So I went through the costume department patterns (donated from people in the community) and found a pattern I loved from the late 50s/early 60s.  I hit the fabric stores and ended up picking a Walmart clearance fabric ($1.50/yard) and set to work.  I was the hardest thing I had ever made, but it turned out amazing!  So why the 9 year old story?!?  Because that dress is what started my love and appreciation for vintage styles and vintage sewing patterns.  BTW I’m still kicking myself years later for not writing down the pattern brand and number that I used…

Even though I LOVED my dress, I didn’t wear it that often.  I felt like I needed an occasion, and how often does a 1950s/60s occasion come up?!?  Then we started getting connected with the Oklahoma Patriotic Pin Up Girls and attended a few themed events.

1950s vintage style couple

And yes, that is Peyton when she was about 7 months old!  It was so fun and I loved having an excuse to wear my dress. Then I started thinking, why should I have to have an excuse or a reason to wear something that makes me feel pretty and happy?!?  So I started wearing my dress to “normal” events like an anniversary date night.

1950s date night

I love my teal dress, but I wanted to have more than one vintage item to wear.  Around the start of summer I found a channel on youTube called The Pinup Companion.  She is a lovely gal who wears amazing 1940s vintage and vintage reproduction clothing daily. I’ve been falling more and more in love with the 1940s thanks to shows like Land Girls and Wartime Farm.  It was a truly interesting time in history and the fashions were so flattering.  So when I found The Pinup Companion (as well as several other ladies, and a few gentlemen, on instagram) wearing vintage styles daily it affirmed all the things I had been mulling over.  I wanted to start wearing vintage (anytime I say vintage I mean vintage style, reproduction, etc) without feeling like I need a “reason”.  Feeling good in my own body is reason enough!

The same week I came to this understanding Angela Clayton posted a video about her journey of venturing into vintage.  Her video came at the perfect time and has some really great tips in it.

So, how does one make the transition from skinny jeans and t-shirts to vintage…by hitting the thrift store!  I went to the thrift store a couple of weeks in a row on half price day, in search of modern clothing that could be styled as vintage.  I tried to start by focusing on basics – white/off white tops, skirts, trousers, etc.  I also picked up a couple of items online (my first time ordering clothing online), and made a few pieces.  There is still a long way to go before I can wear vintage daily, but I feel like I’m off to a good start!

I made a video showing (almost) all of the vintage inspired pieces I have already collected, along with my plans for a few more handmade items.  You can see them all HERE!

I forgot to mention in the video, but I’m also working on make a pair of 1940s inspired jeans.  I feel like they will be an absolute staple in my wardrobe!

What pieces do you think I should be on the look out for next??  I feel like I’m well on my way to ditching my skinny jeans and tees wardrobe for a vintage styled life.  Can’t wait to share more of my journey, but until then, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

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