Friday, May 28, 2010

when bad things happen to good vintage

(Or: good vintage gone bad)

So I found this amazing 1940s rayon crepe dress, black with a white dotted print, and a white shirtwaist with big fabric-covered buttons, and matching belt. I bought it for the shop, but tried it on when I got home, and it fit!

And then...I washed it.

Big mistake. You don't wash rayon crepe. It shrinks. My dress not only shrank (okay, that's a funny word to type. So is "shrink," for that matter), but the white shirtwaist got bluish-black dye bleed all over it.

I was completely bummed, and very mad at myself for making such a stupid mistake. I knew there wasn't anything I could do to fix it, so I stuck the dress in the closet for a couple months.

I took it out again the other day and decided to attempt to salvage it. The dress still fit me, although it was a good four or five inches shorter. I pulled out my favorite tool, the seam ripper, and took the stained shirtwaist out. I fixed a couple torn seams. I put it on with a vintage enamel pin at the bust (for modesty's sake), a new white belt, my sweet red platform pumps from zerkahloostrah, and...well, it's okay. It's definitely not nearly as cute as it was before.

The shoes really help.

Andy and I decided to start the holiday weekend a little early, so we headed downtown to check out the new retro 1930s speakeasy, The Viceroy. We sat at the bar, and our bartender was delightful. He made great recommendations and gave me my first taste of Aquavit. He also made me my new favorite cocktail, the Part and Parcel (gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice).

Andy always looks great in vintage.

This one always looks just right--even in a blurry photo!



  1. I want to kiss that dog!!
    That outfit is just adorable, honestly the length is just perfect I think. I want to try the pin at the neck trick, looks cute. Have a great weekend, Karen!

  2. So cute! can fix anything!
    and yup, vintage rayon crepe seems to always shrank upwards, and very little sidewayz...

  3. Ooh I think the dress still look beautiful, although you got a little accident, you can fixed it very well! that's so great :)

  4. perfect look very sweet! love those heels

  5. Oh my goodness! You and the dress look super duper fabulous :) kinda droolin all over those shoes..yum

  6. The dress looks great! Super fab shoes too!

  7. Super excellent fix-it job!!! It looks gorgeous - I am so glad you saved it; and boy oh boy have I done that before.... I was not nearly as clever as you however and ditched my 40s treasure. Le sigh. Those shoes are meant for a black and white outfit!!!

  8. I would NEVER have known that the dress had gone through so much! It loves absolutely lovely and perfect! Sounds like you did a great job salvaging it. I know what you mean though, I stumbled upon the most amazing navy dress with a white sailor color with red polka dots. I was obsessed with it. The collar was yellowing a bit, so I thought a quick soak in oxyclean was in order. 30 min later, the white collar was a million shades of purple and blue. :( Not salvageable!

  9. The dress does look great. You did a nice salvage job! I wish I had back every dress I've ever ruined!

    Your dog is adorable!

  10. I think the dress looks totally cute. Can't imagine it being any other length. :)

  11. Bah! I hate when that happens. I washed a really great 80's white dress with something red, and it was disastrous. Then I set it aside thinking I can salvage it, but the cat peed on it.

    Considering the only other thing this cat has ever peed on in her life was a shirt belonging to an ex-boyfriend (unpopular with cats, he was) I took it as a sign and threw it away.

  12. The first thing I noticed was the "office surplus furniture store" behind you. I pass one on the way to work every day and always wonder if theres any treasures to be had inside :)

    As for the dress...I think every vintage lover has had a similar experience. Mine was with a circle skirt.


  13. dayum. wish i were that handy with a seam ripper and a needle and thread. (and those shoes!)

  14. Um, how do I get a retro 1930's speakeasy to open up in my town?! That sounds pretty awesome and I'm glad you were able to salvage the dress and the red shoes are indeed the perfect touch.


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