I have a confession: I’m a fairly unrepentant alterer of vintage clothing. I hate bad vintage alterations as much as any vintage lover: it pains me to see beautiful 1940’s rayons chopped into mini dresses, etc. But as for the rest? I’m all for it. I have security snaps added to beaded sweater sets. I occasionally buy dresses a size up and have them altered down, like I did with this amazing 1940’s croissant print rayon dress that still had the tags on it.
As the average size of the US woman has changed over the years, so have our body types. If you’re in the 12/14/16 range, your vintage options are much reduced anyway – and the great ones are much more expensive when you do find them. I know that some vintage lovers feel like changing anything about a vintage garment is like taking scissors to history. I also know people who buy great pieces just to study them and don’t care as much about wearing them out. Both of these approaches are totally valid, but not within my budget or lifestyle. If I buy a vintage dress, I want it to fit because I want to wear it out and give it a new life in the modern era. If that means taking in the waist or adding some hidden elements to improve the fit, I’m all for it.
In this case, I specifically worked with the tailor to make sure that all of the 1940’s elements were kept in place and not relocated. I did have the waist taken in significantly, but left the top and the sleeves accurately blousy. I’m incredibly pleased with the result!
What are your feelings about altering vintage? Have you done it? How did it go?