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How many times have you stumbled on a gorgeous vintage print, only to find that the garment itself looks like your great grandmother’s muumuu? Summer Phoenix and Ruby Canner, the girls behind Some Odd Rubies vintage clothing store in NYC, have come to the rescue to show you how to revamp a frumpy second-hand find into a fabulous new piece on this segment of The Martha Stewart Show. For this project the girls show you step-by-step how to take a vintage skirt and rework that outdated shape into an adorable and modern silhouette using one of the new Heavy Duty sewing machines from SINGER®. With a few simple steps and quick stitches, you can have a whole new look!

So tell us, do you prefer making projects from scratch or altering second-hand garments into new pieces? Leave your comments here by 9am EST on Monday, January 31st for your chance to win a SINGER® Dress Form! And don’t forget, you only have four days to comment to win a brand new SINGER® sewing machine, a SINGER® Home Essentials™ Expert Finish™ Iron or a SINGER® Home Essentials™ SteamWorks™ Pro Iron! Winners of all of the how-to Martha Stewart video series will be posted Feb. 1st on the BurdaStyle blog and in our newsletter, so leave your comment on the other posts for your chance to win!


SINGER® is sewing made easy™. To learn more about SINGER sewing machines and SINGER retailers, click here!

Tune-in to The Martha Stewart Show, airing weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT on Hallmark Channel.

SINGER, the Cameo “S” Design, MODEL NAME, SEWING MADE EASY and SINGER IS SEWING MADE EASY are exclusive trademarks of The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. ©2011 The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. All rights reserved.


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    Feb 4, 2011, 10.39 PMby Kerry Langan

    This was a great segment! Ruby and Summer are sweet and unpretentious. They’re also very talented and practical. I have so many skirts taking up space in my closet, and I can’t wait to reinvent them as dresses. Martha, please have these girls back on your show soon!

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    Feb 2, 2011, 12.06 AMby BarbaraCatfish

    The journey of creating something wonderful, whether it be from new or recycled materials, feeds my creative self. However turning an ugly garment into a beautiful, wearable, head turning dress, as Ruby and Summer have, is a particularly rewarding process. Thanks for the inspiring tutorial.

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    Feb 1, 2011, 11.07 PMby peacenluv78

    i love taking old garments and recreating them. great for garments that are worn/stained and unwearable. just take all the pieces apart by carefully removing all stitches at seams and you’ve got instant patterns!

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    Feb 1, 2011, 06.20 PMby mrsjkoster

    At this point, I would have to say from scratch. BUT that’s only because I don’t know much about altering existing garments, other than shortening pants or skirts. I’d like to learn more. One of my grandmothers was an expert at alterations (and, funnily enough, NEVER made garments from scratch—she always said she wasn’t good at it), but I was never able to be with her enough for her to teach me. I just know that I love to sew!!!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 07.54 PMby v3g4n

    I prefer to make clothes from scratch, although I like the eco-friendliness of reconstruction.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 07.45 PMby Mellissa Sandoval

    I do both. I love projects where I am involved from the start to the finish but I also have a vintage collection that I have the need to rummage through and alter to suit my tastes.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 06.01 PMby margit-k

    Before I was all about making a dress from scratch. But now I have discovered that it can be really fun to create something totally diffrent from an second-hand fabric. It can be challenging but the end result can be so worth it. Keeps your mind more busy than just making a new garment from a normal piece of fabric.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 02.09 PMby AFspice87

    reworking old garments is fun and you get to be green while making yourself something new

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    Jan 31, 2011, 01.36 PMby dobrotalivia

    I enjoy doing both.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 01.21 PMby vingklippt

    I love recycling old things, clothes and furniture. It gives me inspiration, I don’t have the imagination needed to make something from scratch.. Also I love the challenge of it, sometimes you have just enough fabric to finish something :)

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    Jan 31, 2011, 01.11 PMby handmadebyfreya

    I love making outfits from scratch, I love the whole process of deciding which fabric to use with which pattern, I especially love making outfits with vintage fabric though, so that’s my compromise!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 01.03 PMby kärlek

    I usually rework pieces I find at goodwill, or vintage stores—or use old curtains or sheets as fabric for original pieces. It’s a good way to save money on your sewing projects, and save beautiful fabric from ending up in the dump.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 12.49 PMby lauriekg

    I like making my items from scratch, but I like using bits and pieces from vintage notions or vintage embroidered linens to make my garment my own!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 11.55 AMby No Idle Hands

    From scratch… Like many others, seam ripping is not my favorite part of sewing ;-) However if the vintage fabric is truly amazing I would go for re-make. LIke making accessories out of vintage silk kimono and obi brocades. New fabric simply doesn’t have the same feel.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 11.22 AMby elsa

    I prefer to make garments from scratch!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 10.28 AMby plemos

    I’m not an experienced sewer, so for me it’s easier to make projects from scratch than altering second-hand garments.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 10.23 AMby sewharing

    Usually I prefer to make things from scratch, but I think that thats because I don’t know very much about fitting or refitting, so I am somewhat intimidated by reworking old clothes. But I would love to learn! It would certainly save me a lot of money!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 09.29 AMby ziljez

    oh my. bought!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 09.02 AMby zeegang

    My favorite approach is perhaps a hybrid of these two! I like finding old vintage fabrics, such as curtains, bed sheets, old woolen coats and formal dresses and creating a new outfit or new bag from there.

    For example, old 70’s curtains make brilliant bags, bed sheet can be great for a muslin, old large coats often have enough fabric for a skirt or a little girl dress. Vintage formal dresses sometime have gorgeous fabric flowers, buttons ruffles on them to add to plain t-shirts, ballet flats or knits.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.54 AMby ladidoh

    I love to make projects from scratch and altering. Call me a fence sitter but there is something equally satisfying about both. When I make something from scratch I can customise it to suit my every whim, and when I alter something I can improve upon it or make it loved again. And either way I always love how each project throws up its own challenges – its what makes me keep coming back to the sewing machine!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.47 AMby Julie Misiolek

    I personnally love to reuse old clothes to make new, it i so nice when you love an old rag and you can make a new one wooth part of it. I did it lately for my litle one, he had received for gift a tshirt with AC DC transfer on it but it was baby clothe so he hardly wore it a couple of time, so i decided to make an application of it on jeans and the result is amazing… one of my project. I also reused the pregnancy clothes i had sew to make dresses for my daughter or re-adjusted them for me… Right now i’m going to old rags shop to find some nice fabric to make a new thing with…

    this way you can make pretty lovely vintage garment.

    i of course also love to start from scratch as if from a white page for wrtiers, you can then let your imagination wander and make garment from yorur own planet…

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.36 AMby tmihe

    I make projects from scratch, generally using remnants and that is a challenge in its self. I feel cutting up usable clothes is denying somebody else the opportunity of finding a treasure that fits and suits them.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.13 AMby simplyinterested1

    To answer the question, it would be nice if only a few simple steps and quick stitches can really create a whole new look for just about any second hand garment. However the problem with altering a second hand garment has limitations to what can be made, depending on the type and size of the fabric.

    When I work on a project, I usually make the project from scratch. There are times when I would like to alter an old garment into something new and that’s most likely because I like the fabric too much to throw it away.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.11 AMby Ladylala

    I prefer making projects from scratch because it’s more fun, and looks more clean and professional.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.11 AMby Ladylala

    I prefer making projects from scratch because it’s more fun, and looks more clean and professional.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.11 AMby Ladylala

    I prefer making projects from scratch because it’s more fun, and looks more clean and professional.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 08.01 AMby jocel

    Definitly making projects from scratch.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 07.35 AMby bohemiannow

    I started sewing by altering clothes that didn’t fit right, but when i first made something from scratch I got stack with that! I totally prefer it!

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    Jan 31, 2011, 07.29 AMby fbk1977

    i love bringing new life to old clothes! friendly to my bank account & wallet. also, i’m willing to take more risks with something old and not worry as much about making mistakes.

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    Jan 31, 2011, 07.05 AMby tnjen

    I like to make projects from scratch both from bought patterns and the patterns that I come up with. It just forces me to be much more creative when I draw them out and to challenge myself when I buy a pattern and it includes a technique or design that I don’t know how to do. I’m self-taught so without a project challenging me to learn how to make a proper collar, sew in a zipper, or learn to make button holes, I never would’ve learned to do those things. Doing it from scratch makes me learn, makes me think, and gives me ideas.

    When I alter a garment nowadays 99% of the time I’m doing so with a skill I learned from scratch projects and am I’m also doing it with ideas I picked up from scratch construction. For example, I’d have never know what a difference darts can make on a blouse in shaping it to my body had it not been for scratch projects.

    Also, I have an extremely hard to fit body type and there are garments that just won’t fit me properly no matter what I do! With shirts, I usually have to choose between things being too short and not fitting in the bust and shoulders or hanging off me like a tent! And with pants you apparently can’t have naturally wide hip bones without being full bottomed and if I do manage to get them to fit there — they’re usually too short just like the shirts. A girl can’t do much under those circumstances so it’s scratch and a lot of trial and error for me!

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