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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 For this project the girls show you step-by-step how to take a vintage skirt and rework that outdated shape into an adorable and modern silhouette using one of the new Heavy Duty sewing machines from SINGER®.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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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.39 PMby anneecharri

    Well, am an absolute beginner, so can only really contemplate making something from scratch with a (very) instructive pattern (preferably with pictures!) but I hope to gain enough skills to eventually be able to recycle vintage clothes into something new….:)

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.35 PMby cretheridge

    Most of my projects have been from scratch but I think it would be interesting to upscale some of the older things in my closet.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.30 PMby indiedanielle

    I love altering vintage garments. I’m very small and I have a difficult time finding clothes that fit me and my style – so that’s how I started sewing, altering pieces that I like the print or texture of and creating something new that fits both my size and style. I only recently took my first sewing class in order to follow a pattern and learn some sewing jargon.

    I would love to replace my homemade dress-form with the real deal!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.25 PMby cathyp

    Both – I mostly make garments and accessories from scratch, but it is always wonderful when I can fix up something that doesn’t fit right or looks a bit dated. Recently I took out the entire outside leg seams of a pair of too-big flared-leg second hand jeans, then sewed back together as straight leg-jeans that fit perfectly.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.22 PMby palebluestars

    i definitely prefer making things from scratch b/c i get to pick the fabric which is the most fun part of the project. But i have found some really amazing vintage table cloths that i have turned into other things that are quite possibly my favorite projects. i dont think i have developed that eye for turning one garment into another yet.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.22 PMby dellannt

    From scratch. It’s just easier for me to get the fit right and I love picking out my own fabric!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.21 PMby docpattie

    I find both fun and challenging. However recycle,remake&make do is a much greater challenge to my problem solving and innovative thinking.

    Pattie ;)

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.21 PMby erinmade

    from scratch, for sure! although every once in a while, you find an old garment that just needs a little love.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.20 PMby sunbeachsurf

    I love reconstructing garments! It’s so satisfying to take a sad garment and turn it into something wonderful. I go into Goodwill so often, I’m on a first name basis with most of the employees =) As an added bonus, I get a discount since my husband is an active duty Marine.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.19 PMby anysebray

    Although I am a beginner, I have done both and prefer making my own.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.18 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    Scratch is much easier but as others have said I’ve done the redo…My favorite is a late 1940s chevron dress that had holes in the bodice and ripped pockets. I just did some improvised embroidery to cover the holes and repair the pocket. The $5 dress is a summer favorite and the incredible fine and breathable is unlike any cotton I’ve seen today.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.14 PMby suzeb

    I generally like to make projects from scratch because you get to choose the exact right fabric and design. But upcycling is great too: it takes a lot less time, and you end up with something truly unique.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.13 PMby kittelisa

    I love making garments from scratch, Is very creative. But I really like altering my mother’s old dresses and create new vintage clothes, and that’s the way I started out to sew.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.11 PMby honolulukelly

    I like starting from scratch because I have collected so many beautiful fabrics over the years. I just wait for one of them to speak to me.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 10.11 PMby Street

    I love them both, either way I get a very good feeling of creating something new!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.58 PMby Elizabeth Beattie

    I am new to sewing so for now I enjoy making clothes from scratch. However, I can’t wait to feel comfortable enough to start reinventing old finds.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.57 PMby amberelizabeth

    I get a lot of great dresses from the thrift store on their dollar days and love altering them from a old grandma dress to something you’d find in a shop, but I also love getting to pick out fabrics, patterns and trim and making things from scratch. I’d say I do more remaking but I love both!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.55 PMby spanetta

    While making a halloween costume this year I figured that I’d be able to save some energy by making some of the items through altering. After the costume was complete I realized that I’d spent just as much if not more time on the altered items than the from scratch ones. Plus, others seemed more impressed by the items I made from scratch and I myself had more pride for them. Both types of pieces had the same quality appearance to them but there’s just something more impressive about the words “from scratch”. :)

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.53 PMby eghbravo

    I LOVE repurposing vintage garments!!! However, what I’ve found is that making garments from scratch is what gives me a better understanding of garment construction and actually give me more ideas on how I can repurpose previously loved garments.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.51 PMby asella

    Mainly from scratch. If I ever alter clothes, it is usually just a temporary pin or tuck. I do, however, have a vintage skirt that I really want to alter, but am reluctant because it is so cool! But it doesn’t fit, so maybe I’ll get brave!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.50 PMby lauramae

    I would prefer to start from scratch and make a garment that is truly my own. However, I have recently begun to see the advantages of upcycling and am very happy with how these projects have come out!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.49 PMby chillwear

    Hands down from scratch, so much easier then taking apart a garment and reinventing it.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.48 PMby kitka

    I have been altering clothing since I was little, before I knew how to sew, I did a lot of cutting shirts shorter, tearing holes in my jeans, and adding little embelishments. Once I learned how to sew I really got into it. Still now I would say thats what I do the most of and thats what I like the best. I can make something I think is cute out of anything I find.
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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.44 PMby mrsfish94

    I would love to make any from scratch…but, I’m a pretty bad seamstress. I can make little things though.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.43 PMby Testosterone

    While I like to repurpose stuff, I’m big into making something from scratch.

    Existing items can inspire and influence.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.39 PMby kwomack

    Such a cute idea for old skirts! I do a little of both, but recently I’ve been prowling the thrift stores in town to find old things with new potential.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.29 PMby farahajh

    I prefer sewing from scratch, as i have had limited luck with refashioning. I do sometimes use older (vintage) fabric though.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.18 PMby Tiffany Surles

    definately love to refashion but i love making clothes for my two girls from scratch the most!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.09 PMby emily-marie

    I prefer making clothes from scratch, but definitely enjoy the challenge of of re-using resources. Depends on my mood, I suppose.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.08 PMby be-bops1

    I used to love remaking, but found that usually making things from scratch is faster and less of a headache. I still do both though!

    • This is a question
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