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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 For this project the girls show you step-by-step how to take a vintage skirt and rework that outdated shape into an adorable and modern silhouette using one of the new Heavy Duty sewing machines from SINGER®.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, 09.03 PMby belen-p

    Inspiration can come from anywhere, but I usually start from scratch! I guess most of us here start sewing because we can’t match what we have in mind with what we find in the racks… or because we can’t afford it! :)

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.02 PMby toja

    i haven’t tried to re-make old garments, but i’m really interested in this. i enjoyed following the blog, “A Dress A Day”, and it was amazing how versatile you can be with old clothes!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.01 PMby SimplyTuTuSweet

    I love sewing from scratch, but when I need a quick pick-me-up project to satisfy my sewing desire, a quick sweater refashion always makes me smile. There is something so satisfying to take an old, outdated item and giving it new life.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 09.00 PMby runningwithscissors1

    Ohh, that’s tough. I really like the flexibility of both. I like taking something that existed as one thing and giving it new life as something else. I also like the action of taking a clean slate, such as it is, and creating something brand new. Depends on the mood I’m in.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.59 PMby kmtwriter

    I’ve only reworked t-shirts but after watching this video I’m ready to give a more ambitious project a try. I was really impressed with Ruby’s dress.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.59 PMby angthor

    I started out upcycling, buying clothes from charity shops and customising them.. But Since I’ve learnt technical skills and how to sew properly from patterns I’ve kind of lost the ’ feel’ for just getting creative and making it up as I go along..! However, I did have a go at draping on a friend’s dress form recently and it was rather fun!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.55 PMby petitejosette

    I love doing both, though somehow I find it more difficult to revamp just because there are always so many possibilities. When I make something from scratch, I usually follow a specific pattern. I have a few “revamping” projects on the go, UFO’s as you may call them at this point. But I really enjoy finding vintage clothes with potential, especially when the fabric is unique.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.53 PMby seersuckersally

    I like sewing from scratch. It gives me more control over the finished project.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.49 PMby vancarvalho

    I love both! Transforming old clothes into new ones is very present and have an exclusive piece that we saw in a store window or in a magazine templates gives immense pride!!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.47 PMby strawberrypennylane

    My college budget is tight, so right now I mostly alter thrifted clothes or hand-me-downs from my sister. It’s so much fun to give a piece new life!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.43 PMby vintagegal

    I love doing both, but I am a thrift shop addict! I find it very meditative ripping apart old garments, and then using the fabrics and trims in new projects that I am making from scratch.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.38 PMby danired

    im a beginner when it comes to sewing so i’m much more interested in altering second hand items. i also like to think i’m being eco friendly. :)

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.37 PMby NinaBarbara

    I typically prefer making items from scratch. Selecting a fabric and pattern is a large part of the fun, however I really like the idea of reusing or revamping a vintage item. I am all about having unique pieces in my closet and re-using a decades old skirt means fabrics no one will have and styles others will envy.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.29 PMby Catlyn Lawson

    altering! because you can find so many awesome prints and funky styles that just need a little tweaking!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.19 PMby milkshake80

    Always from scratch…though I would love to re-vamp one of my grandmothers old dresses.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.17 PMby raylynn

    Projects from scratch are what I do most often and enjoy because of the creativity level – the options are limitless. I do have to say though, that I love shopping at thift stores and almost never pass up something that really catches my eye. If altering isn’t the best option, it can certainly be made into something different!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.15 PMby eamcnair

    I usually make things from scratch, but I would like to try altering another garment. I have a few old things in my closet that I’d like to start with when I have time. I want to make sure that I don’t mess up those before I start with vintage garments.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.12 PMby Ranae Markel

    I really like to be able to recycle something, so using vintage or a well loved piece is a great way to update something! So, second hand for me is the way to go!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.11 PMby eddalind

    I like doing both for different reasons. When you start from scratch you have much more control over what you are making and the process is because of that simpler, but the end result is somehow more gratifying when you alter, plus altering tends to be a lot cheeper.

  • Missing

    Jan 28, 2011, 08.10 PMby stardreamer6

    I do a little bit of both. I love taking vintage textiles and using current sewing patterns to create new garments! I love the creative aspect of using something old to make something new!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 08.09 PMby jennylorna

    I have never upcycled an old garment, but I can’t wait to have a go. I’ve been inspired! Usually I buy fabric and then find a pattern to fit. Currently I have a piece of plaid waiting to be turned into a skirt and some patterned jersey that I’m going to make into a dress.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.58 PMby swankypot

    I prefer to make garments from scratch, although it’s often much more cost-effective to redo secondhand.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.57 PMby Laura Chirita

    I would say either way. The transformation from a roll of new fabric/second-hand garnment into something original, made by me, is the most inspirational factor!

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.55 PMby Sonya Stefanyshyn

    I went to fashion tech in my high school. learned a lot. drapping on a judy. i really love the flow of things, i have done my research, and these Judy/dressforms. and they expensive. for my budget. I did just get my first serger. which is AMAZING. iT THE MARTHA SINGER ULTRALOCK.! it was fasntastic. i will never stop sewing!


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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.51 PMby kylawithstyla

    I think it’s easier for psychologically to make something from scratch. It’s too much creative pressure to re-imagine an old garment! I mean…. would if I make it worse.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.49 PMby bijouxcailloux

    Creating items from scratch is much easier although I once made a makeup bag out of a old pair of leather pants I picked up at a second-hand store.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.47 PMby leonx

    SOWING AND SCRATCH,Burda style has teached me sooooo many techincues and they should be awarded with the best sowing site ever invented simply the best.i really wanna win it would be so much easier making clothes with it so i wont have to measure myself every time i make something .

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.40 PMby laugh434

    This is a cop-out answer, but I love doing both. I have a few vintage and pre-owned pieces that have some damage or imperfections but still deserve to be seen and used, but I also enjoy planning a new piece from the ground up and making it personal.

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.35 PMby treelessbark

    I like from scratch, since I always end up doing much better, and usually can get more fabric. But when I mess up on a alteration, I get real bummed like I just ruined something.

    • This is a question
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