Brilliant Books: Born-Again Vintage

I’ve never been good with arts & crafts… I think that the closest I ever came to a lucrative career in crafting was when I sat at the bottom of my driveway with small rocks painted with acrylic paint. “Painted Rocks, 25 cents!” I think I sold one. Well, I was proficient at the infamous 90’s craft of “hemp jewelry”, and I knew how to hold a seed bead without dropping it or popping it out into my eye… But it’s tough to go out in public in a hemp necklace and painted rocks.

I see girls all the time, especially in my arsenal of fashion blogs, who casually mention in their outfit posts “Dress/Hat/Scarf/Pants/Whatever are selfmade.” You know, because that’s just how they do.

Good examples of DIY prowess, you can find in these folks:

I’ve always imagine how damned much money I’d save if I knew how to sew my own clothes… I even have a Hancock Fabric two buildings down, and I go in there to hopefully torture myself into learning – it doesn’t work, don’t bother.

Still, the best I can do is knit a mean scarf.


So when I learned about Bridget Artise (of B. Artise clothing) and Jen Karetnick‘s new book “Born-Again Vintage“, I was simultaneously excited and discouraged. Was it going to be full of complicated patterns for vintage-esque clothing? Would it show me images of beautiful gowns and frocks that you needed 4 years at FIT to manage?

I’m an optimistic person, so I threw all annoying negative thoughts out of the way and checked it out.


Instead, it has tons of amazing wardrobe ideas, plus the patterns to make them with step-by-step instructions. The most complicated piece of equipment I noticed was “sewing machine”, and the steps were moderate difficulty, at best – nothing a little Google couldn’t solve.

Each page (in the front half of the book) has a full-sized color photo (typically magnificent in color and composition), and a little blurb about the featured garment, with the item(s) needed pictured below. All the necessary items are easily found in any (all?) thrift shops. And if you need to find this elusive “thrift shop”, the authors have dilligently listed their favorite shops in America. Yes, in America. That means your state, too. (Unless, of course, you’re… not in America.)


The book is divided into sections based on season. The first chapter is winter and includes such things as a sweater mini-dress, “boot pants” (a must-see) and knit cap (no knitting required!). Spring has cropped jacket, wide belt (pictured above), strapless top, etc. Each “recipe”, as I call it, is branded “Easy”, “Intermediate” or “Experienced” to keep you out of the hellish depths of frustration. The patterns feature the same labels, in case you forget.


To say I’m a thrift-shopping queen would not only be an overstatement, but a gross lie. I’ve been deterred from entering any type of thrift shop for the majority of my life. There are many places I could go to find a plethoraof sweat stains, people with unnecessary shopping carts and scuffed boots – but nowhere seemingly more perfect than a gigantic thrift store.

Lucky for me, this book’s forward actually encourages readers to use stained, weird, or out-of-date pieces. Why? Because you’re going to chop them up into little pieces, so what does it matter? It’s truly the thrift-fearing fashion lover’s self-help book.

The most you’ll need to purchase to don any of these garments is… well, easily obtained from stealing your Mom’s/Grandmother’s sewing kit (chalk, thread, seam ripper, scissors, etc.) The only downside is that you’ll likely need a sewing machine for the majority of these (unless you have a lot of patience).


And, as we all know, I’m huge on the idea of green living, and thusly hail this book as a fashion bible from this moment forward. I love the message on the cover: “Deconstruct, Reinvent + Recycle”.

Maybe I’ll go check out the Salvation Army down the street after all. It’s definitely safe to say that this book changed my perspective not only on second-hand garments, but on my own creative abilities.

A must-read for anyone who loves to be an individual.

Grab it here: Born-Again Vintage: 25 Ways to Deconstruct, Reinvent, and Recycle Your Wardrobe


Probably watching Netflix.

One thought on “Brilliant Books: Born-Again Vintage

  • January 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

    This is such a fantastic idea for a book. Now all I need to do is unwrap that sewing machine I’ve never opened and figure out how to thread it. I desperately need to learn to sew. My shopping habit has gotten bad, I have to get a new atm card because I swipe it so much and the magnetic strip is worn…haha!

    Chelsea Rae´s last blog post was Running in Flats!

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