How To Turn a Vintage Silk Pajama Top Into Sophisticated Fall Fashion

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
6 Materials
3 Hours

One of my favorite things to look for while thrift shopping are vintage silk garments. The material creates a luxurious shine and it feels so smooth on the skin. The quality is second to none!

The only problem with vintage silk garments is sometimes they need minor tweaks to make them wearable our modern age if you aren't walking the runway. Here's one way you can easily thrift-flip repurpose a vintage silk top into your new favorite piece, and keep clothing out of the landfill.

I find vintage silk most often in the pajama section, which is where I found this white top with a beautiful lace cut neckline detail. The only problem is the color washed me out, and looked exactly like what it was -- an old pajama top. Additionally, there was some slight discoloration in the armpit areas. Nothing a couple snips, stitches, and a bottle of RIT dye can't fix!

It's important to know the fabric content of the piece you find at the thrift shop if you plan on dying it. Natural fibers like cotton, linen and silk can all easily be dyed with RIT's traditional dye. A fabric that contains polyester should be dyed with 'RIT Dye More' or other specialty dyes to ensure the color will bind to the fabric. For reference, this is an example of a vintage tag for a 100% silk garment.

I loved the lace detailing on this blouse and knew I needed to find a way to repurpose it unto something I could wear. I decided to splurge and spend the $3 it cost me at a local consignment store clearance sale. I can't believe this blouse may have headed to the landfill if I hadn't taken a chance on it. I knew the dye would react differently to the threads in this detailing and really make it stand out.

For maximum wearability I decided on a neutral tone and used RIT's Pearl Gray shade. I would love to do this project again with a deep jewel green shade!

Following the directions on the RIT bottle I prepared a dye bath with hot water, and a little dish soap. I placed the blouse in the bath and stirred as the directions suggested. After about 25 minutes, I rinsed the blouse with water until everything ran clear.

I washed the blouse in the washing machine with cold water and some mild detergent to remove any stray dye residue and put the blouse up to hang dry outside overnight. The end result the next day was a beautiful pearl gray shade just as the bottle advertised.

Now I needed to make the pajama top's shape more modern. I decided I would wear this unbuttoned as a kimono/cardigan and shorten the sleeves. I marked my desired sleeve length with chalk while I had the blouse on. After I took it off, I measured the distance from the end of the sleeve to my mark and marked that measurement on the other sleeve so that the sleeve lengths would be the same.

Leaving myself an additional seam allowance, I cut the sleeve to my desired length.

Folded the raw edge over once, ironed and then folded a second time and secured with pins.

I took the blouse over to the sewing machine and stitched the new hem. If you need extra guidance on this step, feel free to check out my YouTube tutorial!

Then my new silk blouse was ready to wear! I love that it is versatile and can be worn dressed down or up. It's also a great layering piece that is perfect for so many different occasions!

Now this pajama blouse has a new use, and escaped an early end in the landfill.

If you'd like to see more projects upcycling thrifted clothes, head over to my Youtube channel! If you try one of these projects yourself tag me on Instagram, I would love to see how they come out! Comment down below what color you'd like to dye a vintage silk blouse.

Suggested materials:
  • Silk shirt   (thrifted)
  • Rit Dye   (Micheals)
  • Sewing Machine
See all materials

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