Sew handy! "Mary Johnson's Guide to Altering and Restyling Ready-Made Clothes." Photo:

While sewing a garment from scratch can be extremely rewarding, there are faster ways to be creative with needle and thread, especially by using vintage garments.

Playing with a hemline, adding some trim or embellishments, like beading or embroidery, can easily give new life to an old has-been.

You can easily restyle an item, giving it an of-the-moment look, and still get the thrill of saying, "I made it myself." Plus, recycling well-loved pieces is good for the planet, too!

For an all-around great resource on restyling, check out the vintage "Mary Johnson's Guide to Altering and Restyling Ready-Made Clothes."

CraftStylish Restyle is a great resource too; it's an entire magazine full of ideas on what you can do to transform your wardrobe.

The online second-hand clothing market has exploded, especially at, the online destination for all things handmade, which makes the site a great resource for vintage garments which you can alter to your liking!

Here are a few of my favorite vintage boutiques in the Etsy marketplace:

For old-fashioned good taste combined with a clear sensibility of the trends, Catwalk Creative Vintage is one of the best stops you can make.

Try changing up the buttons on one of their retro '70s blouses for a simple restyle. The carefully culled selection has a quick turnaround so if you see something you like, buy it!

The pickings are more eclectic at Joules but just as delectable. Choose from the likes of vintage cherry napkins, which can make for perfect new throw pillow covers to '60s day dresses just begging for ribbon trim.

For screen siren elegance head to Catbooks1940s to scoop up swing coats and evening gowns. A little bit of beading goes a long way.

Mock Turtle Vintage
has an eye for sweet details like 1940s prints and pleasingly placed pleats, while FauxBrit13 has an adorable selection of kitschy handkerchiefs you can applique on garments and pillows alike, as well as scarves that you can repurpose as clever belts.

For volume and choice, without sacrificing quality, check out Beulaveda and Viva Vintage Clothing.

That's just a taste of what the Web has to offer for vintage shopping. It's delightful to wander around and discover your own favorite places; it's a lot easier on your wallet than new clothing. And by spending an hour or so you can give the piece your own unique twist.

Next week, find out about all the cool indie sewing patterns that are available online or if you can't wait that long, learn how to sew your own way with the Web's fastest and coolest sewing projects.

Amber Eden is the former editor-in-chief of Threads magazine and founding editor of SewStylish magazine and She has studied draping and haute couture techniques at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and according to her, will probably be a student there for life.