Frances Bean Cobain goes vintage shopping in N.Y.C. Photo: WagnerAZ-Sandro/

If there's one great thing for wannabe designers, it has to be the plenitude of vintage clothing available online for the redoing and updating. Vintage can be a great starting point for sewing creativity. I once relied on flea markets in the funky part of town to find my reworked garments, but now it's all available with the click of a the mouse. Here the best online thrift shops:

Etsy: This site could be considered the biggest and best flea market ever. Just head over and search for "women's vintage clothing" to get a plethora of promising results.

eBay: While not as impressive as Etsy, eBay is not too shabby when it comes to retro chic, especially if you want to score vintage designer pieces.

Rusty Zipper
: The Rusty Zipper has lots of old school options for men, women and children, including sewing patterns. Calling itself the web's first online vintage store, the Rusty Zipper has grown from a spare closet to a 5500-square-foot warehouse in rural Oregon.

Catwalk Creative: For a more carefully curated collection, one of my most favorite haunts for finding vintage from the 1950s through 1980s is U.K.-based Catwalk Creative. The owner has her finger on the pulse of what's hot vintage-wise and knows exactly where to get her hands on it.

Nelda's Vintage
: What she lacks in quantity, Nelda more than makes up for with quality. I met Nelda through a vintage-clothing social-networking site (yes, there is such a thing), and she puts great care into choosing every piece she offers for sale.

Once you land a vintage favorite, you can put your own creative spin on it. Learn more here.

For more DIY Design columns, click here. Next week, learn how to copy your favorite garments.