Avid thrifter and crafter Caitlin Trantham has a knack for transforming her thrift store clothing finds into stylish outfits. With the innate ability to see the possibilities in a dress, she looks past the unfashionable elements that cause others to overlook it. Once she gets home, she takes to her sewing machine to make her vision become a reality.
“Last year, I got really into vintage clothing,” Trantham tells My Modern Met. “The style I wanted was hard to find and expensive. One day I came across this plaid 80s wonder. Huge sleeves, a crazy collar—a lot of qualities that would put people off from buying it!” All she could think, however, was that it could look amazing if she could fix its obvious fashion faux pas. “That was my first major flip and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with finding a garment’s hidden potential!”
Trantham is no newbie to a sewing machine, though. “I started sewing 7 years ago,” she admits, “but I only did quilting. Clothing was scary! No one minds a quilt with flaws, but clothing with flaws is not as well received.” By taking apart garments—what Trantham calls “flipping dresses”—she was able to learn about clothing construction. “After winging the first few, I started using patterns, and then quickly started drafting my own!”
If you’re interested in transforming second-hand clothes into entirely new outfits, Trantham has a simple tip. “Just start! Flipping clothes is cheaper than buying fabric and not as painful if it doesn’t work out. Start cutting, start sewing, and don’t be upset with how many times you have to use the seam ripper!”