Thursday, August 9, 2012

DIY: The Armpit Blowout

"Vintage 911, please state your emergency."..."Well, aside from what looks like Little Shop of Horrors growing out the side of my head, I've just experienced an Arm Pit Blowout! Please send help right away!"
One thing I've learned shopping vintage is to always check the pits. I don't know the toxic makeup of sweat (nor do I wanna) but what I can tell you for certain is that it can mess up some clothes. You see, the sweat not only stains the fabric but can also break it down, leading to The Armpit Blowout. And while the added circulation of air in a hot vintage dress is nice, comments like, "Dude, you have a hole in your, do you ever shave?!" are not welcome. Or appreciated. And, yes, I do shave. Sometimes.
I'm always curious about vintage labels so I did a little googling on Jonathan Logan and found out...there actually was no Jonathan Logan. Dun dun duuuunnnnn!
This lovely dress has been in my closet for ages. Like, since high school. It's got more issues than the pit problem (note the stain under the belt) but I just couldn't let it go. So I decided to iron all of those yards of taffeta and give it some TLC.
That's right. Turns out Jonathan Logan was a popular maker of young women’s dresses – geared to the young, but not the super trendy. Think classy and dressy like Anne Taylor or something. The designers were actually women: Dorris Varnum, and Jeanne Carr.
So these J.L. designs are just a little, uh, smug. Around the neck. And at the waist. Throw in the non-stretch taffeta and it felt like I was in a straight jacket. I experienced a moment of near claustrophobic panic when zipping myself up and wondered if I actually would need to dial 911. "Please send help right away, I'm trapped inside a vintage dress!"
The Armpit Blowout.
As you can see, the tear was big but not bad. Meaning, it was definitely a patch fix. Trying to sew this back together would have lead to too many seams.
A Patchy Pit.
Super easy. A little cutting and ironing and my pit was as good as new.
Since the nature of taffeta is to tear easily, I added a straight stitch for reinforcement.
From the outside. Hey, I didn't say it'd be a Pretty Patchy Pit.
So I've never worn taffeta before and lemme tell you, this stuff is noisy when you walk. It spooked the cat so much she hid under the bed.
Mysterious brown stains are never attractive.
Now, here's where I need your help. I have no idea what this stain is nor how to remove it. Any suggestions from you vintage-lovers or clothes-cleaners out there? I would so love to restore this sweet dress to it's original Jonathan Logan loveliness.
"Oh, Betty, you know I don't wear aprons because I cook! They're to hide the stains on my vintage garb, you silly!" Completely adorable poodle apron from the lovely etsy shop: skywayvintage.
 Whew, near vintage catastrophe solved! I hope you enjoyed this little segment of Vintage 911 as I'm thinking this is going to be a new post series. I have a mountain of vintage in need of TLC and I'm hoping this will motivate me to attack it. And I'd love to hear your ideas on solving the Brown Stain Situation.

 Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely end of the week.


  1. Oxiclean laundry spray might work... it seems to work on just about anything. That dress is fab!

  2. Oh, thank you, Jenny!! I'll give it a shot.

  3. How about just adding an appliqué of a pretty butterfly or something?

  4. If Oxiclean wont work, I'd say just add a simple applique of a black rose that just covers the stain. I'm looking forward to see a pic of the after result!

  5. Oh love this dress on you! I totally understand what you mean. I have had many a moment at my house and in dressing rooms where I want to scream because I feel I have been trapped in a vintage dress. A lot of the time it is that moment of getting them around your shoulders when you can't get out because you will rip it and you don't want to keep can be scary. Haha, any way, you did a great job patching it up.


  6. Ah, vintage repairs! I have a little pile of pieces I need to mend in various ways--or figure out how to cover up stains I can't get out! :/

    I've had mixed results with Oxiclean and vintage taffeta, so it may or may not work. Sometimes it tends to change the hand or drape of the material, so be sure to really, really rinse it out after you try it!

  7. Colleen8/10/2012

    I hate to date myself but Jonathan Logan was one of our go-to brands when I was a kid. But, then the Beatles came along and boo hoo JL was no longer wanted.....But, I am in love with that dress! And the add cracks me up: $14.95 then would cost about $120.00 now!

  8. Emily Browder8/10/2012

    Try Windex!! And, no, I didn't get that from My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Seriously.

  9. Anonymous8/10/2012

    I find that they baby brand Dreft works wonders. I just love their stain remover spray.


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