Fashion Wizardry: Meet the Woman Who Breathes New Life into Old Thrift Store Clothes, Creating 21 Stunning Modern Outfits!

When the COVID-19 lockdown forced the U.S. into isolation, Caitlin Trantham, a 33-year-old mother of three, sought a creative outlet to occupy her time. Drawing upon her love for sewing and vintage fashion, she ingeniously embarked on a mission to transform outdated thrift store garments into trendy, modern ensembles.

Check out all the vintage clothes given modern makeovers in the gallery below!

More info: Instagram | TikTok

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In an interview with Bored Panda, Caitlin said she started sewing when she was just 7 years old, initially starting out with quilting. But even though the woman has years of experience, she said she only started experimenting with clothing this year. “When quarantine hit, I had a ton of time to practice and make a bunch of projects,” added Caitlin.


Image source: caitconquers

Tamed this 80s monstrosity into the cutest dress for spring! Oh lord, these sleeves were BAD. (It also had some sweet shoulder pads, but I ripped those out before the first picture!)


Image source: caitconquers

Used the Hepburn pattern from Patterns 4 Pirates to restyle this Lularoe Ana dress! I cut the back of the bodice from the back of the original bodice, and then cut the front from the upper part of the skirt. I added pockets and I’m IN LOVE!


Image source: caitconquers

I’m in love with this dress! I tried dip dyeing for the first time with this dress from @rentadress.rad and it turned out so cool! As soon as we got to the beach, the waves got me, and that’s why the bottom is so much darker. The sleeves and cape are all one piece of chiffon. It’s 2 yards, and was only around $5. I used one bottle of RIT synthetic dye, and that was only $4!


Image source: caitconquers

I LOVE THIS ONE SO MUCH! Maybe it’s just because there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved. This 80s beast had so many layers, fabric that frayed and shoulder pads… PLUS bonus stiff ruffled fabric in the shoulders. (Because God forbid the shoulder pads didn’t give enough volume ) I had a lot of issues fitting the bodice, and had to make some fancy seams to get it right! The bows on the shoulder and made from the ties that were in the back. I thought they really softened the silhouette, and added to the sweet vibe of the rose embroidery! Also- I’m actually getting decent at putting in a zipper. BIG STRIDES GUYS!


Image source: caitconquers

This dress was new with tags from Goodwill, and I was able to turn it into this super cute sun dress! The pattern is McCall’s/ Gertie B6453. I actually downloaded it from the McCall’s website and followed her blog for step by step instructions. I reused the trim on the neckline, and added the bow!


Image source: caitconquers

From mom at the park, to date night This is a Lularoe Ana that I got at Goodwill for $4. I used a pattern from ‘Patterns for Pirates’ called the Gala Gown to refashion the bodice. And I sewed an entire strapless bra into the dress. Seriously, why aren’t more dresses made like that!?


Image source: caitconquers

This print had got me feeling all the tropical vibes This makeover was way harder than I expected. I had to do a lot of creative cutting and piecing to get everything in place I used the So Classic Sundress pattern from Patterns for Pirates, and modified it to fit the elements already on the original dress!


Image source: caitconquers

Me wearing a romper:

Person- Cute dress!



Image source: caitconquers

Before and after! Thrifted frumpy 90s dress- I passed it up a couple times but eventually gave in and bought it. I knew it had potential!


Image source: caitconquers

Honestly, I can’t even believe THAT shirt turned into THIS dress I cut out the bodice using another dress as a pattern, and just winged everything else. I changed out the buttons and found the most perfect belt at Goodwill!


Image source: caitconquers

I got this skirt for $3- but there was no top to be found. After lots and lots of thinking, planning and pattern drafting I was able to make it a full dress! WITHOUT LOOSING ALL THE LENGTH (Being short came in handy for this one ) I was inspired by a dress @taylorswift wore to the Golden Globes. It was completely backless, and I couldn’t find a similar pattern. I almost gave up and did a different bodice all together, but I’m so glad I didn’t


Image source: caitconquers

Let’s talk about the real challenges of this dress- 5 layers of tulle and underskirt! This was my second attempt at anything tulle. The first one failed miserably. Also, this dress had a side zipper that I had to take out to size down the bodice. I put it in the back and it does not look… polished. Anyway- this was just a fun experiment for me! I love testing my abilities, even when it doesn’t turn out 100%. But, sad news- this was the last dress I got at Goodwill before the shut down. I have other stuff to work on, but it was bittersweet to see this one finished!


Image source: caitconquers

I bought this one because it had the cutest sunflower buttons! I originally planned on keeping the 90s vibe, but the silhouette came out so 50s- I just had to add the sash and a petticoat underneath


Image source: caitconquers

This was such an easy and fun makeover! Quick and satisfying. I got a big 60s baddie vibe from the blue floral lace. I knew I could make a cool date night dress! I took off the neck piece and saved that beauty for later. Then I chopped off the bottom and used that material for spaghetti straps and a shawl


Image source: caitconquers

This dress was cute before, but I thought it would be the perfect dress to attempt a two piece with! I desperately wanted shorts in the skirt, because I hate worrying about my butt hanging out I found a skort at Goodwill for $2 and took it apart with my seam ripper. Then I used the pieces as a pattern! I got a lime green polyester skirt (also from goodwill!) and cut the shorts out of it. I even used the zipper from the old skirt for the new skirt! I installed the shorts into the skirt by attaching them to an inner waistband. I definitely attached them inside out the first time and had to take it apart and sew it back again. I’m loving the 90s does 60s vibe!


Image source: caitconquers

Nothing too dramatic, but I’m happy with how it turned out! I loved the butterfly appliqués, but the dress was way too big. I separated the front and the back, cut out a new shape, and stitched them back together


Image source: caitconquers

Ya’ll know I love an old lady floral. This was a quick flip- cut out the v waist (WHY 80’s, WHY!?) and changed out the buttons. Took out the back ties and connected them to make a belt. If you’re looking for someplace to start, it doesn’t always have to be a total remake! Just learning how to detach a skirt from the bodice and reattach is easier than you might think and opens up so many possibilities


Image source: caitconquers

Long dress to romper! Trying to do projects on the road is… challenging. And did ya’ll know making a romper isn’t as easy as Pinterest makes it look!? I totally just winged this one, and learned a lot for next time!


Image source: caitconquers

Here’s my 80s bridesmaid dress turned perfect pink 50s party dress. This dress is made from acetate, and it’s basically like sewing with a plastic table cloth from the dollar store.There was a lot of drama. Things that should have been easy became insanely hard, because the fabric rips easily, can not be ironed, has no stretch and is slippery! I started by dismantling the entire dress with a seam ripper. The collar on top was sewn into the top seam of the bodice, so it all had to come a part. I made the straps from pieces I cut off the skirt. I re-used the collar and the bow (thanks for voting on that one guys!) on the waist, and that’s all hand sewn. I TOOK OUT AND PUT IN A ZIPPER. Ahahaha that’s big time for me! It turned out exactly how I pictured it when I tried it on at goodwill.


Image source: caitconquers

Super simple change to this Lularoe Amelia dress! I really do like the original, but I never reached for it. The fabric is thick, so the high neck and tight sleeves didn’t appeal to me when it was warm. The zipper in the back was scratchy. So I got rid of all that and legit took this picture, and wore this exact outfit to Walmart. Now it’s the comfiest dress ever! I made a ‘tutorial’ that I’ll post in my stories. Using the TikTok format I only get 60 seconds- soooo it’s super speedy!


The woman says she had always loved thrifting as it’s not only a great way to save money, but also great for the environment. “Beyond that, I love the thrill of the hunt! I have found some really amazing pieces along the way,” said Caitlin. She never spends more than $10 on an item, and most of the dresses and skirts she bough only cost her a few dollars.

Caitlin says she’s always on the lookout for things that would make a garment special, like embroidery or embellishments. “Then, I analyze the material — am I going to be able to manipulate this? Is it going to fight me?” the woman explained her creative process. “The last thing I look at is closures: buttons and zippers, all that stuff. I need to make sure they can be moved or altered to fit my ideas.”

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