Make old clothes trendy

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - October 21, 2010

Muhl has a talent for turning thrift shop and vintage clothes into wearable, trendy items -- like the two-dollar prairie dress she updated that's now perfect for a night out.

She works her magic for Franklin Square Design, a vintage shop in Old City , for private clients, and herself. And she says many people over-spend for clothes because they don't see the potential of things they already have.

"Shoulder pads can easily be removed, long jackets can easily be taken up, pants can be turned into shorts, dresses can be turned into skirts or party dresses," Muhl says. "Everything has potential, you just have to keep your mind open to all aspects of your wardrobe."

To see just what Muhl means, I brought her a yellow taffeta bridesmaid dress that I'd worn back in 1983, which I still had up in my attic.

"This is what I'm envisioning," Muhl said as she pondered the dress. "Lose some of that bulk up top, and maybe adjust the length a little bit and I think with a belt or something, it could be really cute."

Since it's easier to cut off than add on, Muhl advises looking for clothes that are big or have plenty of material. Then, she says, use some imagination.

We returned to Muhl's home workshop after she'd had the bridesmaid dress for about ten days. And I was shocked at how she'd transformed the dress.

She did cut off the ruffle around the neck, but instead of shortening the dress as she'd originally planned, she decided to use the yellow taffeta as a liner for a black cut chiffon material.

The result -- an updated ball gown with absolutely no 1980s vibe.

If you have items you'd like Muhl to rework, you can email her for a consultation appointment at

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