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Month: September 2018

1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt

1920’s Dress from Polo Shirt

I *love* re-fashioning thrift store staples into unique, historically-inspired outfits! Oversized polo shirts are ideal for such projects, since they are easy to find and are practically dresses already! With the addition of some coordinating fabric and elbow grease, my polo shirt will become a drop-waist dress inspired by the 1920’s. Calling all flappers: it’s time to get sewing!

Step 1: Find a big men’s polo shirt at your local thrift store. The longer the shirt, the better! Look for a shirt that is a color/pattern that can easily coordinate with other fabric. Also watch out for stains and signs of noticeable wear. Step 1.5: Goofily pose in your shirt after washing it!

 Gather a skirt-sized piece of coordinating fabric, and make sure it is washed and somewhat wrinkle-free. This fabric will become the “skirt” part of the drop-waist dress.  Lay your shirt out flat and smooth out the wrinkles (iron if necessary).


Now it’s time to re-fashion that polo! I folded the shirt in half, being careful to smooth out all wrinkles. I pinned the side and shoulder seams to keep the fabric from moving around.

Next, I got out a loosely-fitting Tshirt  to use as a pattern. A word of warning: DO NOT use a snug or even perfectly-fitting shirt as a pattern, or you will cut your polo shirt too small! This dress is meant to hang loosely on the body, so cut bigger than you think you will need. (Learn from the voice of experience, People!) You can see in the picture that I measured about 2 inches of EXTRA fabric around the body of the T shirt before cutting the polo. I did cut off most of the polo’s sleeves.

Next, I needed do some prep work before hemming the side seams of the polo. First, I used the Tshirt to help me guess how high the side seams should be sewn under the arm. I marked this with fabric chalk. I also measured several inches up from the bottom hem of the shirt and marked this spot on both side seams. This marking will remind me to not stitch all the way to the bottom of the shirt.

I sewed the side seams using a large, loose stitch and standard seam allowances. (Be sure to use the right kind of needle for your fabric, which in my case was knit!) I stopped stitching several inches from the bottom of the shirt, as I had marked off earlier. I tried on the shirt, and found that it was too big and the seams needed to go higher under the arms. I used rulers and chalk to measure where I thought the seams needed to be. As before, I sewed the seems and tried on the shirt. Better this time!

During all this trying on, I found that the sleeves were way too long. I left about an inch of sleeve beyond the shoulder seam, then cut the rest off.

After another just-to-double-check-try-on, I determined where the finalized side seams should be. I then stitched the seams using a stitch designed to both bind and serge the seams in knit fabric. In the picture, you can see how many tries it took me before I liked the placement of the seam! You can trim some of the extra fabric off after you sew the final seam.

Once the shirt portion of the dress fit, I turned my attention to the skirt. I laid the two pieces of skirt fabric out flat, then folded the double layer in half. I lined up this skirt fabric with the folded shirt. I cut the skirt so that it began the same width as the bottom of the shirt, and then increased to a slight a-line towards the hem.

Here are the skirt pieces once cut. (The pieces appear to be slightly different sizes in the picture, but they are actually the same.)

Next, I pinned the skirt pieces to the bottom hems of the shirt. One skirt piece got pinned to the shirt front, the other to the shirt back. (Remember: the side seams of the shirt were not yet stitched all the way to the bottom of the shirt. This allowed me to work with the front and back of the shirt individually, since they were not fully attached to each other.) I liked the look of the shirt’s hem, so I kept that as a flap with the skirt pinned behind it.

I pinned and stitched the skirt pieces to the shirt pieces. 

With the skirt pieces sewn to the shirt, it was finally time to extend the side seams all the way to the hem of the skirt. I pinned and sewed!

After trying on the dress, I decided to shorten the skirt a couple inches so that it reached right below my knee. I saved the trimmed fabric for later use!

Now to finish those sleeves. I simply folder under the extra fabric extending beyond the shoulder seam and pinned it in place. Stitched that in place and the “sleeve” was done.

I had just enough fabric trimmings left to make a couple accessories! (Nothing like some custom detailing to make a re-made dress look vintage!) The strip of gray fabric became a sailor-like necktie. The blue circles would morph into a flower that could be clipped to my hat.

I cut out petals from the circles and cut small pieces of black felt for the backing. I stacked the flowers from largest to smallest, attaching each new flower layer with hot glue.

A cute lil’ button became the center of the flower, while a piece from the shirt’s hem acted as leaves.


The circle of felt became the base of the flower, while the rectangle secured the hair clip to the base.  I used my E6000 glue to attach the hair clip to the felt.

I couldn’t wait to style my newly-made dress! The addition of my favorite cloche hat and vintage-y shoes completed the look!

Find similar styles (here)!
And here!

Of course, I also added my homemade accessories and a LOT of eyeliner! Check out this historically-inspired 1920’s makeup tutorial (here) for more ideas! Much fun!

This 1920’s outfit makes me want to dance!

Hey, Flappers! Who’s ready for a polo shirt dance party?!

Fashion Challenge: A Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses

Fashion Challenge: A Week of 70’s and 80’s Dresses

I am always on the hunt for vintage dresses during my thrift store adventures! Only recently, however, did I notice a collection of dresses from the 1970’s and 80’s beginning to take over my closet. When I was gifted a box of additional dresses from those decades, I concluded that the only solution was… to give myself a fashion challenge! Could I possibly wear 70’s and 80’s dresses for a week? The following rules applied: Rule #1: No period-specific vintage looks allowed. Bring the dress to the present. Rule #2: Only minor alterations/repairs (such as removal of shoulder pads) can be made on any dress. Rule #3: The outfit must actually be worn in public. Rule #4 Related experiences and conclusions must be documented for educational purposes. Obviously.

Day 1: Striped Polyester Dress

I began the week with this vibrant shirt dress from the 1970’s. I was feeling admittedly self-conscious, so I kept my makeup classic and jewelry modern. A belt was totally necessary to rein in some of that polyester, while a navy cami warded off wardrobe malfunctions. The addition of navy lace-up boots was a little weird, but I rolled with it. I was somewhat surprised to get some compliments on the dress and its colors. I guess we need more blue, navy, black, mauve, and magenta dresses in the world? My only real issue with the dress was the limited breathability of the polyester. It was a LOT of polyester.

Day 2: Black Knit Dress

As soon as I put this dress on, I was struck by how comfortable it was! With the addition of a black cami underneath, the bat wing sleeves and draped front were super flattering and allowed for excellent mobility. I stuck with minimalist shoes, but threw in some cheeky jewelry for necessary irreverence. (Check out my irreverent necklace-making tutorial here.) While wearing the dress, I felt that it didn’t appear blatantly vintage but could pass for a contemporary piece. One downside, however, was that the bat-wing sleeves don’t fit well in my everyday denim jacket. Since I love this dress, I will simply have to buy one of those chic wrap/shawls this season. No problem there.

Day 3: Cotton Gold, Green, and Black Dress.

This was probably one of the easiest dresses to wear, as there was no cami required. I was thrilled to find that my antiqued gold jewelry and olive boots were my definition of a perfect match. Although I could have added a belt to my accessories, simplicity seemed to be the more modern choice. My one issue with the dress was the smallness of the cuffs, even when unbuttoned. Thankfully, the day was not warm enough to require rolled sleeves.

Day 4: Green Draped-front Dress

Warm weather returned to the forecast, making me grateful for short sleeves, although a white cami was necessary. The synthetic fabric was slightly scratchy, but I liked the drape of bodice and skirt. I was excited to find an excuse to wear a great 1950’s statement necklace! (I concluded that this was NOT a violation of rule #1, as the necklace and dress were from different decades.) I wore the ensemble to work, despite the fact that it was casual friday. My colleagues were noticeably puzzled, but I had a fashion challenge to uphold! Conclusion:  great outfit, best for a non-Friday day.

Day 5: 1970’s Sundress 

I saved this great, Gunny Sax-esque dress for the weekend. Although it required some mending, the dress was surprisingly comfortable with cotton fabric and smocked bodice. The weather was downright hot, so I accessorized with a large hat and somewhat ugly sandals. As I went for an afternoon walk, I felt that I was in keeping with the hippy vibe.

Day 6: Pink, Purple, and Black Floral Dress

I originally bought this vibrant dress for a vintage photoshoot, but the rules for the week’s challenge excluded such outfits. There was nothing left to do but to embrace the brightness and boldness of the dress… And add layers, lots of layers! Our Sunday drive to the coast made a coat, beret, big sunglasses, and surprisingly matching scarf allowable. To add to the experience, I adopted the clashing-shoes-worn-with-dresses trend and wore lace-up boots. I concluded that I looked like a spy villian in an 1980’s movie. My disguise was apparently effective, as some acquaintances passed right by me without recognition!  Perhaps there is something to be said for the spy business. Otherwise, the outfit was very comfortable- I needed the layers for warmth but enjoyed the swishiness of the dress. Perhaps I could be a spy on holiday.

Day 7: Red Knit Dress

I was REALLY looking forward to wearing this dress, which was surprisingly classic and comfortable. The undergarments, or more specifically the dress’s need for specific undergarments, let me down! The knit fabric turned out to be quite thin and sheer. I tried every basic-colored slip I had and even made Amazon purchases to no avail. My last-ditch option will be a red, full-length slip from Amazon that might possibly be the right color. Stayed tuned for the future conclusion of this post. Darn the 1980’s…


Apple Crafts

Apple Crafts

Apple harvest is underway, and I have been busy creating a “bushel” of fruity crafts! These projects use some of my favorite techniques from previous posts, but give them an apple twist! All of these crafts would be perfect for teacher gifts (show those teachers some love!) or cute fall projects for you! I started by crafting fuzzy pom-pom apples from yarn remnants.

This project was based on our Pom-Pom Pumpkin post from last fall! (Find that tutorial here! ) I just changed the yarn color and glued little felt leaves to the stems! Here are my supplies, including my pom-pom makers, which you can find on Amazon (here).

These little guys would look cute grouped as a centerpiece or hung as ornaments!

Or by themselves!

A great way to round out an apple-themed gift is to stamp an apple card! Check out our paint-stamping tutorial here in this post!

Of course, I couldn’t pass up a chance to add some apple style to my wardrobe! Using the fabric stamping technique from our t-shirt tutorial (here), I added fruity details to a simple dress! I just had to wear it on an apple-buying expedition!

Enjoy apple season! 🙂

Make A Statement: Painted Denim Jacket

Make A Statement: Painted Denim Jacket

Recently, I have been inspired by statement jackets and decided to paint my own as the perfect adition to my back to school wardrobe. This oversized denim jacket used to be my dad’s but he let me steal it from the coat closet. If you are looking for a denim jacket to make your own, check out your local Goodwill and don’t forget to check the guy’s section (endless oversized treasures have been found there).

Supplies

  • Denim Jacket
  • Fabric Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Fabric Pen
  • Trash bags, paper bag, or anything that will protect your work surface from fabric paint.
  • Pinterest board where you can gather inspiration (check out my inspiration linked here: http://www.pinterest.com/eyre0482/my-painted-jacket/

Make sure to put something inbetween the front and the back of the jacket so paint does not bleed onto the opposite side. I decided to use the lines of the sems to frame my painting.

To get the colors to be very vibrant, I had to add a layer of white paint as a base.

Tracing around the letters with a black fabric pen really helped them stand out and look clean around the edges. I didn’t use stencils or stamps, I just free handed the whole thing using pictures as references. Whether you trace everything out first or just go with the flow, making a statement jacket is all about your creative process and what calls to you. Have fun with it! I certainly did!

Check out Britt’s statement jacket incorporating both patches and stamping from our past blog post Basic to Trendy- Patches (found here)!