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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)!

Ice Dyed Curtains

Ice Dyed Curtains

Two of my best friends recently moved into a new appartment and needed some new curtains. I thought what could be more fun than tye dying them some curtains! My mom had saved some white cotton sheets and Brit and I had just tried out ice dying when I visited her. I loved how the ice dying turned out and since I have a nice sized lawn, I had plenty of space to do my project.

For our tutorial on how to ice dye and what supplies are needed, check out our previous post linked here: https://partnersincraft.com/ice-dye-apartment-edition/

Soaking the sheets in soda ash.

Set up!

We let the dye melt into the fabric for 3 hours.

After washing and drying the sheets, I made them into curtains.

This is essentially what I did to make them curtains. I did iron the sheets beforehand to make measuring and cutting them as accurate as possible. Remember to leave extra lenght for hemming!

Results!

They look so beautiful with sunlight coming through them!

I had an extra sheet which I didn’t cut. Instead, I pinned it up on the wall like a tapestry.  In an appartment where you can’t paint the walls, this is a great way to add color and it looks great!

The curtains turned out great and my friends love them! Success! 

Ice Dye: Apartment Edition

Ice Dye: Apartment Edition

Britt and I have a tradition of tye dying almost every year. This summer we decided to attempt it at Britt’s apartment… Instead of doing pots of dye on the stove or in buckets outside, we discovered ice dying, which was a new technique for us. We decided to try it out and see if it was more suitable for apartment-sized crafting than our usual dying method. With our new found inspiration, we set out to see how big of a mess we could make in Brit’s car port.

We found some great istructions from Brit+Co. Check out this bloggers post for more inspiration. https://www.brit.co/how-to-ice-tie-dye/

Supplies

  • Tarp
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towel
  • Scissors
  • Tin pans with plastic lids
  • Cookie racks
  • 1 lb. Soda Ash (We bought ours from Amazon via this link. )
  • Rit Dye (We also tried a polyester dye for a poly/cotton blend scarf… it didn’t work as well.)
  • Ice
  • Ruber bands (You only need these if you want to do starbursts or to tie up the fabric to produce a certain pattern).
  • Clothing to dye

Step 1: Soda Ash

We started by dissolving a package of soda ash in a couple of gallons of water. The package of soda ash should say how much to add for water volume. Then for an hour, we soaked the clothing and fabric in soda ash as a fixative for the dye.

Step 2: Stabby stab!

We used scissors to poke holes into the plastic lid that accompanied the tin pans. This allows water to drain into the tin pan as the ice melts.

Step 3 – Optional

I love starbursts so I used tiny hair rubber bands to create them around the bottom of some shirts I was dying.

Step 4: Assemble materials!

We placed the plastic lids on the tin pans. The we put cookie racks over the tin pans that didn’t have lids.

The red package of polyester dye did not work!

Step 6: Arrange fabric and add ice.

We used one bag of store bought ice. When I ice dyed sheets a few weeks later, I needed a lot more. When in doubt, just get more ice!

Step 7: It’s time to dye.

We opened the packages of dye and shook the powder onto the ice. There isn’t really a specific method for this part, have fun!

We ended up leaving the ice to melt over night. When I dyed sheets back at home a few weeks later, I left the dye sitting for 3 hours.

In the morning we collected our ice dyed goodies from the car port and put them in the wash.

Results!

Tote bags

The dye had a harder time melting through and getting both side of thicker material like the tote bags and a pair of shorts. Still turned out pretty cool but it is something to take note of.

We hit the beach rocking our new ice dyed clothing!

We fit right in at Brit’s local market.

Clean Up!

We washed the tin pans and cookie racks in the bathtub so I could take them home and do some ice dying with my friends! (The dye water dyed the soap scum in the tub, but did not dye the actual tub because we scrubbed it clean as soon as possible. Your tub might retain dye if it is old and/or cracked. If in doubt, you can do this step outside.) We used a hose outside to wash the tarp. Relatively easy and quick clean up!

Britt and I have deemed this project appartment friendly! I had so much fun ice dying that when I returned home I ice dyed some sheets to remake into curtains. Check out my post on ice dyed curtains here: https://partnersincraft.com/ice-dyed-curtains/

The Sarong- An Almost Instant Dress

The Sarong- An Almost Instant Dress

Ever really want a new dress for the weekend but have NO interest in sewing or searching stores? Enter the Sarong, a giant piece of fabric that, with a little help, can become clothing! When the dress-urge hit me, I was grateful to discover just such a piece of fabric in my stash. The piece was about 3 yards long and about a foot and a half shorter than myself. The fabric was somewhat drapey and featured a hippy-ish print as a bonus. Although I could have hemmed the raw edges, I skipped this step in the name of hippy-ness. (It helped that the fabric didn’t ravel very much.)

There are many ways to tie a sarong, but this is the easiest way I have found to get the most coverage from the final result. When wearing the sarong as a dress, I wear a tank or tube top and a half slip underneath. We don’t want any “wardrobe malfunctions” now do we? To begin, hold the fabric long ways behind you.

Depending on the length of your fabric, hold either the corners of the fabric or places a short distance from the corners. Start to twist the fabric at the two places where you are holding it. Cross the fabric in front of your body.

Almost done! Now take the twisted fabric pieces you are holding and tie them together at the back of your neck.

Ta-da!

I added a belt to create a waistline and to help insure that the wrapped fabric didn’t come unwrapped! Boho jewelry was also a must!

I took my new “dress” out to dinner! 

Upon discovering more fabric, I made matching sarongs for Lindee and I! We wore them as swim cover-ups and discovered that they were very breezy and comfortable. The hippies know a thing or two!

Time to find more fabric!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

Refashioned Button-Up, Vintage Style!

I wasn’t kidding last week when I said that I loved my newly refashioned button-up shirt! Although the refashioning took time, I was able to make a custom top from something that didn’t fit before! (See the tutorial here!) Now, I love the shirt’s length, comfiness, and styling options. I was certain I could use it to create some vintage inspired looks! First up, an outfit inspired by the 1930’s…

 

 

 

This outfit made me think of the comfy “beach pajamas” from the 1930’s! Wide-leg pants, a breezy top, and a big hat equaled summer sun readiness!

 

 

 

My earrings, hat, and pin are favorite thrift store finds. The scarf was a gift from the fabulous Heather!

 

 

 

Next, my top and I visited the beach by way of the 1940’s! I left out the matching belt this time and instead tucked the top into an A-line skirt.

 

 

 

I love the nautical feel of those stripes! I just wish it was slightly less windy!

 

 

 

My skirt, belt, and earrings were thrifted, while my hat was a homemade project based on a vintage pattern. More on that later!

 

 

Ship ahoy, Matey! Be on the lookout for more refashioned projects coming soon!

“Refashioned” Button-Up Shirt

“Refashioned” Button-Up Shirt

 

I love the idea of button-up shirts, but I have a hard time finding ones that fit… Enter the button-up refashion- a project that utilizes a large shirt and transforms it to your specifications! Although this project is pretty straight forward, it does take time. Be sure that you actually like some feature of the large shirt! My shirt came from a fabulous family member who, like me, has a thing for red! I love the color and nautical stripes!

 

 

 

I started out by laying the shirt flat on my work surface and then folding the shirt in half. (In hind sight, I should have put a few pins in strategic places on the shirt when it was laying flat. The pins would have kept the fabric from moving around as much when the shirt was folded.) Next, I used a button up blouse as a “pattern.” Note: Do NOT use a form fitting or stretchy shirt for the pattern! (The button up’s fabric won’t stretch like a T shirt’s fabric would.) You want to cut the button down bigger than you need, then sew it smaller! Notice my ruler in the picture? I used that and a disappearing fabric pen to mark roughly 2 inches extra around my pattern shirt. The added inches will hopefully give me enough fabric for seam allowance AND for adjusting the fit. Better to cut too big than too small!!

 

 

 

 

Turning our attention to the sleeves! I made the decision to go sleeveless after noticing that the shoulder seam of the shirt was long enough to create a cap sleeve length on me. I used my handy dandy ruler and pen to mark about an inch and a half from the shoulder seams. I did this all around the arm and then trimmed the fabric at those marks. Note: In hind sight, I would probably have left 2 inches of fabric past the shoulder seam. Would have made life easier in the next step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what the shirt looks like opened up. The side seams have been cut, and the sleeves have been removed. At this point, it’s a great idea to pin the side seams of the shirt closed so you can (carefully) try it on. You want to make sure that the cut shirt is big enough to fit you before you put more work into it. (Have I cut a shirt too small before and had to abandon the project? Yes!)

 

 

 

Now to finish those arm holes! The 1 and a half inches of extra fabric will become a rolled hem around the arm holes. First, I folded the extra fabric until it met the shoulder seam. Then, I folded the folded part over on itself and pinned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the arm hole in its pinned stage and its finished, stitched-up result!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now for the body of the shirt! I pinned the side seams closed and quickly stitched with big, loose stitches. At this point, I just wanted to know how the shirt fit. There would be plenty of time for finalized seams later.

 

 

 

The next step took a couple tries. After trying on the shirt, I took the side seams in a bit, stitched them quickly, then tried on the shirt again. I repeated this process until I got a fit that I liked. Eventually, I ended up curving the seams inward slightly near waist level, creating a gradual hourglass shape. I also decided to open the seams several inches from the bottom of the shirt to allow a little extra leaway over my hips and bum. I used the seam allowance to roll mini hems for the openings.

 

 

 

Once I was happy with fit, I made my final hems of the side seams. YIPEE!!!

 

 

 

I could have stopped there, but decided to create a belt for the shirt for a little extra shaping and style! Yes, it was more work (sigh…), but I thought it would increase the ways I could wear the shirt. (Check out next week’s post to see if I was right!) To make the belt, I cut open the sleeves, and attempted to cut 2 strips from each sleeve. I marked off strips that were (I think) 4 inches wide and as long as the sleeve fabric would allow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After cutting the strips to the same length, I pinned the ends right sides together and stitched.  All that work to create a piece of fabric long enough to become a belt!

 

 

 

I folded the long piece of fabric in half with the right sides together. I pinned and then stitched the fabric into a long tube. It took a while, but I eventually turned the tube right side out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To finish the ends, I rolled the raw edges into the tubes. I pinned the openings closed and stitched them. Viola belt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wore my cute (and comfy!) new top with some favorite homemade cut offs! (To learn how to stamp the strawberries on the hem, check out this post here!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this new top so much, that I have worn it repeatedly since making it! Stay tuned for some vintage-inspired red n’ white looks next week!

 

Fashion Challenge: Bahama Mama

Fashion Challenge: Bahama Mama

There’s something about summer that makes wearing crazy prints and bright colors totally acceptable. Maybe it’s the heat affecting our fashion sense. Maybe it’s our inner kid going crazy for summer fun. Maybe we wish we were in Hawaii. Whatever the reason, I’m fully on board and am taking every opportunity to embrace my wanna-be-traveler-hippy-artist-Bahama-Mama side! Thrift stores have been my source for breezy, albeit kitschy, tropical wear. Vintage pieces are my new favorites and have accompanied me on many summer adventures. Gotta work this style while I’m still on island time…

 

 

These pictures were taken at the beautiful Lone Pine Garden in Sebastopol, California (check out their site here). They specialize in cacti, succulents, and Bonsai! I went crazy photographing the textures and colors around me!

 

Not to be outshone, my vintage mumu had both punchy colors and cool, comfy fabric. My accessories included a modern hat and belt, with vintage earrings. Everything except my shoes were thrifted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California (link here) to spend time with friends. This is one of our favorite places to walk, especially in the cooler evenings! The bridge is stunning, but don’t miss the beautiful botanical garden and walking paths!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My outfit, excluding shoes and bag, were thrift store finds. Those crazy pants and some of my forever faves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was not at all tropical but was very delicious! I’ve been going with my family to the Marin French Cheese factory (found here) since I was a little kid! Just as I did then, I love the beautiful grounds and picnic areas as much as I love the cheese!

 

This vintage dress (from Hawaii!) is one of my favorites, since it is cute and super breezy! My belt, necklace, and hat were also thrift store finds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t want to leave! Just look at that view!

 

 

One of the best and most obvious choices for a summery experience is the pool!

 

 

My perfectly pool-colored dress was a gift from the fabulous Mrs. Smauley, while the crazy cool bracelets were my grandmothers!

 

 

Ready for  a swim, Anyone?