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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paint it Black: shirt to kimono refashion

For this edition of April's "Paint it Black" series (in which I commemorate the spring weather by refashioning clothing in a color not usually associated with warm weather outfits) I make a kimono the hard way by cutting an old shirt down the middle. It might be considered a "ki-nono" (I'm sorry.) I think I got this appreciation for kimonos over the winter, when I picked up this one:
This sweet vintage "cranes flying" kimono is still available in my Etsy shop. It's $20. After taking those pictures, I really started to like the item. "This is really cool," I said, admiring my robe worn as a top. "Why aren't people wearing these? Then, I checked Pinterest.
They are wearing those. Have been for some time.
click and find sources

Yup, kimono like clothing everywhere. Boho stuff. It's not a recent trend, at all. For whatever reason, I got the idea that I could make my own out of an old too big dress or shirt. (Actually, sewing a kimono from scratch is painfully easy, according to the tutorials I've seen.) Here's the "before" shirt:
Vintage, XL, polyester, 70s style shirt. 
I just thought this pic was somewhat silly. Hi.
I was so excited, to start this. I figured it would be somewhat easy. First, I had to remove some of the stuff.
Those are the elastic parts of the sleeve cuffs. And the collar had to go, because these things don't have them.
Then, I had to cut it down the middle in front. I actually marked it with a ruler and one of those white pencils.
I took out the three buttons at the top, folded each side in a couple inches and pinned it up. I also, cut off several inches from the sleeves so they wouldn't be so long. I actually gave the sleeves little rolled cuffs. After sewing the raw edges, I was mostly done. This thing was pretty easy.

So easy that I look like a slack-jawed yokel.
It works. Now, all it needed was something to embellish it. I had several options in mind to make it fancier.
That feather, after surgically removing it from that stained t shirt.
Strawberries or that awesome peacock applique, or that kickass Greek key ribbon
Some pretty lace or I could stencil with a bleach pen!
No, no, no. Nothing seemed right. I might be able to use the peacock if I go back to Joann's Fabric and get the feather appliques that matched. This is what trips me up on every project, I'm so damn indecisive. Here it is, without embellishments.
High waist, zippered skinny pants; open toed maryjane heels; sequin rose tshirt
But wait! There's more!Not much though. This refashion is also includes a DIY that's mind numbingly simple and a refashion that really isn't.
Here's outfit with a black crop top, instead. Wanna know how to make a crop top? Step 1: take a top and "crop" it. (Wow, heavy sarcasm, here.) Of course, this wasn't a top at first, it was a dress. A cringe-inducing-ly age and body type inappropriate dress.
Before. Yikes.
I picked that up last winter while doing some Forever 21 clearance shopping. Upon returning home, I remembered that I wasn't 21 and worked in kindergarten, not as a hooker extra on Law and Order: SVU. Even more embarrassing than typing that last part out? I bought two of those dresses.
As you see, the tops of these low price garments have those cool boob compartments and awesome hook and closures down the middle. I just "cropped" off the too tight and short skirt part. Voila, now I've got sexy mini shirts to wear with high waist pants. One of these days.

OMG, you guys. This post still won't quit. Look at those tassel necklaces. I "made" them. Those quotation marks indicate insincerity with the word within them. Sorry no pics of the process, hope you can follow.
 That tassel from fabric store clearance + a medium length chain= this:
 Put tassel om chain. Wow, a Joanne's Fabric sale item necklace...I'm so boho that I'm playing bongos and writing poetry. Here's the other necklace. It has two smaller black tassels!
All sarcasm aside, I think I actually like my results and I want to make more of these. I've already got the fabric lined up for kimono from a pattern. Keep it simple, stupid.


  1. Lols... That 'I'm so boho' line made me giggle :-) the kimono turned out great! A piece like that can be really versatile. The outfits look really cool.

  2. Thank you! So cool that you said that because my next dress (hopefully i'll blog it tomorrow or Sat.) is all about versatility. How, I'm always so wishy washy about my little projects because I might change my mind.