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Monday, August 14, 2017

I tri so hard

I actually didn't "tri" that hard. I'm singing that song by Linkin' Park (RIP singer) but my post is about triangles so...word play?
I'm following through on something, even if it does take me a decade or two. Months ago, I previewed three dresses that I said would be "coming soon." I was only wrong about the "soon" part. I did the first one, (spring green with the circles) and here's the second one. It's got triangles.
Bleh, I am repulsed by that picture. It's a very '80s style by that Leslie Fay label I see so often. Here is an extreme close up of the print I'm going on about.
I'm honestly not sure when geometric patterns in fashion were a thing, but I'll just go with the '80s as that's when these frocks were born. There's something I like about the shapes, and the points, and straight lines. No flowers here, folks, just geometry.
Here are some other examples!
I had the black and green diamond pattern (known as harlequin) with this piece from last Winter.
Here's an unusual, asymmetric dress from the past that I sold in my Etsy shop.
Another find that I had to sell. I didn't think I altering it would have been wise.
This '60s maxi skirt sold fast and I regret that I didn't wear it first.
Let's bring it back to the main subject with the very simple alterations I made to the dress I showed you back up there. 
It looks like I took it in ever so slightly on the sides, then chopped some of the already short sleeve off. In a previous post I mentioned my new thing which is removing collars. 
See what I did? The top part of the collar that goes around the neck was hacked off. The front part (the lapels?) were spared. 
I took a few inches off the bottom. Of course, only a few inches. I like my dresses long and my tops tight. After reviewing the after pics, I considered that I may have wandered into too unsexy territory.
I actually do like it, I just don't want to come off as so conservative or modest. That ain't me, man! I just like mid length dresses and '40s style! 
I wore a black sash to try and tie it in with the shoes and necklace. It's a triangle necklace, by the way. I have been seeking out necklaces with shapes other than just circle.
Here's a little close-up...
 Here's a little closer.
I'm pleased with how the top of the dress came out. It seems like it fits so much better without the collar. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What I did on my summer vacation...last summer

Talk about running late! Not only have I not blogged in months, I'm showing off a dress from a whole year ago. Let's get started!
 A typical '80s made disaster...and the dress looks funny too. Ha ha, self deprecation...
Look at that weird, triangle shaped belt. Nice! A vintage dress with its original belt! It's by this label called "Lisa Petites."
I seriously can't tell the size because it's smudged. Size 18? Dang. Anyway, the label is mildly interesting to me as I have two other dresses by this maker.
 Like this one! It's a '40s style dress in an extremely '80s print. Like, that's the most '80s print I've ever seen. I'm all about the novelty prints. Here's a closeup of the green one:
There, I made it huge. What a cute retro print! White half circles with a black edge. That sold it, I was keeping/altering/wearing that dress.
I guess I didn't take any pictures of the process, so you'll have to use your imagination. I did my usual removal of the sleeves and lowering of the neckline. Then I hemmed it up a couple inches. I can show you what I did with the belt.
I changed the buttons to some cuter black buttons. I was going to wear the belt backwards. I had some other accessories I decided to add. By the way, I took pictures of the finished dress on the day that I wore it to summer school, last year. I just never got around to posting them because that's just how I am!
So, there's the bodice...in hindsight, I see that wearing that thick black chain necklace may have seemed like a good idea at the time but it was not.
However, the other little baubles; those are clip on earrings. I used them on each strap(?) to gather up the material for cuteness purposes. Here's the full after shot:
I had dark hair for a short time last summer because I really thought this particular color would look...not like that.

I must have really wanted to wear this thing if I got all fancy for summer school. My summer gig is 8:00 - 12:00 in a different school with two teachers and two paraprofessionals as the only staff. I do remember that I was complimented for my dress by one of the kids in my class. Whenever a first grade boy takes time to notice your outfit, you know you've got it goin' on.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Little Dress on the Prairie

More like big dress on the prairie, am I right?
The content of my blog posts typically consist of three things:
1. Apologizing for the length of time between my infrequent posts, despite how few are actually reading.
2. Complaining about how the weather never cooperates with my outfit choices.
3. The frustration I experience with the oversized, tent-like '80s dresses.
This one hits all those marks. Le dress:
Many of these dresses are by Liz Claiborne and this is one of them. They're always so big. It's only a size 4, and in the Savers dressing room I thought I could easily make this wearable. Nothing is ever easy, really.
It's always the bodice and its extraneous folds of ballooning material. As usual, I'm drawn to the print. It has a romantic boho kinda style. To start:
This will be the start of my de-collaring series. You see, taking in the sides of these things never does the job. I figured that I could try to take it in from the middle. Also, I ditched the long sleeves. This is all part of my effort to take a big dress and make less of it. This also included taking about 4" off the bottom.
It was still kind of big, but of course I had to wear it before it was too hot for rayon. That's why the wide belt is here.
 Creative pose + filter = nice picture. They're so heavily edited because they were taken at night using flash and on an older camera.
Look, it has pockets. I wish you could see the little circular floral things that make up the print.
Bodice closeup. I actually decided to take it in from the back after these pics. Size 4, my ass.
Coming soon!
Other dresses with unflattering styles but great '80s prints!
And this hit from the 1990s!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

'Cuz you're hot and you're cold

It seems like just a couple weeks ago, the kids were shedding their coats at recess and I was putting both my Uggs and faux Uggs in the closet. Yea, spring time!
Not so fast. Suddenly the temps dropped...the spring coat went back on the hanger as I retrieved my furry boots. Before I knew it, it was April Fool's day and I was clearing several inches of heavy wet snow off my car. New England winter came right back like some unfunny internet troll whom you thought was banished.
So I guess I had the chance to do another winter refashion or two. I quickly took a "before" pic of this mohair sweater. I know I did. Seriously, how the frick do I keep mysteriously losing my "before" pictures! This one's an easy fix:
I took an "after" shot and edited it back to its original state! It was a plain black sweater dress with a high neck. It was a Goodwill half-off item and made of soft, fuzzy... mohair? Fake mohair?
That's how much I cut off the hem. Just a little, knowing it would curl up. Hoping it would. It was actually a wide hem, like a cuff. I removed the same little cuff-like piece from the neck. I did it with scissors and it was so easy I just kept cutting!
That right there was a bad idea. I felt the pockets didn't look right as they were in the front thigh region. You can't just slice off pockets and move on. I sewed that thing right back on.
It needed some "jazzing" up...finally, an opportunity to browse my extensive button collection!
I chose three round, white dealies with little sparkles in the center. Anyway, here it is with some jeggings.
You know how I took this picture? I moved my bedroom mirror (which just leans against the wall, unattached) into the kitchen with that white curtain I use for a backdrop. My room is too messy for mirror selfies.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Forever in blue-green, baby

You have to sing the title. It's "Forever in Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond. Google Will Ferrell's version for a little chuckle.
Velvet is so beautiful and luxurious... but it's also very impractical. I mean, it's not like I'm some medieval queen on a throne. "Ooh, look at meee! I'm dressed in my fancy velvet fineries!" I love fancy stuff, but I'm realistic.
Look at the beautiful color on this vintage thrift store thing.
 It had these little button details. I like the idea, but not the execution. Looks bad.
It had those stupid poofy shoulders that I hate. By the way, this is the front. Here's the back:
This dress needs a complete 180. That back should be the front! I was going to turn that thing around...you know...a 180.
But first; I took off the sleeves. I just don't mess around with sleeves, I'm not patient.
Then I turned it inside out and trimmed/sewed a bunch or random crap into place. What even is this?
I had to do some sewing down the front on each side to keep some extra material in check and working with velvet can be challenging. I wasn't eager to take it on the sides but this dress was shapeless and unflattering. Surely, there's some kind of shortcut I can take? There was. Behold:
Do you see what I did there? I just folded one side over the other and secured it with a belt. This worked because of the velvet texture which keeps it from sliding.
Now, it's not only impractical because of its material, it's also not structurally sound!
Side by side! That before pic is bad, huh?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Valentine Girl

That title actually is a song title. "Valentine Girl" from New Kids on the Block. Not sure if they were describing a girl as a "valentine girl" or if they were addressing the object of affection as "girl". Like, "Will you be my valentine, girl?"
You don't even know what I'm talking about. Here's the "before" incarnation of my Valentine's day dress:
It was great, it looked like a big sack of nothing, thus easy to work with. It's made of a polyester-textured material. I really liked the shirred waist which had sadly lost its elasticity over the years as had the elastic around the cuffs.
I was just planning on wearing it to school for our little first grade party. I was envisioning a cheapo version of a romantic era dress.
Actually no, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I guess I was thinking about bell sleeves, jacquard ribbon, cameo jewelry, and velvet. Ummm...the period costumes from the 1994 adaptation of Little Women?
I could only find a few pictures of this lovely gown worn my Winona Ryder as Jo March. I went for a veeery loose inspiration of that.
First thing I did was remove the nasty old elastic from the sleeves before figuring out how to deal with that waist. I had a trick in my pile of sewing supplies that could totally work.
(Made big to show details of package.) Looks like you just sew it on and then pull those little elastic strings. How could that go wrong? Did I mention this is a secondhand item that came in a big box of notions?
(Once again; picture embiggened.) This doesn't even show the full scope of damage this damn thing caused. You see, after sewing the damn thing in place I went to pull the elastics only to have them disintegrate into waxy little pieces that become stuck during the process. Oh, it was nasty.
At this point, I really should've given it up. This is not some one of kind, designer piece. It was a non-remarkable, simple shapeless dress made of acrylic fabric.
But I'm stubborn and not in the good way. Have you heard of the sunk cost fallacy?
It's defined as "Reasoning that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment." Here's the source.
So, I sat down in front of the TV and seam ripped out the whole thing. At this point, I had used up all the perfectly matched thread from a small spool that I happened to have on hand. I would have to buy more. (Once again; I should've just tossed the thing.)
New thread in hand, I decided I might as well take in the dress just a tiny bit.
Nope, needed to be taken in quite a bit more. Unpinned and repinned and finally sewed.
Now...the waist. I sure as hell wasn't going to re-shir it. What I did was sew in a wide elastic band and didn't take any damn pics. You just pin it on and the stretch the elastic while sewing.
I also lowered the neckline and cut off a few inches from the bottom. I considered using this awesome ribbon that I knew I had stashed for something, possibly the neckline.
When I went to retrieve said ribbon, I realized all I had was the tiny section seen here. I'm sure it could've been useful, but I had wasted too much time for creativity. The after:

Not exactly exciting, but comfortable and practical. I do have several cameo style necklaces, but I went with the roses pendant on a chain.
Here's the side by side:
I have so many mostly completed projects that I want to show off. So...I'll get right on that.