Refashion // beads & silk

Kimono refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

I got a bunch of really gorgeous vintage dresses from one of Boyfriend’s relatives a few weeks ago and I was so excited about this one I dove right in and finished it in two days.

Kimono refashion

But let’s back up. This started out as a bit of a monstrosity. There were shoulder pads, shoulder flanges, no shaping darts anywhere, and awkwardly long sleeves. There was, however, the most gorgeous beading all over the back, as well as on the edges of the bottom and sleeves. Plus, it’s 100% silk and has the most luscious drape.

I knew immediately that I had to keep the beading all in on piece and not mess with it at all. I toyed with the idea of doing some kind of short shift dress, but all of the beading just seemed too heavy for that kind of design. Then I had one of those light bulb moments and realized that it would be much better balanced if I just turned it around and put the beading on the back.

Kimono refashion

Once I had a design idea, the first thing I had to do was a lot of careful seam-ripping. I unpicked the shoulder flanges and then undid the side seams up to about where I wanted to hack off the skirt. Then I did a lot of procrastinating before actually slicing off the skirt.

Kimono refashion

You guys, cutting into this thing was SO nerve-wracking. I chewed on my nails for a while and then just went for it. I decided I wanted a high-low thing going on at the hem so I measured and cut accordingly. The front is 3″ shorter than the back. Then I cut straight down the center back which would become the center front opening. I took the excess skirt fabric and cut long strips that would become the center front panels, and reshaped the front neckline to get a more kimono-esque shape. I also had to draft a back neck piece, which I sewed to the front panel strips, and unpick the facings, which I felt inordinately guilty doing since they were so beautifully sewn in.

After that was a ton of hand-stitching. I sewed one side of the front panels on by machine but pretty much everything else was done by hand, including re-attaching all the beading to the bottom hem. I’m debating also adding beading to the end of the sleeves but haven’t decided if that would be a nice balance or just be too much.

Either way I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s super swishy and fun to wear. Actually I didn’t realize until just now that I subconsciously picked my swishy Minnetonka boots to wear with it. Multi-swish! I’m literally slightly bummed that it stands out so much because I keep wanting to wear it every day. (I finished it a week ago and have worn it like three times already.)

(And yes, I should steam that back hem again. Wherps.)

Anddd I’ll leave you with a photo of me looking utterly ravishing in a backwards shoulder-padsy dress.

Kimono refashion

Adventures in patterndrafting // tent labeling

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress
dress: self-drafted // shoes: Seychelles

Dutch Label Shop sent me custom labels to try out free of charge, and all opinions, drafting errors, and leg injuries are my own.

I have a bit of a ridiculous obsession with tent dresses. I blame Lauren and 90% of Keiko Lynn‘s wardrobe. Anyway, when we reached the “dresses without waistline seam” part of my flat pattern class, I pounced on the tent dress draft for my homework garment.

My first idea was to go absolutely nuts and make something super flowy out of chiffon. But I decided to dial it back so I could see what the basic tent draft looks like, and so I could be responsible and use up some peachskin I had in my stash.

It’s a pretty basic draft. I started with a torso sloper (drafted using the method in Nora MacDonald’s Principles of Flat Pattern Design book). For the front, I left the waist darts alone but transferred the side bust dart to the waist as flare. Then I added a bit more flare by going out at the side seam. I did the same thing on the back except by transferring the shoulder dart to flare. Then you mark the point halfway between the armhole and waist line and blend a line about 1/2″ inward there. Lastly, I put the front and back pieces on top of each other to make sure the side curves matched up.

What you don’t want to do at this point is mistake your new indent that’s halfway up from the waist as the actual waist, and measure your skirt length from there. I didn’t realize I’d done this until I’d already cut the fabric and therefore ended up with a dress that ended mid-vagina. Not attractive. I thought about making it into a tunic but it just didn’t quite look right in this fabric. I ended up drafting a 3″ panel at the bottom which I think looks kind of cool. Another thing you probably don’t want to do is forget that you meant to have an upper back yoke and therefore don’t need a center back seam on the bottom piece. For the next one I will definitely cut that lower back piece on the fold.

Dutch Label Shop

Andd the best part is that inside the neckline is a lovely professional looking garment label! My Bernina does letters so I’d tried my hand at making my own labels on twill tape before. They turned out pretty cute actually, but a bit too rustic for fancier clothes. These labels from the Dutch Label Shop are much more polished and will go on absolutely everything, especially since I ordered them in both black and white. These ones are the basic woven labels. You pick from a few fonts and colors, and they even have some themed clip art you can add. They also offer a “double white” option for white labels with dark lettering, to prevent the black from being too visible. It doesn’t make it completely opaque though, so you can still kind of see the shadow/outline of the black threads behind it.

They also have another option where you can send them an image of your logo/graphic and they’ll do custom woven labels in all kinds of shapes/sizes with it. It’s a bit more pricey but their example labels look really cool! I don’t actually have a logo for my blog so I just went with the simpler option.

Shipping was a bit tricky; my first order was actually misplaced in the mail. But once they discovered it had gone missing they immediately sent out a replacement and I received it within a few days. And now I can’t wait to put these guys on everything! If you want to order your own custom labels, Dutch Label Shop is offering Peneloping readers a 15% discount on your order from now until July 21st with the code PENELOPING. — We’re having some technical difficulties at the moment. I’ll update when the coupon code is working. Sorry guys!

Anyway, no joke guys, this is officially my Indian lunch buffet/all-you-can-eat-sushi/Thanksgiving dress. Next I want to make one out of something a little drapier with no sleeves and cutaway armholes. And one out of linen. And one with double the amount of flare and made in chiffon, possibly with three layers. (Imightbecrazy.)

*Ignore the weird attempt at photoshopping out the giant bruise on my leg. I was mauled by two adorable puppies who were very excited to see me.

**I still haven’t heard from Leigh-Anne about receiving the Mood giveaway prize! If you could shoot me an email by Sunday, that’d be great! After that I’ll be randomly selecting an alternate winner.  Thanks! :]

 

progress: Snow White // Irresistible Me extensions

Snow White hair

Irresistible Me sent me these extensions free of charge. All opinions, hair-styling, and Disney obsessions are my own. 

No, I haven’t finished Cinderella. And no, this string of Disney-based cosplays was not intentional. What happened was I was innocently browsing cosplay forums while binge-watching Once Upon A Time, when I came across a thread talking about the screen accurate fabric (Robert Allen’s Diamond Tuft in white) for Snow’s outfit from Season 2. Screen-accurate is just about my favorite phrase, so I did a little more digging. It turns out it’s sold out in most upholstery stores, but there was ONE listing on eBay for one last yard. And they mentioned that if no one ordered samples, the last yard would actually be 1 3/8 yards. (Actually I just checked and as of right now there’s one yard available at this eBay shop if anyone’s looking for it!)

Anyway, before I knew what had happened I had bought the fabric. And then a package of gunmetal beads. It all happened so quickly.

IMG_9853

Andd this is what I have so far:

The bodice is pretty much done. I used McCall’s 6819, which was pretty spot on, although I did do a bit of tweaking in the neckline area. I’m tempted to rip out the binding and curve the neckline in a little more but I haven’t decided. The arm bits are also done except for some binding, and then I’ll need to add more grommets for the lower armband thing.

The skirt is cut out and sewn together, but while the fabric itself is perfect, I keep feeling like the color is completely off. It should be darker and more gray. I haven’t attached it yet because I might try dyeing it. Then there are the pants/leggings, which I’m still missing one fabric for. I think I’m going to try to find a thick ribbed knit for the back bits and I magically found the perfect suede-y material for the fronts. It’s satin-y on the back and suede-ish on the front. No idea what it is but it’s perfect (other than being the tiniest bit too dark.)

Also on the agenda is to NOT get distracted by the gorgeous cloak she wears in that one episode with Red. Or Red’s outfits. And hair. Especially the red streak.

And that brings me to my other point. A few weeks ago I had Snow White hair. A few weeks ago I didn’t even need extension or a wig or anything at all because my hair was down to my waist. To be fair, it was not in good shape and desperately in need of a trim.

It did NOT however, need 8″ hacked off. (I’m glaring at my sister through the computer screen right now.) I feel like a shorn sheep.

IMG_9848Here’s the before. I forgot to take one until after I’d finished all the Snow hair-do photos so this one’s a cell phone pic. Wherps.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I was completely thrilled when Irresistible Me contacted me about reviewing a set of their hair extensions because Snow White has long flowing tresses and I currently most definitely do not.

This is what Snow’s hair looks like. 

Since her hair goes down to her waist and is curly, I decided to go with the 24″ Silky Touch hair extensions in Chocolate Brown, which turned out to be the perfect length and exact color of my hair. And holy crap these are nice. I have one set of hair extensions (just one big 4 clip chunk) that I got at a discount bridal supply shop in Taiwan. These extensions make those ones feel like a loofah. To be fair, the Silky Touch ones are real human hair while the Taiwan ones are very fake, but the difference in quality is pretty astounding. The only slightly annoying thing is that I couldn’t figure out a way to browse the Irresistible Me site without making an account, which is just kind of a pain.

IMG_9849My set came with one big 4-clip piece, two 3-clip pieces, five 2-clip pieces, and two 1-clip pieces.

Another awesome thing is that the 200g of hair that comes in this set is divided into different sizes so you can distribute them around your head for a more natural look. That was especially helpful in styling Snow White’s hair since her hair is half up and braided, so I could stick a couple clips up top to fatten up the braid and then place the rest of them below for length and volume. I also LOVE that you can style these with heat. The other set I bought comes pre-curled, but it always looks more natural when you can style extensions with your own hair to get the same texture.

Snow White hair

To do Snow White’s hair, I started with a middle part and put my extensions in. Then curled it for volume and texture and brushed out the curls a bit.

I then French braided either side toward the back of my head, stopping when I had about the top third of my hair braided. I then tied both braids together and flipped the resulting ponytail back up through the loop made by the braids. Then I just fluffed everything to adjust it and pinned it in place.

Snow White hair

Here’s a side by side comparison:

IMG_9848Snow White hair

The moral of the story is that I absolutely love these extensions. Plus, I can even wear them in public since they match my hair (unlike my gorgeous blonde Ella/Elsa wigs that would probably weird out my friends if I wore out). I forgot to take a photo but the first time I put these in I braided my hair just to see what it’d look like and I had a legit fat Elsa braid. It was awesome.

Anyway, up next is the belt, which I found a gorgeous sparkly home dec fabric for, and then the pants. And a million more grommets.

But yay! I can have mermaid hair again!

adventures in patterndrafting // Mood fabrics giveaway

linen shirt dress

linen shirt dress

linen shirt dress

linen shirt dress

linen shirt dress

linen shirt dressdress: self-drafted // shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Hi everyone! My latest patterndrafting adventure is over on the Mood blog today!

This dress is based on this Anthropologie dress. I actually saw it in the store, completely fell head over heels, and then went home and pinned it and started plotting to draft a pattern for it so I could make an army of them in different colors to wear this summer. So it was pretty serendipitous when Mood contacted me about doing a blog post AND had just gotten a bunch of gorgeous linens in.

You can check out the rest of the details over on the Mood Sewciety blog.

As a fun bonus, I’m also giving away  a $50 gift card to Mood, usable online or in-store. Just comment below telling me what you’re most excited to sew this summer!

This giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry, international friends!) and will be open until midnight Saturday, June 11. The winner will be announced shortly after.

Giveaway is now closed!

Also, unrelated but I totally didn’t realize my dress was the same color as my mom’s house until I went out to take photos.

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