Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Tale of Two Shirts - White Collar to Purple Passion

This is a tale of two shirts.  
Boring, unwanted, discard, stuffy, white collar button up mens shirts.
Given to me by the big guy upstairs.
No, not God ... but close, my neighbor, Kevin.
(Thank you, Kevin!)

 Which were magically transformed into something fantastic!
Fun, full of life, filled with purple passion.
Here is their metamorphosis.

And this is how it all came together.

I started with some little sketches trying to work out what design I wanted to go with.  Most of this was dictated by the actual shirts.  I decided I liked the first design sketch the best and it would be the easiest as far as the sleeves go, since the shirts were rather large on me.

Here is a (terrible/blurry) before shot of one of the shirts on.

I used McCall's pattern M4769 to help me shape the bodice and place the darts.  I love this pattern.  I've made two dresses with it in two different styles and plan on making many more!

First, I picked a shirt for the top.  They were two totally different fabrics.  One was more light weight and thin, where the other was a heavy cotton/poly mix.  I went with the light weight shirt for the bodice and the heavy shirt for the skirt.

I started by seam ripping the sleeves and pockets off of both shirts.  

Then I took the bodice front pattern piece and placed it on the shirt (inside out).  I lined up the shoulder seam and center as best as possible and just traced the darts on and the side seam with a pencil.

I did the same thing for the back side.

Before I sewed it I placed it on my girl to check for fit on the side seams.   I also started to form the skirt, which I just did freehand on my girl.  

For the skirt, I cut off the collar below the yoke and then pinned it to my girl.

I accidentally did this with the skirt right side out - oops!  Luckily I fit it really loose at first, so it wasn't too hard to flip it and sew it.  You can see how I just used the pins and the dress form to create the shape of the skirt.

I sewed in the darts on the bodice, sewed together the side seams, and sewed the skirt side seams.  
I also just folded in the arm hole seams from where I had seam ripped them off and left them just as is for a little wing sleeve look.

I matched the side seams and when I felt like I had a perfect fit I sewed the bodice to the skirt.
Looking good so far!

I pressed it all out and then tried it on.

It fits!  YAY!

Now it's dye time!

I seam ripped all the buttons off the shirt first before I dyed and used safety pins on the top and bottom to keep the dress lined up evenly.

I was going for a dark to light blue look and my plan was to give it an overall light blue color and have it gradually get darker towards the bottom for the whole ombre look that is popular.  I went with navy blue.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone with royal blue.
I didn't do a very good job documenting the dye process.  Of course, if I am going to tie dye, I'm going to look through all of our clothing and find anything else I can throw in there, just because.  I covered some stains on a white tank top and tie dyed a white shirt for each kid (who both now need new white shirts) ;).

Basically, what I did was lay an old towel in my tub.  Put a big rubbermaid container in there and filled it with hot water and salt.  First, I poured only a little less than half of the die into the bucket and I completely dipped the entire dress (wear gloves!!!).  I let it sit for only a few minutes and then I pulled it out.  I pulled down my shower curtain and used the rod to help me with the rest of the dye process.  I lowered the bar enough so the dress could hang into the bucket at the level where I wanted the next line of darker color to be.  I added a little more dye (about 2/3rds of the bottle is in the water at this point) and I let it hang there for 20-30 minutes.  Then I raised the bar up and left only a small portion of the dress in the bucket and added the rest of the dye to make an even darker line across the lower part of the dress.  I left the dress in the dye for another 20-30 minutes or so.

Not sure why, but the dress came out purple instead of blue.  It's still very pretty.  I'm not much of a purple person, but I really love how this came out in the end.

I was so worried about the dye spreading in the wash.  I didn't really rinse the dress out completely, like I did with the other shirts and as it recommends on the bottle.  I was worried the color would spread and ruin the ombre effect.  I rinsed it a little, and mostly toward the bottom, but it definitely dried with a lot of extra dye still stuck in it. 

I searched around for some tutorials on how to set dye and found this great link on ehow and followed it.  It seemed to work really well.  In the past, whenever I tie dyed something and then washed it, any area of white would always be tinted whatever color I dyed with.  The white shirts I dyed came out of the wash looking exactly the same, all white spots still white.  I will definitely be setting all of my dyed apparel this way.

So here is the end result!  I added some beautiful vintage buttons I was given.  I made the little belt a while ago with some cool vintage fabric.

You can sort of see how the two fabrics are different materials in this picture below.


Bodice back

Side view - I gave the skirt a little vent on the side.

Back - After washing the ombre effect became much more subtle, which I like.

Skirt back.

And finally, on me!

I am very stoked on how this came out!
  I really love taking something old and making it new.
  Very rewarding.
  It has such a nice soft feel to it.  Perfect for spring and summer.  
I can't wait to get started on my next refashion.
I got passion for refashion!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When In Doubt, Wear Red

 Every girl needs a good red dress.  

I stumbled upon this red and gold vintage fabric that was in my stash recently and I had to make something cute with it.  

I have been waiting to get this Cynthia Rowley pattern forever!  It finally went on sale for $3, so I picked it up.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the full, pleated skirt, but I love the bodice, so I improvised.

I used bodice "C" from the Cynthia Rowley pattern and used the skirt pattern from the New Look pattern below.  Since it only requires gathering, rather than pleats it doesn't require as much fabric.

I love both patterns and I really want to make a complete dress from the Cynthia Rowley pattern above.  With the skirt pleating it has such a cute retro look.  I'm glad I had this test run, though.  I think I cut for size 8 and it totally did not leave me enough room at the waist to bring the ends together in the back. 

Here it is on:

 I had to alter the back with additional fabric scraps to make it fit.  I was worried I had wasted my beautiful vintage fabric for a moment, but I was able to pull it off.  So proud of myself!  I think my favorite part about the dress is my mistake now because I was able to figure out how to salvage it.

Can you tell I added on in the center back around the zipper? 

I even made a cute matching wristlet.  I want to start making a matching wristlet with every dress I make.  I love it!

I like how it came out.  It love mixing patterns, too.  I think this will be a really versatile dress.  I can dress it up to be fancy or dress it down to casual.  

"When in doubt, wear red." ~Bill Blass