Friday, October 30, 2009

Mix and Match for Seven Outfits under $20

Mix and match outfits have always fascinated me. They usually consist of a couple of neutrals plus an accent, such as black, white and red, or cream, brown and navy, and these make very serviceable combinations. When I found an Indian cotton floral print dress in all my favorite colors, I decided to try to mix and match with spicy warm analogous colors and a neutral (denim). Nearly every scrap of fabric left from the alterations was reused in some way.

Here is what I started with:

Purchases:Floral print culotte dress $ 6.99
Jeans 2.95
Hot pink jacket 1.00
Violet shirt 1.00
Orange blouse and pants 1.00
Shoes 3.00
Purse 1.99
Napkin rings (6x$.25) 1.50

TOTAL $19.43
From My Stash:Golden acrylic paints and mediums
Black cord for necklace
Button cover for pin
Button for fabric pin
Krylon gold webbing spray for necklace
Metal foil scraps for necklace
Pin backs
Ribbon and fabric scraps for the scarf
Snap for hot pink jacket

Here are the finished items used to put together the seven outfits:

The first task was to convert the culottes into a regular dress.

The long-sleeved lavender shirt was used as is, but a pin was added to gather it under the bust to give it a little more shape. The pin could be placed elsewhere, or more than one pin could be used, or no pins.

The collar was removed from hot pink jacket and the new neckline stitched closed with the existing facing. I wanted to keep a little cap on the sleeve, so I opened the seam on the bottom half of the armscye and cut the sleeve off so that fabric could be doubled for the sleeve cap. I cut a facing for the lower armscye. Patch pockets were removed and replaced on the reshaped jacket. The former lapels were folded in flat. On the left side a 2.5” buttonhole was made. On the right side a piece of fabric was sewn to the lapel to go through the buttonhole. A snap holds the flap in place.

The orange pants were cut off below the knee and a band was added to make ties to knot at the side. The orange shirt sleeves were gathered to the shoulder seam and tied with self fabric made into two tubes each 12” long. At the hem of the blouse I rounded the corners in front and at the sides with the overlock serger to echo the scallop shapes in the sleeves and pant legs.

The jeans were painted with acrylic paint. The colors of the flowers echo the colors of the Indian print dress.


The shoes were rubbed with alcohol and painted with acrylic paints. I painted the soles a bright red (why not?). Then I sealed all with acrylic gloss medium.

The beads are napkin rings. Scraps of metal foil were glued on and let dry. Then acrylic paint was daubed and dripped on. Next I sprayed them with Krylon gold webbing. Finally they were sealed with acrylic gloss medium.

The scarf was made with leftover fabric from the alterations and with scraps from my stash. The scarf edge was overlocked. One pin was made from the jacket shoulder pads, and the other from a fabric scrap onto a covered button.

The purse is used as-is.

Day One
Lavender shirt

Day Two

Lavender shirt
Orange blouse

Day Three

Lavender shirt
Orange blouse

Day Four

Lavender shirt
Button pin

Day Five

Hot pink jacket

Day Six

Orange blouse
Orange pants

Day Seven

Lavender shirt
Hot pink jacket

Of course other combinations are possible.
The jeans, shoes and scarf were included in the Spring 2009 issue of Altered Couture magazine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hearts Aflutter

Dress before

This hot pink silk dress hung in the silk section of my favorite thrift store for a long time, so I decided to take it home and find a way to spice it up. The look of the stars strewn across the sky on a clear night or autumn leaves fluttering out of a tree in the wind inspired the diagonal cascade of hearts on this dress.
I removed the large foam shoulder pads from the dress and shortened the long sleeves to lighten the style and also to have some fabric to experiment with.

Hearts were drawn on stencil paper and cut out with a craft knife. I taped additional stencil paper around the cut out stencil to act as a mask.
The back of the stencil was sprayed with the mounting adhesive and placed on the dress. The heart openings were then sprayed with white spray paint. The background for the blue and red hearts was sprayed hite. I dabbed this spray to make if more opaque. When the spray was dry, I drew in the blue, red and pink hears free hand.
Voila, the finished dress.

Here is what I used to alter this dress:

Stencil paper
Heavy duty craft knife
Tulip Fabric spray paint
Fabric pens
Spray mounting adhesive
Transparent tape
Sewing machine