Embellishing clothing, with creative and wonderful little details, is a great way to jazz up items from your own closet, or even a found garment (with great “bones”) from a thrift store. I get design inspiration for embellishing, from many different places, but my favorite thing to do is google “runway designs,” and find something amazing! These pictures are over the top amazing, but need to be toned down a little for real life. The following is a picture I fell in love with, the picture following that, is my version. I don’t get too literal and don’t try to “copy” the picture, they are just inspiration
To create this look, I started with the key element to this outfit, the jacket. This was originally a very plain, army green, military style jacket that I found at a charitable thrift store. I began by roughing it up a little. Any edge that did not have a structural seam, was trimmed, to promote fraying. I tossed it in the washer and it came out looking ten years older with all the fabulous fraying…loved it!
I then ordered a gorgeous, black, rose applique from ebay. When it arrived, I ironed it on and did a little stitching around the edges for extra security.
Next, I popped off all of the plastic buttons, and replaced them with my own. I rarely pass up a jar or container of inexpensive buttons, I have a nice little stash of them. For this jacket I wanted vintage, gold looking buttons with an aged patina. I dumped my hat box of buttons, in the middle of my living room floor, and my twelve year old son and I dug through them until we found about twelve perfect buttons (all different, but similar). He claims he made this jacket because of all the time he spent searching (playing) with the buttons…cute!
The black pants I used, were already in my closet. They weren’t leather like the inspiration photo, but they were a high quality cotton blend with a gorgeous sheen.
I narrowed the leg and added five assorted buttons to each side.
Finally, I wanted to make a funky little t-shirt to go with the look. I found this grayish/greenish t-shirt at the Salvation Army and went to work!
I first cut the collar off to give it a more slouchy, less tailored look.
Next, two slits were cut. One near the collar and the other, close to the bottom.
Now, I wanted to paint a design on the shirt. A circular shape was cut from craft paper and pinned to the shirt. I also, slid a piece of paper between the fabric layers for protection.
Orange/red craft paint, mixed with textile medium, was applied with a brush to make the design I wanted. When the paint is dry it needs to be heat set with an iron. All the instructions are on the bottle of textile medium. You can find this at just about any fabric store.
This was a fun outfit to put together and took very little machine sewing! Embellishing can be a lot of fun and is an easy way to change the look of your clothes.
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This dress was upcycled from a gorgeous, vintage corset and two different types of vintage curtains!
I have access to a wonderful shop near me, called West Kimberly Market. It is a huge building that rents out booths. They have everything…antiques, handmade items, flea market type items, it’s an upcycler’s dream! Way back, in the farthest corner of the building is my favorite booth. She has wonderful vintage clothing and accessories at great prices! This vintage corset and fabric for this dress (curtains!) were bought there and turned into this edgy, boudoir dress.
If a person is willing to “step out of the box” it is possible to upcycle just about anything!
Finally! A use for those worn once, bridesmaid dresses! Solid, intense colors, with sheen, are saturating the runways. Now, is the time to finally pull out those unused bridesmaid dresses and make something fabulous and trendy that you will actually wear! This project uses several dresses that totaled twelve dollars at the Salvation Army. Pretty good deal, considering this is definitely a unique, one of a kind, handmade dress now .
One of the garments was a strapless, form fitted, simple red dress that I used as the under structure. A wrap skirt with a pretty pattern, was used as an accent fabric. I’m also using a large bridesmaid dress, made of what I believe is a nubby silk. This dress was handmade originally, and without tags, so I have no way of knowing for sure if it’s silk. Upon closer inspection of the bridesmaid dress, I realized it had a ton of red tulle tucked underneath…score!!!
HOW I MADE IT
I began by cutting a piece of fabric, in an “A” shape, from the largest dress. This piece needed to be large enough to wrap completely around the hips. I finished the edges, pinned and stitched to the waist.
I next started tucking and pinning to get a layered, balloon look. Once everything was just right, I hand stitched in place.
Now it’s time to add yet another layer. Pieces of tulle were added around the waist band and pinned in place. The beauty of tulle, is that it doesn’t need hemmed or a finish stitch. The tulle pieces were longer than the dress, this allowed plenty of freedom to tuck, cut and pin.
Next, I cut out a piece of the patterned fabric, finished the edges, and pinned to the waist band.
Two triangle shaped pieces were cut out and pinned to the bodice.
I then cut strips of the bridesmaid dress, about seven inches wide. The edges were folded over and pinned throughout the bodice. There are no rules to this, be creative!
It was now time to add the double shoulder straps. I cut long strips of fabric from the patterned skirt. The strips were double the width I needed, so that I could fold them in half and finish stitch the edge. The finished straps were about 1 1/2″ wide. They were pinned into place and stitched to the dress.
The final touch was the silk band around the waist. I found a wide, curved belt in my closet to use as a pattern. I traced the belt onto the silky fabric, cut it out, finished the edges, pinned, then stitched into place.
This dress turned out beautiful from every angle!