More sewing: Long-sleeved hooded top

You won’t believe how long it took me to make this top. It looks simple, but a lot of experimentation and puzzling with materials went into this. And re-doing, oh re-doing. It turned out amazing though. It falls perfectly and it’s super comfortable.

It’s made of all recycled materials: thrifted shirts and a scrap or two left over from old t-shirt reconstructions.

I’m a bit disappointed with the pictures though. I thought I had devised a good set-up with a wire strung across my room and a €1 thrifted sheet, but the lighting in this room is pretty terrible. How I miss the natural light in my old room… I suppose I’ll have to invest in studio lights to make this work. And a bigger tripod.

Thanks for looking!

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Starting 2018 off sewing

In the past five weeks I have been questioning a lot about myself, my life and the path that I’ve been on. One thing that has led to is the conviction that I need to get back into sewing. I’ve missed it dearly and honestly, it’s what I’m best at. I will write a whole post about it at some point. But for now, here are pretty things.

I made these two reconstructed dresses over the past week.
The first is reconstructed from a skirt and a top which I never wore, with other scraps added to it. I love how it turned out so much! It’s so cute and comfy. A perfect dress for a casual lolita look, but could also be dressed up with a blouse and petticoat and everything.

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Despite all the layers it’s really light, which I love.

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I got the middle strip of lace from a second-hand market last week. Antique lace is the loveliest.

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This old, ill-fitting Queen of Darkness skirt and an ill-fitting thrifted top formed the base of the dress:

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I took this skirt apart almost completely, while I kept the top basically intact, save for the closure. (Yes, the skirt was beautiful, but I’m a punk crafter and have no remorse.)

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This second dress I reconstructed from a vintage dress I’ve had sitting in my closet for years. I got it from the Brick Lane market in London, back in 2012. It was a shapeless maxi dress with embroidery and long sleeves. Not the type of dress I would have usually considered, but the dye-job on this was absolutely gorgeous.

Because of the dye-job I sought to make it work. I already altered it a bit back then: shortened the sleeves and took in the waist with elastic. It didn’t help much. So it sat in my closet. I only took it out again last week, and now I’ve finally managed to salvage it.

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It’s super flattering, comfortable and has pockets! I can see myself wearing this a lot in the summer, and on my next trip to the tropics.

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The little things I added are all old things from my scrap heap. The stringy thing for the bow I made myself, back when I was in fashion school (2010?) and had to research different textile techniques. This method was a sort of knitting; it’s called “punniken” in Dutch, I have no idea what it is in English. At long last, it’s gotten a purpose.

This is what the dress was before:

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Thanks for looking!

diy pants, shirt & accessories

i just came back from my mom’s house, which i’ve come to think of as my studio. i’ve spent a glorious day and a half there doing nothing but crafting. i finished up a shirt i had been working on the last time i was there, made some wristcuffs, a choker, & made a plain, boring pair of pants awesome.

first off, the shirt.

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it was just a plain, striped men’s shirt i got from the thrift store. not too bad, but i already had another plain, striped men’s shirt from the thrift store which looked very similar & i tended to wear more. so i decided to make this one different.

DSC03335 copy i took an old converge t-shirt as the base for this transformation. it was a very white, extra large one which i had been meaning to make into something else for several years. i cut out the graphics & added some mesh, so the bright colours wouldn’t be so harsh against the dark background. i also dyed the ‘converge’ & pink square parts in tea for the same reason.

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then i added some scrap materials i had lying around & replaced some of the buttons. i also rolled up the sleeves & added scraps & buttons there to hold them up. some of the pieces are sewn by machine, others by hand. i really like combining both methods for these sorts of projects.

DSC03342 copyoverall, it was a pretty simple modification. i was planning on doing more to it, but with the striped base not that much was needed. i love how this shirt turned out.

also very simple, were these wristcuffs & choker:
DSC03358 copyi made the wristcuffs by layering stretchy lace, ruffling them smaller with elastic & then adding bows of velvet ribbon on top. the choker is made out of that same velvet ribbon, which i sewed some scrap already ruffled lace on, then a tier of rhinestones, & completed the whole with five small roses. only the lace was sewn by machine, the rest by hand. it closes by tying together some smaller ribbon. very gothy. the choker reminds me of something that a 90’s teenager with a small budget who was just getting into gothic fashion would make. kind of second-hand nostalgia? anyway, i love it for that reason.

& now, the pants. i got them from a thrift store & i never wore them because the top was a little too big for me & it kept falling down. this is what they looked like before:

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& this is what it became:

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i spent about twelve straight hours on it yesterday. when i look at it now it seems impossible that it took so long. twelve. then again, i had to figure out what exactly i wanted on them, i had to paint, wait for the paint to dry, sew a lot by hand…

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i started by dabbing thinned down black fabric paint all over it. then i splattered silver fabric paint over that. then i thought about patches i wanted to put on it. of course, it is the alternative way to plaster band names & logo’s all over one’s clothes & provide all this free promotion while meaning to show the depths of one’s soul. whatever. i went with the first bands that came to mind & had interesting or easy to paint logo’s. all four patches are painted freehand. i’m pretty impressed with how they turned out.

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go ahead; guess what they’re all from.

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for an extra layer i added some more scrap mesh. most of that is sewn by machine, but it was rather hellish to get so far to the bottom in such narrow pipes. most of the lowest parts defeated me & i ended up sewing that by hand. at one part even that was too much & i just secured that with safety pins.

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i also added some patches of striped fabric, more decorative safety pins, the obligatory studs & a d-ring. to fix the sizing issue at the top i added belt loops & hoped that wearing it well-belted would be enough. & now that i’ve been walking around in it all day i can confirm that yes, a belt is enough.

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as you can see, all the patches were hand-sewn on. the patches were probably what took the most time. i don’t mind though. it was nice, easy work that i didn’t have to pay that close attention to. i could just watch videos & shows while i was working on them.

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i’m so happy with these pants! worth all twelve hours. i keep looking down at them or in the mirror at them. they’re perfect. or almost. i would still like an extra pocket in front, for things like my public transport card. i think i’ll make a zippered one, with the pocket out of sight on the inside. maybe the next time i go to my mom’s house. first i have to stock up on metal zippers again.

these pants sort of compel me to similarly punk up other plain black items. otherwise they’re so lonely. however, i also don’t want all my plain black stuff ending up the same… i’ll see.

thank you for looking! i hope you enjoyed this post at least a fragment as much as i enjoyed making these. maybe even inspired a diy project of your own.