Large tropical leaves: 3 ways to use them in your wardrobe

large tropical leaf top

Abstract:

large tropical leaf top

Vintage:

vintage white shirt with tropical leaves

Mimetic:

tropical leaf like dress

For centuries, the tropics and the jungle have fascinated us; for both their beauty and their well… deadliness. Banana, papaya, mango, they all have large, tropical leaves. We often talk about these fruit in terms of coulours, when it comes to garment making (ok, not sure about the banana, but humour me) but it’s about time we talked about their opulent and full of life foliage.

And there’s nothing that says summer more than tropical leaves!

1. Townsen Tank – Rattan from Bloomingdales, €124

This top has a very simple shape, almost completey square, with lines neckline and armhole facings. The black tropical leaves are applied on the shoulders, but you could also paint them if you make this in cotton or batiste. The top closes at the back with a metallic zipper, but you could use a keyhole back cleavage and a button.

2. Vintage white shirt with green tropical leaves from Etsy, €21

3. Mimesis green leaf dress by Kamila Gwawronska Kasperska from Not Just a Label, £750

(Image credits: As linked above.)

Bonus: a tropical skirt and palm leaf pants.

 

 

Two delicate and feminine, no pattern blouses

Screen shot 2014-06-14 at 4.15.55 PM

As a person who owns much more patterns than she will ever get to use and still remembers the exact number of the now lost Burda magazine she lent a friend over 6 years ago, I am fascinated by garments that don’t need patterns. More specifically about boxy, square-ish shapes that have never seen a french curve in their life.

That’s why I really like these blouses and dresses from this Kitting, Crochet and Sewing Magazine (I can’t find this magazine anywhere else, do you know if it has a different name?)

Look at this blouse below, for example: it’s basically a trapeze shape, but the crochet straps and hems only barely drape it to create a wonderful and simple blouse. If you’re good with crochet, this should be very easy to make.

delicate no pattern summer blouse

This second blouse follows the same style: crochet upper bodice and soft flowy body.

delicate blouse with crochet trim

I really like how delicate the crochet looks against the modest napkin-like fabric.

delicate crochet and cotton blouse in japanese style

The magazine has instructions at the end, showing you how to create the very very simple patterns.

The softer and fabric you use it, the more delicate the finished garment will look like. If you use heavier fabrics, you will end up with boxier blouses.

how to make an easy blouse in less than one hour

If you want to take a look at the other blouses in the magazine, here it is:

Minimalist sewing: weekend reads

minimalist laundry

minimalist laundry

As a sewist you probably own a lot of clothes and fabric. If I look at my own clothes, I have those that I made and love and actually wear outside the house, then the clothes I’ve made and like but don’t fit with anything else in my wardrobe or don’t actually fit my lifestyle (frosting anyone?), then the clothes I bought and love, the ones I’ve bought and still love but don’t wear because they change shape, they’re difficult to iron or I just keep postponing their wear for “a better occasion”, the ones that were a gift, the unfinished sewing project and last but not least the clothes that I’ve said I’ll refashion.

That’s a lot of clothes.

Do I need all those clothes? Definitely not. Here are 3 inspiring reads about simplifying and understanding how we could own less to get more from the things we own or make:

The case for fewer—but better—clothes by Keila Tyner. Even though Keila focuses on the North Americal market, I think this is still true for a great part of the rest of the world: we buy more than we need, we buy more than we wear, we buy more than we can store. This could also be the case for sewists: because making clothes is so easy, there’s no need to limit the amount of clothes you have. Does minimalistic sewing exist?

33 Things to Eliminate From Your Closet by Courtney Carver. Project 33 challenges people who want to simplify, declutter and who know, maybe find new inspiration to live with 33 items for 3 months. The idea is that by owning less and keeping only what works and what you love you’ll be able to focus on more important things in your life than tomorrow’s outfit – while style looking your best. Not sure what to keep? Start with the things you could take out.

An 8 week checklist for simplifying your home by Trina from Beginner Beans. If you liked Apartment Therapy’s Home Cure, you might also like Trina’s version, that focuses on simplifying your home and your life. Not directly sewing related, but I am sure your sewing studio would benefit from a bit of simplifying… I know mine does.

What about you? What are you going to donate, give away or simply remove from your closet this weekend?

How to make a dress or blouse bodice: the easy way

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Today I was thinking about ways in which I could simplify the making of the bodice. Now, I have a bodice that I’ve made following the instructions in Helen Joseph Armstrong’s book, Patternmaking for Fashion Design and another from Sarai Mitnick’s book, The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress but I wanted to see how I could make one fast and easy, if, let’s say I am too lazy to look for them 🙂

And then I found this video with Peggy Sagers who explains pattern-making by draping. I always thought this was difficult to do, but she explains it very clearly.

One point she makes about the bust darts is that they always have to reach to the bust point (the nipple) and that they have to end somewhere within the bust circle, which is a 3in radius circle, with the centre at the bust point. If a dart does that, then it can be safely positioned in a multitude of ways, either vertically or horizontally.

See how to draft the bust circle below:

sewing patterns drafting the bust circle

Another point that’s actually something I wish I had understood sooner is that the bodice always stops at the real waist. So if you want to make a blouse, you should add as much length to your bodice as you need (maybe you want it to only touch the hipline or to pass it completely, you always need to add that length). It’s funny now because when I first created my bodice following Helen Armstrong’s instructions, I had commented that the bodice fitted me more or less well, but it was way to short.

Measuring the body takes much longer than draping the body, she says. It’s true, how come I didn’t think of that before?

How does she drape? She pins the square piece to the mannequin (my recent madness about owning a body form is bubbling up here, but let’s put a lid on it for now), marks the neck points and the shoulder, then she drapes the paper at the bust point, horizontally, creating a bust dart. She then repeats from the bust point to the waistline, vertically, creating a waist dart.

how to make sewing patterns bust darts

Another quote that sounds a bit funny in the beginning, but makes a lot of sense: an armhole is created the same way as a neckline: down and out.

She sews the darts starting from the bust point down, arguing that it’s easier to get that first part right, like that, and that if you get wrong the foot of the dart, then that’s going to be encased in a seam anyway. Plus, she sews darts with an overlocker!

A french dart is a combination of the bust dart and the waist dart: you start with your basic bodice with the two bust and waist dart. You then mark the new french dart starting with a few inches up from the side and drag it to the bust circle. Slash open and close the old darts:

how to make a french dart

Would love to know your thoughts on this technique!

 

60 t-shirt hacks and reconstruction ideas

girl wearing a t-shirt

What is t-shirt reconstruction?

T-shirt reconstruction, or t-shirt surgery defines a way to alter or hack a basic t-shirt that completely transforms in into a new garment, sometimes an altered top, other times a cap, a skirt, a dress and even a handbag.

The various techniques used to hack a t-shirt are cutting and slashing, sewing, painting, embroidery, braiding, and the list goes on and on.

All you really need to start is a t-shirt, old or new, large or small.

Other items you might need are:

 (The links above contain affiliate links, which help support the time and effort that goes into this website.)

T-shirts are usually made of jersey fabric, which had the great advantage that it doesn’t fray, so if you make a cut, like, let’s say you turn a t-shirt into a sleeveless tank top, you could hem your seams or leave them as they are, and nothing will happen. Depending on how much your alter your t-shirt it may change its shape after washing and drying, but there are ways in which you can prevent that from happening, and we are going to talk all about it in this post.

A little bit of t-shirt history

T-shirts. We all have one. What am I saying, we all have at least a dozen. Printed with crazy messages, in both bold and neutral colours, we have t-shirts for the gym, t-shirts for work, t-shirts for gardening, t-shirts for dinner parties… there are very few things that one can’t do wearing a t-shirt.

Yet t-shirts weren’t always this well-seen.

In the late 19th century, the first to adopt the cotton undergarment were miners. Soon after it became popular among workers in various industries: it was easy to make, inexpensive, fast to clean and easy to fit. The great break-through moment of the t-shirt came with Marlon Brando and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Today they’re crazy popular because they’re so basic, so cheap, so… wait for it, easy to cut, chop, hack, customize and turn into completely new garments.

They’re so many ways in which one can repurpose a t-shirt, from simple crops, to adding paint and major t-shirt surgery projects. Let’s start with the basics:

Crop a basic t-shirt leaving the bottom hem raw, cut out the sleeves and make your armhole a bit larger than usual and get a bad-ass t-shirt like this one pictured on A Beautiful Mess.

crop tshirt hack

Turn a large t-shirt into a beautiful racerback tank top, perfect for workout like this one from carbon38.  I especially love the grey piece of fabric on this one, it’s just perfect.

beautiful racerbrack tank top yoga

If you have a t-shirt that’s a bit too tight, you could try what Lucia Flores from A Bohemian Dream did here with this shirt: cut across the back up to the neckline, then either leave it as it is or add lace.

tshirt hack

Another genius idea from the same designer is this tshirt with button-up sleeves attached to it. If you also love the neckline, you could cut off your original t-shirt neckline and create a new keyhole one and either add lace on top or embroider your own design. This top is available on Etsy.

tshirt reconstruction with shirt sleeves

Create a super sexy crop top from a white tank top like this one Geneva from A Pair and a Spare did. You basically cut the back of your tank top, then cut the front piece in two, from your waist down, then wrap the sides and tie in the back. You can read the much better explained and beautifully photographed tutorial on her blog.

DIY-Balenciaga-Inspired-Crop-Top-A-Pair-and-A-Spare-208

10 inspiring short videos to help you refashion a t-shirt quickly:

What I really love about Karina Milanesi, aka Dicadaka is how quickly she explains things I’ve read about on other blogs, like cutting and braiding, but also her funky creativity. Here are some of her t-shirt reconstruction ideas:

In this Instragram video she shows how to create an intricate back braiding on a black t-shirt: just fold your t-shirt in two, cut along the back line to create the braids, then braid away and secure with thread or a few extra knots.

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

In this second video Karina only shashes the top part of a t-shirt, from the shoulder seam, close to the upper bust line, then accessorises with studs. 

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

A very short and very effective crop sweatshirt tutorial: fist Karina created her Mickey Mouse shape out of three circles, then she paints with a sponge across the border of her template. She cuts the neckline and bottom line of the sweatshirt to give it a relaxed, slouchy look. I would use some strop fray on the edges, just so they don’t curl back in the wash, but some might like that look as well!

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

I love how simple and effective this t-shirt transformation is: with just a few smartly placed, iron-on tiny pineapples and a tshirt in a drapey fabric she made this awesome new top. I would sew the pineapples by hand, just to make sure they will resist to any adventures they might participate in, but that’s just me.

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

Another quick project for transforming a t-shirt is creating a pattern by painting on tiny stencils, like these white anchors Karina painted on her red t-shirt.

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

I really like these t-shirt braiding techniques because they change a garment completely. If you have a tshirt that fits you a centimenter too close, by slashing and braiding you can win back that extra width and enjoy your new, unconventional t-shirt. 

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

I like this t-shirt hack because it starts a bit like shibori, but created a very similar effect in just a few seconds. Depending on the spray paint you use, you migh get a print that never washes from your t-shirt. You shouldn’t put more on than just a very very light coat of paint, otherwise the t-shirt will look crunchy and feel uncomfortable.

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

Another stamping project, this time with a potato stamp. I always think potato stamps makes messy stamps, but looking at her final result, I would have never guessed those cool arrows were made with a potato!

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

I’ve seen this t-shirt hack idea on Pinterest before, but it’s great to see how quickly a new tshirt dress is ready by just cutting those triangles from the sides and passing the bottom part of the t-shirt through the opening, twice.

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

Last but not least, I love how intentional the hand sewing looks on this colourful pocket. I am not a huge fan of frayed ends, but this looks really cool. 

A video posted by Karina Milanesi (@dicadaka) on

7 fun and easy t-shirt surgery projects to try this weekend

It seems like it’s been forever since last time I wrote about t-shirt surgery and up-cycling garments. I am currently on a garment and possession detox and like any good hoarder wannabe minimalist I can think of a million things I could do with a thing before throwing it away. And even when i don’t want to think about it, I find other talented makers who do amazing things with old things. In the list below there are seven examples from amazing Etsy sellers who turn plain old t-shirts into some great new pieces.

 A delicate re purposed doily t-shirt

If you’re lucky to have an old crocheted doily around the house, you can jump right into making this beauty (don’t worry about yellow crochet, just wash it with a bit of lemon and let it sun dry, Martha Stewart says), if not you could try to crochet your own. Or you could just buy it from katrinshine on Etsy.

A simple skirt

A larger t-shirt (or two smaller ones) can easily turn into a comfy lounge skirt. I really like how the maker kept the original design of the t-shirt, but you could tie die or dip die or bleach or paint… decorate and alter your t-shirt fabric any way you want. Original image from Ohzie on Etsy.

A tennis skirt

This is another skirt idea, shorter and a bit fuller but made in a very similar way: a thicker waistband sewn onto a tube of fabric. Perfect for a friendly game of tennis! Idea and image from ThreadsbyEmily on Etsy.

Yoga gloves

Is your t-shirt too small to turn into another garment for yourself? What about a smaller accessory, such as panties or gloves? How fun are these finger-less yoga gloves? Original image by ComfyChick on Etsy.

Mixed media tank top

This top from theELEPHANTpink is really great. There´s sharpie tribal drawings, glue paint, embroidery, really, really nice.

A crazy t-shirt collage

I love this idea from Cathrineann on Etsy. It´s perfect for that new t shirt you only wore once and put spaghetti sauce on. Just cut the bottom part and use a mix of fabric to recreate the lower half of your t-shirt.

Green, reusable cleaning rags

Okay, maybe this is the last resort when it comes to recycling t-shirts but I’d rather use one of these t-shirt rags 20 times than a paper tissue every time. Idea and photo from aRecurringDream.

5 t-shirt reconstruction ideas from Asos

You can make a cute t-shirt like this one by drawing with a black sharpie on a white tshirt. Before drawing, put a piece of cardboard between the layers of your t-shirt so the ink doesn’t bleed to the back side of your top. If you want to crop it, just cut off the bottom part and hem.

sharpie drawing t shirt

This is the perfect project for that piece of iron-on trasfer paper you’ve been hoarding. Take a photo of your pet, or a cute cat like this one  or even these two and your new piece of art is only a little Photoshop and pressing away. Here’s the original t-shirt if you love this as it is.

uni cat tshirt

What I really like about this crochet yoke t-shirt is that the original neckband has been kept in place. This is easier to do if you also keep the back of the yold for support. If you’re not great at crochet you could sew on some cotton lace (or repurpose a doily).

crochet yoke tshirt

This back wrap t-shirt is easy to make if you start with a really large t-shirt, or you could use two t-shirt, if you don’t have enough fabric. If you’re using a really large t-shirt, unseam the back and redraft the front side, then cut the back piece into two triangles.

wrap back tshirt

Another fun idea to reconstruct a plain white t-shirt is to add a string of pom poms to the bottom hem. Who knew this would look so cute. Image from Asos.

pom pom hem crop white tshirt

 

11 cute ways to cut a t-shirt

Turn it into a crop top

While not the easiest refashion in the world, you could make this crop top from a black t-shirt. First cut the sleeves off and the full back piece. For the front piece, make a crop just under your rib cage. Cut the back piece into strips of fabric and sew them back to your front piece.

A photo posted by Alana Ruas (@_alanaruas) on

Fake lace DIY t-shirt hack

I really like this idea from Pink Ice: making a series of highly detailed, geometrical cuts to the back of a t-shirt, with the end result of a lace-like t-shirt back. If you’re going to spend hours to do this with a pair or small, sharpened scissors, I would invest in a bit of no-fray and smudging it along the edges of your design. Jersey doesn’t dray, but this will give your design a bit of stability and a longer life if you machine-wash it. back fake lace tshirt diy

Triangle cut out t-shirt hack

This t-shirt surgery by We Are Hairy People is as beautiful as it is simple. This proves you don’t have to labour for hours to hack a t-shirt. A few well placed snips and a sharpie and you’re ready to go out the door. hand painted cut out triangle diy tshirt

 

Angel wings t-shirt refashion

Here’s a similar stencil-like t-shirt hack, this time with cut-out angel wings. This seems like a simple to do project and there’s a full tutorial on how to make it over at Cut Out And Keep. angel wings tshirt refashion

A large t-shirt becomes a cute tunic

Katy’s t-shirt refashion is so quick to make and clever I feel inspired to leave this blog post half-written and go make one myself. Hmm, maybe I’ll just do that after I finish this. Ok, focus! 🙂 Katy went out and bought a very large t-shirt – her tshirt has a floral print and some beads added – you could also paint your tshirt or sew your own beads on it, if you want – and then she cinched it with an elastic. The full tutorial on her blog, Sweet Verbena. easy diy tshirt refashion.jpg

Tie the knot t-shirt

Sarah from Our Life is Beautiful says it took her ten minutes to do this t-shirt hack. She cut out the neckband, then created a long, oblique slash, going from the left side of the neckline to the armit. Then she knotted the remaining ends and sewed it in place. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? Check out the full tutorial here. <!–-nextpage–-> diy knotted t-shirt

Turn a plain t-shirt into a cute top, with lace

I might have a soft spot for all grey t-shirts DIY, but I just had to show you this easy t-shirt hack from Michele Leng: she takes a plain t-shirt, cuts of the sleeves and adds a cute lace collar. Follow the link above for the step by step tutorial. a cute tshirt refashion with lace

T-shirt to Grocery Bag

I can’t see going through too many washes, but if you have a t-shirt you are thinking of throwing away, give it a longer life by turning it into a grocery bag. Cut off the sleeves, stitch closed the bottom hem and make lot of small cuts into it for both handles and the net-like design. Idea and tutorial from Delia Creates. tshirt to grocery bag

Funky flip-flops from an old t-shirt

This is another one of those projects I just want to jump and start making. Have an old t-shirt you no longer wear? Braid it and use it to make a pair of lovely to look at flip-flops. Full tutorial from Make it and Love it. turn an old tshirt into fun flip-flops

A ruffled cardigan made from a t-shirt

Do you have a long sleeve t-shirt you’re not wearing anymore? Turn it into a cardigan by slashing open the front piece of your tee and adding ruffles to the sides. You can add buttons or completely skip them. Idea and tutorial from Favecrafts. ruffled long tshirt to cardigan

A cute t-shirt with tiny ruffles

If the ruffles are very tiny like the ones in this project, I think I could live with them: tiny ruffles tshirt refashion <!–-nextpage–->

10 ways to refashion a t-shirt with braids

 

The braided neckline tee

This is seriously clever how Kira figured out how to turn a plain tee into a super cute braided neckline tee. It looks quite difficult to make, but Kira has a step by step tutorial on her blog: Her New Leaf. how to braid the neckline of a tshirt

The supersize braid t-shirt hack

Veva from My White Idea takes the concept of the crown braid and applies it to a t-shirt. The end result is an amazing, eye-catching new top. Read her full tutorial on her blog. braid adorned upcycled tshirt   An off the shoulder top Make an off the shoulder top from an extra large tshirt: cut off the top arc of the sleeves and the neckline to create the off the shoulder shape, then fold back on the inside of the t-shirt and sew a 2-3 cm wide hem. Thread an elastic through to keep your top on your shoulders. If you want to make your sleeves look more bell-shaped, cut of thin triangles from the undearm seam area.

 

A t-shirt rug

While this is not exactly braiding – I made this with an oversize plastic crochet – a rug is something you could make by repurposing all those t-shirts you don’t wear anymore, and even scraps from other t-shirt hacks. I’ve also seen this kind of rag rug made by braiding the jersey strips in three, then sewing the braids together. Here’s my nice and cozy rug I made for my studio (which reminds me I have to post some photos). tshirt strips rug

The super-shredded t-shirt

There is some crazy shredding going on here, but I guess one could try it at least once in their lifetime and see what happens. This t-shirt can be purchased from Etsy or you could try to DIY. tshirt refashion shredded and cut

The triangle slash and braid t-shirt

And another slash and braid, yet a tiny bit less dramatic t-shirt hack from Craftster, one of my favourite places in the whole wide web. Follow the link for the instructions.

A new braided headband, from an old tshirt

Here’s a really beautiful t-shirt hack from the talented Alisa Burke. She uses plastic headbands as a base, then covers them in fabric and then glues on a braid. The result is super pretty. Here’s the full tutorial. how to turn a tshirt into a braided headband

A soft braided headband for working out

If you really like the idea of recycling an old t-shirt into a fun accessory you will actually use, here’s a second headband tutorial: this time Catherine from the awesome healthy lifestyle blog Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth cuts the lower part of a t-shirt and makes a braid of 5 strands. Clever. Follow the link I just added diy workout headband

Braided t-shirt bracelets

If you like the braided headband diy, you will love these braided bracelets made from old t-shirt. What’s really clever about them is that they have magnets glued on the ends of the bracelets! Get the full how to on Henry Happened. how to turn a tshirt into a bracelet

A weave’d in neckline

Okay, so this is not really a braiding hack, but I love how clever this weave in is. I love how Sophie used a high-contrast neon on the light grey t-shirt. If you’d like to try making this, read the tutorial over at Sophie’s blog, The Forge. how to make a neckline weave in tshirt

Make a fabric bowl out of an old t-shirt

Lisa Tilse from The Red Thread Blog is one of those makers who always inspire me to experiment more and make more. She has a full tutorial on how you could use t-shirt scraps to make beautiful fabric bowls like the ones you see below. <!–-nextpage–-> tshirt strip bowl diy Bonus tip: If you need a daily dose of DIY inspiration, follow Lisa on Instagram.

10 over the top t-shirt hacks

 

Small Neckline Faux Ruffle Tee

Even though it looks like this t-shirt is adorned with ruffles, it’s actually made out of jersey circles sewn together on the neckline. Super nice! Tutorial from Sarahndipities. tiny fabric flowers ruffly tshirt

The colour block t-shirt

This looks a bit more complicated but it isn’t at all. You only need two or three t-shirts to mix and hack and a sewing machine (or a needle and a bit of patience). I love how this old t-shirt project turned out. Extra points because she‘s on her way to become a pattern designer. puzzle tshirt reconstruction

The Contrasting Sleeves Tee

And check out this one: sleeves in two colours and a contrasting neck binding: lovely. From Pinterest. And if we’re still colourblocking, what about making a dress? Love how this one turned out.

The Little Black Dress T-shirt

Turn a simple black xxl shirt into a cute LBD – just adorn the sleeves with a striped knit. You can read the tutorial at the LulaLouise blog. little black dress from a tshirt <!–-nextpage–->

The floral panel t-shirt

Kerry has a very cool idea: turn two t-shirts into a new one. I think an easier way to do this is to cut out the front panel of a t-shirt and switch fabrics so you end up with two new t-shirts instead of one. floral tshirt hack

Pussy-bow T-shirt

Use a long sleeve t-shirt or an extra large one to make the bow for this one. I think you could also do this in a contrasting fabric. Follow the tutorial on I Candy Handmade. pussy bow tshirt

Textured Tshirt

Very similar to the idea above, this textured t-shirt surprises with its man shirt inspired front pleats. The messier they are, the better. Make sure you start with a t-shirt 2 or 3 sizes larger than the one you wear for this t-shirt. T-shirt hack idea by Supernaturale. designer tshirt hack

The Neck Tie T-shirt

To make this t-shirt you will need a necktie. Just sew it onto the cleavage, starting from the middle of the cleavage and working your way up to the other side, pleating the necktie as you go. Ad a pin and you’re done. T-shirt hack tutorial from McKell’s Closet. necktie tshirt reconstruction

The Contrasting Pocket T-shirt

Want to turn a simple white t-shirt into an eye catching top? Sew on a small pocket in a contrasting fabric. If you’re really bold, try a piece of leather, floral prints or even draw the pocket on with sharpie pens. Image from Pinterest. tiny pocket tshirt

Vintage Hankies Peter Pan Collar Tank Top

I love Suzannah’s idea of using vintage handkerchiefs to make petter pan collars for her basic tank tops. They look so sweet! Full tutorial on her blog, Adventures in Dress Making. peter pan collar tank top refashion Play with iron-on transfer paper I really like this t-shirt hack idea, because you just need a printer and iron-on paper. You could print our all your favourite food and make yourself a lucky t-shirt 🙂

The Wonderful Fashion Illustrations of Nancy Zhang

Fashion Illustration

I love how illustrators take the everyday and make it fabulous, magical. What I like most about  Nancy Zhang’s fashion illustration is how she takes an outfit that she wore and draws her feelings or mood, as she was wearing it. Or maybe her intention when she created the outfit.

Zhang’s outfits are stories, they are sometimes journeys into the past, other times frozen fragments of the present. Sometimes they are pretentious and constructed, other times practical and comfortable. Even though she wears a lot of designer fashion, she is not a slave of the latest trend. Instead she travels in time, she plays different roles, maybe historical characters, maybe different Nancys. They are like a diary of an ever-changing everyday.

Sometimes we are attached to clothes not because people tell us we look great in them, but because of how they make us feel. You can see how happy and free Nancy feels in her cream-coloured, low-waist gathered skirt, how shy and delicate in her vintage gathered skirt. Or how sexy she feels with her new haircut.

Looking at her outfits, you don’t feel like you’re just looking into somebody else’s wardrobe, you’re looking into who she is.

You can find more of Nancy’s illustrations on her blog.

5 Vintage Necklines and Collars Ideas

bow tie vintage neckline

One of the reasons why I like vintage sewing books is how practical and down to earth they are. Many go over women’s fashion and expect seamstresses to be able to apply the learned concepts to make garments for kids and men.

The purpose of learning dressmaking is to be able to fill the needs and wants of all members of the family, garment making shouldn’t take too much time, yet the clothes should enhance the personality of the wearer and last a long time.

I am curious whether you agree with me or not on this one, but I think that one of the details of a garment where personality and taste are most obvious is the neckline.

It can change a dress or blouse completely.

Maybe you remember one of my posts, in which I was sketching various vintage necklines; today I’m listing a few other vintage necklines ideas.

The sailor bow tie look good both in patterned fabric, like in the image below and in a sparkly white with dark blue piping. This one closes in the back with snaps, but you could move the bow to the back and close the blouse with it.

bow tie vintage neckline

The square neckline is safe and sweet. Keep the straps quite fat like this dress, or slim them down for a more delicate look.

square vintage neckline

If you like the look of a handkerchief worn over a shirt, you’ll like this small collar on a dress. I like the contrast fabric also.

I love this faux wrap neckline and how simple the whole look is. I also like how this blouse in particular fits the model quite loosely.

faux wrap vintage neckline

And last but not least, a sweetheart neckline, this time adorned with a zipper. I quite like the contrast between the sweetness of the neckline shape and the metal of the zipper.

vintage sweetheart neckline

What about you? What’s you favourite vintage or modern neckline?

Images from: 1) sailor bow tie, 2) square neckline, 3) tiny collar, 4) faux wrap neckline, 5) sweetheart neckline.

New Knits, Oh the Possibilities

Check out these new thin knits I bought! They are just wonderful. The green/khaki one is the thickest and I am thinking to make a long hoodie out of it. I really like this one from Free People. It has all the chances in the world to look like a sack and to end up being used around the house, but I would actually enjoy wearing this with a pair of tall socks.

When I initially bought the purple/wine knit, I thought of making a t-shirt dress with an asymmetric hem, but then I realized the fabric might just be too transparent for it. Now I would have to rethink this for autumn…

With the blue/turquoise jersey I could make a long sleeved relaxed tee that I could later wear over a shirt. I really love this one from Hemingway and Hepburn.

What would you make out of these fabrics? What knit jersey project have inspired you lately? Share the love 🙂

Sewing and DIY Inspiration: The Honeycomb

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A multitude of soft yellow, tidy, wax hexagons. A surface that’s soft and rough at the same time. A structure that’s both transparent and opaque; a honeycomb is a thing of beauty.

I’ve had a honey-filled honeycomb as a wallpaper on my computer for a few weeks now, and even though I picked it because it just was just nice to look at and nothing more, I am starting to become more and more interested in the beauty of the shape.

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I don’t know what attracts me most to the shape of the honeycomb, if it’s the repetitiveness of the tiny hexagons, the honey-gold colour or the overall texture: it’s fragility and functionality.

For I while now, I’ve started thinking about ways in which I could bring this shape into my work table.

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Embroidering yellow honeycombs on the collar of a shirt, smocking a yellow sundress (Dori  from Tumbling Blocks has a great honeycomb smocking tutorial)

honeycomb smocking

or stamping a honeycomb pattern on a scarf or a table-runner, all those are things I’d like to try.

This sponge-print table runner project from Celebrations looks super pretty and also easy to make. One could do the same with a rug.

sponge print diy honeycomb table runner

Or maybe a painting or a print like this one from Sharmilaw on Etsy.

oh honey art print

And if we’re still talking about wall decor, what about these beautiful glass honeycomb drops from ?

glass honeycomb drops

Last but not least, I was thinking about painting the bottom half of a honeycomb jar I’ve rescued from the kitchen, similar to this one here.

honeycomb glass jar

 

What about you? How do you feel about honeycombs?