Inspired by the site NewDressADay.com, I went by the United Way thrift store in St. Charles Parish and picked up a few hideous shirts.
For my first attempt, I took the ugliest shirt I could find: a $2 lavender number with a ruffled collar, weird peep-hole in the front and elastic wristbands. Plus, it was about two sizes too big for me.
I was just planning on using it as a test run to practice seam ripping and sewing on, but it turned out alright.
As I ripped everything off of it, I wasn’t sure what it was going to turn it into. Once I got the peep-hole and fluff around the collar off, it made a nice V-neck. I tried to make it work as a v-neck with semi-poofy sleeves, but that looked weird and I didn’t have enough elastic from the wrists to go around my upper arm.
So, I ended up practicing my seam ripping on the sleeves, too. Once I got it sleeveless, I tried it on but still wasn’t happy with the way it was falling. So next, I took the sides in a little bit (definitely the easiest part of this outfit).
After that, it fell on me alright, but it still didn’t look very attractive. The V-neck had a kind of smaller v in the bottom of a larger V, so I took the scissors and cut straight down the center of the smaller v to open up the shirt.
My next step was to finish the edges of all the areas I had ripped/cut out seams (the sleeves, collar and down the front). It was a lot easier said than done.
My first attempt at finishing a sleeve turned out horrible, and then because I had already “knotted” it on the machine (sewn back and forth over and over to make it so the thread wouldn’t come out) it took about 20 minutes to rip that new seem out.
I decided to make the new seems really thin, kind of like in the store these days when you can see the raw seam curling up on the edges? Idk, they do it a lot at Aeropostale…
Anyways, I finally finished all the seams and they definitely look rough. I think it looks okay in this pictures, but up-close it definitely looks like a do-it-yourself piece with uneven seams and little threads poking out everywhere from ripped seams.
I looked through the newdressaday site for some little flair I could add that would make it look nicer. The problem is that the girl who writes the blog has a lot more vintage pins/safety pins/sequins/ribbon/etc than I do. All I had was that shirt. So I found one dress where she used excess fabric to make little rosettes. Extra fabric I had.
So I made three little rosettes, one slightly larger than the others and experimentally pinned them to the front of the shirt. I think they look alright. (Sorry the picture is a bit fuzzy – it’s blown-up from Wesley’s iPhone in bad lighting.)
All-in-all, I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt.
Sidenote: The worst part of this experience happened at the thrift shop. I saw a truly ugly three-piece suit. It had black MC-Hammer pants with a multi-colored elastic strap as a belt, a huge shoulder-pad laden jacket and a very Munch/Van Gogh-looking under shirt. Once I pulled the shirt out of that horrible suit that was eating it, I completely fell in love with it. It had a dark pallet of super bright colors all swirled around like Starry Night. I imagined just taking in the sides a little and then wrapping my black belt around the waist. Then I looked at the price tag. Every three-piece suit in that store was $6 or less. For some reason (I can only guess because it was extra huge and ugly) this one was $20. And I was not about to spend $20 at a thrift store just so I could get that shirt. So, I took it to the counter and asked if I could buy the shirt separately. They seemed completely shocked that I would not want the entire suit and horrified that I wanted to split the three pieces up. Much arguing insued – yes, I was that woman at the thrift store trying to haggle. Don’t judge me. Long story short: didn’t get the shirt.