Many of you have been curious to see what I ended up making this year for Runway Repurposed. I apologize (especially to my friends who have yet to see it in person because I'm a forgetful human being and leave it at home) for the long wait, and am excited to finally share my garment with you all :-)
As you already know from my previous post, I didn't have a clue what I was going to make or a Hollywood inspired idea. Therefore, I started playing around with scraps of fabric, trying out different techniques to find an interesting way that would utilize both sides of the shimmery blue and red material. While playing around with folds, I remembered a dress I'd once seen which showcased an intricate pleating design, and I quickly began experimenting with the method. Instead of making actual pleats, I cut the fabric into strips and layered them, allowing me to bring out the red ("wrong") side of the fabric. The depth and textures created by this technique reminded me of dragon scales, so Smaug from The Hobbit movies became my garment's Hollywood inspiration.
I planned to make a vest, but later, using tulle from the red and blue dress, decided to add sheer sleeves. Due to time limitations, I wasn't able to include all of the bead work shown in the photos by the deadline. I did, however, manage to stitch in some scattered beads along the edge of the sleeves while riding in the car to the contest. I don't recommend beading in a moving vehicle, Lol!
When the crop jacket was about 75% finished, I switched gears and started planning a second piece. I needed something that not only complimented the textures and colors of the top, but also represented dragon fire. On my floor lay a wadded bunch of black tulle from when I'd deconstructed the thrift store dresses. This gave me an idea to use it with the red material to create a halter, mid-waist cutout gown.
Unfortunately it became a frustrating, time-consuming garment that was never meant to be. While it draped beautifully on the dress form, the materials refused to cooperate when fitting it to my actual body and wouldn't stay in place. The entire bodice had to be sewn by hand, which equaled long hours spent stitching woven tulle together, inserting the lining, putting in misbehaving closures, attaching the bodice to a solid piece of tulle, and sewing it to the skirt. When wore underneath, the bodice would poof out the jacket, giving it a very unflattering shape. There were several other problems that should have been obvious warning signs to cease progress, however, I didn't heed them. It wasn't until 1pm , the day before the competition, that I finally realized the dress was a bust. What followed was a nervous breakdown... I had less than half a day to come up with a new idea and sew it together!
Thankfully, my mom came and kept me from completely stressing out (I don't know what I'd do without her!) and I didn't dropout of the contest. I also did not get any sleep that night, but the resulting dress was worth the frenzied evening.
Needing only to cut apart a few seams, I was still able to use the skirt portion of the dress, thankgoodness, with minimal changes. This allowed me to put all my focus into redesigning and constructing the bodice. Since the focal point of the overall look was the jacket, I decided to make the top simple and concentrated on keeping it "hidden" when worn with the second piece. It's basically my original idea with a few tweaks. By 2:30 a.m I was exhausted and hungry, but the dress was complete and I could walk down the runway with confidence!
I hope you all love the final design as much as I do :-D The crop jacket has become one of my favorite creations! Believe it or not, I used parts from all but 1 of the recycled dresses to create this garment. Now I just need an excuse to wear it again!
All photo credit goes to my amazingly talented friend, Stefanie Kapusta (Instagram: @stef__with__an__f_).
My life has been crazy since the holidays! Between school and work, I haven't had much time for blogging.... or crafting for that matter. My hands are dying to do something creative!
This past week was registration for Runway Repurposed. Since January rolled in, I've been super excited to participate again! (You can read my post about last year's contest here.) Over 70 designers signed up for this year's competition. How cool is that?!?
The theme is Hollywood Then and Now. ANY era, movie, musical, character, actor, etc... can be used as inspiration for your outfit's design.
As last time, I came in to select my pieces with an open-mind, no preconceived ideas about what to make. My only plan was to seek out garments with large amounts of fabric and/or notions (buttons, zippers, snaps, boning, bra cups....). Because the purpose of the event is recycling, I try to make 100% of my garment from the reused items I've chosen that day. At first, nothing caught my attention. I picked up a pink evening gown made from an interesting, textured fabric and began choosing items which matched the color. Sadly, none of the clothes I grabbed sparked any creativity..... Then I was stopped in my tracks upon finding this beauty!
The fabric is woven with blue and red synthetic threads. However, depending on how the light hits it, the dress can also appears to be burgundy with grey highlights. When my brother looks at it, he sees completely different colors than me, no matter what lighting we're standing in, and has decided it's the strangest material he's ever seen. I love it! I adore the way the red and blue colors shift as it moves. The photo doesn't do it justice! And underneath it's a solid, bright red.
With my new garment in hand, I switched gears and started pulling other items which coordinated with the dress or pieces I thought would be interesting to use in a design.
When I originally thought my outfit was going to revolve around pink, I had already selected this orange and yellow ombre dress. Even if I don't end up using the fabric, I hope to incorporate the rhinestone straps somewhere in my outfit.
Since I was grabbing numerous colors and textures, I knew I needed at least one basic color to balance everything out. Surprisingly, there weren't as many black dresses to choose from this year. (Or perhaps majority of them were taken from the first day of registration.) I chose this one for its straight, wide panels and heavier fabric weight. It came with this white jacket, which I do not plan to use, unless I need the shoulder pads or buttons.
Should my garment require any embellishment, I thought the red beads from this dress could come in handy. (I'm clearly addicted to beading, although I honestly hate doing the handwork....) As a bonus, it also contains long straps and an invisible zipper.
I was drawn to the sparkly material. (You can never have too much sparkle!) However, the fabric is similar to what I used for my skirt in last year's contest. If I use it, I only plan to sew it in as an accent piece and not the main body of a garment.
This pink prom gown was also chosen for it's embellishments. I want to use the beads, sequins, and gems somewhere in my design. Plus the dress has several other useful pieces- a zipper, hooks, eyes, and boning.
I hesitated when picking my final dress. I love this trim, but I'm not sure how it will work in with the other materials. I guess I'll have to wait and see....
Now I'm just praying for a massive brainstorm! Because as of this moment, I have no clue what I'll be creating. I have a few basic ideas swimming around in the back of my mind, but nothing concrete. The up side is I have a legitimate excuse to rewatch all my favorite movies, Lol!
Hard to believe it's been a week since ASE! Enjoyed a long weekend with plenty of sewing fun, education, and inspiration, as always. My absolute highlight was meeting new acquaintances and reconnecting with old friends :) Helping my siblings and cousin get signed in and their garments on, I felt strange being on the other side of Innovation Generation. Now I know how my mom felt all the years I was competing! They all did very well, if I do say so myself. Can't wait to write a post about what all I wore over the weekend!
Earlier this year, January-February, I participated in a different contest with my mom and grandma called Runway Repurposed, a fundraiser for the Howell Opera house. The purpose of the contest is to upcycle old, used items and turn them into modern day fashions. A local resale shop donates tons of clothes and occasionally other items, like shower curtains and pillows. We are given one month to create an outfit based off of the theme.
Registration opens in January for 3 days. We got there as soon as possible, a whole hour before doors opened, such was our excitement. We were lead into a room filled with ample amounts of dresses, pants, jackets, and tops and could choose up to 6 pieces. We were there 4-5 hours deciding which clothes to take!
I ended up picking 2 large, woman's pants (one denim, the other cotton), 3 dresses (A long, sparkly, & black with an empire waistline. One almost identical to the first, only in silver sparkles with a black netting overlay. A gorgeous, floor-length, blue beaded evening gown.), and a black leather jacket. When choosing pieces, I specifically looked for things with big portions of fabric, avoiding garments with lots of seam line designs. My intention was to cut everything apart and use them as material and embellishments.
This year's theme was “It's a Party”, a rather broad spectrum. You could basically create anything, from pool party wear to Oscars gowns. When I arrived to pick out my materials, I was hoping something would catch my attention and speak to me. For some reason, as I lay my chosen pieces out at home, the textures and sparkles kept bringing Indian saris to mind. I was inspired by the use of different patterns and textures incorporated in their garments. I especially love the beautiful choli tops! My other inspiration was the blue, beaded evening gown, which I grabbed last minute. Originally, I only thought I would need a few beads to add a little extra detail to whatever I designed. Never thought I'd end up pulling tons of them off and making hand-beading the focus of the bodice!
After cutting apart the pants, I used them to make the bodice. As someone recently pointed out, the bottoms are now living another life as a top, Lol! Very carefully I disconnected the neckband from the blue evening gown. Many beads were falling off or missing, so it took awhile fixing the bead pattern. Then I began pulling beads, which were already falling off, from the dress and weaving them into strips. Before this project, I'd never done any bead weaving, I only had a generic idea of how to do it. With a few Google and Youtube searches I was set and ready to go!
The most time consuming part of the project was definitely hand-beading. I was torn between wanting to sew an elaborate bead design and the reality that I only had a few weeks to accomplish it. Therefore, I bid farewell to my more intricate ideas and chose a simple one instead. Thank goodness I did! I spent days stitching bead after bead...
When I needed a break from beading, I began working on the second garment. Right away I knew I would use the sparkly, black dress to make a long, slit skirt. I love how the material glitters when the light catches it! That being said, it was slightly see-through, so I used the leather jacket's lining to make a mini, build-in slip. Now I could walk the runway with no worries! Finally, I took elastic from the back of a dress and secured it in my waistband.
With a week to spare, the bodice and skirt were completed. Taking that time to use whatever else I could of the remaining clothes, I quickly whipped together a couple accessories. From the leather, which I sadly hadn't gotten to use in the outfit, I made a geometric clutch and with the extra beads I created a matching bracelet.
On the day of the contest/fashion show, as we stepped out into the frigid outdoors, I questioned why I hadn't made something with sleeves. Michigan chose that day of all days to drop below 0 degrees..... It didn't help that the room we had to wait in was just as cold. Thankfully, I warmed up some while walking the runway.
Despite the cold, the contest was a blast! I cannot wait to compete again next year (the dates are already set). If you're in the area and looking for a fun sewing contest, I encourage you to give it a try. It doesn't matter if you are beginner or advanced, this is the perfect opportunity to put your creative skills to the test!
I'm Jasmine, a young designer passionate about creating! I hope my work inspires YOU to think outside the box and use your talents to do amazing things!