Pretty Peplum Top

Picture 17Though I can’t tell if it’s because a sleeveless peplum top makes me yearn for summertime, or because I am obsessed with overly cutesy things, this project is one of my favorite transformations to date. I began with a retro sleeveless dress with a knee-length tulle edged hemline, and, after some seam ripping and restitching, transformed the drop-waisted darling into a positively adorable peplum top, just in time for the (finally!) warmer temperatures.

Though the dress you choose to transform might not have the same construction as the one I used, hopefully my instructions will give you some ideas for how to tweak your dress regardless of form!

Materials:
1) Dress with a full(er) skirt
2) Scissors
3) Seam ripper
4) Pins
5) Sewing Machine!

For before and after pictures of my dress and instructions for how to transform your own, click here! http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157633201734850/

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Fun with Leather Continued: Bows!

Picture 13I. Love. BOWS. On shoes, in hair, as a motif in jewelry, I love it. Thus, I dedicated this week’s post to the ever-so-versatile bow, this time in leather! If you read my post from several weeks ago, these bows were done in leather scraps from Modern Fabrics, an eco-conscious fabric store in Charlotte, NC. The bows take almost no time to make, and they go on everything. To compliment the adorable simplicity of the bows, I’ll keep this post short and sweet!

Materials:
Leather Scraps (preferably flimsier)
Leather glue
Ruler
Rotary Cutter/Cutting mat

For instructions, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157633144957188/

All That Glitters

Picture 6-1This week’s project is more of an inspiration than instructions, because there are infinite possibilities when it comes to bling! I was inspired by Elizabeth and James’ updated tees and my lovely friend Caroline’s bejeweled sweater to devote a post to the many ways sparkle can transform a look. From sequins, studs, beads and rhinestones, any drab garment can be brought back to life with some strategically placed sparkle.

My personal experiment with glitz was actually made from two recycled pieces- a plain grey t-shirt and a rhinestone choker once worn by my great aunt. I had never worn the necklace before, so I thought this project would provide the perfect opportunity to use it! I disconnected the individual rhinestones and sewed them onto the tee, after much indecision about where to place them, but ultimately succeeded in transforming both the necklace and the tee!

I hope this inspires you to put your costume jewelry to good use, and to look at your own closet differently. Any unwearable piece can be made wearable with a few alterations!

For pictures of my tee, before and after, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157633018830395/

Clear Conscience Leather Cuff

SKMBT_C65213031204410This week’s project is inspired by my new favorite fabric store- Modern Fabrics in Charlotte’s South End. Though it sells fabric primarily for upholstery and draperies, I decided to visit after I learned about their mission. All of the fabric in their store is rescued from textile factory floors, and would otherwise be discarded. Their products are high-quality and totally usable, but the dimensions of some fabrics would qualify as waste to some of the large companies they do business with. In a nutshell, their entire inventory is recycled! With the growing popularity of repurposing old furniture, it makes perfect sense to have a recycled fabric store to aid in the eco-home improvement process!
As I wandered through the store, I found a large bin filled to the brim with leather scraps, advertised at only several dollars per pound. Though some of you readers may be opposed to using leather (and I absolutely respect you if you are), I thought that using this otherwise waste material as a functional accessory justified my use of animal hide. Modern Fabrics luckily found just as much value in these remnants as I did, selling the scraps instead of wasting these irregular yet usable bits and pieces.

So, in honor of their scrap saving, I designed a cuff bracelet from a single piece of leather from their bin! All you need is a scrap at least 2″ by 14″, a rotary cutter, a ruler, a silver sharpie and a really good eraser!

For instructions see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157632978745415
To check out Modern Fabrics, visit: http://www.modern-fabrics.com/about/

Cold Shoulder Flannel

Picture 22If you’re like me, you have far too many plaid, button-down flannel shirts. Some bought, some borrowed, some men’s, some women’s. Whatever type they might be, I have an abundance of them, and I thought it was about time to add some dimension to this classic style. Inspired by the influx of cut-out details in fashion magazines, I decided to tweak my flannel in an unconventional way- to remove the shoulders! Just enough of an alteration to give it a whole new look, but not enough to take away from its original snuggliness too much.

This project requires a sewing machine, but you only need the basic straight stitch!

Here’s what else you will need:
Scissors
Straight pins
Ruler

For pictures and instructions, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157632911176146/

Fifties Floral: More Secondhand Successes

SKMBT_C65213012905020-1This week’s post is not a project, but just a little tidbit about one of the wonderful pieces I’ve found while secondhand shopping! This delightful number is from Honk Kong Vintage on Central Avenue. It is an original 1950s frock sporting a three-layer petticoat and a plunging V-back. I wore it to a wedding last summer, and my senior picture photo shoot (see the flickr link!)
I love this dress particularly because I know that whenever I wear it, I never have to worry about wearing the same thing as anyone else. Try shopping vintage sometime, your recycled style will be rewarded with the security of knowing your outfit will stand out in a crowd!

For photos of my Fifties frock, visit
http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets

 To explore Hong Kong Vintage, visit
http://www.hongkongvintage.com/

More Things to be Happy About!

Ecouturier is officially a nationwide phenom! The Charlotte Observer article was just featured in the Kansas City Star newspaper! In the article, I mentioned Washington University in St. Louis, which is probably how it made its way to Missouri. For the full article, go to:

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/01/24/4028645/fashion-student-turns-out-earth.html

Also, last Thursday, I was asked to speak on Charlotte’s Fox News Rising morning show about consignment shopping and repurposing clothes! I still haven’t watched the clip myself, because my worst fear is watching myself on film. But hopefully you will enjoy it! Watch it here at:

http://www.foxcharlotte.com/rising/wardrobe-wednesday/First-Class-Style-Second-Hand-Threads-188198271.html

I am so incredibly thrilled that my message has gone this far… Things can only go up from here!

Zombie Sweater

Blog cropWhile browsing the interwebs for inspiration the other day, I stumbled across an utter atrocity. An outrageously expensive, purposefully disheveled and unraveling sweater. I’ve seen a lot of girls wearing this style of sweater lately. Though they may not be as expensive as the sweater I found online, but after creating my own version for $5, any sweater is too expensive for me.

For this project, take the hint from Macklemore: “No for real, ask your Grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?” Find a knit sweater in your Grandpa’s closet or in the men’s department of the Goodwill (the larger the knit, the better), take a seam ripper, and GO! More in-depth instructions are on my flickr album, but that’s really all you need to make a fantastically grungy, borderline zombie-like sweater!

Materials:
Sweater, seam ripper. Done.

For instructions and pictures of my own zombie sweater, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157632634098447/

Pop Collars II: Bedazzled

Picture 12When I say bedazzled, I’m not kidding. I got a Bedazzler several years ago for Christmas, a little skeptical of its abilities, not knowing what a pivotal part it would play in my future fashion career. I find it very useful, and I have revamped a number of garments with it. Mock me if you will, but my Bedazzler is responsible for this week’s tricked out Pop Collar project, which was recently featured in the Charlotte Observer! This design is essentially a combination of the original Pop Collars project and Not Your Average Shoe Shine, with a few variations:

1) Start off like the original Pop Collar: find a collared shirt, cut off the collar, and put Fray Check on the raw edge of the collar.
2)Instead of using Modge Podge, use two parts Soft Gel Gloss to mix with one part superfine glitter (both of which you can find at Michael’s) and paint on your collar to create a shimmery yet flexible base coat for your collar. Wait until the coat is dry before studding.
3) Use a ruler to mark where you would like to place your studs. It is hard to accurately place studs without a marker of some sort, as I have found through experience… Once you have marked your collar, stud away! Don’t feel limited to a Bedazzler by any means. If you want to buy your own studs and the tools to put them in, feel free! Unfortunately, I do not yet have the expertise to do so. It’s on my fashion To Do list!

For finished project pics, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/sets/72157632589965494/

Knot Perfect Bracelet

Picture 5Remember those hemp friendship bracelets everyone had in middle school? Well, it appears the trend has matured as we have. The familiar square knot design was featured in an article in Women’s Wear Daily with diamond encrusted beads and gold and silver details, going for a significant chunk of change. However, after some experimentation, I discovered that there is an eco-friendly (and much cheaper) way to get the same awesome bling. Using bamboo cord (bamboo grows back super quickly, therefore boosting its eco cred) and some beads, I made one bracelet, then another, and another, until I had made enough to give to my friends as Christmas presents.

This project is probably the most difficult of the projects I’ve posted, but once you get the hang of it, you can make these bracelets really quickly. I promise it is worth the time and effort. If you don’t get the hang of it after reviewing the instructions, comment on my post, and I’ll answer any questions you might have!

Materials:
1) Bamboo Cord- Eco friendly and comes in tons of colors!
2) Beads- whatever tickles your fancy
3) Fray Check- One of my favorite inventions of all time
4) Scissors
5) Ruler

Instructions: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86405222@N02/8377916181/in/set-72157632517660866/