Recently I’ve had a major obsession with wraps, kimonos, shawls and capes just because they’re fun pieces to wear around the house aside from sweats. I also had this picture ingrained in my mind of a 1920’s Paul Poiret cat-eyed muse wearing a turban and kimono, while holding a slimline cigarette in her hand atop her balcony on the Italian Riviera. The one I’m wearing in this photo shoot is a vintage kimono from the 1960’s that I found at a garage sale last year. I fell in love with the print, and I LOVED the fact that it was floor length on me (I'm pretty tall).
There are two ways you can upcycle a vintage kimono to make it look more luxurious.
Hand beading anything will instantly give your kimono a decadent allure. It’s not something that can be rushed or something that is quick, but it is surprisingly easy with the help of any YouTube tutorial. To cut down on time, I only hand-beaded the edges around the small printed designs on the kimono. I threaded three beads at a time along the edges to replicate a thin line of beads and used different colors (gold and silver) to create depth.
The next tip to up-cycle a kimono is to add a bit of lace. There is something about a slight introduction of lace to anything that adds not only femininity but also sophistication. I picked a lace that would match the overall color of the kimono (navy blue) and made sure the lace was the kind that would be soft to the touch. I cut out two panel pieces along the side seams from the armholes down to the hemline and replaced the fabric with lace.
DIY - Upcycle T-Shirt Dress
You’ve seen the upcycle ideas on how to cut, braid and reconstruct a vintage t-shirt. Here is a new way to upcycle a t-shirt and a dress. In this post, I’ll break this DIY down into five simple steps.
Pick a dress that will complement the style of the t-shirt you are planning to upcycle. The dress pictured in this post was a dress I wore last NYE. A dress that I knew I wouldn't wear again. A dress that is either An A-line or over-sized dress is best for replicating this look.
I chose to cut the sleeves off of the t-shirt that’s in this post, but leaving the sleeves on is also beautiful. I probably would have kept the sleeves on looking back on it, but living in Florida’s tropical heat, the idea didn’t even cross my mind at the time.
Cut the top of the dress off and gather the fabric around the waist by baste stitching around the seamline.
Cut the bottom half of any t-shirt to the desired waistline of the piece. Pin the dress to the t-shirt so that you’ll know where the hemline will lay on your body.
Sew together the gathered top of the dress to the bottom of the t-shirt right sides together then line up the dress to the t-shirt so that the gathered seamline fits evenly around the bottom of the t-shirt. Then take out the baste stitch with a seam ripper once you’re done sewing the t-shirt and bottom of the dress together.
DIY - Custom Applique
One fun way to add a unique look to any shirt or dress with a collar is a printed or contrasting applique. It can easily be sewn on top of the shirt or dress next to the placket by simply folding the edges under before sewing along the seam. It's maybe a thirty-minute project that can easily upcycle a thrifted fashion find. Below are the five main steps to complete this pictured look.
DIY APPLIQUE ON A SHIRT OR DRESS:
1. Grab a white dress (or neutral colored dress) from your local thrift store and find any kind of overlapping geometric print or electric bohemian print fabric.
2. With your seam ripper, undo the shoulder seams at the top.
3. Cut two rectangular pieces of the scrap fabric to sew down the two sides of the center front as pictured below. Ensure that both fabric appliques are the same length and run down the side of the placket.
4. Sew the two rectangular appliques around the outer edges on either side of the placket, making sure that the fabric reaches the top of the shoulder where you undid the seams.
5. Sew back the shoulder seams at the top and you’ve just added your own style to a button up dress!