I love the challenge of creating a designer look from things I already have in my wardrobe. The only thing I love more, is finding a great piece at my local upmarket thrift store, that will do half the work for me!
The polka dot blouse pictured above is from Dolce & Gabbanas most recent collection, and I love the fun element in it's design. Dolce & Gabbana never take themselves too seriously, and neither do I, so I guess that's why I'm drawn to their cute and quirky take on the fashion world. This blouse sells for over $1500, and sure, I could buy one. And not eat for a month. In fact, if I lived alone, I might do just that. I could do with a lighter diet for a month or two. Alas I have a husband and a teen child who have a curious attachment to food. What's a girl to do???
Well, as luck would have it, the day after I spotted (hahaha...fashion pun!) this blouse on my Net-a-Porter email, this little one jumped into my arms at my local Op Shop. In my size and all, and at just $9.50, a bit of a bargain compared to the one I'd been eyeing off from D&G! Sure, the colourway is reversed, but as I've said before, I'm seeking the elements and the look, not the identical item. My version even has a cute peek-a-boo keyhole feature at the front, which I thought was a lovely way to make mine a little more bespoke.
I had this slender white crafting ribbon on hand (one of the quirks of being a Dance Mum), so I utilised that to form the lettering. I decided on simply using 'Bella', as I didn't want to be too pedantic about my inspiration. I pinned the ribbon into place, mimicking the flowing script in the D&G blouse, and rearranging it until I was happy.
Now if you're re-fashioning along with me, can I suggest that you loosely hand stitched your lettering into place. Machine stitching all these loops and curves with pins in them, will be a nightmare!
Here's the lettering, hand stitched quickly into place, ready to be machine stitched.
Now you could just stitch this with matching thread, but I had this hologram thread on hand from some costume embellishing earlier this year, so I couldn't resist threading my machine with it, to see how it would look.
In the end, the result was okay, but a little underwhelming for someone who loves their bling! I resolved to look more closely at the Dolce & Gabbana blouse to see what made their lettering pop.
Meanwhile, I worked on fashioning my poppy. Now the lavish red poppy on the D&G blouse, actually seems to be made from ribbon of some sort. As I'm into using what I have on hand, I grabbed this piece of red bridal tulle, and folded and scrunched it into a rough flower shape. You could do this too. Any fabric would work. I like the tulle as it gives my flower a very full and lush appearance. Satin ribbon, cord, lace, stiffened fabric of any kind and lycra, would all make fabulous flowers for your blouse.
I had a tiny scrap of black tulle laying around, so I stitched that roughly to a centre point on my tulle, before folding the rest of the tulle scrap underneath, and securing it with a few random stitches to hold the folds in place.
Looking more closely at my inspiration photo, I noticed that the flower had some slivers of shiny green in the centre, so I grabbed a roll of green double satin craft ribbon, and fashioned a little loop from that to enhance my flora.
Here it is all done. I tidied it further, folding the messy edges under and firmly hand stitching them.
You could make your flora from ribbon or yarn, starting off like a pompom and flattening it too. You're only limited by your imagination.
Hold your finished flower up against your blouse, to decide where you'd like to position it. Again, I looked at the original blouse, and held up my flower in a few different spots...
In the end, as much as the D&G one has the flower and the lettering on opposite sides, like this...
I decided I preferred the look of the lettering and flower, both on the same side. In case I changed my mind, and to maximise use of my gorgeous poppy, I fixed a brooch pin to the back of it, allowing me to move it around at will, and use it on other outfits, too.
I was pretty content with this outcome and wore it like this twice. But to my eye, my lettering just wasn't popping like I wanted it too. If I had thought to fashion the lettering in black, it may have worked, but I was torn between the subtlety of the white lettering and silver thread, and wanting it to be more prominent.
When you're attempting these kinds of projects, it's often helpful to enlarge your images for inspiration to get a better idea of how they're mastered. I did this, and found that the D&G lettering is actually a lavish trim fashioned from either silver or white bugle beads in several rows.
Well. Bugle beads aren't difficult now, are they. Fiddly, yes. Difficult, no. $7 bought me a packet of suitable beads, and I'm in the middle of embellishing my lettering with them right now...
I'll be finished tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to share a photograph of me wearing it!
I'm not suggesting for a moment that my blouse is the same as the designer one by which it was inspired. I'm just showing you that for very little cost or effort, you can take the elements of a designer piece, and make them your own.
It's fun too. I love simply trying to break down what makes these designer pieces so desirable. Yes, it's the prestige. But sometimes, it's just attention to detail. With attention to detail, you too, can have a unique and fabulous wardrobe.
Go on. What can you have fun embellishing?