Tuesday, October 25, 2016

50 & Fab...Clothing embellishment #3...Attention to detail = D&G inspired blouse...


 
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?
 
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20 comments:

  1. Love, love, love the flower, and that you made it with a pin on the back so you could move it around. How clever!

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    1. Thanks chipmunk! I can even see my flower reinvented as a fascinator for the upcoming Melbourne Cup. Keep it versatile I say. Love, Mimi x

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  2. I love your mindset Mimi! You have inspired me to try updating a few pieces of my wardrobe!

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    1. Dear Patsy, I love what can be accomplished with a few trims, scraps and beads. It's a great way to create your own look. Mimi xxx

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    1. Ciao Lynn! Yes there's nothing like a splash of red against black and white! Bellissimo! Mimi xxx

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  4. Loving your refashioning posts, please keep them coming!
    Am moving back home soon and so looking forward to having access to op shops again :)
    Jo
    AKA whizzbangpop over on wordpress

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    1. Hi Jo. I'm thrilled you're enjoying my posts. Thankyou. Op shops are the best, aren't they? Mimi xxx

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  5. This is so cute, Mimi! I just read that polka-dots are really in style this season. Love how you turned your thrifty blouse into a 'designer' original! I am inspired! Sending hugs xo Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen! I'm still madly stitching bugle beads...deathly little things that they are. But I can see I'm going to really love the result, so it will be worthwhile. I'd love you to email me if you upcycle something of your own. I'll share it here for you! Mimi xxx

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  6. Hi mimi just gorgeous it will look amazing on you ! I found your blog through annabels blog. I am addicted to your advice and tips.I'm a divorced lady of 39 living with my dog in a tiny department of housing in Sydney. Everything here is overly expensive and though I've been shopping at aldi for years life with finances is a constant stress. I'm only able to work casually due to chronic health pribkems. When I do get work its only a few small shifts per month. So I'm largely dependant on the disability pension $550 a fortnight post deductions like rent, water.etc which I have deducted automatically.
    I can't afford Christmas gifts for family but would love to make somethings like the soap you made. Do you have a recipe for it without caustic soda in it ? And for the body scrubs etc ?? These will be lovely ideas. Look forward to your posts weekly ! Sonia

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    1. Dear Sonia, how lovely to meet you! Yes, many big cities can be prohibitively expensive and it can be hard to meet just your normal living expenses, never mind any of the good things in life. You probably don't know this, but I have a 26 year old son who has the disability of Cerebral Palsy. He's in a wheelchair and requires round the clock care, but despite these limitations, he has been living independently for 7 years! He too, secured public housing, and funding for support staff, and he too, has a dog. His is a greyhound! The laziest dog on Earth....lol! Now it sounds as if he and you, have a similar budget, so I'll let you in on how he manages. He can't craft or sew, so he leaves that to me, but does not rely on me for ongoing gift donations. He volunteers in a thrift shop for just 2 hours a week, where he is welcomed and valued, and where he sources most of his gifts for family and friends, for very little money. Of course, you do not have to volunteer in a thrift store to have this benefit, but it helps to know when the new stock comes in and how quickly it is priced and displayed. Also there is some truth to the fact that the stock in some thrift stores is better than others, and only experience will tell you which is which. He not only sources new and near new toys for his young nieces, but also new-with-tags clothing and accessories for his sisters, sisters-in-law, and us as his parents. He is able to clothe himself well, and stylishly, and even regularly finds items that reflect his love of his favourite sporting teams like jerseys, tshirts, caps and scarves. Rather than making soaps...I don't think there is such a thing as soap without lye (caustic soda), would it make more sense for you to do as he does? Teacups can be bought for mere cents and filled with chocolates or jelly beans and wrapped in cellophane, and thrifted sheets can become packaging ribbon, clothing, serviettes and tablecloths, hair ties, bandannas and goodness knows what else, and are always available for under $5 for the most astounding amount of fabric. I myself, found a red gingham sheet at my local thrift store yesterday, that for $4, will yield enough fabric for 6 or 7 pairs of boxer shorts for my own nieces, and leave excess for covers for homemade jars of jam, and some very Christmassy packaging ribbon. Body scrubs are always simply a combination of oil (olive oil is nice, as is coconut), an abrasive like salt, sugar or sand, and essential oils for scent...that's it. Anyway, I'm happy to welcome you to my blog, and hope that I can provide you with more inspiration as time goes by. You're doing a great job Sonia, and you should be really proud. Love, Mimi xxx

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  7. I'm thinking one of those flowers might be just the thing to pin on a winter coat for a splash of color on dark & dreary winter days!
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Leigh I adore a bright accessory to cheer my day. That is a great idea. Love, Mimi xxx

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  8. I love the little stars I get when I move my cursor.

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  9. Sweet Mimi, you are AMAZING! What a brilliant idea, my friend. I have been wanting to add lace to a few of my shirts and seeing you dive into your project has inspired me to get my project done!

    I trust you are well, lovely lady? Thinking of you often! Know that much love is being sent your way.

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    1. Dearest Stephanie, how are you my sweet! It's so lovely of you to visit! And thankyou as always, for your support. This embellishing thing is addictive. Once you've added lace to your shirts, you'll be diving in looking for something else to pretty up. Visit soon, won't you. Miss you when you're not around. Love, Mimi xxx

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  10. Lovely work Mimi, but what I liked best about this post was your reply to Sonia. Inspiring! Fi

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    1. Thankyou Fi. What a lovely thing to say...xxx

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx