I know this doesn't need to be said, but these days it's all about the shoulders. Shoulderpads used to be hot as hale in the 80's, then up untill about a year ago they've been ostrasized by fashionlovers and non-fashion people alike. Now, we all want to stuff shoulderpads in our dresses again and decorate them with fringe, studs, spikes, whatever we can get our hands on. I too am obviously loving this trend, and enjoy bedazzling my naturally...erm... "strong" shoulders with a little somethingsomething.
My newest DIY involves just that. This time I wanted to make some braided shoulderpieces to attach to a dress. I decided to try and make the shoulderpieces match exactly with the fabric of the dress for a kind of textured effect, and since I LOVE grey jersey I searched on eBay to find a long-sleeve dress that would be small enough to be bodycon. Found a long one for 10 dollars, really nice condition too. Score!
I had sketched out the way I wanted the dress to look, but as far as making the shoulderpieces it was really just a system of trial and error. What I did was I took scrap jersey fabric and cut 6 strips of fabric about 1.5 inches wide and as long as possible. Then I pulled the strips a bit so that they become more rope-like because the sides fold in on themselves. Then took 3 of the strips, knotted one end and braided the strips together then knotted them again at the end.
The next bit may involve more than one attempt, but I promise it's not impossible. What I wanted to do was basically make a braided circle that would go on the shoudlers of my dress. I took the braid and started carefully coiling around itself, making sure the braid overlaps on itself a little and makes a slight bowl shape. You DO NOT want it to be completely flat. When you've got the shape you want, take a BUNCH of pins and just pin it like crazy so it keeps its shape. Repeat with the other 3 strips of fabric, trying to make the 2 shoulderpieces as evenly sized and shaped as possible.
What's cool about this project it that it's all hand sewn and the sewing DOES NOT have to be perfect. So even if you without a machine and have limited stitching skills (...um, right here) you can still do this project without any added anxiety. Now that your shoulderpieces are all pinned out, flip it over and start hand stitching the braid together with matching thread. Since you're sewing on the bottom, the stiches can be as hideous and un-even as you want, as long as they're tough and the braids stay together when you take out all the pins!
Sewing on the bottom of the shoulderpieces didn't occur to me untill I finished the first one, so one of my shoulders has really bad, ugly stitches all over it. Whatevs, no one will be looking closely anyways.
Now you're going to attach the shoulderpieces onto your dress or top. Put on the dress and get someone you trust (oh hai Mom) to pin the shoulderpieces in the right position. This way the piece will fit perfectly on the curve of your shoulder and you'll avoid any tugging or pulling of the fabric once it's sewed on.
Next you just need to hand stitch those bad boys on. I found that if you're just a little more careful with your sewing here, the thread isn't even visible. I just did small stitches all around the edge of the shoulderpiece.
The final touch that I did was I made one more long braid, looped it twice, then sewed it onto the top of ONE of the shoulder pieces. This gave it more of a military look, which I LOOOOVE. Can't wait to wear this dress out!
As you can see, I chopped off the bottom of the dress and made it a micro-mini. I realized afterwards that I could have probably used the extra fabric from the dress to make the shoulder pieces, that way they would have matched exactly. The fabric I used was pretty close though, like anyone in a dark room would ever notice.
Fancy profesh hem... yeah right. I seriously don't know what I'm doing, I learnt nothing useful in all those years of sewing class.
As far as styling goes, anyone have any good ideas? Maybe some printed tights, and even some boots might look cool to keep with the military theme. Layering skirts overtop would work too since its a bodycon. Time to get the Spanx out for this one...