Anthropologizing GAP: Patagonia Maxi Skirt

Anthropologizing Walmart: Reed Shirtdress

I've never been the sort of girl who walks into my friendly, neighborhood Walmart thinking, Today, this store will change my life

So obviously, it was no typical day when I spied a plaid sundress on the clearance rack in a fabric I've just had to have all my life. After all good sense abandoned me, I snagged up two sundresses in hopes of realizing the long-gone, but not forgotten, Moulinette Soeurs Reed shirtdress.  

It turned into the most frustrating project ever 'cuz in spite of using two dresses, I was scraping for enough fabric to get the plaid to line up, plus have enough for the longer sleeves and collar. But apparently, recycling a dress is a little like birthing a baby...once you get that adorableness in your hands, all the pain just fades away and now that I'm done, I can't quit thinking of all the places I'll get to wear my pretty plaid dress this summer. 

Anthropologizing: Intelligencer Coat

Good evening, mah dears! 
It's been months since you voted for the Intelligencer Sweatercoat to be my next Anthropologizing project. I put it off because I wanted a spring version of the jacket since I live in the Midwest where sweatercoats are practically useless against the weather.  Besides, I really wanted a project to use the cutout fabric I created and thought the detailing on the collar and cuffs made this the perfect option.

Based on the reviews I read online about the drape, I gave the bottom of my jacket a more definitive shape with less fullness, which I really like because I can leave it hanging open more like a swing coat from the1960's without it looking like a complete sack. HA.

Can't tell you how ecstatic I am about this floral cutout detailing on the collar and cuffs. It's just so quintessentially feminine and the silk flowers play perfectly against the rougher texture of the linen. 

So, what do you think? Would you wear a spring version of the Intelligencer Coat?

Anthropologizing: Alary + Anaheim

Obviously, I was conflicted on this project.
I loved the colors of the Anaheim, but not the silhouette. 
I loved the cut of the Alary, but I was never going to find that fabric. 
I went with the next best option...making a dress using my favorite elements from both. 
I built the sleeves first, since they were the main event of the Anaheim dress. I love that surprising pop of color from the original. 
I love when a dress surprises me on the inside.

Anthropologizing: Unconditional Osier Dress

Once upon a week of blustery November days, I built a bit of pretty with a couple yards of lace.  I didn't need another LBD in my closet so I went to Joann's in search of that perfect shade between dusty pink and beige.  I don't know where the fabric store hides all the best fabric until they hit the clearance's a mystery.  I always find the best pieces tucked away like they aren't meant to be found.  This particular bit of amazingness cost a whopping $10.  I can so handle that...especially for a dress that has endless possibilities.
Editing the pieces I build from scratch starts long before the finishing touches. Choose the wrong fabrics, and the final product will be miles apart from what I imagined for a piece when I began. 

This lace is sheer, so the shade of the lining is going to have a huge effect on the finished dress.
I tried pink--it looked like a lollipop.
I tried cream--too bridal.
But this brown-toned silver?  Perfection.
The end result was a pretty dress in a versatile color shade you could dress down with a leather jacket or trick out with a fancy shrug.
Little confession.  I can never decide whether to use a circle skirt or a gathered rectangle.  It's a quirk.  For this dress, I used a gathered rectangle so I could keep the scalloped edge at the bottom, but made a flounce for the lining to imitate the fullness of a circle skirt. 
YAY! Love it.  
So what's been good with all of you?  
Much love, mah dears.

Anthropologizing Jo-Ann's: Ruffled Plaid Dress

If you've been with me from the beginning, you'll recognize this dress as the first one I ever featured on the blog last fall (original post).  At that point, I hadn't started the Anthropologizing features yet and thought this dress definitely deserved it's own post now. Plus, I've been so busy constructing the pieces for my latest collection that I haven't really built anything else recently.   

I initially thought constructing this out of red plaid flannel would limit its use to Christmas services and other holiday events, but it's proved to be incredibly versatile (yay!). There's nothing more annoying than a gorgeous dress relegated to the back of the closet simply because you have absolutely no occasion to use it.
The flannel keeps it cozy so it's not too outlandish to wear to church or for business, but the design is just unique enough to make it perfect for more special events, yeah, it's been pretty much perfect.

Photos courtesy of LookNook

I love the dimension these ruffles add to what would otherwise be a very simple pencil dress.  The main fit issue I had with the Anthro version was the flutter sleeves.  I love drama in clothing as much as the next girl, but to have flap sleeves like that with the ruffles and corsage and plaid just felt like too much, so I decided to make my sleeves echo the simple shape of the dress silhouette.  You can check out the tutorial on how to make a shoelace corsage on thispage (waaay down at the bottom).

Cardigan: J.Crew Ginny  Belt: Anthro Bakerloo Watch: Anthro Modern Master  Pumps: Steve Madden

Anthropologizing LOFT 2


I found this amazing little dress at LOFT on clearance for $5.00 a while ago and fell in love with the color and style, so of course, I snatched it right up.  It was totally cool on it's own, but as you know, I can't leave anything alone and I've wanted a cream-trimmed red dress for a while...making this one the perfect victim. HA.

Here's the sketch I used to keep focused on what I wanted the dress to become.

The fabric lining of a store-bought garment rarely ever matches the actual fabric of a dress lemme tell ya, but this one did (shocker).  Since the dress was already long, I shortened the top layer of fabric letting the lining hang below, edged them both with cream fabric to echo the trim of the sleeve and flutter detailing...then used the extra fabric to make the sleeves.

The belt was made out of cream brocade using a belt kit. 

This dress would have still been really versatile without the sleeves, but I always like to have the option...and it seemed a ridiculous waste of fabric not to add them.  For a more detailed description of how I sew sleeves into existing dresses, go here

That's all, readers.  At the end of the day, each rework isn't necessarily an improvement...just different..

But for all the girls who can't ever leave well-enough alone, different is just the thing, no?

Anthropologizing H and M: Drifting By Dress

I've wanted a dress with graduated neutral color layers for like, ever. I already owned the original Drifting By dress from Anthro and didn't really need another beige, sleeveless dress , so I wasn't really looking to literally interpret the Drifting By dress as much as I wanted to recreate the layered detailing at the hem in variegated shades. I gotta say, I *squeal* love, love, love how this dress turned out.

What girl doesn't love a dress that makes her feel like a princess? The layers and sleeves were all cut on the bias, so the entire dress flips and swishes in a lovely way.

The colors are quiet and serene, but the texture and detailing guarantee this dress will not hang forgotten in the back of the closet. (I apologize in advance to all my friends for wearing the same dress to your weddings!) I posted a tutorial on how to make these kind of layers on the bottom of the dress here.

Next week, I'll be posting a tutorial on how to insert sleeves like this into a pre-existing dress.

Anthropologizing Target: Voluminous Scarf

When I spotted this polka-dot Merona scarf at Target, I knew it would be perfect to recreate the Voluminous scarf from Anthropologie. Making this scarf was super-easy, so I included really particular instructions in case some of you darlings want to rock your own mad sewing skills.

The Anthro version used all one color wooden beads, but my pack came with these three colors and I didn't want to buy three packs of beads just to have enough of the brown color. The beautiful thing about recreating? You can do whatever you want!

Most scarves are made of really delicate, woven fabrics, so this row of stitching gives you a strong base to hold it all together.

I used the entire thickness of an embroidery strand. You don't want your thread breaking and sending your beads everywhere.

Pinch the end into a tight ball and wind thread around several times. Make your strands various lengths. I used 25 beads for the first row, 28 for the second and 31 for the third.

You can triple wrap the scarf like this or simply double-loop it for a fuller look.
That's it! Pretty easy, huh? Now go get a scarf and make one for yourself! =)

Anthropologizing Jo-Ann's: Vappu Dress

Some dresses just make you feel over-the-moon and tickle-me-pink just because they exist. That's the way I feel about the Vappu dress, which I never bought from Anthro, but totally loved all the same. I always wanted a perfectly summery dress with a seersucker bottom and finally...finally, I got around to making my wish came true.
My favorite thing about this dress is that's just so ridiculously versatile, and as you know, I'm all about versatility!

(Kristina J. dress, J.Crew cardi, UO leather belt, Miz Mooz green flats, AE watch, Vera Wang bag, H&M shades)

One of my friends is losing a crazy amount of weight (YAY for her!) and gave me this old dress from her closet since she knew I liked to rework things...and man, this little number didn't disappoint. I cut the bodice off the skirt, took it in and put a zipper in the side seam, sewed it to a seer-sucker skirt I made and wa-lah! The quintessential summer dress.
There is something so undone and organic about summer and I wanted this dress to reflect that. I left the edges frayed and unfinished when I attached the bodice to the skirt. I love that the waistband on this dress is unexpected and would still look really interesting even without a belt. Plus, the coat-of-arms buttons are just the right amount of tough...

Then, of course, the only thing left to do was to wear the pretty little thing...the easiest and best part of all!

Anthropologizing Jo-Ann's: Sugar Coated Dress

I haven't gotten so excited about a dress since I first saw the Sugar-Coated Dress at Anthropologie last fall, nor has any other dress from Anthro fit me so poorly, so unfortunately, it never left the store with me. I originally intended to create a fall version more like the original, but didn't find similar fabric until spring rolled around, so I shortened the sleeves to make it more appropriate for a summer shirtdress.

(Kristina J. dress, Anthropologie Channeled belt and Work Weekend bag, Nine West wedges, AE watch)

 Anthropologizing Jo-Ann's: Bold Boutonniere

I used a straight piece of cloth because I thought cutting this on the bias might be more fluffy than I wanted and when gathered just a bit, it ended up being the perfect amount of dimension.

I didn't finish off the edge of the folded strip and it wasn't a problem because the finishing stitches when I attached it to the dress prevented it from unraveling. 

Anthropologizing Walmart 2

After last week's tutorial on the Hibiscus sandals,
I got a request from a reader to do a tutorial on
how I would imitate the Rose Remnant Sandals.

Obviously, I went with different colors all together,
but I wanted to use the sandals and the
great teal ombre ribbon I already owned.

I put a little fold in the middle to give each tri-fold layer more dimension.
If you don't own a sewing machine, you can do this step with a needle and thread also.

Your rose should look like this when you're done with all three layers.

Ideally, I would have used a single piece for the center,
like a small brooch or chandelier earring,
but I didn't have time to get to the mall and already had
several beads in this color, so I went with it.
If you decide to use individual beads,
the trick is to tack down only two or three together.
Work your way around the center of the flower until the
beading covers as much space as you want.

Anthropologizing Walmart

I bought these T-strap sandals forever ago
from Walmart, and similar versions just
keep popping up every summer.

This year's versions are embellished with
ribbons, leather flowers and fabric pom-poms,
so I thought I'd give my old stand-by's a little face lift.

Make sure you buy the twill tape,
not the iron-on hem tape shown in the picture.

For the shoes, I used pinking shears for this step.

Anthropologizing LOFT: Volante Tee

I'm pretty sure the entire female population went crazy
when Anthropologie introduced the Volante shirt (myself included).
I mean, who wouldn't swoon over something so chic and feminine, huh?
Bows on the shoulder? Eeepp!
That'll make any girl feel fierce.
I'd already decided to purchase the Volante, when I found this
light-weight sweater I'd bought on clearance from the LOFT
perishing in the darkness of my sweater bin under the bed
As you know if you follow this blog at all,
I sorta have this personality flaw that causes me
to look at clothing in the store and think,
Well, shoot...I can pull that off!
Armed with a bit of know-how and half a yard of gray lining
I came up with a pretty close version of the Volante. Yay!!!

I chose these sizes for no good was pretty much all guess-work
(but I did write them down, so I could share them with you).
If I did this again, I'd use these same sizes.

Do this gently.
You don't want to accidentally punch a hole through your stitching.
At this point, you'll also want to press the pieces.

I used my machine to sew these down right across the gathering stitches.


Awesome, no?
I'm gonna wear it and wear it and wear it and...and...and...

Anthropologizing Target



Anthropologizing Old Navy

One of my pregnant friend's bought this knit maternity
dress from Old Navy and asked me to embellish it a bit...
turn it into something a little special.
Anyone whose been pregnant knows it's
practically impossible to find great dresses
with cute detailing for less than the
monthly mortgage on your home.

When I was taking design classes a few years ago
one of my assignments was to burn several types
of fabric and catalog how they reacted to heat.
Most of them just turn black or melt away,
but chiffon and satin react by curling at the
edges which forms a really cool petal look.
Here's a step-by-step for making the flowers
I put together for my friends dress.

1. I cut my circles two, three and four inches in diameter, using chiffon, satin and crafter's lace.
2. For each flower, cut one lace circle, one satin circle and two chiffon circles.

3. Hold circles over the heat of a flame (not actually in the fire, 'cuz it will turn black rather than curling).

4. I always curl at least two chiffon layers together since it's so thin, and I like the way it looks better.
When you're curling chiffon, make sure you don't hold it too close to the flame...just a little heat is all you need.

5. I hand-tacked the flowers down in the middle with a needle and thread.

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