There are a lot of clothes out there that are already in existence that need love and attention. Costumers have been using pre-existing garments and remaking them for years. It is a cost effective way to get the look you are after, but it takes time and a bit of imagination and ingenuity to come up with something that is fun and can be profitable provided it is marketed to the right crowd.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when doing a remodel project on clothing. To start with, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
1. What are you doing? A play? Going out to a club? Attending a wedding? Etc.
2. What’s the look you are going for? Casual, dressy, costumy, elegant, funny? Etc.
3. Do you want to stand out in the crowd or blend in?
4. Is this garment for you or a client? What does the client want?
When you have that figured out, then you need to start keeping your eyes open at the second hand stores, online on eBay and Craigslist and for garage, estate, or moving sales. These are great ways to get classic clothing with fabulous pre-existing construction. A helpful tip here is that deconstruction can teach you a lot about sewing techniques, so pay attention when ripping into something. When you are looking for clothes, try to think beyond what it is and into what it could be.
I find old wedding dresses have a lot of material to work with and a lot of times you can talk the seller down from the price marked, so don’t be afraid to haggle, it never hurts to ask. Here’s a couple of pictures of wedding dresses that are 100% polyester. I lucked out in the price department and got them each for $7 dollars. I was able to dye them using Jacquard acid dye’s. Each one came out a little different because of their age and fiber content but I was happy with the look. Jacquard dyes are for nylon but what works on nylon, works on poly too. I’ve also been playing with fabric paint. Lumiere by Jacquard is a metallic paint that is a ton of fun to work with. I plan on over laying the paint with 3-D elements to make the jeans not so flat. They go with the laced bodice.
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I had an old Halloween costume that was a miniature geisha costume that I had added butterfly wings to a few years ago. I took it apart and reused the sleeves and other elements to turn it into something cute and upbeat. It also got rid of the paint that was on both the top and the pants by cutting carefully.
Now these out-fits aren’t finished yet but it doesn’t hurt to share a few teasers before they go into the Runway Renegades show on August 7th in Spokane Washington at Cataldo Hall at Ganzaga University. Hope you all can come, it’s going be a blast!
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