Thursday, May 11, 2017

Free the shoulder

I must admit that the first time I observed an open-shoulder top (early 2014), I was not impressed. The cutout seemed gratuitous, and totally pointless, doing nothing for the overall aesthetics of the shirt.

My opinion was swayed when, two years later, I saw an ice cream shop employee with cutout shoulders on her T-shirt and realized that would be a pretty slick way to make some of my boring promotional tees more exciting to wear. I immediately had a go of it with my 2015 Bike To Work Day T-shirt, and botched the job so badly, I gave up on the idea of open-shoulder T-shirts.

But later on that summer, I made another try with my grey "French Maid" blouse, and became an instant convert!

Why, oh, why had I waited 2+ years to finally jump on the cold-shoulder bandwagon!? All this time, I have been lamenting how shirts never fit over (or look good with) my broad shoulders, and the answer was actually a pretty fashionable style!

While I'm no stranger to accommodating my shoulders by converting most of my tops to sleeveless, open shoulder tops enable me to keep the sleeves! Since one of the causes of my dearth of cold-weather clothes is that fewer long-sleeved shirts fit me and my shoulders, the open-shoulder trend could even help me build up my ever-too-depressing winter wardrobe!

I might have been a little slow on the slow in fact that I've read in one source that consumers are tired of the open-shoulder look, but that just means I have to work extra-hard to take advantage of this trend before it's gone!

I purchased a tunic a few months ago with dramatic slits down the length of the sleeves. I have been scouring my wardrobe for less-loved shirts that might be candidates for the cold-shoulder treatment. But so far the only one I've gotten to is this parrot dress.

I bought it on several months ago, with a few trepidations, since it looked shapeless and sack-like and unlikely to flatter. But it had two things going for it: long sleeves – which, as I might have already mentioned, I have a dearth of – and a colorful animal print (not an animal-skin print, which I don't really like, but pictures of actual animals!). Sure enough, when I got it, it was shapeless and sack-like and...tight at the shoulders! Of course!

I was very disappointed in the fit, but I got excited once I realized I could turn it into my first-ever cold-shoulder dress!

The process was fairly simple:

I used a seam ripper to open the sleeves down to just above my armpit (I accidentally went a little too deep on the right sleeve, but decided it would be too much work to fix it).

I hemmed the shoulder openings with a straight stitch.

I cut a slit down the center of the sleeve--this was to allow me to fold the excess fabric to the inside without a lot of bunching.

Then I hemmed around the new top of the sleeves!

I probably should have taken more effort to prevent fraying, but since I was basically experimenting, I didn't want to waste a lot of time with fancy hems. So in the end, after I was done, I just used a trick I know for working with synthetics—sealed the raw edges by melting them with a soldering iron. This technique works great for giving second chances to ripped backpacks, but I would not recommend this method for your clothing, as it makes the fabric very scratchy!

Oh, well, I'll know better next time! At least I finally have a cold-shoulder dress!

Opening up the shoulders on this garment had an unexpected (and welcome) side effect—by cutting down on the width at the top, it gives the whole dress a more streamlined appearance, even without having to take in the waistline.

For its maiden voyage, I decided to play up the free-flying parrot imagery with accessories evocative of the sky. I wore knee-high blue boots and blue-lavender gradated earrings that I had made using my credit-card method.

No comments:

Post a Comment