Sunday, April 28, 2019

Coordinating my hair to my clothes

For the next phase in my hair color evolution, I wanted the aqua from my previous color to blend into a pure blue. But when I'm dyeing my hair, I never know quite what I'll get. As it happened, by the time I re-dyed it, the blue-green had faded to a straight-up green; meanwhile the fresh blue dye turned out more purple. Green-to-purple wasn't at all my intent, but it ended up looking totally rad (it is, after all, one of my favorite color combinations!), and is probably my most popular dye job yet (as measured by the number of unsolicited compliments it's received).

One nice thing about this quasi-purple hair color is that it still looks blue in the right lighting and next to the right clothes. The color is open to interpretation. So for today's outfit, it is unequivocally blue!

After all, it has to match my clothes, which are blue to the extreme—the blue jeans that I gussied up with a blue embroidery patch last year, and a long blue flowing split-sleeve top that I've had for quite a while but never blogged.

The outfit is my usual monochrome modus operandi, but the hair makes it special.

It sure was a windy day!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Perennial Shoes

After 7 years of existence, my first pair of white high heels had seen better days. If I didn't love them as much as I do, I'd have tossed them long ago, but instead, I find ways to keep them coming back to life, year after year!

Their first rebirth was when I coated them with strips of old jeans and made them into denim shoes. I was happy with them then, but they never really frayed as I'd hoped they would, and I began to feel that the tricolor look with the narrow pale strip at the toe just didn't work.

By that point, they'd had a good two lives, and I wouldn't have been unjustified in throwing them away...but I just loved their shape. That extra-chunky heel wasn't something I wanted to give up on so easily. So in early 2018, I soaked them in water and peeled off the fabric (thank goodness I used water-soluble glue the first time!), then let them sit for a while, while I decided what to do with them next.
Months later, it came to me! I had just retired a tank top (incidentally, also a previous refashion). No matter what I did to that tank top, I never felt it flattered me. But I adored the floral pattern, so I saved it for repurposing. The purpose ended up being to give a third life to my beloved white shoes! My plan was to wrap the shoe in fabric, much as I did with the denim, but this time use a single solid sheet of fabric rather than a bunch of tiny strips.

A convenient feature of the tank top was that had a lot of overlocked edges rather than finished hems. I could align the overlocked portions with the bottom edge of the shoe, providing a built-in finished look, and saving me from trying to come up with a way to keep the fabric from fraying.

I cut the tank top into two strips per shoe: one that would wrap around the heel, and one that would wrap around the upper.

To attach the fabric to the shoe, this time I used Outdoor Mod Podge. My original plan was to plaster the fabric to the shoe with glue (sort of like papier-mâché), and I thought the outdoor glue would be nice because it would give it a waterproof coating.

I stretched the fabric over the shoes (very laboriously—I only glued down 2 inches or so at a time before stopping to let the glue dry for a few hours). After the fabric was firmly attached to the sides of the shoes, I went back and folded it over at the top, gluing it down on the inside, and cutting off the excess.

For the most part, the fabric stretched enough on the bias to conform to the shape of the shoe. Around the toe, I had to gather the fabric in tiny segments and hold it in position with a binder clip while the glue dried, which took a lot of time (I would say each toe took 5 to 6 glue-and-dry sessions), but ended up looking super cute, if I do say so myself!

At the back edge, I folded the very end of the strip over on itself and glued it down. The fabric covering the upper overlapped the fabric covering the heel, which looked neat and tidy thanks to the overlocked edge.
In the end, I didn't use the papier-mâché method (that is, put a sealing coat of glue over the fabric) because I was so happy with the shoes and their soft texture and ruffly toes that I didn't want to mess them up with more glue! I'll just have to be careful not to wear them in the rain.

I am really happy with the outcome of this project. The only problem I've had with the shoes so far is that the added fabric on the inside makes them a tight fit, and the glue is kind of sticky, so squeezing into them is quite a challenge now. I've learned to sprinkle my feet with powder before putting them on, to make it easier to slide my toes inside.

For their very special first public appearance, I planned an outfit days in advance. I went with my grey cropped flares and a new-to-me short-sleeved pink sweater. While looking for a necklace or something to break of the vast expanse of shirt, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a little scarf or neckerchief from some of the scrap fabric left over from making the shoes. Well, I didn't have quite enough fabric to accomplish that, but I did have enough to make a headband!

This is my first homemade fabric headband, and I just designed it on the fly. It's a rectangle of fabric, folded in half, sewed along the edges, and turned inside-out.

I gathered it to a point at each end, and attached a scrap of elastic.

I'm pretty happy with my headband, too, but if I were going to do it again, I think I'd taper the ends slightly so it fits better on my tiny head!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The dark side of spring

Spring has arrived, springtimey weather is slowly trickling in, and that means it's time for spring outfits! Lots of greens and pinks and pastel flowers galore—you know, the kind of stuff I like to wear in September and December. Perversely, now that spring is actually here, I'm gravitating toward the somber palettes usually reserved for winter attire.

Today, it was forecast to reach 66 degrees, so I in turn reached into my closet and pulled out a pair of cropped pants I recently got at the thrift store. Green they certainly are, but not the celery green or grass green of spring. No, they are a dark forest green that's just a few shades away from black. The boots I wore with them are black, but covered with leaves and flowers, which is what makes them semi-seasonally-appropriate, even if the red and yellow of the roses is a more autumnal color scheme.

Now, I could have rounded out this look with any number of bright shades of green or yellow on top, but I was in a black mood. After trying all the options, I decided I preferred the unbroken darkness of a black camisole and black cardigan. Originally, I picked out a mid-length 3/4 sleeve one, but when I was getting dressed, I swung even more extreme and switched to this long-sleeved, long-tailed, inky cape of a sweater.

I liked the gothic vibes I was putting out, but I still needed a little color, so I accessorized with a ruby bracelet and a silver rose necklace. They don't match each other, but they both match the boots, so I hope they tie everything together.