Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DIY: Pirate Style

Apparently, I've much to learn about fashion. Today, I was told, "Mrs. Stephens, I like your pirate dress." Er, my what? "You're a pirate! Cuz that big black collar thingie makes you look like a one." Sweet.
Hiya and thank you for visiting my blog! I'm interrupting this post to say that I recently finished another embroidered dress which you can read about here: http://cassiestephens.blogspot.com/2012/02/turn-him-loose-jill.html

I thrifted this '70's era black sailor dress at the end of the summer. I'd been looking for a little sailor get-up and this seemed to do the trick...except for one tragic flaw. It was booorrrriiiing. If I'm going to wear something, it better be glittery, bedazzled, patternedy (a fashion term, look it up) and just overall over-the-top tacky. And I kinda fell asleep just looking at this number.
When I told a kindergartener today, "You look nice with your shirt tucked in," I was informed, "It's not called 'tucked in', it's called 'rodeo style'." Yeehaw.
I knew I wanted to alter it somehow but nothing was coming to me. Ideas never do when I sit down and focus on them. They usually come to me when I'm falling asleep or doing something extremely mundane, like attending a faculty meeting (haha! I kid!). So I had this dress hanging in my sewing room for ages just waiting for the idea to come.
Not too long ago, I woke up early, washed and straightened my hair and went to school bumpit-less. When my first class arrived, one of my fashion-savvy first graders said, "Where is the beautiful Mrs. Stephens? Your hair is so flat." Humph.
 This idea actually came from this lovely blog: http://misskatie-littleredsquirrel.blogspot.com/'' A couple of months ago she showcased a beautiful skirt that she had embroidered pin-up girls all over. I decided to do the same. Seeing as how my dress has a sailor style, I thought my little pin-ups would WW II era sailor girls.
The next day, when I had this same student in my class, I was OF COURSE wearing my biggest baddest bumpit. She was so thrilled that she decided to pat me on the head and say, "Good, Mrs. Stephens!" Little did she know that those bumpits have teeth and when she patted my head, they poked and startled her causing her to shriek and pull back her hand. Revenge is so sweet.
 I scoured pinterest for pin-ups and started sketching out and altering my girls. There weren't too many sailors girls to be found, so for some of these, I added sailor-esque details like the anchor and the steering wheel. I know it's not called that but I'm too lazy to find the correct term. Stern? That sounds right.
After a very in-depth demonstration on rainbow printing today, I asked my fourth graders if they had any questions. One student raised her hand and asked, "I just have to know, how many pairs of tights are you wearing right now?" Oh boy.
My favorite thing about working on this dress, aside from being done with it, was the people I met while working on it. I only work on embroidery while traveling. It gives me something to do in the car or on the plane. On a recent trip out to California, I took my embroidery and met two truly delightful women. Both were so excited when I took my work out. They had both embroidered in the past, one even worked as an embroidery designer in New York, and both lived during World War II. It was such a delight hearing their stories and receiving letters from them upon my return home. Chatting with them has me working on my next project. And, no, it's not a pirate's outfit!


  1. those kids are hilarious!! can't wait to spread the phrase "rodeo style"...hahah!!! i LOVE your wardrobe and those kids will surely remember you forever =)

  2. Thanks so much for the mention! Your dress turned out beautifully :)

  3. I love your dress!

    And the kids' comments! Mine are grown but luckily still say the darnedest things :)

  4. I think I'd wear this one every day!!! LOVE IT!!!


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