Spot the difference

Sometimes, when opshopping, I find garments that really make me wonder what the designer was thinking. Case in point, this yellow and black polka dot number. Behold… the “before” photos.

Admittedly, it was several sizes too big for me, but that aside, there was also the issue of the attached scarf at the neckline (sometimes you don’t feel like wearing a scarf!) along with the massive shoulder pads… … plus (not that it’s easy to tell because of all the dots) the blouse fastens AT THE BACK and it fastens with BUTTONS. I would have thought this was maybe from the 1980s, designed for a businesswoman… and what businesswoman would want to bother doing up buttons at the back, even if she was flexible enough to reach? Surely ain’t nobody got time for that.

It just so happens that I can fasten these buttons all by myself – and unfasten them too! – which is fortunate because otherwise I would still be stuck in this blouse now. I flexed more than just my powers of coordination remaking this into something wearable though… some serious patience was required for this project!

The first thing I did after removing the shoulder pads was to unpick the scarf from the neckline. Now I can wear it with other outfits, or team it back with the blouse when I’m feeling matchy matchy.

After this was where things got rather complicated.

In my mind, I just had to take the side seams in and it would fit me perfectly.

In real life, I had to trim off excess along the side seams, make bust darts and redo the side seams using a fitted blouse pattern (opshopped, of course!) as reference, completely unpick the sleeves from the body section and cut them and refit them so that the cuffs that once dangled around my wrists would fit snugly just above the elbows.

Aggh. By the time I had done all that I had no energy to think of a different way to fasten the back that would suit the overall look of the blouse, so the ridiculous button system remains in place.

Adding to the challenge was the fact that this blouse is 100% silk and therefore super slippery. Thank goodness the all-over spotty pattern means that anyone who looks too closely will just end up cross-eyed rather than being able to spot any flaws. You have been warned. Do not look too closely at these “after” pics!

yellow dot blouse

As much as I wish I could have rented a room by Yayoi Kusama to do this photoshoot*, the leafy streets of the outer Melbourne burbs had to suffice. Kusama Yayoi blouse

You might recognise the pants, which get trotted out when I feel in need of colour. The belt was a fortuitous find as it matches the pants perfectly (and was only a few dollars).

polka dot blouse

This blouse definitely presented a sewing challenge and is not the easiest piece to style, either, but I feel like I’m going to have some fun working it in with other pieces in my wardrobe as it can look very feminine thanks to the fitted silhouette, but also a bit out-there due to the crazy dots. Not a piece for when I want to blend into the woodwork, unless that woodwork happens to be part of a contemporary Japanese art installation!

*I got these snaps taken in between shooting video for a project that will be revealed soon. Stay tuned!