Put on your red shoes (and dance the blues)

In case you hadn’t guessed, this is going to be about Bowie.

Specifically, it’s about this outfit, from 1973. It’s made of vinyl and was designed by Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour. I chose this as my starting point for Tempest Devyne’s Bowie Sewalong! Also, it has red shoes (for dancing the blues).

David Bowie:Ziggy Stardust

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Bowie2

I’m making my version from… old T-shirts, what else?!

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These T-shirts came from (L-R below) Deptford Salvation Army shop, £2; PDSA Bolton, £3.99; Scope Barking, £2.

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To make my black and white Bowie-inspired dress, I had to make a pattern. I traced off my trusty jersey dress block and started sketching. First thing was to add a bit to the neckline so that would stick up. Then I drew on the rough position of the stripes. Because of the size of the T-shirts, I had to cut the dress into sections so that it could be pieced. I cut it horizontally around the bustline and waistline and made these lines coincide with the style lines/corners of the stripes.

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After cutting it into a bazillion strips, I cut the pieces from the disco print T-shirt, not forgetting to leave a minimal 5mm seam allowance.

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I had to play a bit fast and loose with the grainlines for some of the pieces. I was a bit short of material since I couldn’t use the part of the T-shirt with the print on it.

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There was only just enough!

I cut some white strips to make the piping from the white T-shirt. I just cut 1.5cm strips perpendicular to the grain with a ruler and rotary cutter.

My original idea was to use the overlocker for this project, but it just ate the pieces. After a frustrating few hours unpicking overlocked seams (NOT fun), I gave up and used the zig zag stitch on my machine instead. It turned out to be a lot easier to control, even with the tiniest pieces, and it didn’t eat my work. That said, it was still quite tricky to get the white piping completely even. I ended up stretching out the white strips before folding them to try and maintain a bit of consistency.

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Here is the top section pieced together.

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This is what the inside looked like… not exactly perfect ;-)

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These are the pieces for the middle section. Interesting fact: when you cut thin strips of jersey in the direction of the grain, it rolls up. A lot.

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Here are a few more work in progress shots. The plain black one is the back of the dress – cut from the third T-shirt. That was pieced as well, though not into quite as many pieces.

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And the finished product:

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The question is will I actually wear this? Possibly only at Halloween (it has a cobwebby vibe to it). I could possibly cut the waist seam to make a skirt and top, which would make it a little less overpowering. What do you think?

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106 comments

  1. Diane

    I LOVE it!! I would wear it to theatre productions, even! Do not SAVE it for something special! You look great!

  2. Dena Sandwick

    Graphic print patterns are huge this year! Wear it with mint shoes, and handbag, and you’ll be the envy on high street!

  3. sewcookgardenrepeat

    I’m with you. I don’t think I would wear it, not to say that it is not ridiculously cool, but I think it would be too much. I think it would be a little less overpowering if the bottom was replaced with a solid colour (Black? Red?). But still the same, just shows how incredibly talented you are!

  4. Tempest Devyne

    Blimey. THAT IS AMAZING! I’m speechless…well almost. I looked at creating this look just with striped fabric….I am constantly amazed and thrilled at how your brain works, to look at 3 t-shirts and see them become that dress!! You are totally awesome. And look stunning in the dress….which you really should wear, life is too short to reserve beauties like this for Halloween or Sunday best, who knows what the future holds….you should wear it and be prepared for all the admiration at your skills. Yes, that’s me speechless ;) wow!

    • charityshopchic

      Well THANK YOU for running the sewalong and cheering everyone along towards the end! It was a great idea and I’m so happy that I could participate. It’s true, my brain seemingly works in a different way… I guess that’s what makes it interesting ;-) I have got my thinking cap on as to how I will style and wear this for a night out soon. Don’t worry; there will be pics! Thanks again!

  5. sjmcclelland

    Great dress! It looks terrific on you, so definitely wear it on non-Hallowe’en evenings. With the red shoes, of course. And maybe a wide black belt and some dramatic earrings?

  6. Nicole P.

    Do you have a wide red belt? That might be cool. Otherwise, yeah, it is sort of costumey. But your skills (and imagination) are nothing short of incredible. :)

  7. TaraLee

    I am in awe of your talent and creativity! Do not save this for Halloween, wear it in the clubs as is or with a suit jacket for day to day wear. It’s such a fun design, it will definitely have heads turning! Way to go!

  8. Helle

    You should absolutely wear this! It looks so great on you! Please post photos when you have worn it:-)

  9. seweverythingblog

    You did a jaw-dropping job! Frankly, I think you can wear the dress on non-Halloween occasions since you look fantastic in the dress.. Congrats on a project well done!

  10. Gjeometry

    Ahhh! Found your blog on Tempest’s and had to drop by to see what you made for Bowiesewalong. SO FABULOUS!! I love it and love it even more that you combined old, somewhat questionably fashionable T-shirts to make this beautifully Bowie dress! Well done! I will have my Bowie make up and running on the blog tomorrow (hopefully). Nothing like cutting it down to the wire. :)

  11. Gjeometry

    Oh, I think your blog ate my first comment. Wanted to tell you that I found your blog over on Tempest’s and came over to see your Bowie make. And, it is so fantastic!!! I absolutely love it! And love that you made it out of, somewhat questionably fashionable, T-shirts! A great dress that you should absolutely wear! It does not look Hallowe’een-y at all, but very stylish, in my opinion. I should have my Bowie make up and running on the blog tomorrow, hopefully. Nothing like cutting it down to the wire!

  12. jenny_o

    I love this on you – definitely wear it. It would be at home at a bar, at a party, or at an “arty” event where other artistic people will appreciate your vision. A red belt would not go amiss, although it is stunning just on its own.

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks Jenny, I think you’re right, this is more ‘art’ than ‘fashion’ so it would have to be an appropriate event. I’ll see what I can come up with.

  13. Andrea

    This creation is brilliant! Your skill and creativity is amazing. I have just added learning to sew on my must do list. Thank you for sharing.

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks so much Andrea. That’s great that you want to take up sewing. It’s a fantastic hobby and will give you years of pleasure. There are some great resources out there in sewing-blogland. Have fun!

  14. Xuxa Docampo

    Firstly, I’ve viewed ALL your posts, you’re amazing! As a fashion graduate (but no longer in industry) I’m totally in awe of what you do! Well done, keep it up, I will be checking in on you (I NEVER do blogs). I suspect it isn’t something you do for a day job (it should be), and if I ever get my design consortium dream into action I’d be banging on your door! Lastly, I’m shit at button holes too ! Well done :)))))

  15. loranc

    Holy Moley that’s amazing!! I would TOTALLY wear this to work : ) I LOVE the t-shirt remake, and now I will spend the rest of my morning reading through older posts.

  16. sandra

    This is amazing, I follow a few refashion blogs and you are my top favourite. I wish my brain would work like yours when sewing. I am a very basic sewist and I really enjoy seeing the process to your end product. Love it! I agree with the others wear with a red belt.

  17. doris

    What do you mean halloween? I think you did a great job. You can wear it any time. I would.

  18. MJ

    Wear it!!!! It is gorgeous and you look fantastic in it. I love the Bowie inspiration, and you really pulled it off.
    You are my favorite refashioner – the very best in the world! You always amaze me.

  19. Mary

    Would it be bad to suggest chopping it just above the waist, and adding a striped peplum to that? Then just put a wide exposed elastic waistband on the skirt. Two piece dress… maybe?

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