This is one of those odd little projects that came out pretty much the way I envisioned, but I'm not sure it's worthwhile. You know... like, it's pretty, but am I ever going to use it (in this case, wear it)?
Anyway, this whole thing started because I bought a shirt at the Goodwill with a red floral pattern that I absolutely LOVED. The shirt would never have fit me, mind you, I just loved the fabric. Might make a pillow out of it. Well so one day I became completely smitten by the pretty details of this cuff on one of the sleeves: the way the large floral hit just at the edge, the red top-stitching, even the little ivory button. I wanted to make something out of it, but I didn't know exactly what.
So the other day I realized: why not leave it as a cuff, dress it up with some vintage frou-frou, and make a... a... a decorative cuff. A vintage fashion cuff.
So with little more than the above "mission statement" in my head, I set about figuring out how to make a vintage fashion cuff. I started by trimming off a little of the sleeve I'd left in place to tidy up the raw edge. I then pressed down the gathers and folded the remaining excess over to be sewn down. This would give me room to attach some lace trim without covering up the floral pattern. Stitched that into place.
Next up was to add a couple layers of lace and crochet trim. I used a bit of wide crochet trim which I thought looked lovely against the red-and-white fabric.
I left a little on each end to be folded over to the backside and tacked down later, as I didn't want raw edges showing that might unravel.
I also added a bit of ivory eyelet trim over that for a layered look.
Next up was to begin to decide what embellishments to use, and how to arrange them. Here's the general collection of stuff I was working with:
It was a close race between the pin-on pocket watch and the rhinestone brooch as a focal point, but when I realized that the watch actually worked, I decided this was a good project in which to use it. I also liked these three buttons together so I grouped them to create the center-of-interest. (My camera didn't capture the true color of that orangey button - it's actually a rose-red.
The beads on either side of the center arrangement came from a costume necklace that belonged to my mother - I disassembled the original necklace... (okay, really, I cut the end and beads scattered everywhere!) and re-strung two short pieces, which I then tacked to the cuff.
For closures, I just re-sewed the original button using ivory thread, and added a bit of Velcro at the lace end of things to keep it from laying open.
Finally, here's what it looks like when worn. My hand is in the lower right of the picture so you get an idea of the orientation.
You might be wondering about that watch: it was part of my grandmother's jewelry collection, and is made upside down so that, when pinned to a dress pocket or bodice, it can be tipped up and read by the wearer.
So here's my dilemma - I've rescued that sweet cuff with the pretty details, used some wonderful vintage bits-and-baubles to create a romantic, almost steampunk-style fashion piece, but I have virtually nothing to wear it with! At least, nothing I can think of off-hand. Looks like I'm going to have to make a detailed run through the closet and see what might work!