I really like clothes, and jewelry. I know this doesn’t make me different from a whole lot of women – I’m just saying – I really like them. I’m not sure these can be considered hobbies, but I have to say that they have taken up a lot of time in my life. My mother and I used to spend hours poring over Vogue Magazine, which Mother always had a subscription to, and any time there was an event, almost any event, we had to buy a new outfit to wear to it. I can remember this being important to me from the time I was about 6 years old. We would go shopping, given the slightest excuse, and Mother had “accounts” at all the local clothing and shoe stores, which I’m pretty sure were never completely paid off until after she died, and she was on a first-name basis with the local jeweler.
All that being said, my “passion for fashion” was still not much of a hobby, but, naturally, if I had a hobby, it was going to have to do with fashion. So, although I’m not artistic, I do love crafts and I spent lots of time in my childhood hand sewing clothes for Barbie dolls, making troll doll clothes, and crocheting accessories for myself.
In high school, my new passion became macrame. That was the first modern resurgence of the craft, and I bought books and taught myself to make belts and pot slings. In college, I worked part-time for a macrame store (yes, there were actual stores that sold nothing but macrame supplies and books) and I learned to make chairs, curtains, wall hangings and jewelry. But, as with most fashion trends, macrame came and went, replaced by a variety of new styles and crafts.
Recently, though, designers have been using macrame in women’s wear with new fabrics, like stretch knits and leather. I saw this leather Gucci bathingsuit cover-up in Marie Claire, which is seriously to die for, and decided I needed to get in on this.
So, to make it as simple as possible, I started with a long, knit dress, that I found on sale at Target for about $10. Here’s what I did:
1. Cut the bottom eighteen inches off the dress.
2. Cut the dress, from the hem up about fifteen inches, into ½ inch strips.
3. Starting with three strips, I made square knots. I did four rows of loose square knots around the entire hem of the dress.
4. To finish the hem, I took three strips and tied an overhand knot with them, and continued this all the way around the hem.
5. On the neck of the dress, I cut vertical slits every inch or so. The slits were about a quarter of an inch long.
6. Next, I cut a strip of fabric about 2 inches wide from the fabric that I had cut from the hem of the dress.
7. I started on the left, poking a loop from one end of the strip that I’d cut, through the last slit. Then I poked a loop through the next slit and pulled it through the first loop, continuing like this all the way around the neck.
8. When I got to the right side of the neck, I tacked both sides down from underneath.
9. With some of the extra fabric that I had left from the hem of the dress, I cut three thin strips and braided them. Then I twisted them into a flower shape, pulling the excess fabric through the middle, and tacking it to one side of the neck.
I also modified a second dress – this one black – using the same method, except that I created two rows of braids at the neck and used the striped fabric from the first dress for the braid.
You can find the braiding technique here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBk6EgHSOME
This dress modification is really easy and makes a great swimsuit cover-up or summery dress, so keep your eyes open for those summer maxi-dresses when they go on sale at Target or TJMaxx and have fun with this quick, fun embellishment!