Jane By Design Style Challenge: Task two

My second task for the Jane By Design Style Challenge arrived in my inbox last Friday:

Hi There!

My name is Jane Quimby and I’m Gray’s assistant. Nice to meet you by e-mail! Gray is out of the office and asked me to tell you that you’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. Barely. Umm, that was her word, not mine. I think you’re doing great so far!

Gray asked me to brief you on your next challenge. Style icons can be an important source of inspiration. Who is your style icon? Is it your mother or a favorite aunt? A celebrity or an athlete? A world leader or rock star?

Find the plain white t-shirt in your trunk. Using items around your house or your office, create a design on the t-shirt inspired by your fashion icon. Then, put the shirt on your dress form and post a photo of it to your blog, along with an entry that talks about how your design was inspired by your fashion icon. Ask your readers to tell you about their style icons here and mention the name of your blog.

If Gray can tolerate your writing style & appreciates your ingenuity, you will proceed to the next phase of the interview process.

Good luck with the assignment!

Since the shirt came with a pack of fabric markers, I thought for sure I'd be forced to draw. Thank goodness that wasn't the case. I am the worst at drawing! I used my fabric markers to make templates for this project, instead.

Initially, I planned to turn my t-shirt into a lacy, feathery bohemian dream inspired by Nicole Richie and Grechen Jones but when I really stopped to think about it, the person who has had the most influence on my style is my grandmother.
grandmaAfter my dad died when I was three, his parents raised me. My grandmother is full-blooded Native American and is the one I credit for my thrift store love and my desire to do DIY's. She used to own a resale shop in our small town and was a maven at amping up boring clothing. When I begged and pleaded to do my first pageant (it was in a mall, okay?), she took me to Goodwill and had me pick out any dress I wanted. She then took it home and embellished it by tacking on strands of beads to the skirt and making matching hair bows and jewelry for me. She wasn't the best seamstress (I can't recall her ever using a sewing machine) but she did have a talent for taking something plain, adding a little bit to it, and making it into something fresh. She still does this! The next time I see her, I'll have to snap some photos of her creations for you guys.

This task was precisely that: take something plain and turn it into a fresh creation. Since I had been meaning to try Geneva's leather collar tutorial, right off the bat I knew that I wanted to dye the t-shirt and add a collar.
stuffNeeds: 15- 18 inches of faux leather, scissors, a pack of gunmetal gray iDye, and some hook and eye closures or long ribbon.
squareI got the water and salt going for the dye, traced a collar and a pocket onto some heavy duty felt (for templates), put the shirt in the water, and cut out the collar and the pocket from the faux leather.
dyeDying cotton only takes about 30 minutes. Then you have to wash and dry it which takes around an hour.

After my shirt was dry, I used my sewing machine and sewed on the pocket and fashioned a collar. I ended up disregarding the hook and eye closures and opted to do a thick ribbon tie closure, instead. I added the same ribbon to the top of the pocket to cover up a seaming mistake I had made:

Since I had such a hard time with the pocket in the sewing machine, I decided to put the collar together using only fabric glue. (BTW- I found that covering the presser foot with Scotch Tape and sewing a layer of tissue paper on the bottom is the best way to get leather through your sewing machine. The tissue paper tears right out. You can pick stubborn pieces of tissue out from the threads with a needle if need be... or you can just use fabric glue). The end result: basic black t-shirt with pebbled "leather" collar and pocket and ribbon details:


I thought about cutting the sleeves off or making this a halter-top, but I think I'll get more wear out of it as is.

addleatherIt's super cute with a skirt, but I would totally wear this with boyfriend jeans and oxfords, too. I don't think my Grandma would ever wear anything like this, but I think she'd approve of my DIY'ing.

Now I'd like to know: who is your style icon? Jaunt on over to the Jane By Design Facebook page and declare your love for someone who has influenced your style and tell them that Adored Austin sent you. If I happen to win this thing, they're going to mention Adored Austin on the show and I get to choose one Adored Austin reader to be the "Trend Setter of the Week" on ABCFamily.com. Pretty cool, huh?

Dear Jane,
Whew! So glad Gray is still considering me for the blogger position at Donovan Decker. I hope she digs this DIY. I love what you did with your prom dress, and I hope we'll be able to work together one day. In the meantime, keep me posted about the next round of interviews. I'm ready to be sent through the ringer! -Indiana

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