Cottage Core Upcycle #2 Out of the Same Vintage Curtains

National Geographic Magazine


Did you see my blog post about my Cottage Core upcycle from yellowed vintage curtains?

These curtains were sitting in my garage for at least 3 years, shifting from shelf to shelf---the fabric equivalent of the swipe left on dating apps.


Then I brought them into my work studio where they sat miserably for 2 months dumped in a corner just staring at me every time I looked down. The equivalent of the National Geographic Magazine that sits untouched for weeks on end, not moving, but not motivated enough to open it or throw it away.


Just guilt.


As with the National Geographic issue, I leaf through the articles, info-graphics and photos about stratified earth segments, feel like I fulfilled my obligation and release the guilt by placing the issue into the recycle bin.


I glanced one more time at the yellowing curtains, and thought there was just nothing that could be done. The guilt could only be alleviated by tossing into the garbage--nothing salvageable--even to donate.


Not until mopping the floors, it came to me that Yellowing and Sun Bleaching is Patina...Patina is charming? ...Isn't that what Cottage Chic is about?





Click on the image to the right to take you to my definition of definition of Cottage Core--I wrote a whole separate blog about just this topic.


This outfit to the right is my OOTD when I was creating Cottage Core Outfit #2 for this blog post.


A more pratical Woodsy, Cottage look with a Boden Corduroy Sheath Dress and Deimille Anthropologie boots--both thrifted for a total of $10!







So I thought about how these Vintage Curtains made from a floral dupioni-like fabric were not destined to be tossed but to be reincarnated into a style that welcomes age, burnish, and years of wear,


You can visit this blog post to see how I created my first item--a layered skirt that lent well to both an Edwardian historic look and a current style equipped with Nike sneakers/trainers. A frothy petticoat is just so much fun regardless of which Era you live! Just click on one of the photos below to take you to the photo shoot.


Please with my results, self-imposed Challenge #1 complete:

Onne lovely skirt out of the once languishing Curtains, with bonus petticoat underneath


Now it's time for look #2! A pinafore for a grown-up lady!

(And the 3rd final look is already in the works as I write this blog.)



A Pinafore For A Woman?


When I say Pinafore, I wouldn't be surprised if imagery of Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie comes to mind. See picture below. Cute for a young girl, right? But for a mature woman? hmmm interesting concept.


Thankfully this trend is well on it's way being established as acceptable. A benefit to coming last to a party. But you want to hit the party before it's mass-produced as fast fashion and sold at big box stores.


I made this Pioneer/Prairie costume for my local costume rental business www.CostumeTakeOut.com



For those that don't know, a pinafore is simply an apron. A sleeveless over dress. Can be simple or ruffled. A full skirt or just half in the front. Practical or decorative.


Typically associated with historic clothing, the Pinafore is a mainstay in the Cottage Core style, made with delicate fabrics, and used more for the decorative, whimsical effect rather than practical reasons because these days very few of us sporting a Cottage Core wardrobe are actually dancing in a meadow collecting flowers.


I wish I had this lifestyle, but Earth To Eva, I don't.


I can however continue to create and live momentarily in a space I called fluff--my creation photo days for this blog. And the photo shoot this time around was no different in romancing a notion with the exception of exploring a different Era for styling-- 1910's-1920's. At the very end of my photo shoot, I changed this up drastically to vibe up some country living without Era, just a texture feast.


And why make things easy when I can make 3 separate pieces? A 1910's linen overcoat, a petticoat, and that Pinafore I mentioned, but using the Pinafore as a silhouette for a dress, not for use as a apron.


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Let's Get Started




1st Step--Chose Jacket Fabric

  • Go into Fabric Store aka my garage.

  • Find natural fiber fabric for Cottage Core feel.

I had an idea of how to make my Pinafore Dress, but the jacket was stressing me out, And I wanted to have that concept at the very least started so I could build the Pinafore and Petticoat lengths around the jacket. I needed a natural fabric with some color that when washed would look nice and wrinkled! Hallelujah! Finally clothes that do not need to be ironed. I found this Robin-Egg Blue colored coarse weaved linen fabric which would would amazing after washed and also bring some color the otherwise pale floral curtains.



Great! Now that I am hugging my new favorite fabric, I had better come up with a concept for the overall look. I still had no clue, but envisioned a 3/4 length gathered jacket with a bow at the waist, a floral Pinafore Dress, and a blue ruffled petticoat.



2nd Step--Prepare Pattern

  • Find pattern to just as basic silhouette.

  • Place pattern pieces along fabric to optimize space.

I have collected so many patterns over the years, I think I might just have all of them! No, just joking. I don't have Cottage Core style patterns but I can use a 1990's pattern with a basic silhouette and add to it. This McCalls 8155 would do just fine. I chose the v-neck versus rounded neckline because I had a vision of a summer, open jacket with a lovely tie at the waist. Also, I was thinking of adding a long gathered 2nd layer to this basic jacket. I had plenty of this fabric (15 yards!), but as an Upcycler, I am trained to be judicial in how I use my fabric because typically there's almost never enough. I will find myself agonizing on how to get what I want from just a couple of loaves and fishes. Who doesn't like a good puzzle?--challenges the brain--keeps us young.



3rd Step--Sew Jacket

  • Sew shoulder and side seams.

  • Pin on neckline interfacing.

  • Chalk a smooth line down the front lapel interfacing elminating the point.

  • Sew on interfacing.

Are you cross-eyed looking at the below photo with all the arrows? LOL! It's actually quite simple. Let me walk you through the diagram. I pinned the interfacing to the bodice of the jacket. I did not want to create a jacket with a pointy lapel, so I took chalk and jotted a smoother line and then sewed that to be my final front edge of the jacket. I wanted to make this jacket more feminine, and pointy features do not yield a dainty result.



4th Step--Attach Sleeves

  • Pin in new sleeves.

  • Sew in new sleeves.

  • Model the new jacket base.

As you probably have guessed by now, I don't teach sewing here on this blog. Rather I just guide you through the larger steps. I have a lot of experience attaching sleeves from my days in the costume design business--and still have my local costume rental business www.CostumeTakeOut.com. All I can say about sleeves is that it just takes practice like anything else. Rest assure, there is some rhyme and reason to it. So take your time learning this very valuable skill. Back to the jacket below, as you can see, it's too big for me. I will address this issue later. Getting the jacket was important to me, I wanted to get a vibe going on to creatively encourage the rest of the outfit.



Digression Time...

Last summer I made this Jennie Waldon Copy-Cat Dress below. Click on the photos to take you to the blog post. I thought using the basic pattern for this dress for the Pinafore would be ideal. Although the Pinafore would not look like this dress. I just needed some guideline as to how much fabric to cut for my Pinafore. It's like the difference for me between swimming in a pool or in the ocean...I prefer the pool because I know where the edges are. And I can swim. I am terrified of the ocean. So I just needed a guideline here. And using the dimensions was a my border. I could have free-styled it, but why waste time.



5th Step--Cut Out Pinafore Pieces

  • Take apart thrifted dress.

  • Use pieces as pattern for Pinafore silhouette.

I thrifted this dress for the sole purpose of having it as a pattern. And to be truthful, I could have drafted this pattern. If you want to get started sewing, this is the EASIEST dress to make. So again, I just used it as a guideline for the overall dimensions of the Pinafore. And I did not even make the sleeves.



6th Step--Sewing Pinafore

  • Make a band and tube of fabric for the top of Pinafore.

  • Gather/Baste the top of the skirt (see Neon thread)

  • Sew gathered skirt to the band which goes over the bust area.

This is one of those moments when I look at my project and start to freak out. Because at the end of this step, my Pinafore was not looking impressive. I created a tube of fabric which would be the band that goes over the chest area. This outfit will be waist-less. (great PMS dress for sure!). Then I basted the top of the skirt with my neon thread (because Neon is a thread I never use and don't care if I waste, while my other basic colored threads are more precious).



7th Step--Pinafore Straps

  • Cut strips of fabric.

  • Sew tubes and turn inside out.

  • Sew front straps into the bust band.

  • Mark where straps will land in the back.

  • Chose parallel back or criss-cross straps.

This was an interesting thought process--How to gather the back of the oversized Pinafore. Criss-crossing the straps would create nice counter-tension in the back. Then I thought, why not use button holes to weave in and out the straps. That way if I decide to sell the Pinafore, it's so adjustable and fits a wide range of sizes.



8th Step--Make ButtonHoles

  • Find LARGE Button.

  • Practice buttonholes first.

  • See how straps fit through hole.

  • Mark equal distance for button holes on back of Pinafore Dress.

  • Sew up each buttonhole.

Practice ButtonHoles. If you take anything away from this blog post, practice the buttonhole before you commit to doing the real ones. Taking out misplaced buttonholes is a pain in the a$$.



Progress Check

Yes, I am liking how the back turned out! It's rouched with simplicity, but aesthetically attractive!



9th Step--Make Petticoat

  • Find bed skirt.

  • Cut bed shirt to maximize ruffle length.

  • Sew Tube of fabric to make skirt.

  • Sew 2nd layer of ruffles onto first layer.

  • Sew 3rd & 4th layers of ruffles to petticoat.

The key to a great Cottage Core look is a crinkly 'ol petticoat. I am learning the only way to achieve this aesthetic is by many layers, not just one or two, Ruffles are super time consuming and tedious, but if you can hang in there, the effect is well worth the effort!



10th Step--Adjustable Petticoat Waistband

  • Sew a top tube on the petticoat.

  • Insert elastic in the tube.

  • Sew elastic ends together.

  • Use Bra slides to adjust waistband size.

  • Add a 2nd Bra slide for extra hold.

Back in the day, I invented a children's product called CinchEaze Waistbands--an adjustable waistband that was attached by iron to the back of a child's pants or skirt. I used the bra slide as my adjustment mechanism--it worked like a charm! Now I use this simple technology in ALL my waistbands.



11th Step--Embellish Pinafore with Lace

  • Find some vintage crochet lace.

  • Cut a row of crochet off vintage tablecloth.

  • Sew to edge of Pinafore.

Oh, if Upcycling were all about embellishments, I would never stop. But the reality is, embellishing may be 5-10% maximum of the project. This is the best part of Upcycling--embellisment, especially when dealing with Cottage Core. I happen to have a ton of laces: Bradenburg, Crocheted, Eyelet or common lace from creating Prairie or Colonial American costumes for www.CostumeTakeOut.com One layer of this high-quality crochet lace was all that was needed for the bottom of the Pinafore dress. However, the Pinafore Dress still does not look finished. Maybe add a French ruffle? made from the same blue cotton bedskirt?



12th Step--Add French Ruffle To Pinafore Edge

  • Sew strip of fabric from bed skirt.

  • Use your Neon Thread to baste stitch a gather.

  • Sew French ruffle to edge of Pinafore dress.

I love the French Ruffle. I use is often--even in my contemporary designs. It requires the use of a 3-needle rolled hem setting on a Serger. So simple to sew in a gather stitch and ruffle up a strip of fabric. The effect is dramatic and the effect basic.



13th Step--Add To Jacket Length

  • Cut a wide strip of blue fabric--enough to make the jacket a 3/4 length jacket.

  • Gather stitch the top and hem bottom.

  • Sew gather stitch side to waist of current bodice.

  • Consider curtain for a bow?

I had no obvious plan for the jacket coming in to this Upcycle. But somehow I knew it needed to be a longer jacket--a peplum of sorts, or in this case a low waist peplum. Easy enough to cut a wide strip of fabric, gather the top edge and sew it to the hem of the bodice of the jacket. Considering how to close the jacket was the next step and I chose using a sheer beige curtain that I used in the Cottage Core #1 Petticoat.


14th Step--Finess A Bow

  • Seam Open the corner where the Bodice meets the jacket skirt.

  • Insert and sew Curtain Sash tube,

  • Tie into a bow!

Somehow a wrap-around waisted sash did not look right, chopping up the silhouette when the rest of the outfit already had so many tiers. I thought how clever would it be to just insert into the lapel and sew down. This option allowed for a peek of fluff, but did not overpower the jacket.


Would you believe my Upcycle is finished?


3 Pieces: Jacket, Pinafore Dress, and Petticoat!


Time to StyleMyThrift 2 Ways!


Here I come 1910s-1920s!

and the other way?

Current Cottage Core with Cable Knit Sweater & Boots




First Styling Session: 1910s-1920's

This styling session was an era bender. What bended this look? The 2000's Old Navy T-Strap Clogs. Yes, I could have gone very classic, old fashioned boot I like to push styling into Era-bending, where one could see this easily fitting into a 1970's boho style, but smacking of history.


This blouse is definitely 2000's. Ann Taylor Loft. This blouse transcends all eras. I see Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and 1970's hippie. A gorgeous thrift! I pinch myself on this one!











Second Styling Session:

Practical Cottage Core with Cable Knit Sweater & Knee-High Boots

I was craving a 180 from the uber-feminine look of style #1 to something more rustic, and practical, yet maintaining the daydream.







#2 Challenge Completed!


Now Onto #3...

and the last Cottage Core style from the 2 yellowed Vintage Curtains I almost tossed into the bin.



Until The Next Upcycle!

Part 3, and the Last of this Cottage Core Series!

++++++++++++FINIS++++++++++++

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