31 Days · Color · creative habit · Sewing · Style · Thrifts

31 Days: Color – Day 11: Peacock Blue Dress Shirt

You know I love a good shirt dress (here and here), and I’ve even had some luck making a dress out of a shirt (here and here), but today, I’m making a shirt out of a dress. Get it? “Dress Shirt”.


Peacock blue is one of my favorite shades of blue. It always reminds me of a luau we attended on our first trip to Hawaii. As we walked around the property, there were many peafowl (yes, that’s a word), the males shaking their feathers and showing off their brilliant colors to the peahens. Then, later that summer, we were back home in California, and I was in the kitchen at our old house, getting a drink after a day at the pool. I saw something funny that seemed to fall outside the kitchen window, so I went to investigate. It was a peacock, just fluttering by and then walking down the street! I grabbed Husband’s shoes (the only ones nearby) and followed the peacock down the street. It meandered slowly, picking up the pace a little when it realized I was following it (in big, clunky flip flops). It meandered around the corner and made its way down the bike path out to the farms which I assume were its home. When I got back home, I looked up peacocks and realized that the funny call I had been hearing in the mornings was in fact a peafowl call.

In the years following, I would see several peacocks out on my walks. It’s amazing the things you can find when you keep your eyes open. (In our town, some of the things you can find are owls, hawks, wild turkeys, and coyotes.)


So, confession, when I bought this dress, I was looking to fill a blue slot in my 31 Days challenge. I loved this dress immediately – the pintucks, the half sleeves, the shape of the dress. I began to wonder what on earth I could do to make it a project for this month. But then I tried it on. It didn’t quite fit. There was no tag (I would later realize it was a handmade garment), so I had no idea what size it actually was. The top fit well – shoulders, chest, and waist – but the skirt part was too small for my hips. Then I knew – it would be a shirt.

I tried it on and measured where I wanted the hem to fall. Then I added 1/2″ inch for folding and cut the skirt apart.

This is when I started to realize the craftsmanship of this garment. Each side had 3 different seams, each sewn with a different color thread. All of the hems were done with a straight-stitch, not with a serger as most garments today are made.


And then I found these. Weights. They were hand-stitched into the hemline on either side to keep the hem of the dress down. All of these little details made it a little bit harder to cut this dress apart, but I knew I wouldn’t wear it as a dress, so to the cutting mat it went.


I used my scarf hem technique to finish the hemline.

DSC_0160This might be my new favorite blouse.


I love the detail of the buttons on the back.

DSC_0153This was the easiest hem I’ve ever done, which made me ponder about all the little projects I’ve done and how, added up, they have really helped me improve my sewing skills, not to mention my creativity to figure out what to do with each piece I come across. I read this week that a peacock feather was an 18th century symbol for tailors. While I’m definitely not a tailor-level seamstress, I might need to hang a picture of a peacock feather in my little studio to remind myself that practice makes better.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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5 thoughts on “31 Days: Color – Day 11: Peacock Blue Dress Shirt

    1. Thanks for linking to your post, Nancy – that was great. (Was trying to comment, but couldn’t find the reply section – maybe it’s just too early and my eyes aren’t working yet!) Going to read the articles you recommend, too.

      1. Due to all the spam I’m getting, I turned off comments on posts over 30 days old. It’s too bad, because sometimes I do get legitimate comments on the older posts. But I was getting hundreds of spams a day (which WordPress was catching, thankfully) on certain old posts. My theme is all or nothing and doesn’t let me turn off comments on just selected posts.

        I saw your “like” though and am glad you enjoyed the post.


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