21 Rag Tunics - Many Textures

Hello Thrifters,

Thanks so much for always bearing with me and my ever changing life.

It has been incredible to see this little boutique blossom and that is because of all of you and of course the grace of God.

This months blog post will highlight the adventure I took to make 21 rag style tunics all out of thrifted materials.

As many of you may know, I have been a costume designer for film, theater, and photography for over 10 years now. One thing I have always done is try to use thrifted materials first and foremost, but have certainly used new products too. For this latest project, I chose to completely avoid using new materials and am so happy with the results.

I was contacted a few months ago about making these rag like tunics for 7 children and 14 adults for a Pittsburgh indie film. I am always up for a challenge and was excited to source materials with many textures and shades of neutral colors. Many of these fabrics were already in my collection and others were sourced from a thrift store in their home decor section.

I found 2 separate patterns, also thrifted, that were intended as costumes for cave men and Native Americans. I adapted these patterns to be simple and work for many body types. We chose to create shape in people by adding a simple twine rope. Luckily I already had in my collection and didn’t need to source any. If I didn't have the twine already this can be found in many thrift shops. Rope can also be made from scrap fabrics that are braided.

After the pattern was cut and the fabric was collected, I took the pattern and made it fit the fabric as best as possible. Some fabric being shorter than others, the tunics range in length for variety in styles. After the fabric was all cut, I sewed them together on each side, leaving the edges raw for the rag like aesthetic.

After hours and hours of stitching, it was time to dye all the fabrics that were slightly off in color and/or needed the stains to be blended. For this, I used vintage soap dyes that are over a 100 years old. I found them at the antique shop that Thrifted Boutique is located at from one of my favorite craft vendors. I actually did an entire video over a year ago that highlights these amazing vintage soap dyes. Check that out on our Youtube Channel.

After the dying process was over, I hung them all on a clothes line… well kinda, to dry and do final inspections. Removing any unwanted strings and allowing the drying process to do its thing, the tunics are finished and look great. My favorite part is the varieties of colors and textures that all of them have. They could have been made at different times and from different people, which ultimately give off the best rag feel.

Thanks for reading my adventure and always remember that it is better to work with all the materials we already have and avoid buying new ones. This saves money and the environment, so its really a win win.



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