Hot! The “Mr. Brightside” Top and the “Ron” Collar


As usual it took me several days to figure out what I was going to make for this challenge. A jacket pattern and a dress pattern sat on my work table as I finished up the cheongsam I was making for the daughter of a business contact. I decided to save the dress pattern for a future challenge and I knew I was not going to have enough time for a jacket so I decided to make a collar necklace and a top to wear with it.

The Facts:

Pattern: Burda 8220 for the top

Fabric: 3yds lightweight fabric in a blend of some kind (sorry Leimomi) $6.50

Notions: Fabric paint from stash for silk screen , 1 ft window screen $1.25, 2 boxes of large flat head brads from craft store $8, 2 packages of upholstery nails in nickel and gold $8, and one button from stash

Total Price?: about $24

First Worn: Today for church and lunch/dinner with new friends

Wear Again?: yes

The blouse is pretty simple. I did make it a bit shorter because the pattern is more of a dress. At the last minute I decided to print something on it. It’s been a while since I’ve printed on fabric. I made one mistake that almost ruined the whole thing. I place freezer paper on top of areas I have printed on if I’m going to do multiple prints. For whatever reason I placed freezer paper underneath the layer of fabric. I ran the squeegee down the screen and lifted it and saw that the entire area was covered in paint. Trying not to panic I mixed a soft gray color and ran the print again then did some hand painting to try and hide some large white patches at the bottom. I was trying to be OK with it-you know-be as positive about it as I could. Well I hated it so I took the blouse and ran it under cold water. Miraculously the extra paint washed away and what was left was the print of the owl just like I planned. I’m sure there is a logical explanation for it but I call it divine intervention.

We didn’t really get any good pictures of the blouse. It’s a hi-lo or “mullet” as some of you like to call it. It’s so casual and cool I want to make more. When I was learning how to sew for real in home-ec back in jr. high I made a top like this. We all had to make this basic blouse with facings and short sleeves. Even then I was enamored of menswear and wanted mine to have a tail like a tuxedo jacket. My home-ec teacher sat down with me and helped me make all my changes. We rounded the edges, lengthened the back and the sleeves. I don’t remember my teacher’s name but I owe so  much to her. She encouraged my creativity and proudly displayed my work in the school showcase. After that she let me sew whatever I wanted. Mostly headbands from scrap pieces of fabric.

This is actually the second collar I made. The first one was kind of a mess. I had to work through my original vision to make room for something better I guess. I used vinyl in a soft pink color and had safety pins and swarovski  crystals all over it. I glued a ribbon along the edges and had it tie in back. I put it aside and the next day I realized that I needed to try again. It was just too crafty looking for my tastes. By this time it was Saturday so starting over was kind of a gamble.

I went to the hardware store and bought 1 foot of window screen then got to work taking apart the other necklace. The larger pieces are the brads. Super easy way to embellish something. Just make a hole and pop them in you don’t have to worry about them lying flat. The smaller gold pieces are also brads but I had to use wire cutters to make the posts smaller. The upholstery nails were harder to work with. They’re really cheap so it’s easier on the budget but the posts are really tough to bend. It took a little imagination to find a way to make them work. I’m planning on posting a tutorial on my blog and I’ll try and show you how I did it. I’m sure there was an easier way. I used a button for the center piece and made “bias tape” out of screen and sewed it along the edges. To smooth it out underneath so it doesn’t poke me when I wear it I used duct tape. I would have used ribbon if I’d had any in the right color. The duct tape works fine and adds another element to it. There are multiple hooks in back so I can wear it shorter if I want to by removing one the the hooks.

I hope you all don’t think I cheated. It is a collar and it was sewn.

Doesn’t it look like a wave is coming to wash me away? This is a part of Northwestern where people paint messages on the rocks. There are marriage proposals on some and some sweet college farewells on others. Perfect place for a photo shoot. I named the blouse after a song by The Killers and I I named the collar after a guy named Ron who works at the fabric store I shop at. He helped me find the right pieces for the necklace so I told him I’d name it after him as a thank you.

As usual it’s way past my bedtime-happy sewing ladies (and gents). See you next week!



Gina Clark is a girl from Texas living in the Midwest. She has been sewing most of her life but swears every few months that she is giving it up for good.


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  1. Look at you all cool with your screen collar with the swivel hook! No, you not only didn’t cheat but you raised the whole collar concept to a new level. I laughed about the duct tape, it’s so useful for so much : ) Tell Ron he did good as well, helping you pull off another amazing Gina creation.

    • Aww Loran! You spoil me! I would really love to make more but a girl should only have so many collar necklaces in her wardrobe. I’ll make at least 1 (or 2) more then I think I’ll be set.

  2. How clever and AMAZING!

  3. I love detachable collars and I had the same idea for this week before making my Pendrell blouse.
    What an amazing piece, it looks like jewellery!

    • I love the beaded collar you made. Very sweet. I’d love to make my own sometime. I’m glad you made the blouse-it’s pretty.

    • Thanks Erin! Growing up I didn’t have much so I got creative with whatever bits and pieces were thrown my way. It has become a gift that has served me well.

  4. I love the collar! It’s perfect for the challenge and really adds some sparkle to the outfit – well done! (and yay Northwestern!)

  5. Brilliant Gina, totally love what you did with the collar, the idea of using the mesh is fantastic! there have been so many of these collars DIY’d since the birth of the Miu Miu collar. Yours is perfect and innovative. Love the shirt too.

    • Thanks Kazz. I fell in love with them when I saw a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker wearing one a couple of years ago. I should have made it a long time ago-glad I finally did! I’m sure you’ve got an amazing one for this week-can’t wait to see it.

  6. Love reading your posts Gina. I love the owl and the collar is amazing :-)

  7. This is so beautiful and you are so beautiful! Such awesome photos! I seriously love your blouse just like I love The Killers. You are seriously creative and very inspiring. I wish I had the guts to make the creative and beautiful things you make.

    • Bethany! Thank you.

      You have guts-great guts! The creative and beautiful things you make inspire me. It’s a beautiful little circle. If you’re still holding back somewhere then remind yourself that this is “the year of no fear!!”

  8. I think the owl is kind of cool and awesome save. The collar comes across like a great piece of jewelry, really fun to wear.

  9. That is so cool! It doesn’t look like what it really is. How could it be brads and screen? It’s so clever. What a way to be creative and inventive. Your photos, again, are just awesome.

    • You’re a teacher right? I bet you have some fun things to make jewelry out of. I once went to a teacher supply store and found these great colorful plastic buttons I used for a jacket I made with pink plastic.

      Thanks Barbara!

  10. Wait, is there some sort of conspiracy going on to name-poke me this week? ;-) I have no problem with miscellaneous fabric blends – as long as they work really well as fabric when you sew them up!

    You’re top is adorable, and I think the sewn collar necklace is so clever. I pretty sure I actually own the button dangling in the middle in two sizes – they are just such lovely heavy authentic feeling buttons aren’t they?