Archive of ‘DIY’ category

The 13 Must-Have Tools for Embellishing DIYs

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Adding embellishments to pieces (crystals, studs, trim, iron-ons etc.) is one of the easiest ways to breathe life into your clothing and accessories and give them a whole new makeover. I’ve done a number of DIYs in the past that involve different materials and techniques (like my DIY Vinyl Eyelash Applique T-Shirt, DIY Sequin Trompe L’oeil Peter Pan Collar T-Shirt, and DIY Jennifer Behr Spiked Turban for example). I’ve found a number of tools are extremely useful in adding all those bits ‘n’ bobs (they save a ton of time!) – and here are my faves:

1. Hardwood Handle Awl

For poking holes for studs and screw-spikes, you need an awl. Period. This will make tiny precise holes (NOT slits like scissors) and the spike screw-thread will do the enlargening itself. Much better to cause as minimal damage to the fabric as possible. The hardwood handle allows for long usage without fatigue in your hands (and if you’re embarking on a large-scale studding or spiking project, you know exactly what I’m talking about!).

2. Chain Nose Pliers

For bending the studs teeth at the back, I always use pliers – though there are also stud prong press tools available for this specific purpose.

3. Creative Crystal BeJeweler Pro Embellishment Tool

For adding hotfix crystals or nailheads to your projects one-by-one: completely necessary for precision and beautiful designs.

4. Dual Duty Plus Button Thread

TOTALLY different from regular cotton mercerized or polyester thread. Did you know? I didn’t for a long time – and I’d been sewing on buttons using completely the wrong thread for like FOREVER. It’s thicker, stronger, and more durable than the regular threads, so get this if you are sewing on any buttons or button-like embellishments.

5. Dritz Fray Check

You’ll need this as a double-security for the ends of trims that could fray when washed. If they can’t be heat-sealed with an open flame (like they have beads, sequins, or are mostly cotton) then add a daub of this on the ends to prevent fraying.

6. Chalk Pencil

Marking chalk set – I use this SOOOO much! I can mark with a different color than for the sewing lines or matching lines when making a piece, and it stays fairly sharp and accurate. I really love this little tool.

7. Dritz Curved Needles

For sewing rhinestones in settings (with sewing holes in the back) onto fabric surfaces easily.

8. Aleene’s Jewel-It Embellishing Glue

For gluing crystals or other embellishments that don’t have sewing holes. Not ideal, but sometimes you have to cut corners.

9. Leathercraft Pyramid Rivet Studs Setter

If you’re doing large-scale studding on leather this will save your hands from massive pain.

10. Martha Stewart Multi-Purpose Cutting Heat Tool

I use this mostly for the mini-iron capabilities. Not completely necessary (in a pinch I’ll just grab my regular size iron and be really, really careful) – but this works great for larger iron-on embellishments that don’t fit the Hotfix iron tip, and for small appliques. I don’t particularly like the hotfix tip (not enough options), but the cutting tip is useful for cutting stencil vinyl.

11. June Tailor Non-Stick Pressing Sheet (18″x18″ size)

For appliques and fusibles. You could also use a regular 100% cotton pressing cloth, but the non-stick one is better for fusibles.

12. Beadaholique Perfect Positioner/Jewel Setter Tool

Needed for rhinestone placement and setting. And when you’re going through a lot of stones in an intricate design, this will really cut your workflow time in half.

13. Variety of Machine Feet

Multi-foot set – if you’re doing embellishments that require a sewing machine (like adding ruffles, or leather pieces, or pearl piping) — you will need a ruffler foot, piping foot, or Teflon foot to deal with these different materials and make the whole process faster. (the pack pictured is for low-shank machines)

And of course a screwdriver for tightening screw-spikes, a lighter for heat-sealing trims, and a pair of scissors for cutting.

Need more Must-Have Tool Sets? Check out my Must-Have Tools for Sewing DIY’s and my Must-Have Tools for Jewelry DIY’ing!

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

 

Alteration 101: How to Make a T-Shirt Dress Bigger

0.alteration101dress_introphotoHello all!

I apologize for my week-long absence…things have been just crazy with Lil Tot going back to school and getting back into the school routine. And I have an announcement to make soon – can’t wait to share!

alteration101dress_done4I snapped up a Stylestalker Space Jam T-shirt style dress from Shopbop in February – I just couldn’t pass up the cool pattern on it. (All it needs is a kitten shooting rainbows out of its eyes and then its the perfect Dark Side of the Moon-style CD album artwork. Or something like that.)       alteration101dress_materials Unfortunately it was the last dress left and at a size 4 it was a little too tight here and there on me (at the time in February). The mantra I live by:

So I went about to alter it to be a little more skimming, and here’s how you could do the same to a straight-shaped dress that just needs a little extra something:

You Need: (more…)

Back to School with Darby Smart DIY Kits

diybacktoschoolkits_darbysmartThe time to return back to school is upon us – and Darby Smart has some fun back-to-school DIY kits that will get you set for another year of academic success. How about a:

Top row: Leather Tassel Keychain  /  Scrabble Tile Mousepad  /  Leather Infinity Scarf

Middle row: Cross Stitch Tote  /  Build a Clock

Bottom row: Gold Statement Stack of Bracelets  /  Studded Cobalt Clutch  /  Painted Bamboo Phone Case

And my DIY Agate Keepsake Box Kit is also still available!

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Check Out All the Fun DIY Kits from Darby Smart Here

And Happy Back to School!!

xo
Carly

Take a Free Mini-Crafting Class with Craftsy!

craftsyheaderCraftsy is an online destination for craft-based classes and video tutorials that teach you real-world skills…all in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. Ranging in price from $14.99 – $39.99, these classes cover sewing, knitting, cake decorating, quilting, gardening, and much, much more.

If you’re not ready to sign up for the full Craftsy experience, you can watch a mini-class, totally FREE. Here are a couple that I’d recommend for those essential DIY skills:

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Sew Ready: Machine Basics  /  Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch  /  Micro Torch Basics

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Amazing Crochet Textures  /  Mastering Zipper Techniques  /  Bag-Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag

Watch any of the above for free, with no obligation.

Check out all of Craftsy’s Free Mini-Classes!

Happy DIY’ing!
xo
Carly

Book Review: The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers

thesewists_book1I was recently sent a copy of the new book The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers by Josephine Perry to review for my blog. It’s a super-cute, handmade take on the DIY movement, chock-full of neat techniques and profiles of 20 makers.

The projects range from a handmade pincushion to a gathered waist skirt to an adorable stuffed monster plushie to a piece of embroidered jewelry.

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Many of the projects use only a small amount of fabric, upcycled materials, or ecologically-sourced items. Textile arts (including textile printing, patchwork, applique, embroidery, screen printing, cross stitch, and hand-sewing) feature heavily in this book, so most of the projects are time- and labor-intensive.thesewists_book3The book truly focuses on the labor of love that is crafting, and features in-depth profiles of many designers and makers in the homemade movement. It’s fascinating to read everyone’s story, and one gains a greater respect for all of these artisans and their work.thesewists_book4 thesewists_book5There is a quaint charm to the projects, which harken back to your grandmother’s time, updated for today.thesewists_book6The book also includes a CD-ROM with patterns and templates for all the projects, which is extremely helpful since no tracing from awkward book pages is required and you can just dive in and start making!thesewists_book7

My only minor quibble with the book is that on the project step-by-step pages there is dearth of visual interest. One would think with these artisan studios full of inspirational items, it would not have been that much more difficult to include more images of their work on the tutorial pages, or at least some illustrations of stitchery, DIY supplies, or other layout extras that could have livened up these areas. However this is only a minor note; the rich introductions to each artist serve as an excellent backdrop to their painstaking projects.

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Overall: 3needles

If you’re into trying out a range of different projects and techniques and enjoy handmade crafts, textile arts, and homespun charm, this book is definitely for you! The Sewists will be released on September 16, 2014, available on Amazon.com and major booksellers.

Preorder The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers Here

xo
Carly

FTC Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the above book from Laurence King Publishing for review purposes. I have not been compensated for this post. The above opinions are my own. To read my full Disclosure Policy, click here.

15 DIY Ideas for a Do-It-Yourself Summer Wedding

15diysummerweddings_chicsteals Summer is wedding season – and there’s no better way to save some $$$ than by DIY’ing certain aspects of your ceremony (plus it adds an oh-so-important personal touch to everything!) Here are some great ideas for some DIY Summer nuptials (many of which can be used instead for any fancy party or get-together on your calendar!):

printableinvitesBeautiful wedding invitations can be yours just by customizing this Kraft Paper printable from TheKnot.

weddingprogramMake your own gorgeous flowery wedding program with this free downloadable template from TheKnot.

succulentbouquetA bouquet to hold (and eventually toss!) can be completely non-traditional, as evidenced by this beautiful succulent version featured on The DIY Network.

love-day-bannerPersonalized dcorations are a must, and this pretty DIY Tassel Bunting from Rae Ann Kelly can be customized with a special saying, your names, or your own newlywed monogram.

justmarriedbannerMake a custom banner with Martha Stewart‘s template that is the perfect backdrop to the reception, ceremony, or even on-the-fly candid shots.

cloudbackdropSpeaking of candid shots, it’s always great to set aside an area for beautiful couple photos to commemorate the occasion. This DIY Cloud Backdrop from A Practical Wedding is both unique and gorgeous.

placenumbersontablesandhaveablastTable numbers can be chic, sophisticated, cute, pretty, rustic, or just about anything else your heart desires. Here’s a gilded hand-painted version from Wedding Chicks.

bloomingmonogramA blooming monogram for the table adds a personal note of pretty. From Urbanic Paper Parcel Post‘s blog.

diamond-ring-napkin-ring-tutorialFor napkin rings, these DIY Origami Diamond Napkin Rings from Brooklyn Bride add a touch of whimsy to your table.

MrMrsBannerPersonalize the seats where the bride and groom will sit with these printable banners from Lia Griffith.

loveballoonsAnother must-have decoration for a wedding: BALLOONS. This LOVE balloon backdrop is super-easy and totally gorgeous. By Jenny Van Summers, found here.

chalkboardrunnerCreate a DIY Aisle Runner with a special message to your beloved, found on Bridal Musings via Belle Amour.

puzzlecaketopper2 large wooden puzzle pieces can be painted and used as your special bride and groom cake topper. Photo from Lover.ly by Captured Photography by Jenny.

photolollipopsMake your own Edible Photo Lollipops with a photo of the bride and groom as wedding favors. Tutorial from PhotoJojo.

confettipushpopFor the final send-off for the new couple, Style Me Pretty has some great DIY Push Pop Confetti.

Hope your event is special, lovely, memorable, and DIY!

xo
Carly

Want some more DIY wedding ideas? Try some of my DIY tutorials, like DIY Bra Strap Headband, DIY Gold Leaf Head Chain, DIY Flower Miniaudiere, or DIY Feathered Cape.morediyweddingideas_chicsteals

11 DIY Father’s Day Gifts That Will Make His Day

11diyfathersdaygifts_chicstealsHappy June! Father’s Day is coming up soon, and I’m in a DIY mood. What better way to show that special Dad in your life some love than something handmade you’ve put your time and energy into? Here are a couple ideas to get you going: (more…)

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