Archive of ‘DIY’ category

Buy or DIY: Loeffler Randall Gem Clutch

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Welcome to a new series of mine: Buy or DIY, where I break down an on-trend piece into where you can Buy It (if you want the original) or how to DIY it (if you want to put your own original, affordable spin on it).

Loeffler Randall Gem Clutch

Buy: $195, here  or  DIY: $55.70, below

The DIY version: Thrift (or make!) a neutral suede-like zip envelope pouch – or try this version for $18.95. Use Loctite Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic Repair Adhesive to affix a variety of pastel mint rhinestones to the front, like these Tear-Shaped Rhinestones and/or these Marquise Rhinestones. If you can find or make a clutch in a thinner fabric, you could also sew these rhinestones on instead, using a thin beading needle like these.

Which version do you prefer: BUY or DIY?

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.

10 DIY Projects to Welcome Spring

10 DIY Projects for Spring crafts roundupWelcome to the official First Day of Spring!

Yes my friends, Spring has definitely Sprung…and I bet you’re itching to make some fun DIY projects to welcome the new season. Flowers, Easter, May Day, graduations, prom, baby showers, and other Springtime celebrations? Bring on the season bursting with flowers and loveliness with these great crafts:

DIYenamelspringflowernecklace_done21. Enamel Bib Necklace
Celebrating all that is flowery and fun this season, this bib necklace works by collaging charms and buttons onto a filigree backing – and painting with Martha Stewart self-hardening enamel. Amazingly easy for such a fun project!

Ballet Flats Decorated with Silk Flowers

2. Flowered Ballet Flats
Adorn a pair of simple ballet flats with flowers and lace trim to become lovely and elegant footwear.

diyfloweredcase_done13. Flowered Snackcessory Clutch
So sweet as a pairing to a simple outfit…or to take along with you to prom.

rosecabrhinestoneearrings_done34. Prada Rose Cabochon Stud Earrings
Surprisingly simple to make – with a huge impact – these studs sparkle with a chic, ladylike quality.
done45. Florald Applique Cardigan
Take your favorite flowered fabric, cut out bits of the pattern, affix Heat ‘n’ Bond to it – and iron onto a boring cardigan for a quick pick-me-up.

skirtfront26. Lace Maxi-Skirt
Repurpose an old lace curtain (and there are always a ton to be found at Goodwill!) into a pretty lace maxi-skirt for over your shorter skirts, dresses, and shorts.

Flowered barrette made of silk flowers

7. Flower Barrette
Silk flowers from the craft store make this barrette look like a flower crown adorning your hair.
diyeastereggnails_done18. Gold Foil Easter Egg Nails
Pretty pastels pop when gold foil is applied haphazardly to the top. Do the same for your Easter eggs for a matching holiday craft.
DIY petal-front top made with silk flower petals9. Flower Petal Top
Hand-stitch flower petals down the front of a plain tee to make it floral fabulous with only a small amount of effort.
DIY watercolor scarf made with fabric dye10. Watercolor Scarf
Use dye to paint a scarf in daubs of color, leave on for a short time, and wash out for a faded, Monet-like quality.

What projects are you looking forward to making for Spring?

xo

Carly

DIY Ideas from Fall 2015 Fashion Weeks Street Style

milanstreetstyle_2Fashion weeks around the world have drawn to a close, and we’ve seen a ton of DIY-able ideas for this coming Fall. How about that ubiquitous street style for February 2015 – what are all the fashionistas in the know wearing? The answer is fabulous coats and warm weather gear…and there are more than a few great ideas out there that are still totally do-able and make-able before Spring is fully here. See below to get those creative juices flowing…

londonstreetstyle_1 In London, Tati Cotliar sported a cut pink hooded overcoat – and you can add a similar studded detail to the hood with some flat round brass studs.

This verbose topper spotted on the streets could be easily remade with a thrifted man’s wool overcoat and adding some wordy iron-on appliqués in punky neon colors. (This Etsy shop makes some neat ones!)

londonstreetstyle_2Caroline Sieber attended the shows in this pretty blue suit jacket – made beautifully unique with a large-sized iron-on embroidered floral motif appliqué.

Sarah Rutson‘s No 21 top could easily be mimicked by hand-sewing some black ostrich feathers (humanely harvested, ideally) onto the front of a boring black sweater to make it chic.

milanstreetstyle_1In Milan, Elisa Nalin‘s punchy ensemble is offset by a bright beaded clutch – which could be made by gluing plastic beaded necklaces from the dollar store or a toy store in a V-pattern onto an existing clutch.

This neat hybrid denim jacket spotted on the streets could be re-created by someone enterprising – just by re-purposing a knitted blanket sewn to the hem of a jacket, cut apart and used as collar-covering, and some of the yarn pulled out and woven into the jacket as detailing. (Look for a really thick, luxurious yarn to make this work!)milanstreetstyle_2Appliques again! (Seeing a trend??!) Adding them to a plain sweatshirt-fabric skirt can make gray look fabulous.

And that coat would be a doable Franken-DIY: bleach an indigo denim jacket, remove the arms and replace with arms salvaged from a thrifted black leather jacket. Instant Milan street cred.

nyfwstreetstyle_1From New York, something similar to Anya Ziourova‘s Fendi sweater could be made with hand-sewing some exposed zippers to the front with colored faux fur, rhinestone trim, and colored fleece in patches and shapes to make that fun monster face.

Gigi Hadid‘s Diesel Black Gold jacket take some serious studding skills…but would be an amazing upgrade to a very simple black leather moto jacket.

nyfwstreetstyle_2Any top could be given a glam makeover by hand-sewing beads and rhinestones onto the front in a starburst pattern.

That Thom Browne coat could be easily re-interpreted with just a line of cone spikes ringing the armscye of a nipped-in gray Victorian-style overcoat.

Hope that gives you some ideas for projects to start right now!
xo
Carly

Photos: Phil Oh from Vogue.com, Craig Arend from The New York Times, , Mark Iantosca, POPSUGAR. Composites by me.

My Spoonflower Fabrics Maker-Submitted Project Showcase

As you may know, I designed some fabrics awhile ago and offer them for sale by the yard through my shop on Spoonflower.
mygalaxydesignsonspoonflowerAt first I created them because I couldn’t find any galaxy-print fabrics that I liked, and I wanted to play with the trending print. After I opened my shop though, people that I didn’t even know began purchasing my designs and using them in their own projects. I was so thrilled to see other creators designing with fabrics that I had spent so long laboring over their designs, their colors, their pattern repeat until my eyes were practically crossed!

Some people were kind enough to share with me some projects they had made:
yansev-wakeboard-coverSource

Like Yannick who goes by @yansev on Instagram, who made this amazing wakeboard cover using my palm tree fabric. (He’s working on a line of wakeboard covers coming in Summer 2015 – follow him on Instagram for updates!!) Whoever thought of making a wakeboard cover with Spoonflower fabric…isn’t that cool??!

galaxytoteAnd Maria, who made this galaxy-print tote she offers for sale in her Etsy shop 162Pens.

galaxypencilcaseShe also made this cute little pencil case/makeup pouch too.

Her craftsmanship is just beautiful…you should definitely check out the other pretty designs in her shop to ogle!

Thank you everyone for sharing your amazing projects with me! I’m so happy that you found these fabrics useful and fun for you:-)
outfit9.02.13_bag2Just to share some more ideas, I made this DIY Flat Bottomed Zip Pouch with my Sideways Palm Tree Tropical Photo Print in organic cotton sateen…

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…this DIY Galaxy-Print Mini Skirt with my Alternate Blue Galaxy Print in organic cotton sateen…

scrunchie2

…and this scrunchie with my Red Star Field Galaxy Print in silk crepe de chine.

In addition to fabrics, you can also get any of these prints available for sale as wallpaper or gift wrap too!

I’m so happy that something like Spoonflower exists, where fabric designers can made beautiful fabrics come to life, and people like me, who just like playing with pattern and color, can even aspire to be a fabric designer.

If any of you have used my Spoonflower fabrics for anything, please share your projects with me! I’d love to showcase them on Chic Steals :-)

xo
Carly

DIY Ideas from Fall 2015 Fashion Weeks

0.diyideas_fall2015runwaysintrophotoMercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week has wrapped up, folks…London Fashion Week is drawing to a close…next up, Paris and Milan. Already some great DIY ideas are surfacing for Fall 2015 and I’ll bet you want to get right on top of those and start thinking about how to incorporate these trends into your wardrobe for the upcoming season. Here are some emerging looks from the runways:

diyfall2015_1

Though it’s hard to tell from the photo, hand-stitching some delicate silver ball-chain to the edges of your clothing a la Alexander Wang can look edgy and cool. Create a faux quilting effect on a dark pair of shorts using iron-on pearl nailheads and trim like at Alice + Olivia. Hand-sew a swatch of shearling to a jacket collar to make it ultra cozy.diyfall2015_2

Add white brushstrokes of fabric paint on the hem of a trench to make a bold statement like Band of Outsiders. You can mimic the Kaelen look by chopping off a shoulder from a long shirtdress (and finishing the hem by tucking under and securing with fabric glue or a line of stitching)…and add some ribbons looped into bows at either side of the skirt.diyfall2015_3

Go leatherette like L.A.M.B. by sewing some leather patches onto a sweater at the front and elbows, creating a patched leather skirt to match. Go full on cray-cray like Libertine and add a variety of appliques to a standard wool coat to make it vibrant and colorful.diyfall2015_4

Tartan and lace go together like peas and carrots. Do like Marc Jacobs and slit a pleated plaid skirt at the folds, adding lace strips in-between with some hand-sewing or hem tape. Create an embellished sweater like at Markus Lupfer and hand-stitch clusters of beads onto a thrifted turtleneck to downplay all the brown tragedy.

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Get out the white fabric paint and go all Jackson Pollack on a black suit like at Norma Kamali. Upgrade a well-fitting vibrant coat with a line of contrasting piping, sewn on higgledy-piggledy with a pipin foot like Peter Pilotto did.diyfall2015_6

Do double-duty DIY inspired by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi by adding tiny hand-stitched clusters of dark beads to a cropped cream sweater, and bright lacing and iron-on appliques to a standard plaid skirt. Get sexy like Proenza Schouler by cutting slits in a slinky knit dress (just overlock the edges after cutting so they don’t unravel!) and wear a pair of fishnet tights underneath to add the appeal.diyfall2015_7

Get into dip-dying by dipping a cream turtleneck fisherman’s sweater into indigo dye like at Sea. Add a bit of sweetness to a mini LBD like at Vera Wang by stitching on white flowers (pulled off a silk flower!) and securing with a white pearl in each center.diyfall2015_8

Make a standard gray turtleneck more fun like at Vivienne Tam by taking an open flame to a piece of polyester or rayon to burn it into a fun and raggedy pattern (which may take a few tries!) Hand-sew your hand-made lacey fabric onto the chest and shoulders of a sweater. Add texture like at Zero + Maria Cornejo by sewing lines of black fringe up and down a charcoal wrap coat.

Any brands or collections that seem to lend themselves to DIY in your opinion? Let me know in the comments: I’m always on the lookout for any new lines of interest!

xo

Carly

All photos from Style.com; photo collages by me.

Last-Minute DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

The big V-day happens to be Saturday this year, and it’s now a countdown to what to get, what to make, how to profess your undying love to the one true person in your life. Here are a couple ideas from my archives if you need something to make last-minute:

diytypographypillows_done3DIY Ombre Typography Pillows

diyminibooknecklace_done5DIY His and Hers Leather-Bound Book Necklace/Keychain

diymacaronstand_done2DIY French Macaron Stack Card Holder Memo Stand

diystenciledphotoframe_done1DIY Patterned Silver Leaf Photo Frame

diy-quartz-paperweight-done3

DIY Faux Geode Quartz Paperweight

diynaturaldeodorant_doneDIY Healthy Natural Coconut Oil Stick Deodorant

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And, from a previous year: 15 DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts for Everyone.

romantic-ideas-you-can-do-at-homeAnd, if you’d prefer not to give a THING but instead perform an action and make it a memorable experience instead: Romantic Ideas You Can Do At Home for Valentine’s Day Infographic

And, for those wanting to celebrate their singledom, here are a couple great ideas for you too!

7 Single Gals Valentine Day Ideas

xo

Carly

The 13 Must-Have Tools for Embellishing DIYs

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1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12  /  13

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…)

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