Archive of ‘DIY’ category

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:
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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…

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…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:

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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

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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…)

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!

darbysmart_agatebox

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.

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