DIY Trompe L’oeil Sequin Bag Sweater

From time to time I get “how do I DIY this…?” questions from my readers, and I’m always glad to help out!  Though I may not be able to actually make the item in question (due to time or materials constraints), hopefully I can at least offer up some advice to put you on the right path to making it yourself.  I received this question on one of my posts from last week:

I have a request, since you are the best of the best, could you maybe make one of these?

Well I don’t know about the best of the best <*blushes*> but I do know how to translate high-priced into DIY-able!!  And for $518, that Marcus Lupfer sweater is just begging for it!!;-)

The absolute easiest way to DIY this?  Find a sequined handbag and sew it onto your sweater.  Seriously!  This would give you a working purse attached to your clothing – how neat.  Also, since it’s after the holiday season, many sequined evening bags are on sale.  Ebay is also a great source for the sequined, vintage-style pouches that this one looks like.

If you don’t want to literally sew a bag onto your sweater…when it comes to sequined and beaded stuff, there often isn’t a way to do-it-yourself with sequins…unless you want to sew all those little sequins on yourself.  (I did this for a top I wanted to DIY, and it took forever.)  The results are indistinguishable from the original because of the handiwork, but I think it’s a contradiction of the idea of quick-and-easy DIY.

So to DIY this relatively quickly, but still as faithfully as possible to the original, you’ll have to compromise a bit.  There’s still a lot of hand-sewing involved…and you potentially could stick a lot of this on using Jewel It! Embellishing Glue…but I’d really recommend sewing as much of it as you possibly can, unless you want stuff peeling off your sweater as your wearing it.  Also, because of all the beaded and sequin trims involved, collecting all the materials for this could get pretty expensive.  Here’s my list of recommended materials and how to:

 

Materials:

*gray sweater

*2 black tassels

*1 short plastic-tooth black zipper

*stretchy sequin trim in black, silver, and purple (I’ve used this before in my Sequin Bow Belt Tutorial)

*lightweight gold curb chain

*silver beaded trim (I think this trim from M&J Trimming is a pretty good match!)

*pre-strung silver bugle beads (not the kind loose in the bag; to save you some trouble)

*black acrylic paint

How-To:

1. Use marking chalk to sketch out the size and shape of your bag on the sweater, and mark where the zipper would go.

2. Hand-sew the silver beaded trim from the top of the bag diagonally towards the shoulder, and also on the other side of the bag under the arm.

3. Hand-sew the silver sequin trim to the area below where the zipper will be.  Cut short strips and place them vertically, slightly overlapping.

4. Use the acrylic paint to color in some of the sequins in a quilting pattern.  Allow to dry.

5. Take strips of the black and the purple sequin trim and weave them together (like a basket-weave) to make an interlocking diamond pattern.  Hand-stitch at the overlapping areas to secure.

6. Hand-stitch this interlocked rectangle to the top part of the bag area on the sweater.

7. Cut the top of the zipper accordingly, and hand-stitch the shortened zipper to the sweater, covering up the edges of both areas of sequins.

8. Attach a tassel to each end of the gold chain, cut the chain in half, and-stitch to one side of the bag.

9. Hand-stitch strings of bugle beads in-between the colors in the top part of the bag.


If anybody else out there has a “How do I DIY…?” let me know in the comments, or ask away on Formspring.me! (leave the URL of the inspiration piece, please!)

Ask “How do I DIY…?” on Formspring.me

Thanks for your question – hope that helped!
xoxox
Carly

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Formspring.me Q&A Marathon: How Do I Make…This??

So I’ve received a lot of questions in my Formspring.me account asking “How do I make this? with a link to a photo.  Here are my quick analyses of the hotw-tos (and please everyone, chime in in the comments if you’re struck with another way to make these items!):

Hi! How do you sew something like this: http://lookbook.nu/look/392753-i-miss-summer or this? http://lookbook.nu/look/908247-Deserts-eating-Oceans

I see lace dresses are on your mind!

The first one doesn’t even look like it is a dress – the edges look completely unsewn and it appears like the person wearing it just added a belt and let the edges flap in the wind.;-)  You could possibly re-create this garment with a piece of lace about a yard or so wide, and literally cut a hole in the center for your neck – and wear half the fabric in the front and half in the back!!  (If it were me, I would allow the sleeves to drape to about the waist, and then sew the skirt part since I wouldn’t be comfortable walking around in a dress that’s kind of like an open toga at the sides…)

The second dress is just a typical tank-style dress; it’s very hard to see the detail on it but it looks like the top has crochet edging along the armscyes and bust; it’s fully lined; and the bottom appears to be gathered tiers of lace.  There may even be little lace rosettes dotted on the bottom tiers but it’s a little hard to tell.  SecretLifeofaBioNerd shared a video on Threadbanger on how to make a sweet lace dress; simply adopt her method for making the skirt (but add a couple more tiers instead of just the one she has), hand-sew the rosettes on there if you like (sourced from the bridal area of your local fabric/notions store), cut and sew a tanktop-style top, and add a crochet applique to the neck area.  Speaking of crochet…


How do you sew this? http://www.easybizchina.com/picture/product/201008/white-cotton-tank-top-with-hand-crochet-507095.JPG Is there a way of cutting the crochet part without it unravelling? Someone told me that if I cut rib knit, it frays, is that true?

Are you trying to re-create this from scratch or are you trying to alter the piece that you have?  If you’re trying to make this from scratch, you will either have to crochet the top embellishment yourself, rip it off of a dress or shirt that already exists, or buy a bridal or crochet applique from the fabric store to use for your piece.  I’ve never seen crochet embellishment like that come on a roll like fabric does; I don’t think you can just go to the fabric store and get a yard of it cut for you to use.  The crochet embellishment would have been made-to-order by the manufacturer’s and even if you can find a big piece; cutting it down to fit the size of your top would just cause the whole thing to unravel (unless you really know what you are doing and snip certain threads and tie them off together etc. as you go…you can certainly try but something like that poses a problem even for experienced crocheters and knitters, so I wouldn’t really recommend it if you can avoid it at all).

Rib knit is an entirely different thing than this crochet piece…if you’re talking about your standard cotton or spandex interlock rib-knit, then it will only fray to the extend that cotton or spandex knit fabric does.  Repeated stretching will cause it to fray more.  In using rib knit, as with any knit, you need to overlock the raw edges to prevent fray and wear and tear.  You can cut it no problem but it will have to be finished if you’re planning on using it in something wearable (especially if that something is washable too!)  But it doesn’t really unravel like crochet or a knitted sweater…unless you find a loose weft thread and yank on it…

If you’re trying to alter this piece that you already have, again, don’t cut the crochet part if you want to retain it at all; just sew on top of it/through it.  (You can add darts or gathers to take up the extra fabric to alter it smaller…to make it bigger I don’t think it’s possible without cutting the crochet, which will have you running into the previous problem.


Hey could you do a tutorial on how to make this kind of structure? http://store.americanapparel.eu/rsatd300.html?cid=139

Ohmygoodness.  Okay, that piece is a huge amount of work.  Not to say that it can’t be done, but if you can buy off-the-rack from American Apparel (still available here BTW!), it will probably be cheaper than all your time and effort going into it.  But if you really want to make a top like that…

Find a rose-embellished mesh fabric and make a basic shirt out of it!!  High-end fabric stores and stores that cater to designers may have exactly this type of fabric, which you can buy in however many yards you need, and then make your shirt out of it.  I did find it online here, but the price is not listed so you’d have to call the company to find out more…and even if you can’t find the fabric as yardage you might be able to re-appropriate something.

I saw this photo on Cruel*Thing of a DIY rose-embellished skirt…made from a pillowcase!  Which is a fabulous idea made even more fabulous by the beautiful pillowcase Diana used.  Bravo!

Do an Ebay search and there’s usually some similar pillowcases available, which you can cut up and use for your shirt.

And if you really want to make every single one of those fabric roses yourself…There’s a great tutorial on Cut Out + Keep, submitted by one of my fave DIY’ers Stacie G. from Stars for Streetlights on making a Fendi-style rose dress, which you can adapt for making a shirt like this.  The shirt you want to make uses flat chiffon cording to make those roses – if you check out the trims section of your local fabric store, you can probably find this similar flat trim.

Good luck!

xoxox

Carly

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Clip-In Hair Extensions from Japan: Formspring.me Question

Priscilla-brand Clip-In Curly Wigpiece

from Formspring.me:

Hi there, I have been reading your blog for a while now and quick question. I don’t read or speak Japanese but think I might like a clip in ‘curly’ extension if it is indeed curly. Checked site mentioned but very lost. Any ideas for my language barrier?

Did you know you can access Rakuten.com in English? (If that’s the site you were referring to…) Or try reading the site through Google Translate? (http://translate.google.com/)

However the wig pieces appear in the photos is how they look straight out of the package; there usually isn’t any false advertising when it comes to stuff from Japan (probably because consumers won’t tolerate it!). I personally love the Priscilla brand because I find it’s high-quality, usually heat-tolerant, and I found one of their colors is a perfect match for my natural color. If you’re looking for the clip-in curly extensions, they’re called “Eriashi Wig” (エリ足ウィッグ) or “Mecha Raku Ekusute” (めちゃ楽エクステ) but I don’t see any available that are reaaaallly curly, so I’m not sure just how curly you’re looking for.  Wigland (http://www.rakuten.co.jp/wigland/) is my fave one-stop shop for all my hair-pieces; maybe you could browse around in there to see if you see anything you like? (English interface: http://search.borderless.rakuten.com/borderless/search.action?l=en&sid=wigland&tl=0&p=1&vm=2&f=0&sm=0&k=&fs=1)

Good luck!
xoxox
Carly

Ask me anything

Where's My Red Hair From?

from Formspring.me:
Hi Carly! I just found your blog yesterday and I loved it so much I have been going through all your old posts! (Is that creepy? haha) This may seem a bit strange, but I was wondering if you are Irish. I LOVE your red hair!
The Internet is probably the best place for creepiness! Thanks for your kind words about my blog:-)
I am ethnically Scottish/Danish/Norwegian/Czechoslovakian. (“Cais” is a Czech name.) But both my parents are Australians and I was born in the U.S., so I was originally American/Australian… Well, technically American now since I dropped the Australian nationality off my passport (I have only visited there a couple times and though all my relatives are there, I really just identify as American).
The red hair probably comes from the Scottish and the Czech sides of my family; apparently I have a second cousin in the Czech Republic who has hair the exact same color as mine. It’s tough to keep vibrant during the winter – and as the years go by!! :..(

Formspring.me Question: Do I Want to Try Out for a Reality Show?

 Img source

From formspring.me:

I love how creative and innovative you are with your designs.  Have you ever thought of applying to any of the reality shows such as “Project Runway”, “Launch My Line” or “Fashion By Design”?

Thank you! Reality shows; ah, yes. I’ve been watching Project Runway avidly since Season 1, when I was living in Philadelphia, just about to move to Hawaii. I figured it would be pointless to try out for Season 2 since I was just about to move. Then I moved to Hawaii, far, far away from any audition area, no $$ to travel to one. Then I got pregnant and had my son. And became a stay-at-home mom. And finally moved back to the mainland, where I am now closer to an audition area (and have more money to potentially make the trip). But the other question in my mind was if I was ready or not.

“Making it” on a reality show has little to do with making it in the real world. I’m not sure my design skills or sewing abilities are up to par to being tested in grueling, 2-day challenges. Just because you are successful on the show does not mean you can translate those skills into the actual work that occurs over a period of weeks, if not months, into planning and executing a collection. (I know I don’t instinctively work creatively in short, 2-day intensives.) I’m also not sure I’m enough of a “personality” to win over the hearts of TV audiences everywhere, and many, many contestants on those shows have practically shot themselves in the foot by appearing on TV and being less-than-popular. Many have been vilified, finding their reputation tarnished, mocked by the Internet, and written off by the fashion industry. Plus, I know I’m not particularly “fashion-forward.” I’m not interested in NEXT, I’m interested in NOW. I want to take trends and distill them, translating them for a budget market, utilizing more ecological and sustainable methods of manufacture. Those shows seem to be searching for “The Next Big Fashion Designer” and I’m more retroactive and probably more interested in accessories than clothing. I’ve also watched as Project Runway and The Fashion Show have declined, losing production values (well, maybe not TFS, which has gotten campier), and becoming less about the design ability of the contestants and more about the judges’ egos in recent seasons. But of course the egotistical side of me still wants to try out!

I have to admit I’ve never heard of “Fashion By Design.” What is it?