For each tutorial I publish, I add our ‘Upload a Photo‘ link so that readers like you can post the results. It helps me to know if a tutorial works, and offers first-person experience for the next reader who tries the instructions.
To the reader, apparently this translates to, ‘I CHALLENGE THEE TO A DUEL’. It’s like I took off my glove and slapped ya across the face with it. You guys are always outdoing me! I feel like you didn’t even want a pop tab bracelet last summer. You just wanted to blow me out of the water.
Well, ya got me again. After following my simple hooded cape tutorial, DIY Fashion reader Ash decided to put me in my place by making her cape reversible. This is another one of those moments when I look at your submissions and go ‘Doh! Why didn’t I think of that!’. Yes, behold, a reversible, shimmering, huge-hooded cape:
Then look at my brown one.
Yeah. If you reverse it… you get more brown! Ash really handed my ass to me on this one. Nice work!
Fashion sketching is not only a great way to carry a concept from paper to runway, but it’s also fun for brainstorming. If you are interested in pursuing fashion design, it is important to keep sketching. Sketch meat dresses and Star Trek uniforms… sketching all kinds of fashion will help to keep your creative mind sharp.
Crochet? I love crochet! Croquet? They play that with flamingos on Alice in Wonderland, right? Nah, croquis are yet another word that is not ‘croissant’. Sadly, not everything can be a croissant. In my article on About.com, learn how to use these pre-made models to get right to fashion sketching without having to draw hands (agh, they’re the worst!)
Which tools work best for sketching your styles? Colored pencils can give a lot of detail, but sometimes lack to get bold ideas across. Let’s take a look at the advantages/disadvantages of various mediums.
Fashion flats are a lot like the technical drawings that you’ll see on sewing patterns. They give a lot of insight as to where seams and notions are placed to make a garment work right. Not the most flashy corner of the fashion world, but necessary if you want your pants to stay up.
Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto the wall may sounds like a redundant exercise, but this is actually a great way to collaborate your ideas with others, and just give your inspirations time to breathe and morph. Plus, if your designs are out on the wall, it makes you accountable for finishing that project when your buddy asks about it two weeks later.
Above is an example of taking a design concept from paper all the way to the finished costume. You can see a few changes made along the way, but the sketch and notes indicate the fall of the fabric, colors, and tone of the design. Don’t be afraid to mess up that notebook.
See the full article on About.com for all of my tips on how to sketch your own designs. I hope that my tips give you a bit of inspiration and the courage to just jump right in and start creating. Not every design is a winner, but they all contribute to the development of your skills!
During my six year contract for About.com, I’ve thoroughly explored the world of turning t-shirts into other forms of fashion. Since the jersey material is so easy to manipulate, and t-shirts are so plentiful, they make for a popular muse.
Here are my 10 Upcycled T-Shirt Tutorials:
1. Above: My original design, the Trident Braided Racerback is a project for the experienced t-shirt refashionista. You’ll use a looping technique that actually braids and strengthens the straps.
2. Above: This upcycled tube top can be used both as a skirt or a top. This is a great project for t-shirts that have large print, like this Hogwarts t-shirt that was three sizes too big for my sister.
6. Above: This long skirt makes it possible to keep a large logo on a t-shirt skirt without it being right up by your waist. In this topsy-turvy design, the logo ends up on the bottom, along with the t-shirt collar, so the design hints back at it’s t-shirt roots.
7. Above: An old tank top, or one that is stained beyond repair, can make a quick and handy grocery bag.I used two tank tops on this design to create a durable tote that can hold a lot of weight.
10. Above: If you are a t-shirt collector, or know one who is on your gift list this year, a t-shirt quilt is the perfect sentiment. You can save vacation or team memories for a lifetime, cuddling up with Margaritaville in front of the TV every night.
Back in 2008, wrote an article for About.com on the basics of tie dying. Six years later, all three of my kids have not only learned how to tie dye- they have dyed everything from socks to scarves. I’d say we milked this craft for all it’s worth.
Still, I’m willing to bet that I haven’t seen the last of my tie-dying days. I’ve got far too many hippie friends to keep my hands out of the dye for long.
Here is a collection of my many articles on how to tie dye:
DIY Tie Dye: This article tells you how to properly prepare clothing before dying, includes several tying techniques, and instructs on what type of dye to use.
I was recently challenged to create a killer glitter phone case tutorial for About.com. But what is there to a glitter phone case tutorial? Add glitter to glue, then apply to phone case. Let dry. Not exactly the most informative or exciting read. Instead, I added a decoupage element to my case that adds this season’s hottest Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Pierre Hardy patterns to my phone case.. without the designer price tag.
The phone case was my blank canvas, so right away, I set out on an inspirational hunt through Vogue. I cycled through what I call The Three Stages of Vogue Readership, and came out the other side with lots of inspiration.
There are more than a few glitter-glue tutorials online, but I have to disagree with most of them. They are always carting out a big ol’ bowl of glitter that poses nicely for photos, but isn’t very practical. We’re only painting a phone case, here, so I don’t need a lot of glitter-glue. Put a dollap on a tupperware lid next to a nearly-equal pile of glitter.
I even used just a blob of glue, then mixed white glitter into one side of the blob, and my other glitter colors into the other sides of the blob. Stop wasting glitter, internet!
Apply the glitter-glue to the phone case, starting with light colors first.
Working with the lightest colors first will make mistakes much easier to fix.
Here is what the dried first layer will look like:
Not quite solid coverage, so we’ll hit it with another coat:
The second coat is more about filling gaps. Use a stiff brush to push the grainy glitter mix in there like you’re filling holes in concrete. I’ve never done that before, but this is how I picture it. Don’t let this layer dry before applying your magazine cut-outs.
Now that my ‘beach’ is in place, I can start adding my magazine cut-outs. I put a bit more glue on the spots where I was going to place my pieces, because the glitter-glue was still bumpy. I also swiped the back of each cut-out with glue. Push these into the wet glitter-glue a bit to sink them in.
Let this dry completely, then come back and add a coat of decoupage glue to the tops of your cut-outs, and about 1/8″ away from them. The goal here is to create a seal around each piece. Let dry, then add a second coat. If you’re particularly rough on your phone cases, come on back for round three. Let dry at least two days before you use your phone case.
High above the street, on the 3rd floor of the M & J Trimming flagship store, designer Michelle Levy was revealing the next Project DIY set to me. My eyes lit up with instant inspiration, and Michelle and I were soon excitedly swapping design ideas.
It was Fashion Week in New York City, so my brain was already spinning with inspiration by the time my mother and I had ducked into the 6th avenue store. Inside, things had only gotten worse for me. From ceiling to floor, M & J Trimming was a mecca of all things craft. Picture the New York Pubic Library, with books towering above in all directions, tucked away in every available space. Now, turn all of the books into feathers, buttons, beads, lace, and fabric. That’s the M & J Trimming store in Manhattan.
So, after being hit in the face with Fashion Week and the cavernous possibilities downstairs, I was ready to word-barf all of my ideas in the studio room with Michelle. She showed me a mock-up with a blank acrylic plate and all of the jewels included to decorate it:
By the time I had left the studio, I had so many ideas for my own Cold as Ice statement necklace. But, not every week can be as magical as Fashion Week. Back home, I had ten more projects to complete, and then our car met it’s demise via a patch of ice on the road. I was not looking forward to participating in anything named ‘Cold as Ice’.
When I finally opened my Project DIY Cold as Ice box, all of that inspiration came flooding back… and all I could think was spring. Check out how I turned my winter misfortune into a spring rejuvenation with the Cold as Ice project:
If there is anything that I love about crafting fashion, it is the way that it brings people together. Recently, I bumped into Kirsten Nunez in the virtual cocktail party that is Twitter. Like all great conversations, we started out by complimenting each other on our stuff. She’s a DIY Fashion maven like myself, so it’s only natural that we start pointing at each other.
Kirsten asked me to do a feature tutorial on her blog, Studs and Pearls, with a twist; an accessory that took only 5 steps to complete and followed a floral theme.
I ended up brainstorming a brooch that embodied the way I feel in New York City; a little lost and obviously from out-of-town, but definitely fabulous.
Tonight on the Oscars, a beautiful tribute to The Wizard of Oz reminded me that movie magic can inspire in audiences of all ages.
And Whoopie’s high-heeled salute to Dorothy’s ruby slippers reminded me that wearing a piece of the action can bring the silver screen adventure to life. When you make a pair of ruby slippers, you’ve got a piece of movie inspiration to take with you. Dorothy needed confidence, tenacity, and faith to get through Oz, and sometimes a day at the office needs some of the spirit of Dorothy Gale to back you up.
These incredibly weird shoes made their debut on the Celine runway last fall, and are sure to inspire some of the looks we’ll be seeing in stores this spring. In my heart of hearts, I wish that I could give you some kind of excellent tutorial on how to make these for yourself… but any advice I give you would fall as flat as a Pinterest cake recipe.
Okay, maybe I could make the following pair by screwing a draw pull into the toe of a shoe, but it would take a bit of special engineering to make it look right:
After a short bit of brainstorming on Twitter yesterday with @diycouture, I came up with a possibility to substituting the heels of these shoes with a ball, or other small object:
This is a sketch I quickly drew up and snapped a photo of, so sorry for the quality. I’m thinking that the object you use to make the substitute heel would have to be smaller than the height of the heel. Otherwise, It would have to be the exact size. Too large, and the heel will tilt forward. But a smaller object could be paired with a number of spacers.
I think that maybe you could use flat wooden beads sandwiched with cut pieces of stiff felt to build up the rest of the height until you’ve got the right size of heel.
I couldn’t wear all of that gold, so I creatd a tarnished look using…
I’ve admittedly been painting a lot with nail polish lately, but this time, it was all about creating a very specific look. The nail polish colors in purple and brown really helped to dull down the gleaming gold. Check out my other designs compared to the originals:
Suggested look from Project DIY:
There were so many cool details on the metal pieces provided that were just lost by the flat gold look. Adding nail polish really helped to make all of those filigree details stand out.
To tarnish your jewelry, first apply nail polish with a small paintbrush. The brush included in the bottle may be too large and clumsy for this kind of work. Use a tissue to wipe the excess polish off of the surface of the metal, leaving polish in all of the nooks and crannies.
Suggested look from Project DIY:
Let your faux tarnish dry completely, then use a toothpick to rub off any spots that you want the gold to shine through.