Archive for the ‘D.I.Y.’ Category

Making an Inspiration Board

No, not one with Polyvore or Picasa - those are for wimps! We’re talking a real, get your hands dirty (or at least, covered in rubber cement), paper-and-scissors inspiration board. Oh yeah.

This is great for two reasons:

1: If you’re a compulsive magazine hoarder like me, this gives you a chance to give them a second life. Aside from, you know, just flipping through them to read the articles from magazines three years ago.

2: GREAT way to get inspiration…of course. If you’re feeling blah, not sure where your style’s been going lately, etc., an inspiration board can totally help. Inspiration boards can be made for any reason, and one can be made for a specific style - “Retro 50’s” or “Fairy Tale”, for example, but I was definitely doing this as an exercise in seeing what colors, patterns, silhouettes, and such that I tend to be drawn to.

This is obviously not the only way to make one, but here’s what I did.

Go get your magazine hoard. I had super-cool mags like NYLON and BUST and Venus, which made it easier to find the off-the-wall things I like, but Cosmo or Vogue will work just as well! If you don’t have a magazine hoard, you can probably find someone who does, or you can ask places like the library to give you their old magazines. If you’ve got a cool local place that sells them, it could be totally fruitful to see what they do with the leftovers at the end of the month - at Eccentrix, they just end up sitting in the break-room with the covers ripped off. They’d probably be ok with giving some away, and that’s a fast way to get a few.

Flip through the magazines. Any time you see anything you like, whether in an advertisement, photoshoot, whatever, just rip the page out. Set all of the pages in one spot - I had a folder that I got from the $1 section at Target AGES ago and stuck ‘em all in there. If you have one lying around I highly recommend it, because otherwise the pages slide all hither and thither.

Once you’ve exhausted the magazine resource, go back through the pages. If you look at a page, and can’t remember what it was about the page that spoke to you, put it aside - you might be able to use it for another inspiration or mood board, but for the purposes of this board (which, like I said above, is kind of a “where is my style going”, “what am I drawn to” exercise), it won’t be of use. Cut out the item or part of the picture you were drawn to. While you’re at it, you might think about what your absolute favorite part is, it’ll come in handy later. For some items, if they take up most of the page, you might want to just clean up the page edge and leave the rest as is, because you probably won’t tons and tons of the posterboard showing. You can cut the item/person/thing of note closely around the edge, or leaving jagged edges, or just cut a rectangle around them - whatever floats your boat!

Once you’ve cut everything out, get your posterboard, glue/rubber cement, any paints or paintbrushes you might need, and your folder of images. Will probably look like this:

The loose magazine page is one that I ripped out right before I started and hadn’t trimmed yet. Note the tunes! Tunes are important, they will set the mood! So pick something you lurve.

Now spread out all of your images, and start sorting them into large images, medium sized images, and small images.

Start with the large images first, pick out your favorites and start laying them out on the board. You’ll run out of space faster than you’d think - be prepared to  pick and choose! Once you’ve decided on a layout, rubber cement those pieces down. Oh, and by the way, be prepared for it to take up a large amount of space:

That big empty space in the middle? That’s where I was! This is about three-quarters of the way through it.

Now sift through the medium pieces and do the same. This is where consciously thinking about what element of the photo/page you’re most drawn to comes in - you won’t want that element to be obscured. Last come the small pieces. Be prepared to end up end several layers in some spots - I think I had three or four in at least two places, and I actually ended up almost completely covering one photo because I decided I liked others better! I used the smaller pieces, including several roses I cut out from this month’s BUST issue (right before the Mother’s Day article), to break up the negative space left over between the large and medium pieces, and tie it together somewhat. Here’s the result:

Inspiration Board - zoomed out

Inspiration Board - zoomed out

Inspiration Board - detail shots

Inspiration Board - detail shots

Apologies for the not-so-great pictures - it’s really hard to take photos of a shiny object, as it turns out. For larger pictures, look here and here. And I really need to get a camera that doesn’t leave a timestamp on photos! Sigh. Anyways, it ended up a little warped because I left it on a shelf (with some overhang) before it was fully dry. Warning for those using rubber cement: it, apparently, takes FOREVER to dry! I finished this Friday evening around 6:30, left it sitting overnight, and put it on the shelf the next day at noon. Ten hours later it was warped. Lame. Also, for the other klutzes out there: How to Get Rubber Cement Out of Clothing.

Oh, and I have plenty of leftovers for the next time I want to do something like this:

Maybe I went a bit overboard with the page-tearing, hmm?

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Rave: Truly Victorian Patterns

The service from Truly Victorian patterns is amazing! I ordered TV 110 last weekend and shortly after ordering sent a message to Heather asking if she thought the underbust corselet patterns would work for what I want to use it for (mostly back support *glares at boobs*) and if she thought it’d work, if I could add it to my order. Well, I didn’t hear anything back so I figured she’d just been busy, and then Thursday I received my pattern in the mail. I opened the envelope, only to find BOTH patterns! Awesome! I would definitely not hesitate to buy from them again. I’ll let you know how the pattern works up but I have absolutely no worries about it since I’ve only ever heard good things.

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Your Wardrobe Unlock’d

So. I’ve been looking into making my own corsets, decided to just go ahead and do it - as I’m not finding modern bras very helpful to my back and certainly can’t afford to buy several corsets (I’m still planning on buying from Damsel in This Dress, which I meant to do a week or two ago and it slipped my mind, but I want to try making my own). I haven’t ordered any of the supplies just yet, but I did get the Truly Victorian corset pattern, as well as The Basics of Corset Building (and another Gogol Bordello CD and some books on badass women of the wild west. cough.) I am definitely looking forward to starting on these projects and in the meantime I stumbled on Your Wardrobe Unlock’d through the corsetmakers community on LJ. And there is a WEALTH of information on there. I got a one month subscription so I could see the article/lesson on drafting a Victorian corset to fit your measurements (which I haven’t even started yet, but it looks comprehensive from a quick skim through, and was recommended by several people on the LJ community). A quick look around the site reveals a wealth of information for anyone interested in costuming or period inspired garments - I was intending to cancel my subscription after a month but I think I’ll keep it, actually. I would definitely recommend it! I’m hoping to purchase the actual materials to make the corset as soon as I get a refund on a pair of shoes from eBay that didn’t fit. I am really excited about this project and will post updates with the progress once I get started!

In other news, I quit my job, but have several prospects lined up (and an interview that I’ll be heading to in a little less than an hour as well). Wish me luck!

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I got my Karmaloop order today! The purse is SO much cuter in person than in the pictures (which were kind of terrible, I got a little apprehensive after ordering it…). And the t-shirts fit great and are super-soft. mmm. the…scarf…thing on the gray one is a bit odd, but I figure if nothing else I can just pin it up and out of my way (maybe with my new vintage skeleton key stick pin!). Pictures will come later, my camera is dead at the moment, stupid batteries.

I also have some REALLY crummy effin’ news. I got a message yesterday from the eBay seller that I bought the Bronx boots from, saying that he had been out of town, got home, and his basement was flooded. ALL THE SHOES WERE RUINED. argh. Once the refund goes through, I think I’ll get these shoes instead, probably in black-on-black. I like the coffee color a lot but don’t think it’d much match anything I own (and I don’t like that the wedge is a different color than the rest), and the silver ones are cool but a bit…cyber-y. I wish the black ones had more of the Asian feel…the chocolate ones really remind me of Firefly and Serenity. Which is an awesome source of fashion inspiration for me.

Speaking of inspiration, I’ve spent the last several days looking at steampunk photos and I love it! Most of it, anyways, I’m not a fan of the whole beige and brown color scheme. I’ve just realized I have a love for Victorian inspired things (Moulin-Rouge style burlesque, gothic lolita, now steampunk…) but I especially love the mixing of random things like gears and etc. in. And skeleton keys. I’ve always had a thing for skeleton keys and now I’m itching to put them on everything. Well, not everything, but I could certainly do with a necklace, and I’ve also got a neat idea for a purse and a wrist-cuff sort of thing.

I’ve done a lot of DIYing the last week or two (and have more to come - several ideas in mind) and have a good photo of one:

That’s really the only picture out of the lot that turned out well, I’ve already posted pictures of the pink circle skirt, and I made a black and blue Moulin Rouge inspired skirt, but the pictures I have of it are rather crap so I’ll just post it when I get better pictures. I also trimmed up the petticoat so it’s not quite so long (and also more even - not sure how the hell that happened but I had one section that was like, 2″ longer than the rest).

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!

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Stencilling Tutorial

Yes, yes, I’m aware this is two days late…I’ve been a bit laid up with a head cold. But here it is now!

You’ll need an x-acto knife, freezer paper (you can purchase it at most grocery stores or butcher shops I think - it’s like normal paper on one side and has wax on the other), a piece of cardboard to put inside the shirt, fabric paint or screenprinting paint, and a brush (you can use the ones that are spongey on the ends, or the ones that are made of several stiff bristles in a circle shape - whatever floats your boat. I like the spongey ones myself).

First off, we’re going to start with a black and white image. Totally black and white, no shades of gray. You can use this method with most photos, but some level of detail will be lost (there are several tutorials online on how to make a stencil in photoshop, here’s one). I’m just using a simple nautical star, as you saw.

You’ll trace the image on to your freezer paper.

Then cut the image out with the x-acto knife.

Do this with all of the stencils you’re using today (if you’re using only one, congratulations, you’ve saved yourself some time, skip to the next step!).

Now put some cardboard in your shirt or item to be stencilled, so that it doesn’t bleed through to the other side. Take your stencils and trim them as needed if you’re trying to fit several in a tight spot, and then arrange them on the shirt or whatever in the way you like. If you ripped something while cutting, it’s not a big deal - just arrange it how it’s supposed to be. Then iron it, on the medium setting (or it’s the medium setting on my iron). The wax on the other side of the paper melts and stick to the fabric, which makes it a lot easier to prevent bleeding - one reason I much prefer this method over cardboard, even if cardboard is reusable.

Now you’ll put some fabric paint on a paper plate or whatever surface you’re using, and dab the brush in it. You don’t want to get too much paint on there, because that’ll make the stencilling uneven and make bleeding slightly more likely. Just do this until you get everything covered, trying to make it as even as possible.

(side note: this shirt wasn’t actually a very good example, the fabric has a slight ’slick’ texture that makes stencilling a little harder and bleeding a little more likely - as you may be able to tell. )

When you’re done, just pull the freezer paper off. It shouldn’t leave a residue or anything. Let the paint dry, then heat treat it by tossing it in the dryer or ironing it from the other side. This’ll help prevent fading.

Using this method, you can get REALLY detailed results. Here’s the best one I’ve ever done (on my uber-ponx vest, ages and ages ago)

Oh yeah. Mad skillz, I has ‘em. haha. Using this method you can even sometimes use ‘islands’ in your stencils, if you iron them down properly.

Anyways! I think that about covers everything. Questions? Comments? Rotten fruit?

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Daily Outfit 1/1/2009

What I wore to bring in the New Year…

no talking in the library!

no talking in the library!

The pencil skirt is from, $14.99 on clearance and about $20 with shipping, it arrived the 30th.  Although I was really confused because it came in an box with a Target sticker on the side - I didn’t see the sticker and was like “umm…I didn’t order anything from Amazon…what?!”. The shirt is the DIY’d button up from Old Navy. Stencilling tutorial coming tomorrow probably. That backpatch is from my very first Clash shirt ever. *sniff* It’s getting a bit ragged.

kind of funny since the only place I actually went was to the mall to hang out for, like, two hours with some of my friends. It was quite entertaining - I don’t go shopping much any more (offline at least), and after nearly two years of the crazy hair I don’t know if I’ve just become completely oblivious to the stares or if I just wasn’t paying attention, but Alicia found the amount of stares highly amusing. Apparently, while we were eating, a woman was walking by and stared the whole way, craning her neck eventually…about to turn a corner, she looked away from me, then paused, took a few steps back, and looked again. As if it was an optical illusion. Heh.

Also - I touched up my hair (which is a pity because the bottom had FINALLY faded to pink, sigh) and got it cut, in case you can’t tell. It’s not too different in the front but muccccch shorter in the back.

I’ve done a LOT of sewing the past couple of days, and pictures will definitely be up before the end of the weekend. In the meantime, to tide you over…

he doesnt quite understand sharp objects yet...

he doesn't quite understand "sharp objects" yet...

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so maybe…

I fibbed a little when I said regular posting would resume after Christmas. For sure after the New Year, though.

I’m touching up my hair right now, and my hands look like I strangled a smurf. As soon as the stain fades it’s inevitably time to touch it up again, sigh.

I saw a post a while ago at Style Discovery about using Picasa for fashion blogging purchases. I thought of it while reading a post at Fabulously Broke in the City entitled Assess Your Personal Style. One of the things she suggests is making an inspiration folder (which I already have, of course!), and then making a collage out of it - to see what you’re drawn to and like in clothing. Her’s had things like “dresses with belts”, “black and cream”, mine ended up just being a collage of the places I get inspiration from. Oh well.

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

you can click on it to go to a bigger image. What’s kind of sad is that I ended up being able to fit less than half of the pictures on it, hahaha.

I got some DIYing done today, here’s pictures of my new skirt:

I’m also planning on trying to fix another skirt (which turned out HIDEOUS - really bad!), and stencilling that shirt that I mentioned. I’ll probably take pictures of the process and have a tutorial for freeze-paper stencilling up…hopefully before the end of the week. But no promises.

Oh - and I got my new boots from Payless today, you can see them in the picture (along with the thrifted belt I mentioned a few posts ago). I was surprised at the speed of shipping, since est. arrival time was 5-7 business days (or maybe 7-10…don’t remember) from date of purchase. I bought these Christmas Eve and they got here today. Awesome! They are REALLY comfortable too. I’ll keep Payless in mind when looking for bargain shoes from here on out - I was worried they’d be really cheap looking or uncomfortable, but they fit great, they look great, they feel great. No worries at all!

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Petticoat/Circle Skirt Tutorial

Since I wrote it up for Craftster, I thought I’d post it here too :) This is a tutorial to make a petticoat (also called a crinoline) like I posted yesterday - one that can be worn as a skirt, as well as being worn under other items to give them poof and body. So I guess it could also be called a pettiskirt. Anyways, without further ado:

1. The first step is to construct the underskirt. I used satin, you can really use whatever you want as long as it’s opaque. Figure out how long you want it to be (I made mine a little above knee length) first, and then cut out the fabric. I used my favorite method for making a circle skirt which is this:

2. Since I was using satin, I immediately serged the edges, which if you have a serger and are using satin I HIGHLY recommend. That stuff frays like nobody’s business. Then, you’ll cut a piece of elastic a few inches shorter than your waist measurement, and a piece of fabric that’s about 2.5 times the width of your elastic, and several inches longer than your waist measurement!! This is important, because I was a ditz and made it only an inch or two longer than my waist measurement, and now it will only fit over my boobs if I’m not wearing a bra, and won’t go over my ass at all. Just sayin’. Keep it in mind. Then you’ll fold the fabric over, stitch along the edge, turn it inside out (or not - I just sewed wrong sides together since the bottom of the elastic is under the skirt anyways, so I saved myself a step), and put the elastic through it. It might take a while. I’ll wait.

3. Now, you’ll pin and sew the long tube you just made to your circle skirt and stitch! I just left the hem of the skirt serged and didn’t officially hem it because a. I am lazy and b. it’s under a freakin’ pound of tulle anyways, so nobody knows but me.

4. Here comes the fun part. THE TULLE. Woo-hoo. Okay, you’ll cut out two pieces of tulle TWICE as long as your waist measurement and several inches long (depends on how many tiers you want to do - I did three tiers, so I my top two tiers were 7″ long and the bottom was 8.5″, as you saw, this resulted in a skirt a little longer than knee length). There can be several variations from what I did at this step - if you’d like, you could do three times your waist length for a really poofy tullemonster. Or sandwich in a layer of lace betwen the two layers of tulle for some added fanciness and opacity, or just do another layer of tulle. And of course it’s possible to vary the length of the tier. At any rate, now it’s time to run it through the sewing machine on a basting stitch - I used a 4mm stitch. Leave longggg trails of thread at the end. Now go look at one of those ends, and tug on each of the threads. One of the threads should start gathering the fabric when you tug on it. Tug and tug and tug some more, even out the gathering as you go, until the gathered edge of the tulle is as long as your waist measurement. Set this aside for now, someplace where the damn cat won’t get ahold of it and break the threads, undoing your hard work. Luckily for me, he only got the last four inches or so.

ALTERNATELY: If you are a lucky lucky person who owns a ruffler foot and knows how to use it, just fiddle around with the settings until you get a setting that gathers to the needed amount (i.e., can take a 10″ strip of fabric and turn it into a 5″ strip of ruffled fabric). Or you can do as I did, which involved having trouble with the ruffler foot, swearing loudly at the sewing machine, and grumpily resigning yourself to hand-gathering. Whatever works.

5. Now, take the length of the last piece of tulle that was cut cut, pre-gathering, and double that (we’ll call the resulting measurement x). Cut out two 7″ by x” pieces of tulle, and do the basting stitch along one edge again. Now, you’ll gather it to the original length of the first piece of tulle. This would probably be a good time to put on some Buffy or something, because it could take a while. Once you get done gathering it, pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the first tier.

6. This time, you’ll take the length of the second tier pre-gathering and double it (measurement x). Cut out two pieces of tulle that are 8.5″ by x”, and baste one edge. Gather it until the gathered edge is the same length as the pre-gather length of the second tier (this will take a WHILE - I reiterate my suggestion to put a dvd on or something), and pin it and sew it to the bottom layer of the second tier. Confused? Hopefully this will help:

Now you’ve got a nearly constructed skirt - all you have to do is sew up the side of all three tiers, and then pin the top gathered edge to the foundation skirt you made, right under the waistband. Sew that all up, and then bam! Put on your petticoat and twirl around!

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first off, the dress! which is darker in real life but shows up VERY aqua with flash, go figure.

as you can see, it kind of wants to bunch a bit in the back. I think some double sided tape will be in order on the big day.

here’s the crinoline (pettiskirt?):

ps- I do not recommend twirling in heels. those are relatively small heels and I almost fell over when I tried to walk straight.

and the Day of the Dead skirt I finished tonight!

with the petticoat underneath. It was kind of funny because both the petticoat and the day of the dead skirt, I kept thinking, oh my god, I wasted all that time, these look TERRIBLE! (with the sugar skull skirt, I kept thinking I looked like a kindergarten teacher, hah) and then I looked at the pictures and I was like - hey! that’s exactly what I wanted it to look like! sweet! This is one reason we need to get a full length mirror. I wonder if that ever happens to other crafters? Probably not ones who have mirrors!

and now for some gratuitous cute! (yes, again. this may well become a regular feature haha.)

I’m about to hunker down myself for the night. The weather is nastaaaaay out there (looks like there’s already an inch of ice on the roads) and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 23 degrees. LAME. It’s not supposed to get above freezing until Thursday, and then it’s supposed to rain all day. At any rate, let’s just hope we don’t lose electricity for several days like has happened to a lot of people the last two years with the ice storms. The one we got two years ago when I was still living with my parents, we were out for four days! yuck! But yes, hunkering is about to commence. Hope everyone elses’ weather is better than mine!

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Swap item and a fascinator!

I was going to do a daily outfit post, but uh, around the middle of the day I started feeling icky and pretty much just spent most of today in a tank top and my underwear hahaha. So! I am going to post about what I did for my PRD swap partner, as her package is waiting at home for her (I think she’s out for a few days. or something. at any rate, she hasn’t PMed me saying what she thought yet, and it is making me twitchy.) and I’m 99% sure she doesn’t read this blog anyways.

She likes pink and black, and the Clash as well as Joe Strummer (a lady of taste!), so here’s what I did:

The image is stencilled (I think I might do a stencilling tutorial…hm) and the rest is freehanded. I was going to make her a roll-up soft case for her knitting needles, but I didn’t have enough fabric for what I intended to do, so I wrapped it in what I did have, so she can do something with it.

My productivity for the day was this:

not a very good picture, but the best not-a-close-up I could get. Here’s a close up:

that shows the color a lot better. And here is one of me wearing it. Note my absolute failure at de-purplefying and re-pinkifying my hair. le sigh. also the cigarette smoke from Matt, my photographer.

The fascinator took a LOT longer than I thought. That fabric rosette? was a bitch and a half. I tried using the gathering foot on my Rocketeer and I’ve never had a problem with it before, but it would just. not. work. I’m not sure it was meant to be used with two layers of material (which kind of sucks because I had been contemplating biting the bullet and just making a crinoline/crinoline-esque skirt, but I’ll be DAMNED if I am gathering that much tulle by hand!). So I basted it by hand and gathered it that way (and about halfway through realized I could have just basted on the sewing machine…), and then kind of randomly tacked down bits of fabric to make it look a little more flowery and a little less tubular. The rosette took the longest time out of all the components, but jeez, I’d say I probably spend between two and three hours on it. Lots of hand-sewing. I’ll be wearing it tomorrow so you can expect more pictures then!

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