Sunday, June 26, 2011

mini-project: scrapbuster!

A few days ago I was forced to clean my room. Horrible, I know. But in the midst of cleaning I realized just how many fabric scraps I have floating around that I utterly refuse to get rid of because they're pretty, yet I don't know what to do with them. After I was done cleaning I messed my room up again by reading a magazine and leaving it precariously balanced on a shelf where it knocked over some origami get the picture.
But the magazine, silly as it was, had given me an idea.
Bow clips.
If you are a girly-girl like me these are the equivalent of gumdrops--sweet, unique and fun to put on gingerbread houses (well, maybe not). If you're a hipster wear them ironically. If you're punk use skull print. And if you're a hardcore nerd use them to decorate your pocket protecter. The uses for the amazing bow barrette are endless--like a plain barrette, only better. 
Some examples below:
All via Forever 21--so cheap it probably costs more to DIY, yet a rabid 12 year old grabbed the last set so I had no choice. ;)

And now some more pricey options just so I have bragging rights:

This little Chanel beauty will set you back $460. And yes, it's a hairclip. I don't even want to imagine what the shoes must cost. 

So you get the idea, right? Onward!

Stuff you'll need:
-bobby pins or clips
-little scraps of fabric long enough to tie in a bow
-hot glue gun

That's it! This project takes about 5 seconds, I promise.

1. Tie little scraps of fabric in a bow. If it's not long enough, tie in a knot and fold the ends under. Hot-glue ends to knot (this creates a prettier bow).
2. Hot-glue bows to bobby pins.
3. Wear. Say "In your face Chanel! I just saved $460!"
4. Say to parents "I just saved $460 by being crafty. Can I have that laptop now?" If it doesn't work, don't blame me.

These look too delicious for words except for the fact that I hate marshmallows.
Sorry....distracting desserts.....

Please do not wear all of your happy clips at the same time. They get jealous of each other. I only did this so I didn't have to take three photos :P

sidenote: I just discovered this nifty thing called labels. I'm going to use it from now on. I feel like everybody but me knows what it does but hey, can't hurt right? Unless it helps creepers find my personal info. That would be bad. It probably doesn't, though. I don't know any creepers that like hot glue guns.

That my friends is a scary peek inside my mind.

<3 Maggie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(re)design your summer: lady in lace

What's up? Long time no post! Sorry about that. I wish I could say I was doing something important (ya know, off in some glamorous place like Costa Rica or New York....) but sadly not. I did see the ACJ sandwich. We had big fun. I also managed to spend about $50 on yarn.

I have an announcement to make (I'm not pregnant). This whole (re)design your summer thing--it's turning into an all-summer thing. I'm really confused about the week (when did it start? When should it end?). So a month or a couple is easier to do :)

I do have a project for y'all, though. I wasn't being totally unproductive!
If you're like me you have a couple pairs of sad, forgotten Converse at the back of your closet. The plain ones you had to buy when your shoes literally fell off your feet or you were doing something like wading through quicksand but you showed up in high heels....know what I'm talking about? No? Moving on. If you're also like me, you forgot you already had Converse and bought more. Now you have an army of solid covered Converse that is taking over your dreams and screaming "WASTEFULNESS!" in your face when you're trying to get some sleep. Long story short, here's how to spice up some plain canvas sneakers to give them a delicate, feminine touch!

Stuff You'll Need
-canvas sneakers (drugstores sell them for like $7 if you don't have would kinda defeat the eco-purpose but I understand. This redo is cute)
-a yard of lace trim--I got mine at Joann's when I was on my yarn spree
-hot glue gun
-Shoelaces that aren't a gross used shoe shade of grayish white like mine are. White lace only serves to highlight the dirtiness of your shoelaces, I've discovered.
That's it! Lets get this party started. I'm in a cheesy mood today, I know.

1. Unlace your shoes. Put laces off to the side where they can't mangle your glue-gun cord.
2. If you are of the perfectionist genre, you can pin your lace trim to the shoe tongue and get a more accurate piece that way, if you are impatient like me: hold the trim to the tongue as best you can and cut around the edges so you generally have enough lace to cover it. Bigger is better. Don't worry about your edges: you can glue them to the bottom side of the tongue if they're jagged.
3. Glue your big rectangle of lace to the shoe tongue. You will need something besides your fingers to prod the lace into position/squish it into the glue as hot glue seeps through the holes and burns your fingers.

 4. Next, take your lace and lay it on the side of your shoe. Cut a piece to match the piece of canvas, all the way to the back strip and right below the stitching. I'm not going to cover the shoelace holes because it would be too difficult to cut around them. Glue your strip down.

5.  Repeat on the other side and cut a piece of trim for the back strip. Glue down. Repeat steps 1-4 on other shoe.
6. Find a good pair of laces or improvise (what do you guys think of the twine? I'm not crazy about it....magenta or coral ribbon might be better. Comments are welcome!)
7. Admire. Wear. Feel that much fancier because you're wearing lace. But don't try to lunch with society ladies. They will eat you and your homemade shoes alive.

Another option for this project would be to use black or colored lace! Mesh! The possibilities are endless....
<3 Maggie

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day! (and a redesign project)

I just want to take this moment to shamelessly praise my wonderful dad. He's always been there for me from toddler to now, with a kind word or funny song when I need it! I always enjoy art classes with him and going to the local farmer's market on Sundays. He's put on a patient face at the arsenal of confusing (for guys) cleansers, moisturizers, toners, shampoos, sprays, and cosmetics I employ and the weird outfits I tend to wear. He has no idea how much he means to me.
I love you, Dad. Thanks for being the best!

Now, following with the dad-lovefest, why don't we take this moment to steal all his musty old spare buttons?
You know the type. The ones your grandma hoarded, or spare ones that came with your new shirt, or ones that you have absolutely no idea how they landed on your desk but they're cluttering it up and your OCD is going insane (anybody else like that? No? Then it's just me.). Now I have a project for you to use up all those pesky madness-inducing spare buttons!
The button bracelet.
Found in the crafts stalls of farmers markets or chic vintage stores, I've always been obsessed with the eclectic button bracelet. It adds a vintage, chic edge to any outfit which I always love  (then again I have a love of all things vintage), and it's way easy to make!

Stuff you'll need:

-Old buttons--a range of sizes and colors for interest
-elastic bracelet cord, the kind that comes in bead kits is fine

That's it! Let's get started.

1. Arrange your buttons beforehand in the order you want them to appear on your bracelet so you don't go scrambling all over for buttons. Try to vary the sizes and colors for a more carefree look.
 2. Cut a piece of clear elastic long enough to wrap around your wrist twice. Tie a knot at the end and begin weaving the other end through the buttonholes, alternating between the two top ones and two bottom ones.
 4. When you've reached the end of your buttons, try on! Make any adjustments (more buttons, less buttons) and then triple-knot the ends together to secure. Cut off any loose ends and wear!

5. Prance your chic little self around town. Show off your new bracelet.
<3 Maggie

Friday, June 17, 2011

calling all francophiles

Well, I am true to my word. I did post today.
But my tutorial is coming tomorrow. Because I attempted to sew and my sewing machine is made of pure evil. It ate my bobbin, guys. And then refused to work. True, I am inept with sewing machines. But still.
So, because I am an ambitious person who wanted to do something besides t-shirts, I'm currently sewing a skirt by hand. This skirt will not be machine washable unless you have a working machine, in which case I envy you greatly. 
Moving on.
I don't know why but I'm obsessed with French style right now. The black and white stripes, pleated midi skirts, pops of red and all around effortless chicness are really inspiring. (Paris, here I come!). Here are some inspiration photos--been a while since we had a good drool session.

via What I

Pleated skirts will never go out of style, and they're so soft and romantic! I'm officially obsessed.

via What I Wore again-that girl is so stylish and talented! She makes a lot of her own dresses.

I am loving the black and white stripes with a pop of red combo right now. More examples below:
via Kendi Everyday--the blog I read when I'm stressed out or need inspiration. Keep being stylish! :)
 Oh-so-effortless yet pulled-together is another thing I like about French style.
via Kendi Everyday
 Here's another example of black, white, and red all over. I also love the glasses with this outfit--to all you gorgeously glassed gals, put away your contacts and rock a pair of chic frames! They look great with everything and add instant pop. (Jane, Carly....this means you!)
Kendi Everyday again

Anyone else a francophile around here, or is it just me?

(Oh, and if anybody French is reading this....let's trade closets :)
<3 Maggie

Thursday, June 16, 2011

(re)design your summer week: big brother

Hey guys! Whew, it's been a while.
So let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns....). I had this tunic lying around that had seen better days as a dress but since I'd grown now barely covered the dark side of the moon. It was sad, wrinkled, and cowered in the bottom of my drawer. So I took it out and swore "Shirt, I will make a man out of you." But not a manly man. More of a feminine man or perhaps a cross-dresser.
I'm getting off topic. Moving on.
This shirt is kind of the big brother of this shirt. Or the big sister. It does have flowers on it, you know. Again with the cross-dresser manly aspect of it.

I took this picture when I was bored. Hope you like it. Should I audition for America's Next Top Model, or would that be too cruel to the other models? I like a challenge, ya know.

The tunic in all its glory. Its a good beach coverup but....during the first wash colors bled in very unfortunate places under ze armpits. This was 2 years ago and it's been worn once.
I don't know if I can do a proper tutorial for this; it's basically the exact same thing as Shoulder Chic from Generation T. So if you want to learn the method, buy the book. It's worth the money, believe me. (No, I'm not getting paid for this! Why would you think that? Seriously, I'm not though. It's just an awesome book :D)
 This is how my tunic came out afterwards!

 Apologies for the blurry doesn't look it, but it's nighttime out there!
 I'm now officially ready for some fun in the sun!!
<3 Maggie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(re)design your summer week: tees in tatters

Hey, everyone! Miss me?
Our project for today will involve another t-shirt (I'll do something without them! I swear!). As always, I was searching for inspiration the other day with Jane and Carly when I stumbled upon the most perfect tank top. It came with a less-than-perfect price tag, however, and I knew I could make it myself.
Pretty? Very. Worth $78? Naah.
 So without further ado, here's how to make your very own!

Before: Yet another tie-dyed victim of the third grade.

 Things you'll need:
-an old t-shirt (L or XL at least--the bigger the shirt the longer and more fabulous the fringe)
-a good pair of scissors (I use dressmakers scissors, but regular ones work too--just make sure they're sharp!)

That's it! No bleaching, sewing, or even hot-glue-gunning.

1. Lay the shirt flat and cut out the sleeves and neck band just behind the seams.
2. Cut the neckline into a generously sized oval. Thin the straps so they're about the width of 3 fingers.
3. Cut down the sides, from armhole to hem.
4. Cut thin, small strips (about the width of a pinky) all the way down the side of your shirt.

Close-up of the strips
 5. Tie the strips together and tug on the tied ends a little. This will make the fabric curl up and become thinner and longer.
I snapped this picture halfway through, when I tried it on. You can vary the tightness of the shirt depending on how deep into the fabric you cut your strips. Oh, and excuse the boxers. Today was a pajama day.
 6. Do the same to the other side.

Random kitty picture. Sorry, I had to. What else is a gal to do while her fluffy kitten is sleeping beside her as she works?

 7. Put on and admire. Strut it like you mean it.

 This started out as a copycat of the free people top, but it kind of turned into my own thing along the way. I like both versions but since mine was $78 less, I'll stick to it! (and that's $5 a use of this tutorial. Kidding!)
Wear this to a concert, to the beach, or to your father's corporate party if you want to be really edgy and shocking.
<3 Maggie

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

(re)design your summer week: fun with batik

Posting three days in a row! Wow, I must be getting the hang of this blogging thing.
Self-congratulations aside, I've been thinking, you know, it's high time we had something extra-special going on over here besides the impromptu photoshoots (you know you love 'em). I then looked in my closet and discovered something.
The majority of the clothes I own don't fit, have sentimental value or are family heirlooms, or are kind of strange (like the pioneer dress). And to disguise this problem I'd been buying newer, cuter stuff that floated over the rejects like whipped cream on cow manure (ok, ok, exaggeration there but I couldn't resist). In the end I simply didn't have very many clothes I wanted to wear and had exhausted my parents' shopping goodwill.
So, (re)design your summer week was born! Every day I'll be posting my own tutorial on how to revamp old clothes using things pretty much everyone has around the house (my sewing machine is STILL on the fritz so there probably won't even be many sewing things....single tear....). If I stick to my plans and post every day and people don't get tired of me posting every day, this may even become a month! (that is....if I have enough clothes for a month.....). So let's get started!
Today, I'm going to be using an extremely tricky technique called Splattering Things with Bleach. No, really.
One of this season's emerging trends is ikat print, which cultures all over the world (most famously Central and South America) used on garments. Fashionistas starting as early as European colonizers saw, liked, and took. Now this ancient design is appearing on modern skirts, dresses, tops, bikinis and pillows everywhere. Here are some examples:
Ikat skirt as seen on Kendi Everyday.

Image courtesy of J.Crew

J.Crew ikat print shorts

J.Crew tank top (what can I say? J.Crew has good stuff!

A while ago for a school project I taught my class how to artistically attack napkins with bleach pens to create a batik-like look, so as you can imagine I had a lot of bleach pens left over afterward. If you don't have a bleach pen many supermarkets carry them (Clorox works best for me because it has a thick tip and a fine tip, which we will be using). Stain remover is not the same thing. If you try to use stain remover for this it will not work out very well. Anyway, when I saw these gorgeous patterns I was inspired to create my own. This is not how ikat OR batik was culturally produced but it mimics the style of both.
 Things You Will Need:
-a bleach pen (or two....depending on the intricacy of the design and how much space you want to cover. I was fine with one for my t-shirt)
-Gloves, so if you're slightly klutzy like me you don't get bleach all over your hands
-a paper towel
-an old t-shirt or anything else you'd like to give a makeover to. This technique works best on fabric that's 100% cotton or close to that. 
-chalk or dressmaker's chalk for drawing your design
-a design guide or inspiration photo unless you know how to freestyle-design ikat print
-wax paper/cardboard
-outdoor space or a well-aired room unless you love the smell of bleach
-sink/tub and faucet for handwashing
-clothesline or chair to drape your wet, drippy creation all over
-a flat workspace like a table or desk that can get accidental drops of bleach on it and nobody will freak out
 This may look like a long list of things but I'm willing to bet you probably have many of these items already. You should probably assemble what you need beforehand so you don't have to run all over the house looking for stuff. *not that I did that or anything*
1. Lay your shirt flat on your workspace and slide a piece of wax paper or cardboard inside it. This will prevent the bleach from bleeding through to the other side.
before: a plain, well-loved purple t-shirt. Did you know that different color shirts bleach to different colors? Blue bleaches to beige-y, red bleaches to light pink, and coolest of all green bleaches to tan.

2. Draw with chalk the ikat design you want to copy. If you mess up, its ok; the chalk will come out in the wash. Choose a design that's widely spaced and not too intricate because the bleach spreads and turns anything complicated into a messy blobby blob. I chose a simple print that I copied from the J.Crew dress/shorts pictured above.

 3.  Give the bottle a test squeeze onto the paper towel to make sure the bleach is flowing right. Using the fine tip of the bleach pen, carefully trace your design with bleach. You don't need much; the bleach will spread. You can vary the thickness of the line by squeezing out more bleach. Use the pen to drag existing bleach along the chalk to make lines thinner.

 4. Once you're done tracing your design, let the bleach dry. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple hours, depending on how much bleach you put on.

lalala bleach is dry now!
 5. As you can see, the bleach spread quite a bit. Now fill the tub or sink with a few inches of cold water, you don't need much to rinse the shirt off in. Don't use any soap. Dunk the shirt in and use hands to get off the dried bleach. You don't have to use your gloves for this.

 6. When you're finished, dump out the water, give the shirt a squeeze to get the excess water out, and hang on your clothesline/handy porch chair to dry!

Design close-up. I think it turned into batik somewhere along the way. 
As of now, mine is still drying....I'll update this post with a pic of me wearing it when it's dry. But the seventh step is to put on your new(kinda) shirt and enjoy :) After your initial washing, you can machine wash and dry this shirt! (that is unless you're one of those people who have to dry clean your which case I don't recommend this project).

<3 Maggie