March 28, 2011

DIY Dose: Can A Leopard Change it's Spots? I Sure Tried To!

I am still working my way way through the "fix it" bag of clothing that I started after my closet clean-out.  In this bag there are a few items that I made in high school when I was attending a fashion design vocational program.  Some of these items are really hideous or outdated, but I held on to them for sentimental reasons. The piece I picked for todays' DIY had a number of virtues that I felt far outweighed it's negatives.

Asymmetrical Dress in all it's leopard-y glory.

March 17, 2011

Outfit Chronicles: A Touch of Green

Elizabeth and James blazer, Gap t-shirt, LE Canvas pants, Banana Republic scarf and Luck Brand boots.
Happy St. Patrick's to you all! I woke up this morning with the same quandary I have every year on St. Patrick's day, what do I wear?  Not just what do I wear, what can I wear that has the requisite green in it. You see even though I am inherently proud of my Irish-ness I don't own a single piece of green clothing.  The color green and I aren't exactly good for each other, most green clothing combined with my super paleness = sallow.  The only thing I have that is remotely green are my Lucky Brand Blake ankle boots, so today I dressed around my olive green boots.  In today's outfit chronicles I kept the base layer really simple black trousers and black T-shirt.  Then I added my new favorite piece of clothing my Elizabeth and James military style belted blazer. I know an E+J blazer seems like a splurge, but it was insanely on sale at $175!  I have also worn it at least a dozen times so that in my mind lowers the cost per wear ratio. I swapped out the belt it came with for a plain black leather belt.  This blazer is one of those pieces that would look great throw over everything, a dress, pants and tee, a garbage bag. I kid you not I am sure it would work over a garbage bag, very high fashion.  The finishing touch is the scarf, which is handy to ward off the mid march chill and also has a bit of green in it.  Here's hoping you have a luck filled day!

March 15, 2011

Hair Confession: The Long and Short of it.

Current hair - length; super long, style; nada.
For over a year I have been growing my hair out.  Not just for the purpose of having long hair (it has been fun though), but my ultimate goal was to be able to donate it to an organization that creates wigs for people with hair loss from medical treatments or genetic diseases.  I have a list of organizations ( I haven't chosen one yet, suggestions?) and the minimum requirements for donating hair are, eight to ten inches of healthy un-dyed hair.  I have both, as you can see from the picture above.  It will be a year in June and while that still gives me a couple of months to grow my hair, I have already started thinking about what hair style I want to rock after the big chop.

March 10, 2011

DIY Dose: Cream and Lace Cardi

Sweater in it's original form, complete with chintzy flower.

I adored this little cardigan it's lovely almond color and simple, sweet silhouette has complimented many a summer outfit.  Then I inexplicably fell out of love with it, I became bored with it, the shirring at the shoulders and the little chiffon flower no longer seemed current.  I still thought it had potential so instead of depositing it into the giveaway bag I placed it in the fix-it bag. There it sat for a couple of weeks before inspiration struck.  Do you remember the lace and embroidery that I salvaged from this dress well it became an integral part of the sweater's makeover.

Cutting the lace and embroidery free from the dress.

The first step was deciding where I wanted to add the lovely lacey embellishment.  I was originally thinking of doing an asymmetrical design, but decided that I wanted the focal point of the sweater to be the back and the shoulders.  The sweater had shirring and a chiffon flower on the shoulders, so I decided that both had to go.  I took a seam ripper and removed the elastic at the shoulders and the flower.  After a quick look over the sweater I decided that the buttons had to go as well, the were made out of the same materials and weren't really the look I was going for. 

Cardi minus flower, shirring and buttons.  
I laid the sweater flat, and marked the center back with a pin.  I placed a pin in the center of the piece of the embroidered fabric, laying the lace over the sweater I matched to two pins.  After matching up the centers of the fabric I began pinning the fabric, working my way out from the center.

Pin action.
With the lace pinned down I examined the effect.  I trimmed off the extra lace and adjusted the fabric till it looked even.  I used a simple whipstitch to attach the fabric to the sweater.  I took care to find a thread that matched the embroidered fabric rather than the sweater since I wanted the stitch to be as invisible as possible.

 Whipstitch worked around the edge of the fabric.

The cardigan formally know as chintzy is now looking like a brand new sweater. The only thing that was left to do was to replace the buttons.  I have buttons galore, left overs, cast-offs, so I dug into the button container and found five small ivory pearl buttons.  They weren't a matching set, but I thought that they looked close enough to work, plus it would add to the vintage feel of the sweater. 

Button Close-up!

I am really thrilled with how this project turned out.  The cardigan looks even better than I had imagined it would and I now have a completely new piece in my closet without spending a cent.  That's right this project cost me $0 since I used fabric scraps and materials I had on hand.  If you don't have any embroidered fabric on hand you can recreate the look by purchaseing appliques or lace trim.  

Cardigan cuteness front...

and back!

March 4, 2011

DIY Dose: A Charming Necklace

This charming multi-chain necklace is a fun project to try this weekend.  The inspiration for my necklace came from Nordstrom's jewelry styling tips.  The project is super easy and you may already have most of the materials on hand.

What you are going to need; jump rings (available at any craft store), mini pliers, assorted chains about the same length, charms, earrings, ribbon/notions, rings, and pins.  This is a great project to use those jewelry cast-offs.

Once you have assembled all the materials you are ready to begin.  It's easier to edit what pieces you want to add to the chain if you lay them all out on the work surface, this way there is a visual of what you have on hand.

First you want to start by picking the chains, they are going to be the base of the project. I chose two chains and added a length of leather cord, so I had a three strand necklace (I like the look of groupings of three). I used the jump rings to attach the three chains together using on chain's closure as the base.  Next I used the jump rings to attach the "charms" to the necklace.  Open the jump ring with the pliers, hook the charm and the chains into the jump ring and then close using the pliers.  If you are adding a ring just slide it onto the chains, presto!  I used an earring which had lost it's mate, bow and heart pendants and a pin. I went into my sewing notions and found a strand of pearl trim which I decided to add on as a bow. I also found a small set of metal keys from a toy box (I no longer have it but I knew I saved the keys for a reason), on they went.

I am pretty pleased with the results, I managed to salvage a bunch of random jewelry box pieces that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.  This project cost me $0 since I already had the materials on hand, it probably cost $2-$7 for the jump rings, pliers and notions.  I hope you enjoy making your own charming necklace.

March 3, 2011

Outfit Chronicles:A Skirt Full of Flowers

Bernardo Collection pleather coat, Gap cowl neck sweater, vintage Betsey Johnson dress, FRYE boots.
The dreariness of winter seemed to hang heavy over the last couple of weeks, I was losing any optimism that the warmer weather was on it's way. Until this morning, the air was biting and crisp and the ground still frozen, but I felt it. That sweet waft of spring's promise floating through the air. What better way to celebrate spring being on the way than to wear a profusion of flowered loveliness.  So out came my one great vintage find, a Betsey Johnson floral spaghetti strap dress.  The dress fits perfectly, even the length, the previous owner must have been petite like me.  Side note: I have never had much luck with vintage shopping; either I don't know where to look or where I've gone is ridiculously expensive, but this dress was my vintage gold.  I bought the dress in October and have not had much opportunity to wear it since it has been so cold this winter.  After some experimenting I have found ways to make the dress work in the winter. Today I wore it with a slip, tights, a cozy cowl neck and a pleather jacket with knit cuffs for added warmth. The boots are FRYE's "Campus" boots and while I cringe to think what I paid for them a couple of years ago they where a great investment. I probably have worn them at least 100 times and I expect that they will last quite a few more years. This was the perfect outfit for brightening my day, it made me think that spring was not too far away.