Category Archives: DIY Projects

DIY: Paper Mache Mannequin

I bought this fashion form awhile back because I thought it would be a useful photography prop to use when I’m styling. And for only $6.95, the torso would be; but I sort of hate the way the semitransparent plastic neck & décolletage appears in photos. (Note: this is the stock photo from the website which appears to be white. To get actual idea of the appearance look at my other images)

Store Suppy Fashion Form

Yes, a strong opinion, but it really did bother me! And you know when something bugs you you can never get past it. I just thought the foggy finish  killed the aesthetic of the clothes hanging from it. I tried my best to alter the appearance of the prop in Photoshop – I tried making it disappear, blending it in, changing the color of it…but everything I did just ended up looking dumb.

Frosted Fashion Form

So for the last few months the torso has just been hanging out (literally) behind my door. Until this past weekend, when all of the sudden it donned on me – why don’t I just give my mannequin a makeover? Duhhh!

My first thought was to cover the tacky plastic with white lace, that way my mannequin would at least be white and not a murky in between color. I liked the idea of my mannequin having a “vintagy vibe” with a textured effect. I knew it would probably pose a little bit of a problem when photographing white garments on it – with little color variation between the garment and the lace making it difficult to differentiate. But I figured that was a minor tradeoff for having an overall more visually pleasing fashion form.

But then, when I got down my tote of random textiles from my closet (1 of 5 total) I came across a couple packages of sewing patterns. Perfect! Even better than my original plan! The paper would be much easier than the fabric to adhere. And the pigment of the tissue paper looked well – like tissue. The flesh-colored flimsy paper similar to skin tone would contrast with both black & white garments.

So I had a DIY day and went to work paper macheing my mannequin. (Note: not the real paper mache process, but my rendition of it)

What You Need:

– The object you want to cover
– What you’re going to cover it with (fabric, decorative paper)
– Spray Adhesive
– Scissors

DIY Paper Mache Mannequin Start

What to Do:

1. First I put down something to protect the floor. I learned my lesson the last time I did a similar project involving spray adhesive. It felt like I scrubbed the sticky residue off my floor for for-ev-er – and I swear I still feel it in some spots.

2. Then I cut the patterns into pieces (doesn’t have to be perfect because they all end up blending together in the end. I made sure to get a variety of the different design details & cutting lines on the sections.

DIY Paper Mache Mannequin Step 2

3. After that I simply sprayed my mannequin with the aerosol adhesive and stuck on the slips of paper.

DIY Paper Mache Mannequin Step 3

DIY Paper Mache Mannequin (1)

Wah-lah! It’s as easy as that!

DIY Paper Mache Manequin Finished

Well……..I did put a little thought into it. I had to make sure all of the words written on the pattern paper were facing in the right direction. Call it my sharp eye for the fine details…..or perfectionism – but it would’ve bothered me if the writing would’ve been backwards. I love the way my mannequin looks now! It turned out just as I had envisioned – actually, even better! (than the first plan)

Before After Styling Pic

And, now that my plastic person has a bit more personality, I thought it only seemed appropriate that she should have a name. Everyone, meet Skipper! :)

What do you think of the makeover I did on my mannequin? Do you think it made an impact on its appearance? Or do you think I’m crazy cuz you can’t really recognize the difference?

Bundling Up in my Big Beige Scarf to Brave the Cold

I hope you managed to warm yesterday wherever you are!!! The Midwest has turned into a frozen tundra & it is not pleasant! The city of Chicago pretty much shut down yesterday with the record-setting temperatures falling down to -16°…with wind chills in the -50’s. The bone-chilling sub-zero temps made venturing outside extremely dangerous; so as advised, I worked from home yesterday…along with many others, I’m sure! I must say – it was rather convenient taking my conference call while cozied up under blankets on my couch, with the heat cranked up & a cup of hot cocoa in my hand!

I started to get a little antcy by mid-afternoon, so I decided to see for myself just how cold it was outside. I made it as far as the corner store & thought “forget this!” Even with my Sorel’s, stallion sweater, quilted coat, big beige scarf, knit hat & mis-matched mitts I didn’t make it more than a block! (I have a tendency to loose gloves leaving me with a bunch of onesies. But when it’s this cold, who cares if you coordinate…I just went with the warmest ones!)

 Bundled Up

The newest addition in my cold-weather collection that’s keeping me warm this winter is my big beige scarf I got from Santa…

 IMG_3496

Actually, I sent this Pinterest picture & some measurements to my mom a couple months ago to see if she could crochet a clone of it.

Pinspiration - Beige Scarf

She passed the project along; and with 5 skeins of yarn, 1 talented grandma made me this stunning 8 ft x 1½ ft scarf…it only took her 12 hours! The neutral color, gigantic size, fringe trim, even down to the cable-detailing down the center pockets, she did a phenomenal job duplicating this design! Don’t you think?!

 Bundle Up to Brave the Cold

Here I am all bundled up before I went out – I look just like the lady in the photo… + a few more layers!! I’m obsessed with my new scarf – its almost like I leave the house with an afghan wrapped around me :) It also kept me warm while I was working outside on New Year’s Eve.  Not exactly how I expected to spend my night (would’ve went with snow pants instead of a dress had I known)…but at least I was in good company.

 NYE Pic

With today’s temp only climbing up to a high of 5° today the outlook is still a bit bleak. I think I’ll hibernate at home again – I’d rather come down with a case of cabin fever then run the risk of getting frostbite. :)

Have a good day everyone…& stay warm out there!

My Magical Halloween

I hope you all had a spook-tacular Halloween! I wanted to touch base to see if any of you donned costumes during the spirited time of year known for dressing up! I realize I’m a little late in posting this – after all, All Hallows’ Eve was almost a week ago. But, I had a busy weekend with visitors in town and didn’t get around to publishing a post; so even though it’s a little late, I’m still going to share it with you. Better late than never right? :)

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in a couple years, but decided this year I was going to transform myself into a mystical unicorn for our annual Halloween event at work. However, I didn’t want to just go to the costume store to get my playful pony gear, so instead I came up with this unique unicorn uniform…

 IMAG9911-1

I bought a bright blue long-sleeved Latex bodysuit, tied a long blonde wig to my backside for a tail, and got a little crafty in making my own satin & sequin horn to put atop my head. After teasing my hair into a hot pink mohawk for a mane and framing my face with sparkly paint, I think I actually pulled off the mystical creature quite well! And with clunky black booties acting as ‘hooves’, you can rest assure, I galloped wherever I went while wearing this get-up :)

I'm a Unicorn

What do you think? Can you tell I’m a unicorn?

unicorn 1

Here’s a quick look at how I made my horn…

Step 1: Cut fabric in the shape of a cone and stitch it along the side seam.

IMAG9842

IMAG9866

Step 2: Flip it inside out.

IMAG9873

Step 3: Fill it with fluff so it stays up.

IMAG9878

Step 4: Sew it shut and secure it to a headband.

IMAG9880

IMAG9886

Step 5: Decorate it however you desire!

IMAG9896 

Did you get creative with your costume? Or did you simply stop at a pop-up shop for a polyester prototype? Send me a comment…better yet, a photo, and let me know!!!

Turning Over a New Fashion Leaf this Fall!

As the days get shorter & shorter, the temperature continues to cool, and leaves begin to change colors, the sunny days of seem as though they were soooo long ago! Now that we’ve got these first few weeks of fall under our belts, I’m taking time during this transitional time, to refocus on my fashion blog.

I was really bad about blogging this summer for a number of reasons: 1) I spent as much time outside as I could soaking up the sun – summer is so short in Chicago the way it is, so it’s important to enjoy the beautiful weather while you can. Because before you know it, it’s over and we’re reaching for our winter coats once again (much like I did weeks ago!) 2) I was busy working on a couple of other little projects, like my embroidery project (that gets more & more elaborate each time I work on it) and some geode stone jewelry. 3) I had a mental block. I just couldn’t seem to find the right words to say when trying to write about what I wore. And 4) I started a new styling position with a small image consulting firm – now putting me back up to juggling 3 jobs (in turn, leaving me with even less free time); but I really can’t complain – because I’m loving it so far!

But that’s all about to change! Because fall is my favorite season when it comes to fashion! I love styling for this season for many reasons: 1) I love the warm, muted hues & rich, spicy earth tones associated with autumn. 2) I love cuddling up in thick cozy knits and the other soft, heavier-hand fabrics distinctive during this time of year. And 3) I love adding on the additional layers (for styling purposes…not necessarily the need to stay warm!) More clothing means more options to work with – a chance to play around with different patterns, form unique color combinations, and add interesting textures to my outfits.

I’m reinvigorated, re-inspired, and no longer at a loss for words when it comes to talking about my wardrobe. So as the leaves begin to fall this Fall, I’m turning over a new fashion leaf!

While the warm days of summer whittle away in our minds & we move closer to winter, what motivates you during the bleak months ahead?

Oh…and here’s a peak at those projects I was talking about :)

IMAG9951Playing around with some stones, leather & animal bones!

Remember when my embroidery project was just a blank canvas?…

embroidery-portfolio-project

Look how far I’ve come! And to think…I’m almost done!

IMAG9956

IMAG9967

IMAG9975

Sewing the Seed to Wellness: Turning an Old Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac

My rooftop pool opened up for the season and judging by the amount of time that I’ve already spent up there this last week, I think it’s safe to say that’s where I’ll be spending most of my free time this summer! Now, for others with the same agenda, this could potentially lead to a pretty unproductive next few months (I don’t think you can consider a perfectly bronze bod much of an accomplishment), but for me that’s not the case, I surprisingly get a lot done while sitting up there under the sun! Whether it’s drafting up blogs I intend to post (even though I have an entire notebook full of unpublished posts from last summer that I still haven’t gotten to), reading one of my many styling books, or working on a tedious project (insert embroidery here), I still manage to accomplish something while soaking up the sun. The first poolside project that I completed over the last couple days was turning an old alfalfa seed sac into a new yoga mat sac!

DIY: Redesigning an Old Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac

Redesigning an Old Alfalfa Seed Sac

Here’s what I was working on…

What I used:

  • An old cloth bag (long and narrow)
  • Coordinating heavy-weight fabric
  • 2 D-rings
  • Suede string
  • Heavy-duty thread
  • A shoulder strap from a handbag I don’t use

DIY Project: Turning an old Alfalfa Seed Sac into a Yoga Mat Sac:

What I did:

Step 1: Fold the fabric along the top of the bag approximately ½ inch in width (this may vary depending on what you are using as your drawstring)

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 1 - Fold & pin the top seam

Step 2: Hand-stitch along the lower fold to create a seam. Start and stop where you intend to have the opening for your drawstring. I chose to use pink suede string as my drawstring, which I inserted underneath the fold before sewing my seam (so I wouldn’t have to feed it through afterwards).

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 2 - Hand-stitch Seam

Step 3: Before you finish stitching the seam completely, cut a small hole in the middle of the band and whip-stitch around the edge to prevent the fabric from fraying. Then pull the drawstring through the hole and finish off the seam.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 3 - Whip-Stitch Drawstring Hole

Step 4: Usually I don’t have a problem with mixing metals (in fact, I do it all the time), but in this instance I didn’t like that the gunmetal D-rings I had didn’t coordinate with the antique gold metal hardware of the shoulder strap I was using. So, I tightly wrapped the D-rings in pink suede string and secured it with hot glue to cover them. Petty, I know, but problem solved. :) And it brought the element of the pink suede to another area of the bag (which I also wanted to do).

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 4 - Wrap D-rings in Suede String

Step 5: Cut a long strip of a matching heavy-weight fabric (I used ada cloth) the width of the straight edge of the D-ring.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 5 - Cut Fabric Tabs

Step 6: Determine where you want to attach the shoulder strap onto the bag and mark it with a disappearing ink pen. Then, cut a slit in the side seam of bag equal to the length of the fabric tabs.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 6 - Slit Seams for Shoulder Strap

Step 6 - Slit Seams for Shoulder Strap (3)

Step 7: With the D-ring in between, insert both ends of the fabric tab into the seam slits and secure it in place with pins. Then, stitch the seam shut again.

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 7 - Pin D-Rings into Place

DIY Yoga Mat Sac: Step 7 - Stitch D-Rings into Place

Step 8: Simply attach the shoulder straps to the D-rings and tahhhh-dahhhhh! My new yoga mat sac is done!

Curated & Carried - Yoga Mat Seed Sac

This is the second bag I’ve created in my new collection, curated & carried. curated & carried is a collection of thoughtfully constructed handbags made from distinctive textiles that have been curated from antique stores, vintage shops, and flea markets around the country, then custom-made into bags to be carried around today. If you haven’t checked out my Facebook page yet, please do!  (You can by clicking this link –  and why not just like it too?!

I had such an enjoyable time sewing under the sun!…I did commit a party foul by spilling my stick pins on the ground – oops :/ I hope I picked them all up (would hate to step on one of those while getting into the pool!)

Sewing under the Sun!!!

Party Foul - Spilled the Stick Pins!!!

I like to think I’m “sewing the seed to wellness” with this old alfalfa seed sac turned into a yoga mat sac. And I finished it just in time to start my month of hot yoga!

DIY Project: An Old Seed Sac into Yoga Mat Sac:

What do you think of my redesigned old farmer’s fabric sac? Would you use it?