Tag Archives: diy

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?

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…

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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.

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Step 2: Flip it inside out.

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

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

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Step 5: Decorate it however you desire!

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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!!!

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?

A Special Gift: My Mother’s Day Tote

My mother is the most thoughtful, kind-hearted, loving person I’ve ever known. Whether it was traveling around the state for horse shows or gymnastics meets when growing up, moving me to Chicago so I could pursue my passion for fashion, or happily helping me with my latest hobby, she has always supported me with whatever I want to do in life. That’s why, this Mother’s Day I was super excited to give my mom the first finished handbag from my new collection, curated & carried, the latest project I’ve been working on.

Curated & carried is a collection of thoughtfully constructed handbags made from an eclectic mix of intricate embroideries, hand-woven textiles, and vintage fabrics. Every design is one-of-a-kind; individually created from a combination of unique pieces then expertly hand-crafted.

Hand-woven rugs, meticulously-stitched needlepoints, distinctive dish towels, tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and quilts have been curated from antique stores, vintage shops, and flea markets around the country, then custom-made into contemporary handbags to be carried around today. Family heirlooms that have been forgotten over the years have now been found and turned into fashionable carry-alls that can be admired once again.

With a vintage leather belt as a strap and a personalized hand-stitched interior label, curated & carried handbags are artistic & authentic. In an era of fast-fashion and mass-production, it’s humbling to have something a grandma worked so hard on, so many generations ago. Click here to link to my curated & carried Facebook page to see other handbags I’m working on…(and ‘like’ it while you’re at it) :)

This is the tote I designed for my mom from a colorful scenic church embroidery and hand-woven rug…

Mother's Day - Colorful Church Tote Colorful Embroidery Mother's Day Tote

Curated & Carried Handbag

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Your compassionate soul & caring heart inspires me every single day. I love you!!!

My Barbaric Bauble: Skull Fragments & Suede

So, after my post about my purchases at the Modern Vintage Chicago market some of you may have been thinking – what on earth does she want with a raccoon jaw bone? (at least, judging by the puzzled expressions on their faces, that’s the general reaction I got from some of my co-workers when I showed them my latest find) But as soon as I saw all of the raccoon remains I knew right away that I wanted to make necklace out of one!

Raccoon Jaw Bones (1)

I picked my set of perfect partial jaw bones from the bunch (sort of like picking out your favorite puppy from the pound) and brought them home for my DIY fossil fashion project.

Rare Find: Raccoon Jaw Bones

After fumbling around with the skull fragment and a piece of suede for a bit, I ultimately knotted the lower jaw bone into a long necklace.

My Barbaric Bauble: Animal Skull & Suede Necklace

Fossil Fashion: My Raccoon Jaw Bone Necklace

The dental hygiene of my omnivore isn’t too bad; the entire set of choppers on my mandible pendant are still intact – from the tiny incisors in the front & curved canine, to the molars along the back. Sure they could use a brushing, and maybe even floss, but that’s to be expected of the mischievous mammal, often thought of as a pest for getting into the garbage as ‘coons often do.

Fossil Fashion: My Raccoon Mandible Pendent

Fossil Fashion: My Raccoon Jaw Bone Pendent

Fossil Fashion: My Raccoon Skull & Suede Pendent Necklace

Yes, some may think the idea of wearing the remains of a deceased animal around your neck is a bit barbaric (again, gathered from the mixed reviews I received from coworkers when I showed them my latest creation). But…

Unique – yes!

Cool conversation piece? – yes!

A fashionable fossil – yes!

An awesome animal accessory? – I think so!

What do you think of my mandible necklace I made? Would you wear one, or do you think it’s a bit barbaric too?