Tag Archives: hand-made

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?


All About Embroidery in These Ensembles!

There are many elements of embroidery throughout these two ensembles!

Embroidery EnsemblesCrewelwork specifically! Crewel embroidery is a decorative form of surface embroidery that gives a raised appearance to the finished piece. Thought to have originated from the earliest Welsh spinners, the technique dates back over a thousand years; and while designs have developed over time, the general stitches have stayed the same. The free-style form has long been used on clothing, pillow cases, dish cloths, furniture and framed wall-decor.  I learned a lot about this art form and how to accurately apply the stitches to my own work from the book, Mastering the Art of Embroidery.

Mastering the Art of Embroidery

Now…on to the outfits…

Outfit #11:

Here I simply paired my All-Saints Spitalfields ivory embroidered top with my bronze embroidered pants from Free People.

All-Saints Embroidered Top & Free People Embroidered Pants

The casual cotton top showcases the ‘French Knot Stitch’. This particular stitch consists of small round knots that create tiny bubbles on the surface of the fabric; in this instance, the bubbles align to spell out the phrase, “The one whose hand I’m holding is the one who holds my heart.”

All-Saints Spitalfields Hand-Embroidered Knots Tee

The stem stitch, trellis work, and long & short stitches were combined to create the ornate design along the front of the vegan leather bottoms.

  Ornate Embroidery Embellishment on Bronze Vegan Leather

Ornate Embroidery Embellishment

Intricate Embroidery on Vegan Leather

For footwear I chose my gold beaded sandals from Anthropologie; the golden hue goes with the gold-threaded embroidery on the leg, while the tiny seed beads mimic the small stitches in the top.

Embroidered Top & Bottoms with Beaded Shoes

Outfit #12:

In this outfit, I paired a different ivory embroidered top, this one from Anthropologie, with the bronze bottoms underneath my hand-made crochet cover-up.

Anthropologie Floral-Embroidered Top & Free People Pants

Floral-Embroidered Top, Bronze Bottoms & Chevron Crochet Cover-Up

The different weights and tonal variations of the threads that make up the floral motif add depth & texture to the detailed design. I layered the multi-colored, Missoni-inspired wrap sweater my mom made me on top for those transitional times when it’s nice to have something to cover up with. The chevron crochet cover-up is a copycat of an old afghan I found at home – in a wearable size! Just like the blanket keeps me cozy when I’m on the couch…my mini version does when I’m out-and-about!

Do you have embroidery embellishments on any clothing you own? How about anything hanging in your home?

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!!!

Hung Up on Love

Even though Valentine’s Day was last Thursday, I never got a chance to publish my adorably V-DIY project…so I figured I’d share it with you now (better late than never, right?!)

Inspired by the boho hangers I made myself, I decided to make my nieces some festive fabric-covered hangers for Valentine’s Day. Since I live far away and don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, I like to send them packages on special holidays so they know their Auntie Jillie is thinking of them.

Coincidentally, last time I was home I bought a couple balls of vintage cloth stripes from an antique store (having no idea what I was going to do with them at the time) that was a mix of floral, red corduroy and tiny hearts. Perfect for this project, I picked up a pack of kids felted hangers and repeated the same process as my first project. Check it out…

What you Need:

  • A hot glue gun
  • Hangers

DIY - Novelty Heart Hangers

  • Thin strips of fabric

Vintage Fabric Balls

What to do:

  1. Simply secure the end of a fabric strip to the middle of the hanger with hot glue
  2. Then tightly wrap the fabric around the hanger entirely covering the original coating
  3. Switch up the cloth sections whenever you please – just seal off one strip with hot glue & start another.
  4. When the original hanger is completely covered with fabric, simply secure the end once again with hot glue and there you have it!

Heart Wrapped Hangers

Heart Wrapped Hangers

DIY - Novelty Heart Hangers

DIY - Novelty Heart Hangers

DIY - Novelty Heart Hangers

DIY - Novelty Heart Hangers

Of course I couldn’t leave my new little nephew out…so I made him some hangers too!

DIY - Novelty Hangers

Hand-made especially for you…because I’m hung up on love for you!

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! I hope your lives are filled with lots of love everyday!

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