Tag Archives: diy

Stay or go? Part 3: Lazy Sunday

I’m exhausted.

I just spent several weeks rehearsing and finally performing in a stage production with Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands. This show brought together dozens of awesome people that I want to be friends with forever. I saw (and heard) some amazing works of art, and got to cross “Perform on stage” off my list of things to do before I die. This adventure culminated in a three-day show, for which I ended up making my own costume from scratch in less than a week. I played the main character’s sinister toy lamb, one of the characters to comfort her throughout her fairytale-like ordeals. Now that it’s over, I can finally relax and be a lump for a little while. But what  to wear?

Sweatpants are sad, lifeless garments. You wear them in bed, or working out, or possibly to school. If you’re short like me, you probably have to scrunch them up and leave marks on your ankles, and yet you wear them anyway. Even though they’re generally too hot, people claim they’re comfortable. Look at this:

They’re like deflated stuffed animals. Dead, deformed beasts found in Montauk would look away. They possess about a tenth the majesty of two mating slugs. So I propose that we replace them with yoga pants. They’re more comfortable, easier to hem, and make it look almost like you plan on doing something with your day.

See these? They’re like sweatpants in disguise. The swingy velvet ones are borderline cute.

Yes, you may have to hem them. But with fine knits, a zig-zag or overlock stitch will be all it takes.Most sewing machines include at least one overlock stitch, which requires a special foot. The stitch will usually look like a cross between a zig-zag and a straight stitch. Slash your pants to the desired length, stitch around the edge and bingo, they’re perfect.

Go forth and be lazy.

(Incidentally, the shirts I’m wearing are a teaser for my next post. Stay tuned.)


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Filed under Clothes, Crafting, Sewing

Things I love (And a diy fishtail skirt)

I have been trying to get rid of things I don’t really love. Goodwill will receive a mighty haul from me soon. To replace them,  I’ve been making things I can style a number of different ways. For example, this gathered fishtail skirt inspired by A Pair & A Spare.

Six half-inch tucks in front, four in back.

While I still love plaid, I no longer have reason to wear my collection of short plaid skirts that serve to make me look about 10. Instead I have this, which I would wear every day if I could. It’s a simple gathered skirt, with the elastic sewn directly onto the self fabric instead of into a casing  and cut about six inches longer in back. I love my legs, but I don’t like showing off my unders. This skirt is a nice compromise.

I have a plumbing clamp on my head as a headband. Shiny.

Tights and sweater: Target (On sale), Shoes: unknown, Skirt: DIY, Headband: Home Depot, Mug: New Garden Friends basement sale.

Lesson learned: Making things you really enjoy puts into perspective the things you don’t.

One more.

Also, I’ll get my 1,000th view today! Happy dance.

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Fabric scrap earrings: For when feathers are too mainstream.

I'm wearing a shirt with the sleeves pushed down. It didn't match.

I made these using scraps from a ribbed, tie dye t-shirt, and a broken necklace. For earrings like these, get some ear wires, 18-gauge wire, any long, jagged fabric strips, and two pieces of chain. Stack the fabric scraps in a manner you like and poke your 18-gauge wire  through the top of each strip. Make a short loop for hanging, and wrap the wire a few times around the fabric, tucking the loose end of the wire underneath. String the chain onto another piece of wire, and add your fabric tassel onto that. Stick the whole thing on the end of an ear wire, and repeat.

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If liking it means you should put a ring on it…

… I must really like my right hand. Heh.


I have been playing with wire and hot glue quite a bit lately, and thought the results were worth sharing.

I found a ring base design on one of many, many fashion blogs, and will link to it  when I find it. It used a flat wire spiral and a loop of doubled-over wire. I will link to it when I find it. I would suggest using a marker or other round object the width of your finger for sizing.

For the bell ring:

  • Get a bell ball. There should be plenty around at the end of December in craft shops. If necessary, rip one off a cheap drugstore toy your dog ripped apart.
  • Before finishing the ring base, string the loop at the top of the bell onto the wire. Adjust the bell to the front of the ring.
  • Close it up, and add a bead of hot glue to the bell loop where it meets the ring base.

For the spike ring:

  • Make a loop at the end of some unbent wire. After bending the wire into a ring the right size for your finger,  bend the loop outward. Wrap the remaining wire around the loop in a flat spiral.
  • Get a two-pronged hollow cone stud ready.
  • Cover the spiral part of the ring base in hot glue, and quickly stick it into the cone. Add more hot glue if necessary, and bend the prongs around the ring base.

For the dolphin ring:

  • Get a charm from a store, or harvest one off a broken necklace. Remove any loops or jump rings.
  • Using very thin wire, connect the ring to the base.  Try to show as little wire on the outside as possible.
  • Shock of shocks, the next step is to add hot glue.

For all rings, metallic paint is useful if your metals don’t match. It can also disguise visible glue. Let dry (I mean it) and spray with clear coat. I would avoid putting on your rings before the glue is cooled, regardless of how excited you are about them.


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Men’s button down to ruffly dress (And crochet flower hairclip)

Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a good summer.

My dress, made entirely out of one of my dad's shirts.

I’ve had some free time. Badly-illustrated tutorial to come!

Also, in that picture up there I’m wearing this thing on my head:


The flower is the rose in the middle of the Anticraft‘s Asphyxiation choker, which I then stitched onto a scrap of blue fabric, beaded in the middle and tacked onto a large barrette. I have thick, unruly hair, which easily explodes or covers any smaller, wimpier scalp-jewelry.

See you guys soon!

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Filed under Crafting, Crochet, Sewing

Things I made when you weren’t looking

Hello earthlings! I’m back, and I’ll hopefully be updating more regularly. I have stuff to share.

I found all my stuff for this (including notions) at my Quaker meeting’s semiannual basement sale, which is possibly the best place to thrift I have ever encountered. Seriously, pay close attention to your local small places of worship. Everything there is previously owned, meaning you’re reusing instead of buying new wares and contributing to the world’s waste. If you look, you can find some absolute gems for dirt cheap. I’ll ramble more on this in a future post.

First off on the Things I Made list: A pillowcase nightie, from instructions found HERE. I added pockets and crossed straps with extra pillowcase bits, and trimmed it with simple white ribbon.

This picture is modeled by Coco the Bear, photographed by me.


Up next is a super-comfy robe, made from a vintage bed sheet using my Aikido gi top as a pattern. The basic shape is a wide T.

If you don’t have a gi that fits the way you want, get assistance in measuring your wingspan from thumb to thumb Divide that in half (Red). Then, measure down from the top of your shoulder across the widest part of your body to get the hem length you want (Green). It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I would suggest using an extra-baggy men’s t-shirt for the sleeves (Blue) and torso width (Aqua). Draw all of this out using taped-together sales papers or magazine ad pages to save paper. For the front, measure the width of your neck across your collar bones, mark a vertical line in the middle of your robe pattern, and draw a long, symmetrical V (Orange) from the top of the pattern that is as wide as your neck measurement.

Cut out the pattern and trace it onto fabric with whatever seam allowance is comfortable. Be sure to finish the seams, as these sheets fray. I rounded the corners as I sewed the bottom hem, and added slits to each side to suit my preferences. The belt is just a 4″ wide strip two and a half times my waist, folded into a tube and hemmed.

Detail shot showing slit and rounded corners.

To go with all this, I added pajama bloomers using Collette’s fabulous pattern.

I go to bed feeling pretty.

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Filed under Crafting, Sewing

Top hats and you: A guide for people with normal-sized heads

A lot of the top-hat making guides I’ve seen are for the tiny ones that are so fashionable nowadays. If, like me, you want to make one that fits on your head, you better have the world’s smallest head. Sorting through search engines for these guides is difficult, as well.


For my first hat, I’m going to use lightweight poster board, some bendable wire, duct tape, glue stick, a glue gun and black moleskin velour. I also used paper, solely for pattern-making purposes.

Hats have been made of real moleskin felt in the past, so moleskin velour works well. It has a soft, very short nap on one side, making it good for sewing and gluing. Moleskin velour is matte on the front and shiny on the back.  This is useful for achieving certain texture effects that can look really pretty for the final hat. Another useful thing about moleskin velour is that it stretches; this means that your hat will have nice, clean lines in the end. It’s available at Jo-Ann and other craft stores, comes in a wide variety of colors, and doesn’t require killing or tanning anything.

Lightweight poster board is also good. It comes in large sheets, and is sold at office supply places. It’s stronger than paper, bendable, and good with glue. In single sheets it’s weak, though, so you may want to layer it. I used two sheets for the basic framework of the hat.

I decided on the use of wire based purely on trial and error. I knew my head wasn’t perfectly round, so I experimented with different ways to get oval head shapes. Mine is copper electrical wire, about 24 gauge, coiled around itself. I used one piece to find the shape of my head, and a cord of it to make the shape of the hat’s brim.

Duct tape is a magical substance. It adheres very strongly to things, including the wire and your trusty poster board. It’s also good for making sure something holds its shape while you’re waiting for the glue to dry. You can also make entire hats out of it, but that’s a tutorial for another day.

My first adhesive experiment was with school glue and glue stick. It held, but was bubbly no matter what I did. I moved on to just the glue stick, and it has worked out for me for weak and temporary bonds. For stronger bonds, I used a glue gun. Glue guns come up on a lot of crafting blogs, because they are awesome. Hot glue dries in seconds and can be really strong. Some people also use it like dimensional paint, or for gloppy special effects. It turned out that I could feel the bumps through the fabric a little when it was done, but it didn’t show.

No hat made by me would be complete without a little duct tape. I used it on the inside and outside of the poster board to hold it smoothly in place, and to hold the wire. If you work with duct tape, keep in mind that it won’t let go of the poster board without a fight and possibly some tearing.

I wound a single ply of wire around my head, where I wanted the band to be. I took it off, measured it and my head, and then put it back on to take the shape of my head. Without disturbing the shape, I traced it onto construction paper for my pattern. I then traced it three times onto my poster board. I cut out one as it was, added tabs pointing out to one, and added a four-inch seam allowance and tabs pointing in to the last. These were my crown, crown reinforcement, and brim.

Using the around-the-head measurement for the length, I cut out a head-circumference by 8-inch rectangle from the remaining poster board. I checked my pieces and duct taped the rectangle into a tube. The two crown pieces were glued together for a stronger shape. I also added several ply of wire to the outside brim with some more duct tape.

I cut out fabric for the crown, tube and brim. For the crown and tube, just follow the line and cut slits between tabs. Add a little more than four inches around to your brim, again cutting slits between tabs. To attach the fabric, I started by using school glue spread evenly from the center of the crown, and then glued the poster board tabs to the fabric ones. Use tiny amounts of hot glue to wrap the tube bit, or it will show. For the brim, start by spot-gluing the fabric to the tabs, and fan out from there all around. Then flip the brim over, and pleat the material evenly.

Glue your tabs to the inside of the tube, cutting off excess and tweaking as you go. Bend the sides of the brim up and the front and back down with the wire until you have something you like. Garnish with whatever you have on hand to hide flaws and look purty.

It's not perfect, but it's mine.

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Filed under Crafting, Steampunk