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A Summer Skirt Gets a Fall Makeover

27 Oct

Since the dye job I did earlier in the week turned out so well, I was inspired to try again!  I’ve had this old white and brown skirt that my mom gave me forever and I have never worn it because it has a big stain right on the front.  Today’s dye job will make this summer skirt ready for fall AND covers up that pesky stain!


staring at the ugly stain!



I mixed a whole package of Rit dye in Golden Yellow with some hot water and added it to the washing machine set on the hottest and shortest cycle.  Then I put the skirt in and let the cycle finish and the final product covered up the stain and turned out a beautiful mellow yellow.   A brown and yellow skirt paired with some brown leather boots is the perfect fall ensemble!



Halloween Costumes

26 Oct

T minus 6 days until Halloween!  Is your costume ready?  Mine isn’t either!  No worries, over the years I have often waited until the last minute and still come up with some great costume ideas that you can throw together using mostly things you find around the house or can get pretty easily and cheaply.  Check out these DIY costume ideas!

Mario and Luigi Costume:



For a girly take on this classic costume I cut and hemmed some overalls I found at a thrift store.  The letters on the hats are just cut out of paper and the matching t-shirts were also thrift store finds.  Dig some black boots and white winter gloves out of the closet and you are ready to go fight Bowser!

The Cheshire Cat Costume:



I found this perfect Cheshire cat inspired striped fabric at the store and knew just what to do with it!  I made this body suit by laying down on the fabric and having someone trace me.  Then I simply cut out the tracing and sewed it together.  Add some ears and a little drawn on nose and whiskers and voila!  You are ready to give cryptic advice to everyone at the party.  The best part about this costume is that the back of it is made out of black fabric so that when I turn around…


—I disappear!  😀

80s Fab Costume:


I made this costume completely with stuff I found in my own closet!  This is a fun costume to do in a group because everyone can participate just by being creative with clothes and accessories they already have. I used an old full piece bathing suit as the base (a tank top would work just as well) and I wore a pink tube top as a skirt.  I cut a hole in the crotch of some black fishnet tights and put my head through the hole and my arms through the legs (after I cut off the feet of the tights) in order to wear it as a shirt.  Some black leggings and leg warmers paired with a pair of heels and I was ready to rock out and get physical like Olivia Newton-John!


Poison Ivy Costume:




Whether you want to go as the plant or as the super villain, this easy costume covers all the bases!  Just grab a green tank top and some green socks with the toes cut out, wrap yourself in ivy from the garden or from the craft store and you are ready to wreak itchy havoc everywhere!

Corpse Bride Costume:



This costume is pretty versatile because it can also double as a zombie bride costume!  I found a wedding dress and veil from the thrift store (any white dress will do) and cut the top of the dress to make it strapless like the Corpse Bride’s dress.  The dress and veil were a nice pristine white so I made them look aged by soaking them overnight  in a bath of tea.  I got the blue wig and face paint from a costume store and put on my poutiest face to go in search of my groom!

Leeloo from The Fifth Element Costume:



I made this costume for a friend who looks JUST LIKE Milla Jovovich.  I cropped a white t-shirt and spray painted some white tights gold; then used a black sharpie to draw the lines on the tights.  To make the orange jumper I took a large orange shirt and traced out the design while my friend was wearing the shirt.  I cut out the design and sewed the front and back hems together to make a crotch seam.  We added some black boots, an orange wig and a paper multipass and Leeloo was ready to go save the world!

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Dye a Dress

25 Oct beforeafter

Today we are going to take an old white dress that was covered with stains and give it a new lease on life using some blast from the past inspiration –  I found this amazing ribbon at the fabric store and just couldn’t pass it up:


This ribbon has a great 60’s mod flare that I tried to infuse into this old white dress, the outcome was pretty groovy 🙂


Total crafting time: About two and a half hours of actual work plus an hour for the dress to go through the washer and dryer while dyeing.


-white or light colored dress

-one box of Rit dye in Kelly Green

-sewing machine

-1 yard of  1/2″ ribbon

-1 yard of 1 1/2″ ribbon

-thread to match ribbon



-pitcher or bowl

-washing machine or large pot

-dryer or line to dry clothes


-measuring cup

Step 1: Lets set up the dye bath.  Pour two cups of hot water into a pitcher or bowl.


Step 2:  Open your box of Rit dye and pour the entire package into the water.



Step 3: Stir the dye bath until all the powder is fully dissolved.  Unless you want a green spoon, it is best to use a metal or plastic spoon rather than wood!


Step 4:  Turn your washing machine to the hottest setting and shortest cycle and add the dye!  Alternatively, you can add this dye to a pot of boiling water on top of the stove.  Add enough water to fully submerge your garment.


Step 5: Stick the dress in the machine and wait for the cycle to finish!  If boiling on the stove, leave the dress in about half an hour.  Once you put the dress in the dye bath you will notice that it dyes right away.  It is important to leave it in for the full cycle for the dye to set completely into the fibers and achieve the boldest colors.  If you want a lighter color, use less dye and more water but still allow the garment to soak for a full half hour.  In this case, I was going for bold and was very happy with the result!

Step 6:  Remove the dress from the washer and stick it in the dryer or on a line to dry.  A line is definitely the better option for the environment, but I just couldn’t wait to see the finished color so I went with the dryer 🙂takingdressout

Step 7:  The final color was nice and bright and complemented well the ribbon that inspired it all.  Time to attach that ribbon!


Line up the bottom of the 1 1/2″ ribbon along the bottom hem of the dress and pin.  Fold over and sew the ribbon at the ends so it doesn’t fray. The ribbon ends should meet at one of the side seams to make it less conspicuous.


Pinning away!

Step 8:  Thread the machine with thread that matches your ribbon and sew the ribbon to the hem!  Try not to stretch and pull the fabric or the ribbon too much while you sew – otherwise your ribbon might come out all puckered and no one likes sour ribbon 😛



All sewn! (and a little wrinkly)

Step 9: It’s almost time to sew some ribbon down the center!  But first I have to remove all those pesky buttons running down the center of my dress.  I simply took some scissors and snipped off all 14 buttons and set them aside for use in a future project 🙂


After the button removal, I was left with a giant gaping hole in my dress!


I took to the machine and sewed it up.  I wasn’t worried about matching thread because this part is going to be covered with ribbon.


All stitched up!

Step 10: Pin the 1/2″ ribbon down the center front.  Fold it over on both ends so it doesn’t fray.


Step 11:  Thread the machine with matching thread and sew up that ribbon!  Again, try not to pull or stretch the fabric too much as you sew in order to avoid bubbles or puckers in your ribbon.


All sewn up!

Step 12:  Now that the front is finished, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the back.  The back of this dress has two fabric ties in order to pull the dress tight and make a bow.  The ties were pretty lackluster so I removed them by cutting them out of the seam they were sewn into.


Step 13:  Then, I used the leftover ribbon to replace the ties.  Be sure to finish off the ribbon edges by sewing a little square at each end!


Then, I inserted the raw end of the ribbon into the little hole in the seam where I cut the original ties.


And the dress is complete!  Here is the final product:


And the ties in the back:


Enjoy!  And send me your versions for me to post on the site:

T-shirt Skirt!

19 Oct

Apparently this week I am a little t-shirt happy since this will be the second t-shirt themed post of the week!  It must be because I’ve been cleaning out my closet and I have piles of old clothes to upcycle 🙂  Today we are making a cute little skirt out of an old t-shirt.  For this project, the bigger the t-shirt the better.

All you need for today’s craft is a t-shirt and a pair o’ scissors.

The first thing to do is take that collar and streeeeetch it out by pulling at opposite ends with both hands.  The collar is going to become the waistband so stretch it as much as you can!  If you can’t stretch it enough to fit around your waist you can always put little snippets in it.


Once you have stretched to your heart’s content, its time to step into the collar and pull the shirt up around your waist like it’s a real skirt!  Make any stretching or snipping adjustments needed to make sure the collar fits snugly around your waist.


Next, make a little snippet with your scissors or use a pencil to mark the length of your skirt.  I wanted my skirt to fall just about the knee so I made a little mark right there.


Then take your skirt off and lay it flat on the floor.  The first thing to do is cut open the seam that holds the sleeves together.


Then cut straight across the t-shirt at the place where you made the mark, cutting through both the front and back layers of fabric.  If the sleeves are longer than the rest of the skirt you can trim them to make it all the same length.


Cut all the way across and down the sleeve at the other end.  The fabric that t-shirts are made out of is called jersey knit and it’s a really great material to work with because you can leave the edges raw (un-hemmed) and they won’t fray or fall apart.  The raw edges actually add a cool, grungy feel to the garment.



Once you are done cutting, put your skirt on and make any adjustments to length or jagged edges and then you’re ready to go! I turned my skirt around so the graphic was in the back 🙂



Stay tuned for another DIY t-shirt craft of epic proportions coming soon!

DIY Pikachu Halloween Costume!

17 Oct

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I’d show you some costumes I’ve been working on.  Today, we are making a girls Pikachu costume out of duct tape!  Duct tape is a great material to make clothing out of because it is durable and doesn’t require any sewing.  It is also an easy way to make a custom fit costume because it wraps right around your body!

Here is what the final costume looks like:


And in case you need a little refresher, here is a picture of the Pokemon character Pikachu:


You will need the following materials for this project:

-yellow duct tape

-black duct tape (or electrical tape)

-plastic wrap

-a dress to use as a base (this dress will not get ruined or altered)


-super glue

-velcro (one yard)

-foam core or cardboard

-a black headband

-brown paint (any kind)

-a paintbrush (any kind)

-red lipstick/lip liner or face paint

Step 1: Find a dress that is fitted and has the same shape and length you would like for your Pikachu costume and put it on.


Step 2: Start at the top and wrap the entire dress in plastic wrap.  Wrap snuggly and use layers to make sure it is all covered.  For the top of this costume we used a yellow bikini top but you  can also wrap the top in plastic wrap and make that out of duct tape as well.


Step 3: Once the dress is fully covered in plastic wrap (this will prevent the duct tape from sticking to you and/or the dress!) start duct taping horizontally around the body.  You can do this yourself but it will definitely be easier if you have two people.  One person holds the duct tape and the other slowly spins around in place to wrap the duct tape around and around.  Make sure you layer the tape so there aren’t any spaces!


The curves and corners of the body are a bit tricky, but just pinch the tape and tuck it in and don’t worry too much about it on this first pass because we will cover it and make it look pretty later 🙂



Step 4: Once the dress is fully covered in a layer of duct tape, go through and make vertical stripes around the back and sides to clean up the pinched corners.  We left a 6 inch panel of horizontal stripes visible in the front because the contrast of vertical and horizontal stripes at your sides gives a lovely, slimming effect!



Step 5:  Once the dress looks nice and neat, it’s time to cut it up!  Take some scissors and carefully cut all the way down the center back.   Be sure to cut through both the plastic wrap and the duct tape but not your dress underneath!


Try not to stretch or crumple the dress too much once its off – you can’t iron duct tape!

cutdressStep 6: Next we need to enforce all the edges of the dress with duct tape.  Encase the top, bottom and back edges of the dress with duct tape by placing a strip of tape along one edge and position it so that half of the tape is coming off the edge of the dress.  Then, fold the tape over and stick it to itself. Do this twice on the edges you made when you cut the back in order to give the dress an extra inch on which to attach the velcro.


Step 7: Now we want to make it so you can easily take your dress on and off!  We will do this with just a little glue and velcro, nice n’ easy.  Gently lay your dress belly-down on a flat surface.  Measure out your velcro by lining it up with the length of the dress and cut the velcro so it is the same length.


The prickly side of the velcro goes on the outside (the yellow part) of the dress along the edge of the center back cut on the left side.  The soft side of the velcro goes on the inside of the dress along the edge of the center back cut on the right side.  This way you are never in danger of having prickly velcro press against your skin!  Dab some super glue on the non-velcro sides of the velcro and stick it on those edges.  Careful not to glue your fingers together or else you might have to be Spock from Star Trek for Halloween instead 😉



Step 8:  Let the glue on the velcro dry and then try on your dress!  You have completed the body of your Pikachu costume, ta-da! Next stop: tail and ears!


Step 9: Trace out the shape of the tail onto cardboard or foam core.  You can also print out the one below and use it as a template!  If you plan to print out the template, make sure you first click on the image to get the full-size version.


Step 10: Use scissors or a box cutter to cut out the shape of the tail. Don’t worry about cutting it out perfectly since we are going to give it a little duct tape makeover!


Step 11: Wrap the tail up in yellow duct tape.  You can use any method or pattern you like, however I found it was easiest to first tape along the edges of the tail as seen in the pic below and then fill in the gaps with horizontal pieces of tape.



Step 12: Time to get those hands dirty and paint the tail!  Use brown paint to paint solid brown all the way up the tail and stop just before the biggest square part on at the end.  When you get to the big square end of the tail, brush the paint up in swift vertical motions to make it look like a little tuft of brown fur.


Paint both sides and edges of the tail and set it aside to dry.  Depending on the kind of paint you use, you might want to do two coats of paint.

Step 13: You are almost there!  Just the ears to go and then you are ready to evolve into Pikachu!  Use the template below to trace two ears onto foam core or cardboard. If you plan to print out the template, make sure you click on the image first to get the full-sized version.


Step 14: Just like the tail, use scissors or a box cutter to cut out the ears.  We will also be covering these with duct tape so save your perfect cutting skills for paper snowflake making day 🙂


Step 15: To tape the ear, first place one long piece of tape vertically across the whole thing.


Then, tape one long piece around the edges, folding over and pinching as you make your way around the curves.


Step 16:  Take your black tape and wrap it around the top 3 inches or so of the ear in order to make the little black tips on Pikachu’s ear.


Step 17: Now it’s time for some ear piercing!  Use scissors or some other sharp object to carefully create a hole at the bottom of both ears.


Step 18: Now, take a strip of duct tape about 8 inches long and cut/tear it so that it is only about 1/2 inch wide.  Then, wrap one end of the tape around a screw or nail.  Be careful that the tape doesn’t stick to itself while you are doing this because it is almost impossible to pull it apart!


Step 19:  Use the screw/nail to thread the tape through the hole you made in the ears.  Once it is through, cut or unwrap the tape from the sharp object.


Step 20:  Take your headband and position the ear on top and slightly to the right.  Then, wrap the ends of the tape that are threaded through the hole in the ear around the headband.  Repeat with the second ear and place that one slightly to the left.


This should be enough to keep your ears in place but if you want them to be extra sturdy you can always wrap more tape around the headband and attach it to the base of the ears.  All that yellow tape blends in so you can really use as much as you want if you are tape happy!

Step 21:  You have officially completed making all the parts for this costume!  Now, it’s just time to attach all the parts and style accordingly. Put on your yellow dress and position the tail in the back of the dress at your tailbone.  Then, attach a strip of tape to the dress, wrap it around the tail and stick it back to the dress.  I made you a little diagram below to show you what it looks like:



Use as much tape as you need to make the tail feel sturdily attached!

Step 22: Make-up time!  Use some red lipstick, lip liner or face paint to make little red circles on your cheeks.  Super cute!


Now put on those ears and some cute shoes and show off that handy work while getting some yummy Halloween candy, you earned it!


Have fun with these costume instructions and send me pics of what you make!  Happy Halloween 🙂

Rockin’ Revamped Roller Skates

12 Oct

For my roommates birthday, I found her old, beat up pair of roller skates in the garage and revamped them to give them a second lease on life!  This is what the before skates looked like:


The first thing to do was to jazz up those laces!


There were scuffs on the leather and rust on the metal clips where the shoelaces are tied but I took care of that pretty easily with a coat of white acrylic paint.

Then I also used acrylic paint to paint a 70’s style rainbow on each side and added some colors to the back.



The inside of the tongue was all moth-eaten so I sewed some cool polka-dotted fabric inside to match the funky rainbow motif.


The birthday girl loved the way the final product turned out!  Can’t wait to go skating and watch her take these babies for a spin.



Mission San Juan Capistrano Photo Shoot

4 Oct

Today I would like to share with you some photos from a recent photo shoot at the Mission Church in San Juan Capistrano.  The mission was built by Spain in Orange County, CA in 1775 to help spread Christianity and establish the Spanish territory.  It is among the oldest historical buildings in southern California and the architecture is classic and beautiful – perfect place for a photo shoot!


Mission Location!

The shoot was partially a fashion shoot and partially a take pretty pictures shoot and the photos were shot on a Nikon digital SLR.  Here are some of the best ones!


The entrance into the mission.


It's almost like Europe - except with palm trees!


Divine rays of light!


Beautiful landscaping!


It looks so old...and it is! 🙂

And some of the fashion shots – my outfit really pops against this old world backdrop.


A very old runway!


Classic doorway pose


The close-up is my favorite.

I definitely recommend a trip to this mission for photos, enjoyment and a great history lesson.  For more info, check out their website: Happy Monday!



Meta Apron

26 Sep

Over the weekend I found this amazing, super cute fabric with a 1950’s housewives pattern printed all over it!  I wasn’t sure what I would use it for, but I just couldn’t pass it up.  As I was looking it over today, the perfect idea popped into my head: an apron!  The fabric is covered with women wearing adorable, period aprons so what better thing to make with the fabric than a classic apron?  Today’s post is called Meta Apron because today, we are making an apron out of apron-covered fabric!

Things you will need to complete this project:

-fabric of your choosing

-needle and thread

-sewing machine (or you can hand-sew)


-two yards of ribbon


Here is a photo of the fabric:


And a close up of the ladies:

The first thing to do was measure the fabric to fit around my waist and fall just above the knee.  I wrapped the fabric around the front of my waist and doubled it, and then I marked where it hit my knee.  Be sure to leave an extra inch all around for hemming!


Next, I cut the fabric to size.  Don’t forget to cut off the selvage (the strip on the side of the fabric that is not part of the pattern)!


Then, with the fabric upside-down, I folded over and ironed the two sides and bottom of the fabric (about an inch).


Using an iron instead of pins to mark seams is a great time-saver, but it usually only works for simple projects with straight edges like this one.  The next step is to sew down all the edges.  sewinghem

After the hem is completed, you can diagonally snip the square corners in order to reduce bulk:


Next, it’s time to prepare the gathers for the waistband.  Thread a needle and sew large basting stitches along the top edge of the fabric, these don’t need to be neat or pretty since we will pull them out later.


Then, hold one end of the thread and push all the fabric towards the other end, creating a bunching/gathering effect:


Hold the gathers up to your waist and spread them out evenly so that the fabric covers the front of your waist.

sizinggathersThen, lay the fabric flat on the table and pin the ribbon along the edge of the gathers making sure the ribbon covers your basting stitches.


Here is a close-up of the pinning:


Lastly, use the sewing machine to sew the ribbon down t0 the top of the apron, sew along the bottom edge of the ribbon and be sure to remove the pins as you sew.  Once the seam is complete, turn the skirt over and cut/pull out the basting threads as you don’t need them anymore.  Then tie on your apron and start baking!


I’m not much of a baker, but with the encouragement of the ladies on this cute new apron I will definitely give it a shot! 🙂

T-shirt Time Travel

21 Sep

Today we will travel back in time to the 80’s and breathe new life into an old t-shirt!  Grab a too-big-tee from your dad’s closet, under your roommate’s bed or from the local thrift store and a pair of scissors to get started!

I found my t-shirt in a pile of old clothes a friend was giving away and I thought it was just too cool to pass up; however it was way too big to be anything but pajamas for me.


Put on your oversize t-shirt and stand in front of the mirror.  Make little snippets on either side of the shirt where it hits your hips.  It is important to do this while wearing the t-shirt so it doesn’t end up too short or too long.  Be careful to cut only the shirt and not yourself!

Then, take off the t-shirt and lay it flat on a table.  Start at one of the slits you cut and work your way across the t-shirt towards the other side.  For some added flare, you can cut in a slight arc.



Next, cut the collar off of the neck.  Cut as close to the collar as possible, or else the shirt might fall off your shoulders!


All the cutting is done! Now to try it on and make sure it fits.  You can always make small adjustments if it’s too long or you don’t like the shape of the arc.



To complete the look, you can roll up the sleeves 😀

And the finished look!  Hello 1985 🙂


80’s fashions are totally trending right now, what a great way to stay in style and recycle old clothes without breaking the bank!

Weaving Old School: Day 3

19 Sep

In my last two posts, I discussed how to build the loom and its basic operation and how to thread the loom.  Today, I will show you a video of some weaving in action (complete with an epic outfit!) and show you some of the finished products.

Click the following link to check out my video: Weaving comes to life!

As you can see from the video, it is pretty straightforward but very tedious.

Step 1: Push the shuttle (bolt of thread) through the space between the two long planes of thread (the warp threads.)

Step 2: Step on the foot peddle to switch the position of the thread planes.

Step 3: Pull the wooden comb against the newly positioned weft thread (the horizontal one) in order to pack it down.

Step 4: Repeat.  Over, and over, and over again for about 8 hours until the fabric is about five feet long.

Step 5: Sew a loose thread looping in and around each warp thread in order to finish the edges.

Step 6: Roll the completed fabric onto the bolt and start again.

Once the bolt is full, the fabric is cut into five foot pieces to create scarves. The scarves are then loaded into a truck and driven eight hours to the nearest city where they are sold to tourists as local artisan handicrafts.

I was told that the scarves I made couldn’t be sold because they were too amateur and lumpy!  Weaving may seem like a simple process but it takes years to master and perfect.  As a result, I got to keep all of my scarves!  Here are some pics of my handiwork 🙂

Look at all those lumps! 😉


It was so cold in China that I wrapped myself in all my scarfs

My scarf kept me warm while hiking on the Great Wall of China!

It was a really wonderful and amazing experience to learn all about crafting in another culture and I am forever grateful to have had such an incredible opportunity.  You can read the paper I wrote about my experience living and working in this small village here.

Now I just have to build one of these things in my backyard and I’ll be in business!