What I Wore: A Favorite Cardigan

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I own far too many cardigans. Six or seven too many, to be honest. I have a soft spot for them, if the name of my blog didn't already give that away. But this mustard cardigan, by far, might be my favorite thing in my closet. I was so happy when the weather cooled down this week and I could actually wear it. This outfit had me missing fall weather horribly. I even stood in front of the A/C at work just to remind myself what a cold day might feel like. Kidding on that last part.

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I've been challenging myself this week to get out and take my own outfit photos. I invested in a wireless remote for my DSLR for that very purpose. But for some reason, I can post outfit photos without a problem, but I never want anyone to see me taking them. Weird complex, huh? It's embarrassing to stand in front of your camera and tripod, snapping photos. But I'm determined to concur my fear... Even if I took them at a deserted elementary school. Baby steps!

I'm also linking up with Two Thirty-Five Designs for Casual Friday! Enjoy the weekend!

Outfit details:
Cardigan: MNG Mango via JCP (Buy similar)
Tank: via Ross
Jeans: Levi's, old (Buy similar)
Belt: H&M
Necklace: Forever21
Heels, Thrifted, Target (Buy similar)

How to Hem a Dress or Skirt

Saturday, July 21, 2012

As a short gal - I'm 5'3", in case you were wondering - almost every article of clothing I buy is too long. Pants drag on the ground, skirts and dresses hit me at awkward places, and no pair of heels can fix that. But a sewing machine and shorter hemlines can. Learning to hem my own clothes was an invaluable skills to learn. This week I thought I'd share a quick hemming how-to, since a shorter hem was the saving grace for this blue Goodwill find I picked up last month:


See? Way too long, and in turn, unflattering and frumpy. Hemming a garment can be done by hand, but I'll always recommend using a sewing machine. Here is what else I use when I am hemming the old-fashioned way:

A sewing machine or needle
Thread to match your garment
Scissors or fabric shears
Pins to hold your fabric
An iron and ironing board
A ruler or measuring tape


Measure and cut. I start by measuring the garment for the length I want. A favorite trick to lay a dress or skirt that is the correct length over the top to measure. Cut the extra fabric, allowing 1 extra inch of fabric for seam allowance.


Press, pin, and stitch. This dress had two layers that needed hemming: the skirt and the lining. I folded the raw cut edge over 1/2 inch and pressed it into place. Then, I folded the edge over again about 1/2 inch to hide the raw edge. Remember that 1 inch seam allowance? Press the edge again, pin it into place as needed, and stitch around the skirt.


Repeat if needed. Since I had two layers to hem, I started with the skirt lining. Then I pinned it back and repeated the same steps with the skirt, making sure not to sew the two layers of fabric together.


Finishing touches. To finish, I removed my pins and cut away any extra thread. Then I pressed both layers for a more finished and professional look. I'm a sucker for my iron.


See the difference six inches of fabric makes? The dress feels entirely different - flattering, youthful, modern. Adding a belt and cute flats helps polish it off too, of course. I am looking forward to wearing this little number straight into fall. Maybe even pairing it with tights and boots for winter. And it was all possible thanks to the simple change in a hemline.

Have you ever tried hemming a garment - either the old-fashioned way or with hemming tape? What other quick sewing fixes do you like for altering a garment?

DIY Anthro Stormy Seas Necklace

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I've been obsessed with the Anthropologie Stormy Seas Necklace for quite a while now, starting way back when I saw Kendi sporting it. It's a stunning statement piece and automatically caught my eye. Of course, the darn think is circa 2009 and any left on Ebay are marked up enough to make any blogger on a budget flinch. My solution? If you can't buy it, make it. And I even threw together a little tutorial:

My Anthropologie look-a-like took about an hour to put together and cost me about $20 for the supplies - still a fraction of the price I would have paid originally. The turquoise faceted beads I used started out as clear oversize rhinestone because nothing like them seem to exist in Oregon. I used a power drill and small drill bit to add the holes, then spray painted when the color I wanted. Here is what I used to put together my necklace:

Faceted beads or pendants - I used about 16
Round beads for between the pendants
2 large O rings for the ribbon
Enough jump rings to attach your pendants
Thin cord or thread - I ended up using thread to string my beads
Wide ribbon or cord for the ties
Scissors and pliers
Spray paint to paint your beads, if needed

Preparation: If you are planning to paint your beads a certain color like I did, I recommend using a quality spray paint. Most art stores carry spray paint in fun colors. Of course, do the painting outside with plenty of fresh air. Lay the beads flat on newspaper and over them with a coat of paint. Let dry over night and repeat if needed.


Step one. I started by attaching jump rings to each of my faceted beads, using the pliers to make sure the rings were completely closed so they wouldn't slide off the thread.


Step two. I then decided what sort of pattern I wanted for my beads. I decided on three round beads between each pendant. Remember that you're doing two separate rows. My bottom row used 9 pendants and my top row used 7.


Step three. I finished my first row and tied off the ends by looping the thread through the bead a second time and making a knot. I made my second row the exact same way. Then, I tied both of my strands to my large O rings so that I could attach the ribbon ties at the end. Trim any extra thread.


Step four. Finally, I cut two equal lengths of ribbon to use as my ties. I looped them through the O rings, like the photo shows above, and tied them in a bow in the back. You could also use cord, fabric or a thick chain, depending on the look you were going for.

And there you go! This necklace, for as complex as it might look, took very little effort to put together. It isn't perfect, but I love that is captures the general idea of the Anthropologie Stormy Seas Necklace. Plus, it cost me a quarter of the price. The bright color makes it a fun statement piece for summer as well!

How to Tailor Pants at Home

Friday, July 6, 2012

One of the most useful skills I've learned during my time as a DIY-er is how to make a garment fit. Playing your own seamstress is also great on a budget. I can skip the tailor fees and adjust the garment myself for a wonderfully custom fit. These thrifted Ann Taylor LOFT pants were the perfect example. I picked them up at the thrift store, but they were a size 10 and a little too big for me since I usually wear a 6 in pants. Here is a look at the before:

Surprisingly, tailoring down a pair of pants isn't that difficult. Here is a quick look into the process. For this project, I used: a pair of pants that already fit, pins, scissors, my sewing machine, matching thread, and a fabric pencil. I started by laying my too-big pants out on a flat service. Then I laid a pair of pants that fit me well over the top to use as a makeshift pattern. Be sure to match the pants up carefully - at the waist band and at the crotch.
I then traced the outline of my pink pants onto the LOFT pants using a washable fabric pencil - from the waistband to the bottom of the leg. I did this on the outside left first, but depending on the shape and size you want, you can also take from the side of the leg as well. Before sewing, I pinned the fabric together to keep it from sliding while I was sewing.
I sewed along the line I made on the outside leg. Then I tried the pants on for fit, which turned out to be just right. This means I didn't need to take any fabric in from the inside leg. Once you are happy with your fit, trim away the old seam. I zigzag stitched by new seam to give it a little extra strength.
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And voila! Tailored pants at home. To sum it up, you are basically tracing an outline onto your too-big pants and sewing in a new seam. The process is similar for transforming wide-legged jeans into skinnies - tutorial planned for that DIY later this summer. It's definitely a handy sewing trick when you're working on a limited budget. Happy Friday!