Inspiration: Fashion with Sleeves Tied at the Waist

celineCeline A/W 2013 RTW

Around the end of Summer and for A/W 2013, the mini-trend of a shirt knotted at the waist was spotted again and again on the runways, celebs, and street-style. Harking back to the 90’s days of grungy plaid sweatshirts tied around the waist (and that iconic Marc Jacobs grunge collection for Louis Vuitton), the shirt-sleeves-tied-around-the-waist-style keeps cropping up in a more sophisticated palette and incarnation. alexanderwang

Alexander Wang A/W 2013 RTW


And incidentally, this is also my next DIY in the New Year. Stay tuned!


Photos from:, Tommy Ton for here, here, here, The Cut

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DIY Ideas from New York Fashion Week Spring 2011 Part 1: A-M

Whew!  That Fashion Week went by in the blink of an eye (and now we’re on top London), but I’m still collecting ideas for new projects to begin later this season and into next.  Spring?  Already?  Wha-….?

The trends on the runway were captivating; the ideas full of Spring and renewal.  Who didn’t swoon over the pastel minimalism at 3.1 Phillip Lim, the bold prints at Anna Sui, and the metallic fringe at Marchesa?  Though minimalism and fresh colors dominated, I was still inspired by the latest round of DIY possibilities.  Hit it, girls!

Alexander Wang: Embolden a pair of basic leggings with some fabric paint – just first use some painter’s tape to mask off geometric graphics.

Alice + Olivia: Thrift a diaphanous chiffon curtain and sew the vertical sides together.  Thread a ribbon through the top pocket (where the rod would go); tie at the back of the neck.  Cut off the excess bottom and slice a side-slit for an easy, springy halter dress.

Band of Outsiders: Create a contrast-y dress by adding a black collar (cut off another shirt if need be, or just by covering the dress’s existing collar in black fabric, and iron-on some black trim at the waist.

Carolina Herrera: Re-invent the LBD by adding the front of a white shirt, cut out, to it.  Create the unique belt by simply cutting the negative space out of a 2-3″-wide red belt.

Cynthia Rowley: Cut jagged pieces from gold lame (or use gold lace!) to embellish the shoulders of a simple black cocktail dress.

Donna Karan: Use black elastic straps and hand-sew them to a mini bustier.

Erin Fetherston: Use a graphic print to create a simple sheath (or find something that fits the bill off-the-rack).  Use a fabric marker to “color in” areas of the print for a bolder, eye-catching piece.

Jen Kao: Take a simple trench and dye it military-green, reserving the bottom for a dip-dye of lavender and orange sherbet.

Juan Carlos Obando: Punch large holes with a leather punch or using a pair of scissors (or even a scrapbooking punch!!) in a leather or vinyl jacket for a sultry peep-show.

Kimberly Ovitz: Cut out triangles from the sides of a sheer white blouse.

L.A.M.B.: Take a plain tote and cover side-to-side with a layer of neon yellow-green duck tape.  Add more tape (or even vinyl trim!) – this time in camel – in geometric lines across the front.

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Replace the buttons of an otherwise unremarkable blue blouse with bright orange buttons.  Tack on some khaki pockets (salvaged from an old pair of trousers or an overcoat) to a pair of dark blue pants.

Michael Kors: Cut the sides out of a python-print maillot.  Cut the top from the bottom, add a belt in the middle, and hand-stitch each end to the top and bottom of a belt buckle.  (Don’t swim in it!)

Monique Lhuillier: A bright wrap dress (dyed?) can be made edgier with pieces of black lace affixed to it strategically.

Some of these I’ll probably be doing tutorials for in the coming months.  See anything you’re just dying to know how to make?  Leave it in the comments section, and if it’s possible, I’ll make it so!

Also: Part 2 (N-Z) Coming Soon!



All photos found at  Layouts by me.

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DIY Alexander Wang-Inspired Mesh Insert Sweater

I had the opportunity to guest post for the blog Seamingly Smitten today, and I’m thrilled!  They are hosting a 12-day Sew Chic Upcycling event with guest posters every day – and a ton of tutorials on how to upcycle, re-use, and re-purpose just about anything you could think of.  In my post I show you how to turn a sweater into something sporty and Alexander Wang-inspired…with the addition of some mesh fabric from a thrifted football jersey.  Please check it out below!

How to Make a DIY Mesh Insert Sweater


Thanks, Jenny, for having me!  And definitely check out all the other guest poster’s tutorials, as well as the long Linky list at the end of the post for tons more inspiration.:-)

Happy DIY’ing!



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Featured as a “Crafty Superstar” on Cut Out + Keep!

Forgot to mention this – I was featured on craft-tutorial sharing site Cut Out + Keep a couple weeks ago, as a Crafty Superstar!

Since I was feeling sort of black-and-white at the time and wanted to share a range of projects that utilized a variety of techniques, I contributed four projects (click the name to go straight to the how-to):

DIY Alexander Wang Wool Glasses /    DIY Corseted Tee

DIY Sequin Bow Belt /   Woven Chain-and-Ribbon Earrings


Read the Short Interview Here


Thanks so much to Cat and whole team at Cut Out + Keep – I’m so thrilled to have been featured!

What do you all think of the projects?  Anything that you’d like to try out?

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High-Fashion DIY’s: Quick, Quick!

So Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week Fall 2011/12 has commenced and the shows are now well underway…and I’m following the coverage as it breaks.  I’m a little sorry I can’t make it out there this time around, but there’s so much going on here I just can’t tear myself away.  For now, following from a distance will just have to do…and I’m beginning to formulate some ideas for DIY’s straight off the runways for the upcoming Fall season.

However, as Spring is just around the corner here are some luxury-label pieces that have caught my eye…and that you could totally D.I.Y. Here’s the five-second rundown:

Marc Jacobs Tape Sweater

Quick How-To: Attach pieces of white sweatshirt fabric onto the front and back of a loose-knit beige sweater.  Use black Duck Tape to disguise the edges of the sweatshirt pieces (and tape another piece on the inside so it won’t stick to your skin through the loose-knit).  Never wash this sweater again!

Miu Miu Tiered Lace Dress

Quick How-To: Take any mini sleeveless LBD sheath and stitch tiers of lace trim around it.  (I believe this type of lace is called “Venise/Venice Lace” or “Guipure Lace.”)   Sure, it’s fiddly, but it will get you exactly the same look for a whole lot less!

Coach Tangle Ball-Chain Framed Small Bag

Quick How-To: Use a small clutch purse frame that has holes in it for sewing onto your bag, and attach different types of ball chain, colored chains, oxidized chains, and rhinestone chains to the holes as you sew the bag body onto it.  Alternatively, just use a clutch purse that has the style of frame you like, and attach the chains near the frame using jump rings or threading jewelry wire into the purse body to hold them on.

Haus of Price Jackson Shell Stillettos

Quick How-To: Pick a pair of neutral pumps and add a thick layer of hot glue [gluesticks for general purpose, or for fabric/vinyl crafts if you can find it], pressing tiny shells like these and these into it before it dries.  Do a single small area at a time since the hot glue dries super-fast!  (Yes, this is one of the few times I will actually advocate using hot-glue in a wearable DIY!  Also allowed in hair accessories and brooches.;-)

Coco & Breezy Spiky Studs Sunglasses

Quick How-To: Attach stick-on pyramid nailhead trim around a pair of old-school visor-style sunglasses.  Poke holes with an awl into the sides and add cone spikes through the holes.

Alexander Wang Plastic Necklace

Quick How-To: Two pieces of Crystal Clear shrink plastic, colored with a thin coat of green acrylic paint, cut into a collar-shape and attached with jump rings and chains.  Easy-peasy!

Christian Dior Haute Couture Flocked Dress

Quick How-To: Take a vintage, long-sleeved dress (that’s already stiff) and add colored Craft Flock Fibers to one side of it to get this lovely textural feel.  Trial and error is the name of the game!

See any brand-name items that you’re wondering how to DIY?  Hit me up at carlyjcais at chic-steals dot com and lmk!  I’ll include them in the next round of High-Fashion DIY’s!



photo credits:,,,, thefashionspot, wireimage.
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