DIY Simple Wrap Skirt

outfit2.14.13_handbagOn the Spring/Summer 2013 runways, wrap skirts (a.k.a “split skirts”) showed up repeatedly in collections such as those from Rag & Bone, Tommy Hilfiger, and Proenza Schouler.

luckymagazineskirt Lucky Magazine also did a short feature on the wrap skirt (calling it the “Envelope Skirt” in their February 2013 issue), and I was immediately taken with how easy it seemed to make.
diywrapskirt_done2outfit2.14.13_skirtThis type of wrap skirt is hardly different from a single piece of fabric, wrapped around your waist like a simple toga-cloth, but you can add a few details to make it looked more finished and less like a scrap from the fabric store.  Add a small bit of tailoring so it sits better, and an adjustable closure to allow movement, and you have a versatile bottom that is ready to usher in Spring.  Here’s how:


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DIY Leather Obi Belt Idea from Lucky Magazine

Spent a lazy Sunday pulling apart the magazines that have piled up over the past couple months…and came across this Lucky Magazine feature in one of their issues from a little while ago (not sure which one).  Sure, P.S. I Made This did a DIY of the obi-style belt back in February, but this is a little bit of a different style – plus includes some sources for buying the leather.  Here are the sources mentioned in the blurb above:

All great sources for leather, but I would also add:

(with stores throughout the U.S., this is THE place to get leatherworking supplies, tools, hardware, and skins)

(variety of exotic leathers and hides)

(includes frogskin and metallic hides)

(extremely high-quality, full-sized hides for a variety of end uses)

And, my absolute, all-time favorite:

(beautiful, amazing array of FAUX leathers and manmade vinyls!!  Yay!)

My Tips: When using lambskin or lightweight leather in a loose, tied belt like in the picture – all you need to do is cut and tie.  (Yay for simplicity!  But don’t ever ever EVER use your the same scissors/rotary cutter you use on fabric on leather…that’s a sure way to blunt your instruments.:-(  Have dedicated leather-cutters if you can!  [I use my kitchen shears that I use to cut other stuff in the kitchen with b/c they’re tough and can really withstand the abuse…but I’ll never cut fabric with them! LOL])

If you want a more structured belt, say like Gucci’s S/S 2011 RTW metallic python version with tassels – finishing the edges properly will make all the difference between looking “home-made” and “couture.”  If you’re using real leather, don’t forget to burnish the cut edges!!!  (What is burnishing? you may ask.  A how-to coming in a future post, chickadees!)



Gucci runway photo, Yannis Vlamos /

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DIY Dyeing Feature in Lucky Magazine

Unlike the New York Times, who doesn’t seem to understand what DIY actually is, Lucky Magazine gets it.  They really get it! I was simply floored by their feature on dyeing pieces in your wardrobe to give them new life, featured in their February 2011 issue.

Utilizing Rit Fabric Dye, Jacquard dye, and Tarrago leather dye, you too can make over a number of items in your closet and dye them to suit your needs.  (“The $2 Trick that Will Change Your Wardrobe!” reads the title.)

Though yes, dye is cheap, the prep and process time for dyeing something can be a few hours to a few days, so it’s not cheap time-investment-wise.  But as the article points out, you can achieve dramatic results if you put in the effort to dye something correctly and carefully.

However, most of the pieces in the article appear to be new, which is why the dyeing works so darn well…when you’re dealing with items that have wear, stains, detergents, or distressing on them, your results may be very different.  Dyeing something is never a guaranteed process…it’s fairly hit and miss (which is what many people love about it!).  Don’t start off with trying to dye your favorite dress in the whole wide world…start smaller, and don’t forget the steps necessary to prep the piece to take the dye.

Dyeing leather is absolutely fantastic and utterly addicting, though again, some leathers will or won’t react with the dye, depending on finishing, tanning method, wear, surface coats, etc.  Also: I couldn’t find the leather dye kit the magazine recommends buying from – they only sell Tarrago-brand leather polish, which is not the same as dye.   I’d recommend Angelus-brand leather dye, as I’ve worked with that before and it is extremely high-quality.  If you’d prefer the Tarrago-brand, you can buy it here on a different site…or even buy the kit on Ebay.

They even put together a little video as a quick how-to for the dyeing process for cotton/silk/synthetic fabrics – where Fashion News Director Jen Ford dyes a Barbara Bui dress:

Their other video for how to dye leather isn’t up yet.

I’m so thrilled to see a mainstream mag really try to break the process of dyeing down and inspire people to try it out!

How about you guys?  Are you thinking of dyeing a couple pieces in your wardrobe to liven things up a little?


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Sweating It

Sometimes you just want to bum around in your sweatpants.

I know I do.  Sometimes I’m just feeling – blah – that time of the month, icky weather, stuff to be stressed about, should have gotten on the treadmill yesterday – you get the drift.  Sometimes the mean reds force you into sweatpants because nothing else seems to be working.

That’s why I loved Lucky Magazine‘s January issue feature on chic sweatpants as seen on Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe’s S/S ’10 show.

Sweatpants, chic-ified?  Count me in!

So here’s my version to take away the blahs normally associated with those sweatpants days:

*lurex scarf
*handmade necklace
*Kain Label Pocket Tee
*Talula Bra
*wrap leather bracelet
*silver pyramid ring
*handmade leather ruffle clutch
*fleece sweatpants
*newsprint stockings
*IDOL platform velvet sandals

Lurex Scarf: something from the 90’s; similar styles here

Geometric Necklace – handmade, following the tutorial here by ddlai from Fatlace, who was DIY’ing a necklace she saw at Eryn Birnie.  Made from a whole bunch of sterling silver beads from the bead store – super-fun and a very striking result. If you’d prefer to buy, here’s a somewhat-similar triangular necklace here.

Wrap Leather Bracelet – $8 from the Buffalo Exchange.  So glad they have a store in Portland!  (But it drips rivets everywhere.  Caveat emptor when buying from resale shops, I suppose.)  Similar style here.

Silver Pyramid Ring: unknown. Similar style here.

Kain Label Pocket Tee – the softest, silkiest tee ever, like in the history of the world.  $85 for a t-shirt is not what I’d consider a steal in any sense of the word – but it is really the most beautiful t-shirt you will ever feel or put on.  Seriously – once you touch it you will not be able to resist the overpriced thing’s siren call!  (Plus, I had a gift card about to expire – and it had to be put to good use!)

Talula Black Lace Bra – I normally wear a sports bra day-to-day (I know, TMI!) since I want to work out at a moment’s notice, but I figure when you’re wearing sweatpants, you need to stay away from workout gear in the rest of your outfit, lest you look like you really are en route to the gym.  Talula-brand lingerie is sold at national retailers such as Aritzia and H&M.

Silver Ruffle Leather Handcuff Clutch – handmade.  In 2003, I was going to make a handcuff bag similar to the Cuffz by Linz bag that Paris Hilton was toting around, then I got bored with the idea and made a little ruffle clutch instead.  (The handcuff is scored from a child’s magic kit – you’ve probably seen those “trick handcuffs” at party stores and Wal-Mart and such.)  I’m not sure if the handcuff is inappropriate or screams 2003 or what, but I liked the contrast to the ruffle.  And I used the handcuff key as the zipper-pull to the bag as you can see.

Sweatpants – unknown, similar style here.  Should definitely haven chose a pair that’s a little smaller in size and a little less thick and fleecy – for maximum stylish result.  And women’s sweatpants with elastic cuffs are surprisingly hard to come by!  Nowadays they all seem to have the loose leg (which I think is far more flattering anyway), but I never thought I’d be able to wear my old-school-style sweatpants out of the house without feeling frumpy.  So if you have a similar style in your closet – make it do double-duty as something more fashionable asap!

Newsprint Stockings: from Japan like 10 years ago.  I thought it consummately bizarre that they contain an actual newspaper article, written in perfect English (unlike the majority of clothing designed by Japanese companies, who don’t seem to care how ridiculous, misspelled, or gibberish the English they print on their clothing is).  The funny thing was, I realized that it’s an actual print of a couple newspaper articles – with journalist Gerry Malloy‘s byline on them.  My guess is they’re from the Toronto Star, with articles from the automotive section and technology relating to
the automotive sector (!). I’d be willing to bet money that the Japanese company that printed these did not get reprint rights for this particular article and that the journalist has no idea his words are being worn by Japanese teenagers and twentysomethings in Tokyo – well, ten years ago.  (And some random thirtysomething in Oregon currently.:-)

IDOL Platform Velvet Sandals: from Japan, again, like 10 years ago.

Hair: 2nd day hair, with Charles Worthington Big Hair So Uplifting Mousse worked into the roots, then curled with a 1″ curling iron and finished off with Paul Mitchell Firmstyle Freeze and Shine Super Spray.

What do you think?  Are you considering working sweatpants into an outfit anytime soon?


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