DIY: Men’s Shirt to Bow Tunic Dress

Once I saw this bow tunic dress in Vivi Magazine, it was all over.  I’m such a sucker for bows and anything really girly – especially when it’s multifunctional!  This sweet little piece you can wear with the bows running down your back or down your front depending on your mood.  Fashioned from an oversized man’s long-sleeved shirt, with a couple fixes it becomes a cute A-line batwing tunic dress – paired with pretty tights if you like your dresses super-short, or perfect over a miniskirt or leggings.

You Need: (more…)

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DIY Ribbon Edwardian Cuffs

To continue on in the theme of strange things to wear on your wrists…

I’d like to share with you how to make your very own pair of pleated wrist cuffs.

As an accessory they may be somewhat unusual – but maybe you noticed them on China Chow from a previous episode of Bravo’s Work of Art? (Episode 3; the one where the artists have to create a piece of art for a book cover; I can’t find the screencap from  She’s wearing them though!!)

They’ve been seen on celebrities such as Audrina Patridge and Brooke Hogan, courtesy of Cuffs Couture, but at $58-$90 for a single cuff I find this brand a bit out of my budget.

I actually saw the cuffs I got the idea from in a February 2010 issue of Vivi magazine, and thought they were a great idea to wear with bare arms to add a bit of romance to an outfit.


You Need: (sorry for the hand-drawings, I didn’t photograph the step-by-step)


*2 pieces of black woven fabric, each about 3″ wide and long enough to wrap loosely around one wrist with about a 2″ overlap
*2 sets of black velcro strips (the furry side and the hooked side = 1 set), each about 2″ longpleated white trim (mine was grosgrain ribbon trim I found at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, though if you can find pleated silk or cotton that would be soooo much better)
*black grosgrain ribbon, 1/2″ wideAnd…
*fabric scissors
*sewing machine and needle for wovens
*hand-sewing needle
*black thread
*white thread
*fabric glue
How To:

1. Turn under all the raw edges of each fabric piece about 1/2″, and sew.

2. On the underside of one of the smaller ends of a fabric piece, sew a piece of velcro (the furry side out).  Do the same for the other fabric piece.

3. Cut 2 pieces of your black grosgrain ribbon and 4 pieces of pleated trim to the same length as your finished fabric pieces.

Use an open flame to heat-seal the edges if they are synthetic fibers; if cotton you will have to either fold the raw edges under or seal them with Fray-Check.

4. Sew 2 pleated trim pieces onto each long side of one of the fabric pieces.  Place them just far apart enough so that the 1/2″ wide ribbon placed in-between them will just overlap them in the center.  Do the same for the other fabric piece and remaining pleated trim.

5. Sew each piece of black grosgrain ribbon down in the center of the fabric pieces.

6. Make the bow: (For my bow I made two loops; one a little smaller than the other, and placed them on top of each other, gluing the top loop onto the bottom one, then wrapping the center and securing with stitching underneath. You can make two or one or however many loops you want!  The methodology is the same anyway.  The following directions are for a single-loop bow🙂

*Cut a 2.5″-long piece and a 1.5″ piece of grosgrain ribbon.  Double-thread your hand-sewing needle with black thread, and double-knot the end.

*Create a loop with the longer piece of ribbon, underlapping the ends.

*Push your needle into the underlapped pieces to the inside of the loop, then back through and out, pulling the knot tight onto the ribbon underside.

*Pierce the end of the smaller piece of ribbon and push it all the way down to anchor it onto the underside of the loop you just made.

*Curl the small ribbon around the loop, and anchor the other side of it with the needle and thread.

*Sew an X through all layers except for the tops of the loops, knot, and cut the thread.

*Make one more bow.

7. Use a dab of fabric glue to glue each bow onto the center ribbon of each cuff.

8.  Sew the other velcro strips onto the opposite ends of the fabric cuffs, onto the right sides, the hooked side facing outwards.

Each cuff is fastened by pressing the strips of velcro together on the underside of your wrists.

The stiffness of the ribbon pleats makes it stand out from the wrist more than I had hoped, thus something that is softer or thinner would be a better choice for the pleating.  You could even make the pleating by hand (with the help of an iron) if you were particularly hardcore.

I think they look equally as good with a casual ensemble as with a slinky LBD!

Hope this has inspired you to make your own!
Happy DIY’ing!

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DIY Corsage Shoe Clips

Uber-simple.  (So simple you don’t even need step-by-step photos to illustrate!)

You Need:

*2 silk flowers (I chose cream-colored peonies)
*small piece of stiff felt
*2 shoe clips

*glue gun

How To:

1. Pull the flowers off their stems and trim off any jutting plastic from the underside.

2. Cut two small circles from the felt – large enough to become the base for each flower, but small enough to not show through in-between the petals.

3. Use glue gun to attach each felt circle to the underside of each flower and press the felt to cup the flower’s shape.  In order to stop the top layers of petals from falling off, you may also need to glue in-between each layer, near the center.

4. Open the shoe-clips, place a daub of hot glue on the felt (I chose near the top of the circle to minimize the amount the flower protrudes from the edge of the shoe), and press the non-toothed side of the shoe clip into the glue.  Squeeze more glue over that part to firmly attach it to the felt.

5. Allow to dry and remove gluey strings.

I’m liking this girly look on chunky clogs at the moment – found this pair at my local Goodwill and wanted to soften them up for the romantic look that’s so in right now.  I love the flower as juxtaposition to the organic wood of the soles.  Speaking of clogs, I also have a different pair [brown] of size 7 Nine West clogs up for sale here if anyone is interested.

Happy DIY’ing!

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First Day of Spring Outfit & Studded Cardigan DIY

*Forever21 coat (similar here)
*Forever21 DIY-studded cardigan
*Target striped 3/4-length sleeve shirt (similar here)
*silver horseshoe-stamped necklace I won from Lucky Magazine
*Aldo padlock bag (similar here, in pink)
*Forever21 rhinestone two-finger ring (similar here)
*Forever21 gold chain ring (similar here)
*H&M zipper skirt
*self-made leggings
*unknown wedge-heel booties (something kinda similar here)

So I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve been MIA for the last couple days, and what on earth I’ve been doing.  In the meantime…

Spring has finally arrived here in Portland, and the weather has been beautiful.

It’s been time to break out the ol’ lawnmower…

Run for your life!

Find leprechaun gold on St. Patrick’s Day…


Walk the dog…

I refuse to be walked.  Oh, and may the Force be with you.

And watch the plum blossoms fall, like light pink snow, on the front lawn.


I, meanwhile, have been sick.

We got off the plane 2 Mondays ago, and I felt a tickle in my throat.  “I’m just dehydrated,” I thought…

And guzzled tons of water Tuesday, but felt increasingly worse.  “I’m just jetlagged,” I thought, and endeavored to catch up on tons of sleep, guzzled more water…

But by Thursday it was evident I had a head cold.  I sprung a 101-degree fever, had a runny nose, and unbelievable body aches and pains (and it wasn’t from dragging all our luggage around!)

By Sunday last week it felt like the cold was on its way out, so Monday morning I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile, and we hung out and talked for about 3 hours, me sucking on Halls and downing honeyed green tea the whole time.

I felt an annoying tickle in my throat again, but still had sinus pressure and a runny nose from the cold that was on its way out.  So I drank TONS of water, tea, and guzzled probably half a honeybear of honey.

Last Tuesday came, and I had no voice.

No voice whatsoever.

I could only speak in a raspy whisper, and in a squeak here and there.  At some points I couldn’t even whisper at all – my mouth was forming the words, but it was like there was no sound passing my lips.
I haven’t had laryngitis this bad in at least 15 years, so it was a shock to say the least.

I read on the Internet (that most reliable source of information) that the best cure for laryngitis is to let the virus run its course, get plenty of rest, and not use your voice.  Easier said than done when you have a 4-year-old.;-)  And salt gargles, which I’ve been doing.

So, since my blogging routine is usually wait for Lil Tot to fall asleep around 8:30 PM, then sneak out of bed so as not to wake him, head for my computer, and blog for the next 4 hours, this was totally ruined by the get plenty of rest suggestion, and I’ve been sleeping 10-12 hours per day (!) since Tuesday in a desperate attempt to get my voice back.

Friday I finally got a trim, since I’m growing my hair out it’s kind of in that shapeless, can’t-do-anything-with-it stage.


It really did feel like the First Day of Spring, with the warm weather, and the sunshine.  So I broke out my fave blue coat, the one for some reason complete strangers like to complement me on when I wear it.

It has a lovely, striped satin lining.  To think it was only $39 on sale at F21!  
(no longer available, tho you can get something at Alloy where I’ve linked above.)

So these are my showing-off-my-new-hair-and-my-newfound-finally-not-just-a-whisper-voice (more like heavy-smoker, husky-phone-sex-old-lady-voice) photos.

Useful padlock bag from Aldo that was around $40. Waaay better than a Paddington!

I also wanted to share my studded cardi that I made a little while ago.  A great way to dress up a regular black boyfriend lightweight cardigan, silver studs around the edge elevate it from casual to something much, much better.  (And these cardigans been all over Vivi magazine for the past couple months if you happen to have caught a glimpse of them!)  Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find any for sale in the U.S. and a reasonable price.  (And Forever21 hasn’t done a knockoff, something I’m a little surprised at still. Doing a quick search for a studded cardi at ShopStyle will produce a couple similar ones…but at a couple hundred dollars each.  I mean, come on.)

So a quick little DIY for ya:
How To Make a Studded Cardigan
You Need:
*boyfriend cardigan (like this one from Target)
*1 (gross) packet of 7mm Square Hotfix Nailheads (silver) from

*Hotfix Applicator tool
*piece of scrap cardboard

Why heatset studs instead of pronged?  Because they are far, far lighter…and easier to set on a lightweight knit such as this.


Place the cardboard directly underneath the front of your sweater.  (You may have to shift the sweater placement as you affix studs around the neckline.)  I just placed them about 1.5″ apart along the front edges of the cardigan, and along the top edges of the pockets.  (You use the large flat attachment for the applicator tool, press down lightly onto the nailhead you have already placed on your sweater, and hold for about 15 seconds.  Repeat for each stud, all the way around the neckline, and on the top of the pockets.)  I love the finished effect!


Pretty simple, eh?  (And yes, my cardboard is from an IKEA box.  I do love IKEA.;-)

I didn’t realize until after I’d received my cardigan in the mail that the particular one I’d ordered had a detachable scarf with the cardigan’s pockets on it.  (Don’t ask why I didn’t realize this; I’m an idiot.)  I sewed the scarf down onto the cardigan and added the studs; now faced with the problem of the cardigan no longer being able to button and the back of the neck rolling absurdly because of the extra material from the scarf…surgery on this cardigan needs to be attempted soon.  I just haven’t bothered with it just yet.

Here you can see the little scarf-piece I haven’t dealt with yet.

I also can’t believe I found these boots last week at the Buffalo Exchange for $15.  I’ve concluded that the person who sold them to the Buffalo Exchange must have been legally insane…because you’d have to be ker-azyto willingly give up this cute little pair.  I was actually looking for a pair to DIY my own lace-up Ann Demuelemeesters…and I found these instead. They are adorable, right down to the little fold-over at the top, and surprisingly comfortable.  The only clue to their origin is the stamping in the footbed…which could read “F21” or “F24” depending on how you look at them.  Does anyone recognize them from a Forever21?


Friday I went to bed praying that I would not sound like a 3-packs-a-day-smoker for this networking event I was aching to go to on Saturday, since I am in the market for a full-time J-O-B and refuse to work at Burger King.  (apologies all who work at Burger King.)

So I am currently massively behind on everything from housework to going through my mail to answering email (only 53 new messages this morning, thank god) to posting here to formspringing.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Will get to everything slowly as my voice finally seems to be coming back, just as slowly, unfortunately…and now Lil Tot has now caught whatever I had.

Plus…okay, another reason I’ve been reticent to take/post outfit photos…or really do anything…is that I’ve gained 7 pounds while in Hawaii.

Can you see it in my face?  (I put on weight in my face first, #$%@ing genetics.)

I honestly don’t know how it happened.  I thought I was being careful, but obviously too much time spent with my computer while others were frolicking on the beach, too many giving in to decadent food and dinners and full buffet breakfasts….ugh.  I’m pretty annoyed with myself since I usually only swing about 3 pounds above my usual set-point throughout the given month…but this…puts me right back where I was last year, before beginning the hell that was P90X.

Funny how a slightly higher number on the scale can totally defeat your willpower to do anything, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, I am glad Spring is here! (even tho my garden obviously hasn’t realized it yet LOL)


Anyway, thank you all so much for commenting during my lapse, and asking questions and giving me feedback…as well as entering my Cold Plasma Giveaway…which I’ll be announcing the winner to tomorrow!

You guys are the best.:-)


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Don’t Buy, DIY: Band Jacket from a Jacket You May Already Have!

As you may have seen in my most recent entry for America’s Most Stylish Blogger Competition (I’m getting a little tired of writing that by now;-) All the shameless self-promotion is wearing me down!), I styled the hot pink miniskirt with a DIY band jacket that I made from a jacket I already had in my closet.

No joke! Here’s the DIY:

1. Use a jacket that is a shorter length with a little mandarin collar or similar collar to what you want your final jacket. (A boxy shape and flimsy material for the jacket is best!)

The underside of the pinned edge.

2. Pin under your hemline, using safety pins, to create that cutaway band jacket shape. Iron if you want to create a crisp, sharp edge.

3. Pin shoulder pads inside the shoulders, using safety pins. (I used foam Dritz ones in Large that I got at my local Jo-Anns. Alternatively, you can rip them out of a jacket you already have – but you need them big to create that strong structured shoulder, so double them up if you can!)

4. Sew decorative trim onto the front of you jacket in scalloped curliques. (I just used matching thread and long basting stitches. This took awhile, but wasn’t very difficult.)

The inside of the jacket showing my basting stitches.

The trim on the outside encircling the buttons.

5. Optional: If you want, to create more of a “couture-looking” line below the shoulder, take in the sleeve in the upper arm area a little. (By sewing a line inside the sleeve seam line in the upper arm area.) This will make your shoulder pads “pop out” and give it that Balmain-look. Ideally speaking.:-)

PLUS, once you get tired of the look, remove your safety pins and shoulder pads, cut your basting stitches, re-iron your hem and your jacket is back to the way it was! *sigh* Multiple options in the same garment are just so, so lovely.

Happy DIY’ing!
Carly Multifunctional Cais


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