Don’t Buy, DIY: Sex and the City Half-Scoop Gloves

So, were you watching the last Sex and the City movie close enough to notice those adorable half-gloves Carrie was wearing while using a pay phone in one scene?

Such a subtle difference to the regular wrist-length leather glove…but oh so cute. The gloves were actually from Ines Gloves, available for $147.

Ines gloves…so cute…but oh so expensive too. Why does this hand model lady have such hairy arms? This confuses me…and dissuades me from wanting to spend that $147 for some reason.

But we wouldn’t think of paying that much for such a simple accessory, now would we?

So why buy when you can D.I.Y.?!
Enter a typical pair of wrist-length leather gloves (mine I got at the Buffalo Exchange for $8). Wish that they were gray or brown…but c’est la vie. (I didn’t want to go through the whole rigmarole of painting them with leather paint…or worse yet, attempting to dye them. I don’t even know if that would be possible with black gloves. In any case.)

By using the photos on the website as reference, I sketched the scoop shape using an eraseable fabric pen onto the gloves.

You can see the white lines on the gloves…I tried a couple variations before deciding on the shape. Always make sure your pencil comes off of leather BEFORE you draw all over your gloves!

Add 1/4″ seam allowance below the line, and cut with a pair of sharp shears. Behold the scoop shape!Cut with a pair of sharp shears. I don’t have leather scissors, for some insane reason. Oh yes, because they’re ridiculously expensive and I just squandered my available funds on some new sewing scissors.

Using Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, and Plastic Glue, turn under that 1/4″ seam allowance and secure it to the underside of the glove. (Barge cement is a be-otch to work with since you have to wait 15 minutes after applying it before sticking your surfaces together…a total hang-up for a DIY’er in a rush like me…) ‘Tis necessary to glue the seam allowance since leather gloves are usually made from a thin and soft lambskin…which rolls and shifts uncontrollably as you sew it on a home sewing machine…unless you’re an all-star with sewing lightweight leathers, I’d recommend gluing it down to get that clean seam first!

The seam allowance glued (for the most part) down to the inside.

Then, using a leather needle (medium-weight leather, since we’re going through two thicknesses + two thicknesses of the lining), edge-stitch about 1/8″ from the edge of your gloves to secure that hem. (sorry no photo of the stitching…couldn’t work with the sewing of something black, with black thread, in a might-as-well-be-pitch-black poorly-lit sewing room.)

You’re done! Step back and admire.

Use a longer stitch than you normally would when it comes to leather…and a good tip when sewing leather is to crank the needle forward manually so that it has pierced the leather completely…BEFORE pressing with the presser foot of the machine to sew your line of stitching. Start sewing with the needle already in the leather to say it another way. Also, you can’t go super-fast or super-slow…there’s a happy medium where your machine’s feed dogs advance the leather at the right speed, the needle punches through the leather without jarring and hitting the needle plate, and the needle goes in vertically and doesn’t hit the bobbin case. Too fast and the aforementioned problems will crop up; too slow and the needle won’t punch through the leather. It’s different for every machine – just something you need to experiment with. (Of course, if you’re using a heavy-duty/industrial machine for sewing leather, you can completely ignore what I’ve just written.:-)

When starting your line of sewing, DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Go all the way around the edge, then back into the first ONE or TWO stitches you did at the beginning of the line. Backstitch ONCE. This will create a nice, professional look to your stitching.

Also, do not start stitching directly on a seamline. This will usually cause the needle to jar and hit your presser foot/needle plate/bobbin case. Sewing machine needles for leather (for the home sewing machine) are pieces of s$#@. They will snap willfully at ANY irregularity of thicknesses in your material; or bend and not punch the leather vertically at certain speeds…ugh. Buy more needles than you think you need!

Can’t wait to work these in a new outfit…the leather glove is THE must-have accessory this Fall, so rock it while you can!

Happy DIY’ing!


Leave Comment

5 Rules for Timeless Style: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week

by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals blog

As a designer I’ve developed an eye for style over the years, and an appreciation for the fact that sometimes, designer pricetags can be downright scary. While life necessitates a splurge once in a while on that can’t-live-without-it fabulous item, much of the fun of fashion is mixing high with low to create outfits that are creative, and also budget-friendly. Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one must-splurge item.
Although the focus of this column is getting the look for less, truly stylish choices are about more than just the bottom line. To avoid becoming fashion roadkill, busted as a Fashion Don’t by E! or worse, black-barred in the back of Glamour, here are five timeless tips on how to safely stay fabulous (plus some fabulous outfit ideas to get you started):


Unless you’re on the catwalk, the Chanel-clad matriarch of an old-money family, the designer him/herself and/or schmoozing with the actual designer (like Lil’ Kim at the Cinema Society screening of Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton), avoid looking like a walking billboard by rocking pieces from multiple labels. Lil’ Kim’s red heels would definitely look more fab paired with a neutral cami or blouse, this $30 dip-dye silk skirt from (right), and some accessories in red & pink to balance everything out. Oftentimes, even the designer doesn’t intend for all his pieces to be worn together…it’s overkill. (3.1 Phillip Lim bead-embellished silk blouse; Stella McCartney wooden belt; Linda Farrow Luxe 24k gold-rimmed sunglasses; Chloe Saskia tote; Two Lips Cotton Club pumps)


Even if you could afford the same eyecatching ensemble as seen on the it-girl du jour, a famous outfit once worn…is worn. Re-creating it slavishly tells the world the wearer is a wannabe sans her own stylish flair. Instead, steal what you loved most about the outfit and customize it. (For example, the oversized gray tee Rachel Bilson wore belted as a dress: American Apparel has a similar version for $20 in their men’s section – just buy an XL or XXL and rock it with your own cool belt.) Be inspired by – but don’t mimic – high profile fashionistas. By accessorizing an outfit similarly and making it your own, you’ll be hailed as a maven of fashion-forward style. (Rag & Bone Blade Belt; Grace Hats Leaves Hat; Nooka Zub 38 Zot GG Watch; Bliz black leather gladiator sandal) BBUNNY black Paris hobo


The first rule of shopping American sizing is too ignore what the tag says; it’s called vanity sizing for a reason and is a cynical attempt to capitalize on those headgames we all play in the dressing room (“I know deep down inside I’m a Size 8, but these say they’re a 2 & if I lay down on the floor and squeeze, they fit!“) Size inflation is less of a problem with European labels because their sizes are standardized. Also, ignore that pesky little voice that insists, “I used to be a 6 ten years ago, so I can still squeeze my ass into Size 6 jeans!“). Instead, focus on the evidence: how does it fit and what does the mirror say. If you have your own Hollywood trainer, be our guest and look like you’ve been poured into your clothes…but remember, the truly stylish don’t hesitate to retire the low-rise muffin-top jeans in favor of a mid-rise that fits, aren’t afraid go up a size if need be, and seek out fabrics and cuts that skim flatteringly instead of hug. (Matthew Williamson beaded chiffon blouse; 18th Amendment Colbert jeans;Oliver Peoples Hollis sunglasses; Chloe oversized leather tote; Celestina stone-embellished cuff; blue patent Stackedd peep toe pump)


For every Kate (Hudson or Moss) who always seems to look effortlessly stylish, there is the rest of the pack which always looks like they’re trying a bit too hard. Examples include wearing something straight off the runway without translating it into reality, being overly styled, or dressing age-inappropriately (both cougars underdressed in sexxxy 20-something outfits and 20-somethings overdressed in stuffy couture). Leave an outfit on the rack unless it makes you feel fabulous without too much extra effort…warning signs include requiring some of all of the following to rock this ensemble: your hair being elaborately “done”, the right makeup, shoe, jewelry, and, possibly, underpinnings and lingerie. When in doubt, opt for a classic (like Spiegel’s Matelasse sheath for $70) and remember that less is more…but fun accessories are the spice of life. (RM by Roland Mouret Pigalle wool dress in taupe; Burberry double-buckle belt; Donna Karan Mongolian gilet; Oliver Peoples Skyla sunglasses; Fendi multicolored ball bracelet; Alexander McQueen patent Elvie bag; ight=”1″ src=”″ width=”1″ /> Mercci snake stiletto)


You’re kitted out in a chic Chloe frock, sky-high Loubies, a vintage-fabulous clutch…and all your date/manfriend/husband can seem to muster is a “you look nice” (the same comment you got, ironically, while wearing those low-slung Old Navy sweats and his old wifebeater – sans bra – while lounging around the living room). The fact is, most (straight) men simply don’t care about the fashion curve, and mostly appreciate that (a) you don’t look like their mother, and (b) you’re groomed. While your gay BFFs will thrill over your perfectly-put-together look (which is why we love them & keep them around), what matters is, ultimately, what you think. As styled by fashion iconoclast Patricia Field, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw got away with some of the kookiest, out-there outfits because she wasn’t dressing to impress, she was dressing for herself. Mix high with low, designer with fast-fashion, and most of all: celebrate…by wearing what you love, just because it makes you feel good!

If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less costly versions of, please email me at carlyjcais AT fashiontribes DOT com. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!
– Carly J. Cais

Leave Comment

DIY Katharine Hamnett-Inspired Typography T-Shirt Dress

So we were all wowed by the fashion from the SATC movie, and numerous “how to get the look” postings on blogs across the world followed the movie’s release. (Yours truly is also guilty 😉

So one look I was obsessed with was that effortless Katharine Hamnett “STAY ALIVE IN 85” tee that SJP was wearing in one scene as a mini-dress, with those unforgettable argyle thigh-highs and gladiator sandals. (I’ll skip the thigh-highs myself for wearing anywhere but in my backyard for a photo op.)

Since I’m not about to go and plunk down 40 pounds (about $73 U.S.) for a t-shirt at’s online store (yes, I’m a frugal cheapskate!), and given the fact that the lovely cobalt blue color SJP is wearing in the movie is not even available (and they don’t ship to the U.S.-major bummer), I’ll have to go one better.

It’s a t-shirt worn as a dress. No problem. Find out how I did it…


Leave Comment

Look Sex & the City Stylish (On the Cheap): Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week

by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals blog
As a designer – my line is RIVETED Clothing & Accessories – I’ve developed an eye for style over the years, and an appreciation for the fact that sometimes, designer pricetags can be downright scary. While life necessitates a splurge once in a while on that can’t-live-without-it fabulous item, much of the fun of fashion is mixing high with low to create outfits that are creative, and also budget-friendly. Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one must-splurge item.
Despite reluctant boyfriends and others refusing to Get Carried Away with Sex and the City: The Movie (all that relationship drama, wide-eyed optimism, female bonding, and glitter that is the onscreen version of life in NYC) this filmic fashion-fest will more than appease the need for gorgeous eye candy.

Ensemble after ensemble – and not just for uber-fashionista Carrie Bradshaw, but a much more chic Miranda Hobbes – stylist Patricia Field created a memorable movie wardrobe, which inspired this week’s picks…perfect for that quirky, Cosmo-swilling, clothes-obsessed Manhattanite in all of us:

GLADIATOR SANDALS The Dior gladiators Carrie sports in so many scenes, including the opening, are priced at just under $800. For $23 from Go Jane and available in white, nude, tan & black, these strappy gladiator heels let a girl walk in Carrie’s shoes…sans her un-sexy realization in Season 4, Episode 64 Ring a Ding Ding that she’s dropped so much on designer footwear over the years, she may actually turn into the old woman who literally lived in her shoes.
FLORAL DRESS Starting with the inspiring opening scene where Pat Field presented the audience with a lovely welcome back Carrie-flower and throughout the entire movie, the leading ladies looked lovely in florals of every variety. A garden of green/blue/yellow from is guaranteed to bring some flower power to your wardrobe, and priced at $29, you’ll have enough left over for a fetching floral jacket & neutral accessories a la Carrie.

GRAPHIC TEE DRESS Katharine Hamnett’s STAY ALIVE IN 85 tee is back – bigger, bolder, eco-chic, and better than ever. Carrie’s cobalt blue version is coming soon to the designer’s website, however, get the look for as little at $65 in a bright red t-shirt dress from Hellz Bellz at To keep from clashing with the PacMan-meets-mod print, keep accessories minimal…unless you’re feeling bold (and cold), in which case pair with over-the-knee argyle socks ($12/pair from, sandals, and a thin gold choker.

STUDDED BELT On all the ladies in scene after scene, we saw fabulous outfits made ever more fabulous with belts. Carrie’s fave (which popped up a few times) was definitely the wide studded belt which she paired with prim little dresses to give them her own little style-spin (as a fun aside, at a recent intimate Q&A with Patricia Field, we learned that Sarah Jessica Parker loved the belt so much, she wanted to wear it with everything, and even christened it Roger.) This $20 version from Da Kine looks sassy and hard (but not I-just-joined-a-biker-gang hard), and is ultra chic with both jeans and frilly frocks.

ANKLE-LENGTH PRINT DRESS Carrie rocked two different versions of this trendy summer dress, a lovely purple tie-dye by Veronique Branquinho, and an Alexander McQeen rainbow butterfly print. This $15 version from Walmart would fit – and flatter – a range of sizes, and would look most Carrie’esque with bare feet and a gold nameplate necklace.
ONE-STOP SEX SHOPPING AT ASOS Even with the abysmal dollar-to-pound exchange rate, you can pick up a Carrie-like floral sundress, gladiator heels, safari-style vest, and that jaw-dropping white one-shouldered vintage flower dress – all for slightly more than what I usually recommend in my picks – but for far less than their luxury-brand counterparts at

SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: SPARKLY PINK PHONE Carrie’s other Big accessory was her pink Swarovski-encrusted phone. For $160, the Blackberry Pearl Faceplate kit at Let’s Crystal It lets you pimp-out your phone, providing hours of girlie garrulousness. While the six month warranty covers any crystals that might come off, the high-quality adhesive ensures they will mostly stay put…which is important, if you’re planning to party like it’s 2003 again.
If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less costly versions of, please email me at carlyjcais AT fashiontribes DOT com. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!
– Carly J. Cais

(photos: top – AZ Valley Girl Blog; Katharine Hamnett tee –; print dresses & wannabes (above) – both Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema)

Leave Comment

Pin It on Pinterest