No, No, No, NO! Zipper Pull Jewelry is EVERYWHERE!

Is it bad when DIY-oriented, non-mainstream jewelry is sold by such a large e-tailer as Uncommon Goods??

[They also sell a Recycled Bicycle Chain Bracelet ($14), a bangle formed from an oversized nail ($145), and a Zipper Pull Necklace ($90). All these items are apparently made by a couple of artists selling their wares – they’re handcrafted from recycled materials, etc. etc.]
Does anyone think the price is a little….um, steep???

Now don’t get me wrong…I love Uncommon Goods for funky, cool gifts. But stuff we’ve seen all over the blogosphere, and on cool it-girls like Kate Lamphear (below, photo from…now being sold by such a large company online? Perhaps the trend is now officially dead.

I feel bad for the designer who made this and gave it to her in hopes of some exposure. It’s okay, but the zippers look kinda cheap and bunged-up, and the cuff part that they’re sewn to looks like a simple piece of belted webbing. Maybe Uncommon Goods did it better…?

Ooh! Plus- head over to Michael’s. Look in the bead/pendant section (bypassing all the ugly gigantic lampwork pendants). There’s a line of pendants and findings called “Tokens”..and in this line is some cool, stylish stuff, like a cast 3″ bircage with a little bird in it, or an oversized kilt pin with rhinestones.

They sell an oversized (like 2″ long) cast zipper pull pendant. Gah! And I almost bought it, too!! What is the world coming to???:-)

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DIY: Jo-Ann Fabrics Zipper Rose Corsage

I have a love/hate relationship with Jo-Ann Fabrics. It’s the only fabric/notions store around; it’s more affordable than my local Mill End Store; it’s easy to get to. It also never seems to have exactly what I’m looking for and the notions are mostly for crafters: cheap, fall apart easily, aren’t made to industrial standards or to withstand heavy usage (don’t even get me started on their selection of snaps, buckles, and sewing machine needles for leathers…inevitably Dritz and inevitably crappy), and, compared to what I could be spending at an online wholesale place (or in NYC on fabric row!!), fairly expensive. I can definitely blow through $40 with almost nothing in my basket. $5.95 for a zipper???? 2″ wide sew-on velcro for $7.99 a yard?? I mean, come on. I understand they are a retail store and need to set the prices as such out here on the West Coast in order to make a profit…but with no alternative supply store here it makes my habits very expensive. It’s also populated with…erm…people who usually have a few decades on me and are thronged around the quilting section. But it’s always there when I really need something – and I can often improvise in their findings/notions section when I can’t find what I want.
My other quibble with them is that the majority of the free project sheets around the store are usually for projects that don’t seem…particularly fashion-forward or youthful. How to make a quilted tea-cozy, for instance. A how-to sheet on attaching 1/2″ red loop fringe to the bottom of your kid’s jeans.  I guess they know their current market (which doesn’t seem to be people who are interested in trends or fashion-forward designs).

So I was pleasantly surprised to come across the project sheet above, for a zipper corsage. (Jo-Ann’s Corporate seems to be putting out more trendy products as of late, and has a variety of new and fashionable trims in, like chain, long fringe, and rhinestone chain, more fabric embellishments like sew-on rhinestones and heat-set studs, punky iron-on appliques and transfer sheets, the line of Project Runway supplies [though no draping tape of course -oooooh! >:( ], as well as younger-looking people featured on the project sheets and more trendy projects in general.  Me likey these new developments!!) So here’s the how-to for this on-trend zipper corsage (though pls ignore Ms. Dallas Texas circa 1992 modeling the look above):

Hope it’s big enough to red!
Happy DIY’ing!

-Carly J. Cais
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Don’t Buy, DIY! How to Craft a Hardware Embellished Cuff

Safety pin accessories

Designers appear to have reached into their desk drawers for inspiration this spring, pulling out the New Wave accessory du jour: staples, pins, and zippers utilized in a variety of different ways: exposed, in contrast-color, haphazardly applied as trim, or twisted into 3D shapes. Interestingly, the largest zipper manufacturer in the world, YKK, was one of the official sponsors of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC (even the lanyard for the press badge was a zipper). From the staples on Victor & Rolf’s beautifully cut wool jackets to Sex Pistols-style safety pins and cheeky punk jewelry by Tom Binns – thanks to this hot 2009 trend, low is the new high, and the functional…fabulous.

The hardware-heavy, craftsy felt-flower cuff by Marc Jacobs inspired us to staple, zip, and pin our own…here’s how:



Marc jacobs cuff WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
– large piece of stiff black felt (8.5″ x 11″)
– black thread
– decorative thread or staples in gold (check the scrapbooking section of the craft store)
– 1 decorative button
– heavy-duty gold snaps (2 sets)
– gold soutache braided trim
– 1 heavy-duty jacket zipper (black with gold teeth)
– gold safety pins (1 large, 15 small)
– clear, flexible plastic (like from a vinyl tabletop cover)

– snap setting pliers/hammer+die for the snaps
– stapler
– needle
– felt or fabric glue



1. MAKE THE PARTS Cut the felt into 2 abstract, oblong flower “petals” 2 flower “petals”. To make the triangle-shaped petals, cut the plastic into 2 diamond shapes. Cut the zipper into 3 lengths, each piece measuring 10″ long. Fold each length in the center to make a rounded petal shape; secure the inside with 2 gold staples (or hand-sew stitches in decorative thread).

Diy cuff instructions

2. MAKE THE CUFF AND BASE From the felt, cut out the base of your flower parts: a circle measuring approximately 1.25″ in diameter. Then cut a 2″ wide strip that is long enough to go around your wrist plus a 3/4″ for overlap for the snaps. Use snap-setting pliers (like Dritz), or hammer and die to set 2 snaps (and their counterparts) into the ends. Because they are strong, we chose shanked snaps; alternatively, you could use sew-on snaps.

Diy marc jacobs cuff

3. ADD THE EMBELLISHMENT Using a needle and thread, hand-sew your parts onto the felt base. Start with a felt petal, then a zipper petal, then a plastic petal in a corkscrew design; repeat, attaching each new petal on top of the previous one. Wind the braided trim in and out of the petals in a figure-8 pattern, securing in the center with a few stitches. Then hide all of your stitching with a button sewn into the center. Pin safety pins haphazardly around the edge of one of the felt petals; thread 10 smaller pins onto the larger pin and attach. Complete the look by adding yet more staples or decorative thread.

Diy marc jacobs cuff

4. ATTACH BASE TO CUFF Glue felt base to the center of the cuff. Secure further by sewing around edge of the circle base with decorative thread.

To let the cuff rock out on its own, wear with something demure…or do a full-on Marc Jacobs style, with a nipped-in shrunken jacket, mismatched obi belt, super-long denim pencil skirt, and teeny porkpie straw hat set akilter.

Still have questions? Email me at CarlyJCais AT Otherwise, happy DIY-ing!

– Carly J. Cais

(runway photos via

(As posted on


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