Family Focus Blog. Check it out for ideas on how to create something sparkly and glamorous for the holidays .
Friday, November 15, 2013
I suppose I should be telling you I've never destroyed perfectly good materials to achieve a refashioned accessory or personalized version of a runway garment, but...the truth is, approximately 37 garments have died for the sake of my experimentation.
Getting from inspiration to execution can be completely frustrating, so I've put together a list of tips to help you avoid common pitfalls that lead to the dreaded #DIYfail. For more DIY tips, you can check out my book, The Chic Girl's Guide to a One-of-a-Kind Wardrobe.
1. Visualize | Envision the possibilities and think it through before you start. Whether the end goal is sweetly loopy, super smart, or vintage inspired, the hallmark of a great refashion is that first, you can't look away from the awesomeness, and second, others keep asking "Did you do that yourself or did it come like that?" Start with a plan to get a garment or accessory to look the way you want it to.
2. Buy ahead | If you see a trim or fabric you absolutely love, buy it! By all means, use your coupons or wait for the discount, but get it even if you don't have a specific idea for it at the time. It's kinda like shopping for clothes off season. Materials can be hard to come by and having supplies you absolutely love on hand when you want them can be as inspiring as a double rainbow in the blinding rain.
3. Get the basics | Nothing can sabotage a great project quicker than not having the tools you need to complete the task. Trying to rip out a hem with your fingernails is a fast short-cut to a #DIYfail.
THE BASICS Thousands of trendy and amazing supplies are available to the refashionista, but before you start a project, check to see if you have these basic items on hand.
- Fabric--not optional, sorry...through you're welcome to try. That would be very "The Emperor's New Clothes" of you.
- Fabric Scissors--unless you have a talent for rending things with your teeth, invest in a good pair of fabric scissors.
- Dressmaker's Pins--If you pin before sewing, your projects will just look better. I promise.
- Tape Measure--Use it, use it, use it. (Note: Use it.)
- Fade-away Marker--convenient for making seam or embellishment placement. The ink fades in 48 hours, but test on a scrap of your fabric first.
- Black, white and navy thread--Gotta have 'em. These colors will work for most sewing projects.
- Seam ripper--it's your new best friend. A nifty little tool to help you tear out mistakes (which you're gonna need no matter how awesome you are).
CASH TO SPARE Some items are a huge investment to make, but these tools can also be the difference between DIY success and failure.
- Sewing machine--unless you're seriously into hand-stitching, you'll want a good machine. If you don't want to invest, you can sign up for sewing classes at a local fabric store and use the machines available. There a lots of inexpensive options out there. I used a $100 student machine for years before Studhubs gifted me with a fabulous $600 Janome machine. It's got all the bells and whistles and I'd never go back now, but for basic stitching, a student model will service you well.
- Glue gun--not as expensive as a sewing machine and you can accomplish unbelievable things with a bit of hot glue.
- Fabric Cutting Machine--I never knew what I was missing until I bought a Sizzix Big Shot fabric cutting machine. Suddenly, having 200 perfectly cut flowers to embellish a handbag was a mere 10 minutes of work. If you love the embellishment side of DIY, you'll go nuts over a fabric cutter that can crank out hundreds of shapes in nothin' flat.
4. Use inexpensive materials | Buy pieces from Plato's Closet, Goodwill or the clearance rack to refashion and alter. It's much less nerve racking to cut into a garment you only paid 2 bucks for. Pick up trims and embellishments from dollar stores or at steeply discounted prices.
5. Stockpile | Before you send your unworn clothes to Goodwill, look them over to see if there are elements you could use on other projects. Trims, buttons, sequins and even portions of ill-fitting clothes can be used to embellish other garments. I once used the sleeves from an old blouse to create pockets on another dress. You can save money by stockpiling special elements.
6. Try, try again | Ever tried to recreate a gorgeous item you saw on Pinterest only to have it look like your child's 1st grade craft project? Uuh...I have! Don't sweat it. Failure to realize your original idea can take a project to unexpected places and open your mind to new possibilities. Ever flaw is a lesson learned, every mistake--innovation in disguise. Approach each challenge with a sense of purpose. As Thomas Edison replied when asked how it felt to fail while trying to invent the light bulb: "I didn't fail. I found 1,000 ways how not to make a light bulb."
Don't obsess over the annoying details. Deal with the problems, adjust and move on. It's the stuff of life.
Have you ever had a spectacular #DIYfail? I'd love to hear how you dealt with it (besides throwing the whole thing in the trash, I mean. HA.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Ya know what I mean?
Four weeks ago, my family moved from a temporary apartment into a out-dated house. Four weeks before that, my book was released, my baby daughter started school and my husband began working a new job in a new town. I've tried to keep up. I really have. And in the back of my mind I keep thinking about you guys and how I haven't really created anything new for like ever and how I must be the most boring DIY style blogger ever. But I'm looking around at everything going on in life and this uninspiring room that is supposed to be my studio and thinking: "I can't create in a space like this. It's too overwhelming."
Sometimes, you just go crazy, and right now is definitely one of those times. I've already cried twice. Every hour. For weeks. That's way too much crying (even for me). Instead of trying to be creative in everything, I'm going to take a few breather moments away from DIY style to focus on DIY room renovation (see my home studios inspiration) and hopefully turn this shabby room into a lovely, creative space. I know. There's a whole lotta ugly to be transformed. I'm not going to completely disappear, but the DIY tutorial part of Kristina J. will definitely be MIA. There are drapes to be made and furniture to be reupholstered.
That's where I am in life. Sorry for the hangup, mah dears. In the meantime you can follow everything going on behind the scenes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Happy Holidays with a little love from Anthropologie!
TO ENTER THE CONTEST for a $50 Anthro Giftcard:
1. Like Kristina J. a DIYstyle blog on Facebook by clicking through here or using the badge button in the sidebar.
2. Follow the adventure of @createclothes on Instagram or Twitter.
Your name will be entered 3 EXTRA TIMES FOR:
1. Leaving a review for The Chic Girl's Guide on Amazon.com
The contest will end November 15th at midnight. Winner will be chosen by random.org.
Leave a comment with email contact and how you entered the contest.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
At Story Leather, we believe that fashion is an important form of self-expression and we love putting design options into the hands of our customers. This week we had the chance to speak with Kristina Clemens, the author of The Chic Girl's Guide to a One-of-a-Kind Wardrobe and creater of Kristina J. a DIY style blog. Besides her impeccable wardrobe and enviable amount of creativity, we love Kristina because she also believes that personal style is about customization and adjusting designs to fit who you are rather than settling for what's on the rack.
In her beautifully illustrated new book, Kristina teaches readers how to embrace their personal style by offering hands-on techniques to alter and embellish clothing to create one of a kind outfits that are perfectly tailored.
Here's what Kristina had to say about style, where to begin with your do-it-yourself projects and common shopping mistakes to avoid. Continue Reading at Story Leather...
Monday, October 21, 2013
Studhubs and I are currently in the midst of updating our mid-century home (think LOTS of paneling..ugh!) and after updating the bedrooms, priority #1 is renovating one of the three living rooms into a sewing and design studio for Kristina J.! I've been working from my dining room table since I launched the blog, so having a space to call my own where the supplies, machines and mood boards can be on display will be a dream come true. These are some inspirational ideas currently posted to my Studio Space pinboard on Pinterest, where you can also see everything else that inspires me.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Okay. Here's the thing. I build clothes not crafts, so 9 times out of 10 I'm going to take the sewing route. But there are exceptions, like when the materials are too thick or the accessories aren't constructed of fabric. Other than that, I'll take the sewing option every time.
Tip #1 | When trying to decide between using my sewing machine or my glue gun I ask myself this question, "Is this garment or accessory going to require frequent washing to maintain?" If the answer is "yes", then the safest option is to sew it together. Hot glue doesn't hold up so well to multiple washing's and especially to the heat of a dryer.
Tip #2 | If the stiffness of hot glue will alter the finished product in a way that makes it stiff when it should flow, then sew.
Tip #3 | If you're working with embellishments of leather, vinyl, denim or other very thick fabrics, you can probably get by with glue. In fact, depending on the project, it might work out even better.
Tip #4 | To create garments from scratch, you're gonna have to develop some sewing skills. You just will. Hot glue won't get you there. Glued seams won't last long term and unless you don't ever plan to wash the garment (yuck), the adhesive bond will eventually break apart.
Tip #5 | Any fashion projects like purses, belts, shoes, and hair accessories can be glued. It's really difficult to stitch through metal, mah dears.
Tip #6 | If a fashion piece is hand-worked it should be hand-washed. Since hand-worked and embellished items are more delicate, hand-washing will keep your fashion projects looking better for longer.