happy 4th of july- diy style

(DIY hoody, and DIY chambray skirt)

I’ve always loved 4th of July… whats not so love? Watermelon, BBQ and fireworks? Plus, in Portland it is always sunny on the 4th! Hope all of you in the US are having a great day celebrating! I am off to find myself a red, white, and blue rocket popsicle!

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Easy DIY Gathered Skirt


My last post was about DIY circle skirts, so I figured I would keep with super simple skirt theme. Gathered skirts may even be a little easier to make, and for sure take up less fabric (since you don’t have all of the waste). The best part is that they are totally versatile and by making them yourself you can decide how long or short you want it, how stiff or flowy it should be, and where it sits on you (I personally LOVE high-waisted… it is basically my uniform).

All you need for this project is fabric (we will cover measurments/how much fabric in the first step), a zipper (I personally prefer a 7″ invisible zipper… but you are the designer so use what you want), , 3/4″ elastic, matching thread and a sewing machine.

1. Start by measuring yourself. You need three key measurements, the hip (or widest part the skirt will cover), your waist (where you want the skirt to sit) and the length. Plug those measurements into the sketches above and cut everything out.

2. Sew the side seams and finish the edges. Make sure to stop the seam on one side to fit the zipper!

3. Hem it.

4. Fold  the waistband in half with the face out.

5. Gather the skirt onto the waistband with the skirt body right side out and all raw edges together- finish those edges after you are done :)

6. Feed the elastic through the waistband.

7. Add the zipper!

done! now make a ton and fill your closet :)

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Easy DIY Circle Skirt

Skirts are one of the things I make most for myself… they are SO quick and easy to make, and for me a high-waisted short skirt is pretty much a uniform. The best thing is that you could make a skirt out of the craziest print or the most basic fabric and it will always help make an outfit look just a little extra “put together.”

There are a million ways to make a skirt. So today I am just going to focus on a circle skirt. The most iconic circle skirt out there is the poodle skirt that you most likely had as a costume when you were a kid… if not you should be really proud that you avoided that craze! ha Circle skirts can be any length or fabric and every variation will make it look just a little different. Just look how different the two are in images… and the only difference between the two is that the solid one is MUCH stiffer fabric.

Before we get started you are going to have to do a few things- first is measure. Measure your waist (called out as “W” on my drawing below) and how long you want the thing to be (I would recommend for this style to ere a little on the longer side… its pretty flippy and you can always hem it shorter if you need to). Now that you have your measurements pick out fabric and grab a matching zipper and thread. Now we can start.

1. Fold your fabric in quarters and draw out a quarter circle and the waistband (just like the drawing). Cut it all out.

2. Cut a 5 inch slit along one of the folds starting from the inside of the circle.

3. Fold the waistband piece in half the long way (hotdog way if you still think like a kid as I do:)

4. Sew the waistband to the skirt with the raw edges all facing the inside of the skirt.

5.Finish all of the raw edges with a serger or zig zag stitch.

6. Attach the zipper in the slit so that extends all the way through the waistband.

7. Fold the hem up and sew it!

8. Wear it! (I would recommend spinning at least once, it’s pretty fun!)

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DIY: embellished jean jacket

This jacket is the perfect piece for this in-between season where it is too cold for a t-shirt but too warm for a full on coat. Plus, I am loving the little pop of color and pattern it adds to my mostly black winder wardrobe!

For this project I wanted it to be a little rough around the edges (litteraly) so I stifled my perfectionist instincts and just went with it… and oh was that fun!

I started with a thristed oversized jean jacket and another thrifted jacket for the fabric. I mapped out where I wanted to embellish and traced those pieces onto brown paper bag to make pattern pieces.

I cut lightweight wonder-under and my  fabric out of each piece and pressed it all together. To secure it even better I hand sewed around all of the edges… these stitches show and are kinda messy… I love the detail and “handmade” look they give.

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DIY Inspiration: the embellished jean jacket

I’m a big believer in the jean jacket… I have always had multiple in my closet. So, when I saw this embellished jean jacket trend start to pop up screaming DIY I was hooked.  Time to scour the thrift shops!

source: one, two, three, four

Be sure to check back thursday to see what I do with it!

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DIY Zip-Off trench

This trend completely lends itself to DIY (and my favorite, restyling). I found this trench at Goodwill on the yellow tag day… so I paid 6 bucks for it! steal right? Anyway I used 2 long zippers (from Scrap in Portland, a great resource if you are here!) to make it across the entire length of the jacket. I drew a straight line across the jacket 1/2  way between the buttons to cut along. I finished the edges and put in the zippers… in total it took less then an hour, and honestly I get stopped all of the time to get compliments on this jacket… you should try it!

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DIY inspiration: the zip-off jacket

I spend a LOT of time online scouring the internet for work… and because I love it!! I find most of the inspiration for projects I work on that way, and figured that I should start sharing my thought process with you all… maybe you could be inspired too?  So, welcome to my new series: DIY INSPIRATION!

I have been LOVING these zip off jackets for months now… how awesome are they? Such a great twist on a basic jacket… and I honestly think I would rock the cropped look once the sun comes out! What do you think? Is it weird?

source: one, two

Check back Thursday to see what I did with this inspiration…


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project restyle: animal prints

I’m all about the high waisted short skirts… I wear them a LOT! With that said this is the quickest kind of restyle… I cut a munch of inches off the side and even more off the top… Added a sipper and an elastic waistband and ta-da… a skirt that fits! yay!

So, with that super long description over with… can we talk about this fabric?!? I LOVE restyling because vintage prints are SOO much better then what you can find at fabric stores or in clothing stores now a days. I am totally the girl at thrift shops that walk down isles pulling things out based on fabric… no matter the size or style (men’s or women’s)… that must look odd to everyone else.

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step away from the computer- part 2

A long while back I wrote this post about stepping away from my computer and challenging myself creatively. I mentioned that for my sewing is relaxing and rarely challenging anymore and that I was planning on trying things creativly that made me use my brain a little more. I wanted to touch back on the subject… because it is SO so important to me.

I love to challenge myself in all parts of my life… okay, okay… I actually hate it! ha But I LOVE the feeling of getting through something that wasn’t comfortable for me. Whether it is trying a new recipe or creative technique, eating something I wouldn’t normally do, going to a movie alone, or moving by myself across the country… I have learned something new about myself and grown as a person with every challenge. Challenging myself creatively is so important so that I can grow as a designer, (I would hate to be out-done by these new just-out-of-college interns :)  better understand my personal style and aesthetic… and honestly I joke sometime that I worry about my brain attrophying if I stop using it!

Between Groupon classes, and schools and organizations around portland I have now taken classes in glass fusing, letter press, block printing, calligraphy (don’t expect so see this anytime soon… I suck), and just this passed weekend I FINALLY learned how to use my camera! Next I am stepping up my sewing skills to use industrial sewing machines (I haven’t touched one since school… and they scare me!). Through this growth process I have used my brain a lot… but just as important I have been more social (crafting is a very lonely hobby), learned the important lesson that you don’t have to be perfect,and gotten my hands very dirty (computer mouses just don’t have that same quality!).

Have you tried something new lately?


*the photo is the view from my computer at work, the hands print is from Marc Johns, the pen sketch I got in Hong Kong, and the “abstract art” is by my nephew :)

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Adventures in Quilting

This passed fall Elise posted a quilting challenge on her blog… I decided it would be the perfect time to challenge byself to finish a (king sized) quilt I had started for my brother and sister in law as a wedding gift (they have been married 5 years! ha oops). I sat down and got to work and in a week I was done with their HUGE quilt (I gave it to them before I took a picture, so hopefully sometime I will remember to photgraph it and share). The point of  this story is that the challenge got me hooked on quilting again. And by christmas I had finished three more quilting projects.

This first quilt was very emotional for me and honestly the best kind of therapy. I mentioned last spring that a close friend had passed away. She was great and super crafty and one night while we tie dyed fabric in the dark she got on my case for NEVER blogging projects that I worked on (it’s true I only blog about a half of the projects that I work on… I’m a crafter, not really a blogger:). After she died yards of that fabric we had tie dyed together sat in my cabinet… taunting me. I knew I needed to do something special with it, and I knew I needed to blog about the finished project. A quilt seemed like the perfect thing to do with it- so through tears and late nights I plowed through this whole quilt in a few days and came out the other end with a quilt I will always cherish, but also feeling sooo much better!

I had now become addicted to quilting (and my living room was clearly already a mess) so I began a quilt for my mom. I knew this was the best Christmas gift I could possibly get for the women who taught me to quilt, and who has everything… and it was a complete surprise… perfect! This quilt turned out bad in the sense that nothing lined up, but I kinda loved that it was clearly hand made, and I knew my mom would love it too.

This third project was a table runner I made as a gift. I used the left over tie dye fabric to make a small present for my friend’s mom. I knew the holidays were goign to be really hard for her and that this was a project that her daughter had helped me with… I thought it would be special for her… and it sounds like it was. (yay holiday spirit)

After this crazy adventure in quilting I had to clean it all up for my boyfriend’s return home. And I think I was ready for it… thankfully this time I finished on a high note, and am excited for the next opportunity to make a quilt (and a sewing room so that I can leave a mess out!)

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