Monday, February 28, 2011

More Fun With Neckties

Sorry I was MIA all week. I lost my camera cord, but the good news is that it was found and I have a camera full of picture and projects to keep sharing with you. I hope you have made time for some Artstaring during these cold snowy winter months. Keep sending images of things you have made inspired by any of my tutorials, I love seeing everyone's unique and creative spin on things.

After my last post I was given a huge stash of mighty cute ties. (Thanks Janny!) I had an idea for another necklace, but I needed a bow tie not a necktie, and since bow ties are the white whale of thrifting, and Mr. Aletha wouldn't be caught dead in one so I couldn't steal one from him, (lame! I think they are rather hip) I decided I better figure out how to make one. What better to use then one of the many ties I now have, they are the same material and now I have a lot more patterns available to choose from.  This necklace isn't directly Anthropologie inspired, but I think it sure looks like something you would find there! This tutorial will show how to make a necktie into a bow tie and then make a necklace out of the bow tie.

Black Tie Optional Necklace
  1. Find a tie, I like stripes or extra small prints for the bow ties, but it is up to you.
  2. From the fat side of the tie measure in 3 inches from the tip and mark with a pin and then measure 5 inches from that pin and mark with another pin. These are your fold guides.
  3. Press with an iron at the pin marks. You need about a 2 inch overlap in the back, and then cut and set aside the rest of the tie. In image three you will notice a bit of the tie sticks out. Fold and iron that under to make all sides even. You should have a 5" by the width of your tie rectangle.
  4. Slip stitch the back closed with a matching thread. You may want to slip stitch the extra fabric down as well.
  5. Pinch the middle together and then wrap several times with thread. You almost have a bow tie.
  6. From the skinny tip measure about 5 inches and cut. Then measure 25 inches and cut. (This should be about  the spot where the tie begins to widen)
  7. Fold each end of the 25" piece over 1/4" and then 1/4" again. Slip stitch the folds in place. This will give you a nice clean strap to go about you neck. It is the perfect width already because it was the part of the tie that was designed to comfortably go about you neck.
  8. I attached two cheep bracelets to the ends in this necklace. You can use anything from broken jewelry, strung beads, old chains, even pearls. 
  9. Lastly attach the bow to the strand using the 5" piece you set aside. Wrap as tight as possible around the bow and the strap, the strap should be behind the bow. Then fold under one end before stitching closed for a nice clean look. 

You could make a DIY bow tie if you just adjust the strap and add a bit of velcro. I ran that idea by Mr. A, he was not on board. For now I guess I will just stick to fashions for me. I made three last week. The striped one is probably my favorite. I keep planning my outfits to match it.  It was made using broken chains and necklaces. The silver looks so great with the navy tie and bow. The print is very prep school chic. I really like the asymmetrey of these necklaces and the contrast between the fabric and the hardware. The oversized bows are a great flashy accent. They have the perfect Jcrew meets Gossip Girl vibe that is very in for spring. Have fun and let me know if you give it a try!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Upcycled Tie Necklace Tutorial

Mr. Aletha has more ties then I have shoes. I am not even joking. Some of them I love, some I hate, and  some of them he hates and then they make there way to the donation pile or to craft land aka my studio. I love ties because of the tiny prints, rich colors, and the beautiful sheen of the silk. But there is not a lot of fabric when they are deconstructed. You could patchwork them, but that can easily turn hippie dippy.

Inspiration hit after purchasing a necklace from Banana for a friend..... I give you-

DIY Tie Necklace Tutorial

These are so quick and easy you can whip one up for every outfit and they are the perfect gift for your hipster friends. Head over the the thrift store if you want to score some really great patterns and colors. Any large beads will work. I found mine at Michael's (40% of course), this is also the perfect project to deconstruct a cheep, ugly, Mardi Gras Necklace. (BIG BEADS WORK BEST!)

A picture is worth a 1000 words, but for those how might need a few more to get the job done...

1. Deconstruct the tie, starting in the back, carefully split the stitches and then remove the guts. Be careful not to tear or put a hole in the the tie. Iron Flat. Trim into a long strip from tip to tip. Mine was about 3.5" wide. This will vary from tie to tie. **Note skinny ties won't  work as well and will need smaller beads.
2. Fold in half right sides together. Sew the bottom end closed, and continue around starting down the length of the tie. Stop after about 3" and back stitch. Skip two inches and start again. (see image 2)
3. Turn right-side out through the opening. Press flat.
4. Tie a knot at about 7 inches and drop in a bead. Knot, drop a bead, repeat about 8 times. I left about 7 inches of space for the bow because I like a big bow and the option to shorten or lengthen the necklace. This will also vary from tie to tie. It will take a bit of trial and error, just move your knots if you need more or less room to keep the ties even. Keep going until you have matching slack on both ends. Hand sew the hole closed. 

Tie a pretty bow, slip it on and start collecting compliments. The uglier the tie, the prettier the necklace. This DIY repurposing project is quick and easy, but best of all chic. Send me images or links, I love seeing what your making.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is a little treat to make you, or your secretary smile this Valentine's Day.
This clever ditty is brought to you by the fabulous Design*Sponge. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

how to make a pom-pom flower

They are everywhere these days. Pretty little fabric flowers.
This time of year they server a reminder that Spring will be here soon....... One can only hope.
These cute fabric corsages are pinned everywhere, on hats, clothing, bags, even on shoes. Anthropologie puts them on headbands, hair clips, necklaces, pretty much anywhere a little pop of color is needed. It is the quickest way to take a basic tee from drab to fab. This little adornment can carry a big price tag too. But you can make your own with fabric scraps, or repurpose an old top. This DIY will cost you pennies, looks like a million bucks.  Here are the basics to making a pom-pom fabric flower.  I like this style, it looks a bit like a carnation, which I think is a very underrated flower. 

How to make a pom pom fabric flower tutorial
First cut a ton of circles out of any scrap fabric. These will be your petals. I traced the top of a glue stick for each one, but don't stress they don't have to be perfect circles. These are all 1 inch circles, but you can do almost any size. You will need between 8-10 circles for each flower if you one at this smaller size. I am using left over raw silk for my pom pom flowers. I like the metallic surface and that this fabric will fray giving the flowers variation. Next cut a circle the same size as the petals out of felt.
Fold each petal in half and then in half. Put a dab of hot glue on the bottom of the petal and start in the center of the felt. Repeat working you way to the edge of the felt until the flower is to it's desired fullness. This is normally about 10 petals. Easy breezy. Now you can add a pin, a hair clip or a rubber band to the back to accessorize your favorite top, jacket, hat, bag, hair... The options are endless.
For this necklace I made five flowers, cut out a felt smiley face, hot glued a bit of ribbon to tie in the back with a bow, and now I have a statement necklace that dresses up all my boring cardigans. This DIY bib necklace can vary in color, and size a million different ways. Give it a try and always send me a picture!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

upcycled sweater pillow tutorial

It is still winter here in the Midwest, with multiple feet of snow piling up outside the window. There is nothing better this time of year then cuddling up in your favorite sweater.  If you are like me, you have a pile of old sweaters in the back of your closet that you don't wear anymore, but can't bare to donate because you just love the color, pattern.... Here is the perfect solution, and your new favorite winter accessory.
Upcycled Sweater Pillows!
These cozy pillows can be found at west elm, pottery barn, and crate and barrel. But what is the fun in buying when you can DIY a cuter one at a fraction of the cost. Or possibly for free!
All you need is an old sweater
 A pillow form (they are on sale every other week at joanne's) 
Sewing Machine is ideal, but you could hand sew it
Coordinating thread and scissors
From the front of the sweater cut a square one inch larger then the pillow form. My pillow is a 12" so my  square is 13"x13". This will be the front of your pillow. Also from the front of the sweater cut a 13"x5" rectangle. One long edge of the rectangle should but up against the bottom ribbing of the sweater. This saves you from having to do any hemming later and it keeps your sweater from coming unraveled. This is the first piece for the back of the pillow.
Next cut from the back of the sweater a rectangle that measures 13"x12". Again make sure one of the long edges butts up to the bottom of the sweater. Now you have your two back pieces.
Sandwich your pieces right sides together. (Your shorter rectangle should be in the middle and the ribbing should not be on any of the edges. See image above.) Pin all the way around the square and sew with a .5" seam allowance. I also zig-zagged my way around the edges to keep it from unraveling.
Turn right side out and push out the corners. This is call an envelope closure, because of the large overlap in the back, I like it because it is quick to sew and no zippers or buttons are needed. It is also easy to put on and take off. This whole project takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and doesn't cost you anything if you are replacing a current pillow with a new cover. As always send me a picture when you try this I would love to see what you done. Happy decorating.