Clothing

Put a Bow On It

Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches… make lemonade when life hands you lemons… keep calm and carry on. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes DIY goes madly awry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “game over” for your project. In fact, deviating from your original plan – or scrapping it entirely – can yield stunning results.

Bow full

Long story short, I put a not-so-small hole in this sweater. Like, front and center… which is a problem since I had set out to embellish the front of my cardigan with heavy beads and buttons.  Instead of a DIY pièce de résistance, I had an unraveling mess on my hands. Y I K E S.

At moments like these, I put my project down and walk away. Taking a break gives me time to think through my options, say a bunch of swear words, and reboot. I weighed the pros and cons of several ideas over a cup of coffee, but ultimately decided on the simplest fix: put a bow on it. A BIG ONE.

folded 2

So, that’s how this bow-bedecked cardi came to be.

Button Row 2I switched out the plain buttons for shiny (plastic) gold ones and placed a small silver-lined bead in the center for added interest. Much to my surprise, the buttons actually sparkle as they catch the light!

I fashioned a large bow out of black and white grosgrain ribbon and sewed it onto the collar. The bow not only hid the hole (which has been patched), but transformed a basic cardigan into something wonderfully chic.

While disappointed my original project never came to be, I am thrilled with what I made in the end. This cardi will transition from work to weekend seamlessly, and because the details are timeless, it will work with any season.

Here, I have paired my newest creation with an emerald blouse (Pantone’s color of the year!) and my favorite pair of denim. Throw on some black ballet flats and I’m ready for Sunday afternoon.

tryoutEmerald sleeveless blouse (Joe Fresh, $14)
Dark wash skinny-straight denim (Level 99, $130)
Heather grey 3/4 sleeve cardigan (Merona, $13) + Folklore DIY bow and buttons

Sweater Weather

My dear friend and very crafty maven Sarahrulu (of FHF fame) brought a lovely embellished cardigan to my attention this week. A simple crew neckline goes from “blah” to “ahh!” with pearls of all sizes and a sprinkling of rhinestones. You can see it here. Once I stopped swooning –  it took a bit – I began to day dream about my own fancy cardi. Swap out that buttery yellow for a fall-appropriate neutral and add a healthy dose of academic chic. Now we’re talking!

And so, as it always goes, I found myself at Joann’s last night… but not before I made a Target run. Snatched this heather grey Merona crew-neck cardigan for only $13! That’s a bingo! I’m not entirely certain what I’m doing with all these delightful craft supplies yet, but that’s never stopped me before.

sweater buttons beads ribbons horz

Oh! Do yourself a favor and listen to “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood.

Hello, September!

I cannot believe it’s already September. Time has flown by these past few weeks, but I’m not complaining. Fall crafting is now officially in full swing, and I can begin to publicly plan for Halloween… I will buy glow-in-the-dark glitter this year, I swears it!

I finally got around to unpacking my yarn stash – what’s left of it anyway. Poor things have been sitting in a box since we moved in May. Now that they’re free, the nubby textures and dark colors are inspiring all sorts of creativity. I really want to make at least one sweater this season. Motivation? Got it! Selecting a pattern? That’s the hard part.

yarn stack

close upNow, I can’t talk about knits and sweaters without mentioning jackets. Oh, how I live for jacket weather. I’m feeling the need for an unconventional outerwear-related DIY project. Any ideas?jackets

Beaded Peter Pan Collar Tutorial

2013-08-18 10.13.28 HDRTurning a boring ol’ t-shirt into an embellished masterpiece is as easy as draw, outline, and fill! Let’s get to it.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Crew-neck or scoop neck t-shirt
Thread to match t-shirt
Thread to contrast t-shirt
Needle
Beads (I used three tubes of 6/0 e-beads in Onxy)
Fabric chalk

Before starting, I recommend giving the shirt one last machine wash. You’ll probably want to handwash your top once the collar is complete.

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Outline1. DRAW THE COLLAR
Draw an outline of your collar directly onto the t-shirt using your fabric chalk. I free-handed mine, but tracing a pattern is always an option.

Don’t be afraid to try out different sizes and shapes until you find something you like. A damp cloth will erase the outline if you want to make adjustments or completely start over. I drew a smaller collar in the beginning, but ultimately decided on something more substantial.

Once I was happy with my sketched-on collar, I used the contrasting thread to sew on an outline. I figured that as I beaded, the chalk would rub off (which totally happened). While this step might seem redundant, it will save you from re-drawing your outline over and over as you begin to sew on the beads.

2. BEAD THE OUTLINE
Your collar is outlined and your beads are assembled, so it’s time to start sewing. Pick a point to begin beading and just go for it! I doubled my thread for extra hold and sewed on one bead at a time.

Make sure your knots are nice and secure, and every so often, gently tug on the fabric to make sure that the beading will stretch. I had this nightmarish vision of pulling the t-shirt over my head, hearing a pop, then watching helplessly as beads tumbled to and bounced all over the floor. Kinda like this.

Once I had beaded around the entire collar in the front, I sewed a single row around the back of the neck. It’s totally optional, but I’m a fan of even the smallest details.

fill in

3. FILL IN THE COLLAR
The final, but most time-consuming step is simply filling in the collar. Just as you did for the outline, sew on one bead at a time and stretch the fabric every once in a while. I took the opportunity to add a bead or two to the outline itself, creating a smoother and more polished edge.

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Like I said, it’s a very simple project and totally worth the time spent. If you use this tutorial, please send pics to folklorecraft (at) gmail (dot) com! I would be honored if you shared your creativity with me!on table

Beaded Peter Pan Collar

Close-Up On

Moving twice in 11 months will certainly prompt you re-evaluate your wardrobe. Why pack, move, and unpack something you haven’t worn in ages? Why fill your closet with clothing that’s out-of-shape, the wrong size, or just plain uninteresting? My friend Sarah, the Fröhliche Haus Frau, recently blogged about her experience downsizing for her move across the Atlantic. It’s tough and sometimes heartbreaking work, but completely necessary if you wish to maintain a polished wardrobe and your sanity. Trust me.

Plain Black Tee

Even though I’ve made a concerted effort to maintain a slimmed down closet, a few items always seem to fly under the radar. I recently discovered this black t-shirt stuffed in the back of a very neatly folded drawer. How?! Why?! Alas, I had no answers. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I wore it. Not good.

Rather than toss it into the donate pile, I decided to give the shirt one last chance. The high neckline made the tee the perfect candidate for a peter pan collar – so hot right now.* I toyed with the idea of sewing a collar, but DJ encouraged me to try something new. I went out on a limb, and by that I mean to the craft store, and took on the task of beading one instead.

On Hanger

The project was surprisingly simple, albeit time consuming. I worked on the collar over the course of a few nights, but I think the results are definitely worth the time invested. Plus, what’s easier than throwing on a t-shirt with a built-in necklace?

I took some pictures along the way, too, and I’m considering putting together a tutorial. Anyone interested?

*this phrase only exists in my lexicon as a Zoolander reference

Grey Days Ahead

While the temperature is still hovering around the low 80s here in Tennessee, recent mornings have greeted us with crisp air and a hint of a Fall breeze. Just in time for back-to-school season, too! I cannot wait for the real thing, so this taste of Autumn has been a real treat.

Recently, I’ve been dreaming of layered neutral tones. They add interest to monochromatic ensembles, and play up Fall’s more vibrant hues. I am especially fond of grey and navy. Since I’m very fair-skinned, heathered charcoals and deep blues are more flattering than say stark black and white. Here is what I’m looking forward to:

grey collage1. Peggy Skirt (Plümo, £56)

2. Polka dot button-down

3. Matte grey nails (Zoya, $18)

4. Rolled cuffs, striped socks, and oxfords

5. Repurposed sari bag (Joss and Main)

6. Mixed media tassel necklace (Madewell, $38)

Florence Mini Tutorial

This tutorial is for the Florence Mini, a slimmer and shorter version of the Florence skirt that I unveiled last week. It’s lightweight, has pockets for stashing small items, and will show off those legs!

Florence MiniWHAT YOU WILL NEED
Scissors
Pins
Yard stick
Large safety pin or double-sided knitting needle
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine
1.25 yards of fabric
18″ x 22″ of contrasting fabric for pockets
3/4″ or 1″ non-roll elastic

HELPFUL EXTRAS
Seam ripper (just in case)
Fabric chalk

Today’s skirt is for my little sister – a 5’10” stunning and über-talented Amazon/photographer. She might be 2″ taller, but we have the same waist (26.5″) so I was able to use my own measurements as a guide. The final product was 17.5″ long and 26″ wide (or 52″ around). If you desire a longer and fuller skirt, simply increase the measurements I have provided.

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Florence Project Prep

PROJECT PREP
After pre-washing and ironing the fabric, I cut two identical rectangles that were 20.5″ long and 28″ wide. That leaves plenty of room for the seam allowance at the sides, the elastic casing at the top, and the hem at the bottom. Once sewn together, these rectangles will form the front and back of the skirt.

You will also need a pair of pockets, which I cut out after loosely tracing around my hand on contrasting fabric. In total, you will have two matching rectangles and four matching, mitt-shaped pocket pieces. Assemble your other materials, brew some tea, and then you are ready to go!

Florence Pockets & Side Seam

1. ATTACH POCKETS
Measure 5.5″ from the top of the first rectangle and pin one piece of a pocket. The fabric’s right-side (RS) should face the RS of the skirt. Measure 5.5″ on the other side of the rectangle, and pin another pocket piece. Repeat for the second rectangle. Before proceeding, make sure that the pockets will line-up!

Sew the four pocket sides to the rectangles and press the seams open.

2. SEW SIDE SEAMS
Line-up the two rectangles, RS together, with the pockets pressed to the outside. Pin in place. Your skirt should basically look like a tube with elephant ears.

Sew along the outer edge of the skirt while being careful not to sew the pockets closed. Press the seams open and turn the skirt inside out.

Florence Elastic Casing3. CREATE ELASTIC CASING
Beginning at a side seam, fold the top down 1/4″ and iron all the way around. This will create a nice finished edge for the waistband. The height of your casing all depends on the size of your elastic. Mine is 3/4″, so I folded down 1.25″ and pinned, leaving space for my seam and allowing the elastic to lie flat.

Sew the casing along the bottom but leave  an opening approximately 2″ long. This is for placing the elastic.

Florence Elastic4. MEASURE & PLACE ELASTIC
Measure the elastic by pulling it snuggly, but comfortably around your waist where you would like your skirt to sit. Note how much you need and cut a little extra (1.5″ – 2″ will do).

Anchor one end of the elastic to the skirt, just under the opening at the top. Taking the other end, attach a large safety pin so you can pull the elastic through the casing. I like to use a double-sided knitting needle, which I liberally tape to the free end of the elastic. I find it easier to hold, but to each her/his own!

Pull the elastic through the casing, being careful not to let it twist. Once out the other side, pin both ends together with some overlap. Feel free to try to skirt on at this point.

If it fits, use a zig-zag stitch (it’s stretchy) and sew the elastic. I like to make a rectangle, securing all sides. Switch back to a regular straight stitch and close up the opening at the casing.

Florence Hem Sew

5. HEM BOTTOM
Now you are in the home stretch! Hem the skirt to whatever length you desire. I rolled the bottom twice, creating a neat 1/4″ edge all the way around.

Sew and press the hem.

6. ENJOY
Try on your new Florence Mini and enjoy your creation!

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Today’s skirt took a bit of patience, some tea, and a lot of Queens of the Stone Age to complete. Overall, I am very happy with it and I can’t wait to ship it off to Chicago!

Introducing: The Florence

As a recently transplanted Chicagoan, I discovered (much to my dismay) that Tennessee springs are hot and humid. There was a week of pleasant weather – think sunny and mid 60s – before it started pushing 80 degrees. In April. My work wardrobe was in desperate need of flexibility and a dash of fun, so I DIYed myself an army of cotton skirts. Some are in kitchy prints, others are in vibrant solids. All of them are comfortable and give me a range of options during the work week and beyond.

Without further ado, I introduce to you…
Image

Floral FlorenceThe Florence is simply a full skirt with an elastic waistband. Topped off with pockets, this retro-style skirt has a tendency to prompt sartorial imagination and inspire the occasional urge to twirl about. It sits at the natural waist and falls to an inch or two above my knees. So far, I’ve made three skirts in this style and I love them all.

This particular Florence (named for current girl crush, songstress Florence Welch) is a bold floral cotton in my go-to spring/summer hues of blue and green. I wear it often with a chambray button down and ballet flats, or sandals and a simple t-shirt for more casual days. Today, I’ve chosen to pair it with an emerald sleeveless blouse and sandy-toned leather accessories.Floral Florence Styled1. Emerald sleeveless blouse (Joe Fresh, $24)
2. Tan & metallic ankle strap sandals (BC Footwear, $50)
3. Gold leather belt (J. Crew)
4. Tan leather shoulder bag (Coach, vintage)

I will be putting together a DIY tutorial for the Florence sometime this week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, go forth and be fashionable.