Thursday, June 11, 2009

DIY Big Brother Hand-Me-Downs For Sister


I have a boy who is 7 and a girl who is about 2. Whenever he outgrows a really cool t-shirt, I always hold on to it for a while thinking I might put it on my daughter someday. But that wouldn't be totally fair, right? Girls like to dress girly right? Dresses and frills? LOL. I've been doing t-shirt reconstruction for myself and other custom orders through in adult sizes, so I thought, why not just turn his t-shirts into dresses for her? What I came up with is a simple Do It Yourself project to turn your own Big Brother hand-me-downs into cute recreations for Little Sister.

First, pick your shirt, turn it inside out and lay it on a flat surface. Cut out the neck and the sleeves, making sure to remove the seams.

You'll want to trim the shirt to fit across the chest and slightly flare out at the bottom. You'll have to establish the armhole size by where you begin to sew the sides together.
I have a machine that does an overlock stitch that allows for stretching afterwards. If you don't have a machine like this, a zig-zag stitch will also work. Be sure to reinforce the zig-zag stitches so they don't come loose.

Laying the shirt face down, cut straight across the back from one seam to the other.
Flip the loose flap over and lay flat.
Cut two straight strips the length of the flap. You can adjust the length if needed.

On regular sewing machine, use widest straight stitch and sew along the front neckline.
Grab one thread and wrap securely around your finger.

Pull the thread tight as you gather the fabric along the center of the neckline.

Repeat the same process on the back of the shirt.

Starting at one end of the straps, measure along both the neckline and back.

Select a fabric for the trim. You'll want this to be very stretchy. Some fabrics stretch in certain directions. Make sure to test your fabric's stretch before cutting.

Lay out your measuring tape and stretch the trim fabric to the shirt's measurements. Mark the length, let the fabric relax and cut. You'll want these to be about 2 inches wide.
The strips will be shorter than the shirt measurements, but as long as they can stretch comfortably to the desired length, they are right.

Fold the strips over facing the nice side of the fabric out. Align the trim over the front of the shirt strap.

Get the stitch established and begin to put more tension on your trim fabric, while keeping the edge in line with the t-shirt fabric as you sew. The tighter you pull the trim during this process, the more snug the dress will fit.

Repeat the process on the other side.

You may want to try it on your girl at this point to see how long the neck should be. Once you determine where, sew the ends together and reinforce if necessary. Trim any excess fabric. If you want to get creative with the bottom, you can either add a stretchy band, or a ruffle, but I chose to leave this one plain.

This is a simple process, but for those without the right tools for the job, it can be a pain. If you like the idea of having this done, but can't forsee doing it yourself, I offer t-shirt reconstruction services. For the above process, you would send me a package of t-shirts and I'd reconstruct them into girl's dresses, starting at $5 each.

Please see my shop at and convo me for details.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Comment Contest with Handmade Prize!


I'm doing a small contest this week. The winner will recieve this handmade screenprinted fleur de lis hobo handbag.
Here is the description I used for my etsy shop : "Pink and black hobo style purse made from hand-printed originally designed fleur de lis fabric. Fully lined with heavyweight durable charcoal grey cotton fabric - no exposed seam edges. Double pocket on inside - one for cellphone. Flap closure - heavy button holds the flap down to keep purse closed. (Not a button closure). Approximately 16" wide and 11" deep. (Originally listed at $60)"

This was one of my first items added to my shop, and marked as a favorite by many, but I'm ready to part ways with it.

The contest is simple. Whoever leaves the most comments on any of my blog posts by next Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 pm CST will recieve this purse. The comments need to have a minimum of 5 words to count. You must also 'follow' my blog to be eligible. This is to encourage more interaction and discussion within my blog and its followers. There will be no shipping charges or catches. I would like to encourage you to check out my other handmade creations in my etsy shop, though!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Soft and Fresh Blue Look

There are occasions when we want the subtlety of the little black dress, but with a softer look and feel, especially with the spring and summer fashion seasons in mind. I have pieced together an outfit using these fabulous handmade finds from to give you an idea of how to look subtle, soft and fresh enough for any occasion.

This throw-over-your-head Party Dress with Hand Embroidered Neckline is made from 100% heavyweight robin's egg blue bio-linen, with pleats that fall down beautifully from the bust to the hem. You can find this dress at . The aqua blue beading adds just enough contrast to the feminine neckline, making a necklace unnecessary.
Don't be afraid to add this fun, yet elegant, Calypso bracelet around your wrist, though! This stunning combination includes "faceted gemstone nuggets of sunny golden Citrine; tiny, shiny gold-filled beads; peacock Freshwater Pearls; rainbow-hued Paua Shell with iridescent patterns; Swarovski Crystal bicones from Austria; and sassy rectangles of aqua-blue Apatite; handcrafted with 14K Gold-filled chain, wire, and toggle clasp." Find this piece at . I think wearing a pair of simple, dark metallic steel colored pumps would really tie in nicely with the darker stones on this bracelet.

I love the softness of this Aqua Leather Orchid Bag found at . Machine and hand stitched, this beautiful messenger style handbag is constructed from a thick cowhide leather in a light blue green, and embellished with a detailed leather flower. The artist also offers her designs in custom sizes and colors to suit your personal style!

Each piece on its own is beautiful; pieced together, they create a cohesive and soft feminine look with the same subtlety of the little black dress, but with a fresh springtime appeal.

Remember to buy handmade!

You can visit my shop at

Friday, April 3, 2009

Muted Metallics and City Walls

Another architectural inspiration, and another city look... I can't help but be inspired by the countless windows and their reflections framed by the muted walls of the tall city skyscrapers. So inspired, in fact, that I designed and created this City Walls Remnant Tunic and searched for the perfect handmade and vintage accessories to make the look just perfect.

This tunic length tank top was created by sewing several strips of various lengths and colors of fabric together, including a variety of metallics and sheens, as well as muted greens, blues and white. The button detail on the neckline is reminiscent of metal bolts, and the rectangles appliquéd over the hips remind me of the blocks of paint covering past graffiti markings. This tunic is one of a kind, never to be repeated exactly, even if I tried. You can find it at along with a shop full of other fashionable designs.

Of all the colors used in the top, I want to pull out the copper the most, and can do so by carrying this Metallic Clutch Purse folded over nicely, tucked under my arm. You can find this copper clutch at , and the same design in silver as well.
I have a pair of soft gray, almost white they're so faded, stretch skinny jeans that I'll wear underneath, tucked securely into these Vintage 60s Tan Leather 'Pappagallo' Buckle Go go Boots. They have just the right amount of copper tones to belong with this look. You can find these boots, and other fantastic vintage apparel, at .

Because there is so much detail in the neckline, I'm going to skip wearing a necklace. Instead I'll pull my hair up loosely and throw on these Click Earrings. In fact, I think these earrings are such a perfect match for my tunic, they should just get married and make lots of beautiful babies...Hmmm, that's something to think about. The artist gives further reason to want these. "They click when you wear them. Makes you want to shake your head a bit. Kinda sexy. Simple. Natural." You'll find these earrings at along with a shop full of some of the most beautiful handmade jewelry made from natural stone "carefully selected from the beaches of the beautiful lakes of Northern Idaho."
What could be a better finishing touch than this Peek a Boo Copper Bangle Bracelet? This "geometric piece of hammered copper and its organic flow of the squares has been pounded then waxed to show off it's beauty." Not only does the copper fit right in, but the random rectangles and squares mirror the architectural quality reflected in the tunic. You'll find this bracelet at , along with the Lahaina, Maui based artist's shop full of jewelry and artwork.
Now, my look is complete and I'm ready to hit the city streets...and hopefully not blend into the walls! If I did, it would have to be one super city-chic wall.
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at

Friday, March 27, 2009

City Style

Although I was raised in the country and can appreciate nature in all its splendor, there's something about a city's beauty that often catches me standing there staring up at the buildings with all of their windows and lines, intrigued by the geometric patterns they create. I love how each neighborhood within a city has its own personality and a skyline strikes familiarity to those who call it home. Today, I'm not featuring different fashion styles you'd find in cities all over the world, but rather the cities themselves that you'll find within the fashion. I searched http://www.etsy,com/ and came across a few of my favorites.
This screenprinted t-shirt depicts a hand drawn cityscape full of creative abstract lines, checkers, swirls, zig-zags and dots. The Chicago based artist also mentions, "by buying [this] tshirt, you will be helping provide education, food, friendship and teachers to kids in the low-income, underserved neighborhood of Humboldt Park."
You can find this shirt at along with a shop full of creativity worth checking out!
And why not tote your goods around in this tribute to the spectacular city of Melbourne!? The artist was inspired by and made this tote from a linen monotone print kitchen tea towel she picked up in her travels. You can find this elongated, sturdy tote at .
Fit your cash, checks and miscellaneous cards into this stylish 'Buildings' pocketbook/checkbook holder, "made with an original, hand-silkscreened design of NYC buildings on indigo/purple fabric(outer) and caramel brown and dark brown colored vinyl (inner)." This wallet is just one of many fresh designs you'll find at .

Using one of my favorite color combinations, this yellow t-shirt features a grey screenprint design of a bridge found in Long Island City, New York. The artist also offers this design in crème, white, grass, hot pink, red, black and lavender. You can find this shirt and other manually printed t-shirts at

Step out in these city-stylish custom drawn canvas flats. The artist also takes custom orders and can create shoes based on your ideas and her talent. View a shop full of happy feet at where you can select a design of the artist's, or find inspiration to have her create your own perfect pair, tailored to your taste.
I love the inspiration which these artists found in their urban surroundings: abstract, hand drawn, detailed, bold, graphic, and simple architectural renditions of their cities, meant to be worn proudly.
Remember to buy handmade!
You can view my shop at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I & I Jah Rastafari!

My parents raised us with a lot of Rastafarian/Jamaican appreciation, showing us movies like Countryman, listening to Bob Marley and other reggae, taking me to spend a summer on that beloved little island, even naming their son Rosta. The way of life goes even deeper than that, I know, but these are just a few to name. Needless to say, whenever I see those four colors together, black, red, yellow and green, I am simply drawn to them. The Rastafarian influence on fashion is what inspired me to sift through the handmade listings on to select some of the stand-out designs and share with you.

This Rasta mama hemp chevron skirt is simply stunning for both a laid back or dressed up occasion. The artist "hand dyed hemp muslin in black, yellow, red, & green, cut the stripes out on an angle & sewed them back together in 4 panels that gradually get bigger at the bottom. This is one of those skirts that you will want to LIVE in & never take off." You can tell this skirt was made with precision, care, and love. Find it at .

This Bob Marley messenger bag is actually one of my own creations. I started with a gently used Bob Marley t-shirt and just went from there, piecing the brilliant bold Rasta colors together wherever I could. The inside just pops with all the same colors as lining and pockets. You can find this bag, along with other fashionable creations, at .

This little Rasta wrist purse is just so cute I almost can't stand it! (In a good way, of course.) "It's complete with a wrist strap and a vintage style snap opening". The artist attached a silk black bow with mini pearls as an accent. This purse is perfect for all the little things like money, cards, keys. You can find it at .

These hand woven thread earrings, 'Rastafarian Classics', just speak for themselves. What a beautiful and fun way to "add a little spunk to you wardrobe. These earrings are lightweight and created using Alpaca Sterling, which will not rust or tarnish and is hypoallergenic." You will find these at among several other color combination choices of the same style.

I'm thinking throw on a pair of favorite bluejeans, those earrings and this super sexy Bob Marley halter top, and you are irie and good to go! "This vintage tee got a mad*foxes makeover - now it's a slender cut girl's halter with a deep U-neck and halter ties." Find this and several other vintage and rock inspired girl's tops at .

You may even want to slip this on your wrist before you call the outfit complete. This Rasta colors bangle is "made by Sema na Kufanya, a group of HIV+ widows in Kibera, Kenya (see to learn more. 100% of all profits will reach them," making this fashion statement a good cause as well. You can find this at along with other beaded pieces handmade from the same group of women.

While I would certainly not recommend wearing all of these pieces together at once (unless that's your style, of course, I won't hate), each of these creations packs a bold fashion flavor on it's own, or even paired up with one or two of the others. Have fun, be bold, Jah provide!

And remember to buy handmade!

You can visit my shop at

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Striking Color Combo - Golden Rose and Hints of Periwinkle

I was riding my bike around the neighborhood, keeping my eyes peeled to nature, hoping to come across something of inspiration. Most of what I saw was the color of decaying leaves laying on the grey sidewalk and street. It was inspirational, but not in the glamorous sense. I turned down a street I'd never before ventured upon and was all of a sudden struck by exactly what I sought. A house that was painted a creamy gold with just a touch of rose undertones was surrounded by this overgrowth of periwinkle colored flowers and it gave me insight to styling this next look.

Because I had something very specific in mind, I searched high and low for particular handmade items that were specific to the look I was going for. This dress couldn't have fit more precisely. This 'Golden Rose' chiffon dress's deep plunging neckline accentuated with ruffling and a single chiffon rose at the center of the waistline sets the look of sexy, yet sweet. You can find this dress at along with the sweetest selection of romantic-glamorous designs.

Because there is so much going on around the neckline, there is no need for a necklace. However, the accessories are what will make this color combination work just perfectly. I'll start by adding this Blue Chalcedony faceted oval 'Twilight' bracelet that was inspired by "the diffused light from the sky during the early evening or early morning." You can find this piece of jewelry at along with pages of a simply stunning collection from the Brooklyn based artist who offers custom creations as well.

A loose upswept bun or a high ponytail to pull the hair away from the face and ears will show off these bright periwinkle accents. "Vintage beads in a fresh, summery periwinkle swing from sterling posts. Sure to make you smile. They dangle just about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the post" creating just a touch of movement that's sure to catch a look or two! You can find these 'Dimples' earrings at along with several other fun-funky-fresh finds.

Now, for shoes, I want to wear a pair of simple nude, cream or gold-toned heels . All of the focus needs to stay on the fun dress details and beautiful accent colors. Which leads us to the real punch factor. This 5 pocket Okinawa sheep skin bag in periwinkle/cobalt blue just thrills me to see paired with the soft creamy gold of the dress. This Boston based artist will blow your mind with her handcrafted leather goods found at , including this bag, which is lined with Japanese cotton in a black and red fugu fish print.

I love when pieces that don't necessarily match can be put together to form a cohesive look that is simply stunning and captivating. I am almost positive that whoever landscaped and painted that house would never imagine that such a beautiful look could not only be inspired by it, but possibly blend right in as well!
Remember to buy handmade!
You can visit my shop at