Posts tagged ‘DIY’

January 17, 2015

Blue maxi dress and further adventures in sewing

Goddess

In anticipation of summer, I made myself a blue cowl neck maxi dress.  It looks (almost) as good as the one above, and fits much better than the one above would.    As a tall person (6 feet), I struggle to find maxi dresses that are long enough.  I ordered a few from Alloy last year, and they were just long enough, but not great quality.

The sewing process

For this one, I followed Meesha’s directions on YouTube, and just didn’t add on sleeves.  For the cowl neck, I traced the front of a cowl neck shirt I had.  The cowl neck actually was an advantage for me as a beginner – because it hangs down inside, you can’t see my uneven stitching at the neckline.

My first shot at making the dress was not successful – it was too big.  I ended up trying it on, pinning it as I did this shirt, and it ended up fitting perfectly along my torso. I may take in the bottom portion a little more later, but I like how it fits right now.

The result was a dress that was ten inches too long.  (As a tall person, this made me very happy.)  Before I hemmed it, though, I threw it in the washer/dryer.  While this didn’t affect the fit of the top, it ended up being five inches shorter than it had been before.  I was very glad I did this before hemming.

I decided to hem it so I could wear it with five inch heels, and I can always take it up more if I want.

Where to buy a blue maxi dress

If you’re not up for sewing or happen to be one of those lucky people who fit into clothes, here are a few options.

If you’re looking for something laid back, this dress from Revolve Clothing is affordable, and this Tommy Bahama dress looks very easy to wear.  Victoria’s Secret also has some good basic maxi dresses, but they have a pretty limited selection right now.  This black dress from Old Navy comes in tall and petite, which is nice.

If you’re going for a formal look, this one is divine for a formal occasion, as is this from the Outnet.

And finally, if you’re going for long-sleeved, this Rachel Zoe dress is fantastic.

December 28, 2014

Adventures in tailoring

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After some adventures in learning to sew, I decided to work on some already-made garments.  It seems like most clothes are made for women with no waists, so after purchasing a $12 blue v-neck sweater from the Limited today, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Step 1: I tried on the sweater and found the narrowest part of my waist.  I decided to take in the sweater 1.5 inches on each side.

Step 2: I measured the distance from the bottom of the sweater to the narrowest part of my waist.

Step 3: I took the sweater off and laid it flat.  I put a safety pin at the narrowest part of my waist using the two measurements I had just taken.  (I used safety pins because I don’t necessarily trust myself with the real thing.) 

Step 4: I put safety pins along where I thought I’d like to sew the rest of the sides.

Step 5: I tried it on with the safety pins on to make sure I did it right.

Step 6: I put some blue thread in my Brother sewing machine and sewed up the sides.

And done! Very glad I got a sewing machine.

February 20, 2013

“The Best Thing I’ve Seen on Pinterest!”

I see that statement made about everything and anything, from hot cocoa cans turned into toddler rattles, to DIY facemasks and home hacks. The one time I’ve actually agreed with this praise, though, is on finding this image:

blo and go

“Now that,” I thought, “is definitely The Best Thing I’ve Seen on Pinterest.”

Unfortunately, as often happens when you find something awesome on an internet pinboard, it linked me to a page that was published in Russian, and which (when translated) held only descriptions of other accessories that the author thought would be great. No actual purchasing page.

I was not deterred, however. I scoured the internet for similar devices, finding things such as this, which seemed like they would take up a lot of counter space (which I don’t have) and would require a lot of storage room.

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Finally, I found the actual product page. It’s called a “Blo and Go” and it looks awesome. The major complaints about it, though, on reading the reviews, were that it a) could only be installed on a mirror, b) sometimes fell off that mirror, and c) the weight of the hair dryer sometimes caused the arm to droop out of position, requiring frequent adjustment. It received awesome reviews though, for its convenience. Also, my old hair dryer (which my mom got me at Walgreens when I was in 7th grade, and which had stood up to all my abuse over the years), had finally blown a circuit and died. ChoiLoi had surprised me with a new one for my birthday, and I figured this would be an awesome accessory.

I decided I didn’t want to invest in the actual Blo and Go. I’d had a bedside lamp with the drooping problem, and it was really obnoxious. Also, my bathroom mirror is a medicine cabinet, and the full-length mirror in our bedroom would be completely dominated by the instillation, rendering its upper third (the part where my face usually ends up) unusable. So. What to do?

I wanted something that I could install into the wall beside my mirror, that could easily hold the weight of my hairdryer, and that would be fairly compact when stored.

I first imagined repurposing an accordion-arm mirror for the job (I think I’d originally seen this concept on Pinterest, but of course I forgot to pin it), but the only one I could find under $70 was from IKEA, and had complaints about its flimsiness. So I took to Amazon, and researched everything from boom mic holders, to flexible plumbing piping, to lamps with those folding-elbow thingies.

Finally, I discovered the solution. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before:

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Who’d’ve thunk it?

It was on sale for $15, so I utilized our Prime shipping and waited impatiently for its arrival. It’s supposed to hold up to 33 lbs (so no drooping!), swivels 14″ from the wall (that’s not including the length of the hairdryer), and is designed to adjust vertically as well as laterally. Excellent!

It’s also perfectly designed to accommodate whatever DIY attachment method you can come up with. In the future, I think I’ll probably figure out a static, circular holder that would allow for the hairdryer to be removed easily (I’m imagining a couple of these suckers would do the job pretty well), but in my excitement I chose to MacGyver it rather than make a trip to the hardware store.

I used some wire to essentially twisty-tie it into place, which worked really well, and left all the buttons free.

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From the front.

 

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From the back.

Our walls are made out of some really intense cement sheet-rock, so I recruited ChoiLoi to help me install the thing next to our full-length mirror. I made sure that it was at such a height that I would easily fit under it, and that it would be shooting my hair from around 3-4″ distance when positioned normally. Of course, since it swivels all which ways, it’s able to be adjusted as needed.

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He did a great job!

This is what it looks like installed (I decided not to crop some of the background stuff, just so you had some perspective on how very unobtrusive it actually is). It can be folded up flat against the top corner of the mirror, which doesn’t block my view.

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Ta-da!

Now, the beauty of this thing is that it leaves your hands free. I recently read an article in which women justified spending $30/week to have their hair blown out, and I thought it was somewhat ridiculous. However, I do like pampering myself, and I’ve never been able to manage the use of a barrel brush while also wrangling my blowdryer, so this was the perfect solution. Here are some shots of it in action:

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I will eventually become a pro at this whole blow-out thing…

 

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Yep. Pretty cool.

As you can see, it lets me target my roots, and allows me me to pull the rest of my hair along the heat to seal the cuticle. There’s not a lot of shimmying around, which I would have expected, and I never felt that I had to crane my neck to accommodate it. If I really needed to, I could just reach up, position it for the section of hair was I targeting, and go! In all, it took me far less time to dry my hair than it normally would, and I noticed that the back especially came out much less frizzy because I could actually feel what I was doing.

I’m still going to have to work on my barrel-rolling technique, but there are some great tutorials out there, and I’m positive that I’ll be able to get it down now that I have two hands to work with instead of one. Yay for this!

Feel free to ask questions if you have them; I’m thinking the one thing about this is that it’s not as “cute” as the pictured one (ChoiLoi said that it kind of looks a bit industrial), but that could easily be overcome through some quick spray-painting in a more girly (or neutral) color. Maybe I’ll do that when I install the holder. I wonder if I could even use one of these things, somehow?

June 5, 2012

Glass coasters for air plants

So I’ve been obsessed with Pinterest lately. Wayyyyy too much time spent there, and there’s no way I’ll actually do all 275 pins that I have. But today I did something crafty, and decided it should go up so the world could enjoy.

“Why,” you might say, “what cute plants! And what gorgeous glass coasters they’re in!”

Well, the plants are awesome–I ordered them from The Air Plant Shop  (used coupon code KELLI for 20% off total, and spent $40 to get free shipping…$2/plant. I saw them at the nursery last week for $5.99 each) and they came in the mail today. SUPER cute, and packaged really neatly in smart little tissue paper envelopes.

So with 20 air plants I had to come up with some nifty holders. Some of them are long and pokey, and need to be stuck into something that will keep them upright. Others, like the ones above, are kind of short and fat, and will plop right into any old thing.

I’d cleaned out a bunch of jar candles a few months ago, and had the lids lying around. If you don’t hang on to things, you can also find them on CandleScience.com. They look like this:

null Just use a flathead screwdriver to pop off the plastic stopper/grommet things, and you have yourself an easily-cleaned, modern-style plant holder. I also have used a few for votive candle holders, and they look great in the candlelight.

Anyway–that was as productive as I got today. So boo!