Tagged: tutorial

Easy pants variation

I’m all over the place, aren’t I. I made some pants this week that I really enjoy, and I’d like to share how, since it’s really easy.


Draft a simple pair of knee-length elastic-or-drawstring-waist pants with side seams, adding about an inch to each side seam compared to what you’d normally wear. Or, use your favorite pattern, and add an inch or two extra at the side seams. (You could even do this with a non-elastic waist band with a fly, if you want. Just make sure there’s a waistband, or it’ll look really strange.)

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Beaded costume/bellydance belt tutorial

Confession: This wasn’t meant to be a tutorial at first. Originally, the belt was supposed to be over a sheer paneled floaty skirt; the idea was that I’d make it, photograph it, and maybe try and sell it if it turned out especially amazing. But I just started hating that idea, until I decided to leave it as a belt. Then it just seemed a little too simple to keep to myself; it’s time consuming, but by no means a work of artistic genius. Finally, I kept changing my concept as I worked, which led to some severe uneven-ness in the beading, and some crazy wonky grommets.

So instead, how’s about a tutorial so you can make your own? I might still offer a 2.0 version in an Etsy shop or something in the future, since they are super time consuming for such a small accessory, but it’s nice to share how to make things.

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Making a veil for my homemade wedding!

Veils are really expensive. Well, you can get a really cheap, fingertip-length piece of tulle with some beads glued on it. But if you want something nice, it costs a lot of money. Which it should, in the case of nice, handmade, high-quality veils! Those take a TON of time and effort. Of course, then there’s the ridiculously overpriced crap that people sell, banking on a bride’s liberal spending because it’s her wedding. Either way, you’re in for a big cash ding if you want something fancy without doing it yourself.

I decided on a long veil with a crown and scattered crystals, with lace trim at the bottom but not the sides. I don’t really like huge, poofy, dramatic wedding dresses (they’re gorgeous, just not on me), so I’m relying on the veil for the drama. Plus, in my heart of hearts, I’m still a little enamored with elves and fantasy creatures. I don’t want to do a costume or a theme wedding, but a simple wire-and-crystal circlet nods to my love of fantasy while not being silly about it. I hope.

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Mini-tutorial: Embellished lace-up costume bracers

Quick and easy tutorial today, guys. It’s almost like cheating. But hey, not every project has to be crazy complicated, right? I wanted some bracers for a costume I’m making, and I had this piece of crazy beaded fabric lying around. It came from the waist band of a child’s skirt that I bought forever ago and ripped up for its plain black cotton. (Every time I use something years later, it enables the hoarder in me. Alas.)


-Strip of heavily embellished fabric that will go around your wrist ~2 times, at least 2 inches wide. Wide ribbon is a good choice. Alternatively, use this as your chance to practice beading/embroidery/smocking/whatever crazy techniques you want, since it’s such a small piece of fabric.

-Equal amount of lining fabric. I used a silk scrap that I had lying around, for extra luxury and to help diminish forearm sweatiness.

-Grommet tape or grommets. I used grommets because my bracers are tiny and I needed them close together.

-Short amount of shoelace, ribbon, string, I-cord, what-have-you. Something to lace it with.

-Heavy interfacing. (Optional, but essential if you want them to look like armor.)

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DiY Tome of Galaxies (Raspberry Pi Case)

The Compatriot and I teamed up for my mom’s Christmas present this year. He got her a Raspberry Pi — she’s a gamer, but has been simplifying her life and doesn’t want to have a ton of consoles and controllers lying around. This was his thoughtful solution. (On a related note, I have the best Compatriot a girl could hope to have on her team!)

My mom is also a huge reader, so I made a custom case for it out of a book, and titled it The Tome of Galaxies. (Also the Compatriot’s idea.) It’s a fairly easy project but time consuming, so let’s get going!

Disclaimer: I am not a computer scientist. I don’t know what all the pieces are called — I’m a total layman. If you are a Pi aficionado, you’ll likely cringe at my terminology. You’ve been warned.

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Copycat Fashion: Backless beauty tutorial-ish (Intermediate – Advanced)

Buckle in readers, today’s post is quite long. It involves drafting fancy shoulders and a backless shirt. So bear with me, it’ll all be worth it. I hope.

I got a dress form for an early Christmas present! Hooray! So I’ve been playing with some drape. My first project is inspired by this shirt I found on Pinterest. (Please, ignore the weirdness on the model’s back. Poor girl’s waist curve was moved over so far in post-production, her head’s bigger than her ribs! Or she’s just standing at a really contorted angle. Either way, it’s freaky if you look at it too long.)

I like the idea of backless shirts, but somehow they always move around just a little too much for me to feel comfy, even with a bra. I just feel like I’ll flash my bra at everyone, and that’s weird, no matter how pretty it is — if your bra is showing, it should be intentional! So I’m always on the lookout for something pretty and functional, no specialty bra required. In this case, that means bra-less, but it’s secure, and the girls are fairly well contained/supported, so it’s all good for me. It’d be painful to run a marathon, but that’s not really what I plan on doing.

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How to keep your dress from riding up — stretchy bodycon edition

Today’s “refashion” doesn’t have many photos, since I made it over two years ago. I only have pictures of the finished product.

Secure sweater dress from... 2011? Thereabouts.

Secure sweater dress from… 2011? Thereabouts. Jeez I needed to vacuum. Boo, past self. Boo.

P.S. I swear that photo isn’t shopped. The edges are all blurry because of my crappy camera and the fact that I was wobbling, trying to keep that ridiculously over-exaggerated back curve. Oh, past vanities.

It was pretty simple — take an oversized v-neck cotton sweater and sew it down to size — but it has one interesting feature that I hope women will find useful. And that’s a modified hem.

I do this all the time with my winter tunic dresses, actually, refashioned or no. It’s easy: Take the hem, open it up at the side seam and insert elastic, or (preferably) bungee cord. Elastic by itself may have too much stretch and not enough snap-back to work: My solution when I don’t have bungee cord lying around is to use 1/2 elastic and 1/2 ribbon ties. The ties keep everything nice and tight, while the elastic allows me to actually move my legs and walk and stuff. Plus it makes a cute bow.

I use this all the time.

Elastic sewn to the inside.

Elastic sewn to the inside. Sometimes I thread it through and just secure the edges, sometimes I secure the whole length. Whatever I’m feeling.

Another example; see, elastic on one side, ribbon on the other. (Normally you wouldn't have a hole there where the elastic could peek out. The only hole should be on the ribbon side.)

Another example; see, elastic on one side, ribbon on the other. (Normally you wouldn’t have a hole there where the elastic could peek out. The only hole should be on the ribbon side, where you can tie it into a cute bow.)

Because there’s nothing fun about wearing a short, sexy skirt and having to worry about your butt cheeks hanging out. I’ve found that even with longer skirts, this is an issue if you want to do anything other than sitting demurely in the corner, and I hate it. I wanna swing-dance in my bodycon tank dress! I wanna run in my sweater dress! I want it all, and I’ll be damned if I have to compromise between feeling sexy and having fun.

Functional Costuming: DIY Obnoxiously simple vest for costume and casual wear

Vest 2 ways

I realized that I was missing a fairly integral part from my steampunk costumes. I had the corseted bra tops (I know opinions are super mixed on this, but it’s MY steampunk, and I like bra tops!) and the floofy skirts, and the pseudo-corset top and the boots and the fingerless gloves and the parasol and the pocketwatch necklace and the goggles. (Again, I know opinions are super mixed. I like goggles. Somewhere, a steampunk purist is getting a cold chill.)

But no vests!

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Butterfly skirt: Steampunk/fantasy costume tutorial

Hey guys! Been a while again. I seem to go through spurts and empty periods. The last month or so, I became a vegetarian, sewed a lot, went to creeks, and generally did nothing of particular consequence to write about. (I am NOT of the opinion that constant content for content’s sake is a good thing!) Today, though, I wanted to give a tutorial for this lovely skirt/short thingy that I made for Lightning in a Bottle — an electronic music/yoga festival in a couple of weeks that I’m going to — and Burning Man.

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Salvaging a broken zipper garment with buttons

Zippers: so convenient, yet so break-prone.

I bought a wonderful wool hooded sweater over the summer ($1 at Goodwill, by the way: Take advantage of the seasons!) that I wore all through the early fall. Lovely fawn color, extra-long sleeves, fitted hood. I loved it.

And then the zipper broke. Of course it did. I thought about just replacing the zipper, but ultimately decided to reclaim it into a button-down instead. I did so over Christmas, and have been happy with the result. If you have a similar problem, I hope my process will be helpful to you.

Note 2: I did this project in December, before I cut my hair short. There are a couple of projects that I haven’t posted yet, due to not transferring photos for a long time. So I’ll be switching from short to long hair for some posts.


  • A zippered sweat shirt or sweater.  It should have at least an extra inch or two of ease; you’ll be overlapping the edges. It will also preferably have a placket, like mine (below); that will look the most natural/intentional.
  • Several buttons. I find sturdy flat buttons to be the best choice, but  you could try shank buttons if you want, especially if you have a looser sweater
  • A pair of scissors
  • Moderately heavy to heavy thread that matches your sweater
  • Needle
  • Pins

Transfers 133


  • Sewing bound buttonholes and buttons

The Process:

First, remove the zipper. You will probably have two open edges now, where the zipper used to be sandwiched.

Next, put on your hoodie and decide which way you want your shirt to button; left or right? Traditionally, womens’ clothes button on left side, but that’s pretty outdated (one theory is that it dates back to when women had servants to dress them) and I’ve never known anyone to notice when I do it “wrong.” Put the buttons on whichever side you want. Whichever side you choose, the side where the buttonholes are will be called the front, and the side where the buttons are will be called the back.

When you’ve decided, overlap the edges, making sure that the bottom edges line up. Mark this spot or, preferably, pin it. If you’re a girl, also find the spot of greatest stress (usually right between your breasts) and mark there.

Angry face for some reason

Mug shot of me pointing to the places I pinned

If you can, slip the sweater off over your head with the pins intact. If you can’t, make sure to mark the correct spot on both layers before unpinning, so you can match them up accurately.

Next, decide how far apart you want your buttons. You can measure the distance between your two pins and then calculate how far apart the buttons should be.

l-b/n = d

That’s the length between the pins minus the diameter of the buttons divided by the number of buttons you want equals the distance between each button. I think that should work out, it’s what I used.

You can also just eyeball it if you want. Regardless, mark where all of the buttons will go with chalk or pins. Now, you have an option. Do you want your buttons to show all the way through? I decided that my ribbed button placket looked nice and I wanted to hide the buttons. So I folded the outermost layer on the front back and marked my buttonholes on just the inside layer.

See how I opened up the sweatshirt and marked inside the top layer?

See how I opened up the sweatshirt and marked inside the top layer?

Now, cut a slit the width of the button and make a bound buttonhole with a mattress stitch. But wait! If your sweater is stretchy and you’re ok with the buttons showing, you might want to cut a strip of fusible interfacing and iron it in between the layers. This will keep the buttons from pulling and stretching the fabric. If you do this, do the same on the other side to stabilize the buttons. In the finished picture, you can see a slight rippling where I did not add interfacing. Tsk tsk.

Almost done!

Almost done!

Once you’ve sewed your buttons on, you’re good to go. If you made your buttonholes only through the back layer like me, you’ll need to sew the two layers back together. Otherwise the back layer will pull in a strange manner.

Sew it up

Sew it up

That’s all there is to it! Fall in love with your favorite snuggly hoodie all over again.

2013-02-25 13.30.50

Scrutinizing my dragons of the world poster.